Interview with Faithsedge lead vocalist and band founder Giancarlo Floridia
INTERVIEW WITH FAITHSEDGE LEAD VOCALIST AND BAND FOUNDER GIANCARLO FLORIDIA
Date: July 18, 2019
Interviewer: Tyson Briden
WHEN I INITIALLY STARTED WRITING FOR SLEAZE ROXX BACK IN THE WINTER OF 2016, ONE OF THE FIRST ARTISTS I INTERVIEWED WAS FAITHSEDGE LEAD SINGER AND MAIN SONGWRITER GIANCARLO FLORIDIA. AT THAT TIME, WE WERE SPEAKING OF FAITHSEDGE’S LATEST ALBUM ‘RESTORATION.’ SO AS WE FAST FORWARD A FEW YEARS, FAITHSEDGE ARE BACK WITH ANOTHER ALBUM ENTITLED, ‘BLEED FOR PASSION.’ WHAT I CAN SAY ABOUT THIS ALBUM IS THAT IT STILL POSSESSES THE SAME AMOUNT OF GREAT SONGS AS THE LAST, BUT MIGHT BE MORE HARD EDGED WITH LESS OF A KEYBOARD FEEL. HONESTLY, I WILL LET THOSE THAT LISTEN MAKE THAT DECISION. I CAN ONLY FORMULATE MY OPINION AND PASS IT ON. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN A GREAT HARD ROCK ALBUM, WITH GREAT HOOKS AND STELLAR MUSICIANSHIP, THIS IS THE ALBUM TO GET ALL THOSE THINGS IN ONE. SO, HERE WE ARE, GIANCARLO FLORIDIA FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE.
Sleaze Roxx: Hey Giancarlo, great to talk to you again. Awesome to hear another album from Faithsedge. I really enjoyed the last one. How would you say ‘Bleed for Passion’ differs from the previous albums?
Giancarlo Floridia: Hey, good to talk to you again and yes, I enjoyed the last interview also ! Time goes quick huh? Either way, it’s always great to talk to you. The main difference you will hear right off the bat is no keyboards. We were going to have Paul Taylor from Winger do the keys. He and I talked about it for a while but when it came down to it, Paul and I agreed this is a guitar rock album. Alex [De Rosso] did all the guitars. He really made them big and did them at his studio in Italy. So this is the first album we have that I played no guitar on but I wrote the riffs. Alex learned everything and did it in his own style / feel. So I would say the main [thing to] notice is it’s our most guitar driven album. Also the guitars are tuned higher so no drop tuning. It has more of an ’80s / early ‘90s feel to it. Other than that, I’m happy with the last album so I tried to get it to the same level of the last, if not better as a writer. So yes more guitar driven, more ’80s [laughs]!
Sleaze Roxx: What was the approach going in? Did you say to yourself, “You know what, I like this album by so and so, I’d [like] to take some of those elements and put them into this one?” Just kind of using your influences to create what solely becomes yours in the end. I’d like to know about the production side of things. Did it flow easily or was it more of a challenge?
Giancarlo Floridia: Well, I try to listen to the fans of what I do. The first and third albums got the best response. The second was a straight up almost thrash metal album and people were maybe confused. However, I feel the lyrics and my vocals are better on the second then the first but it lost the hooks. I think the aggressiveness of it was cool and it [was] also awesome when I can ruffle some AOR fans to let them know I can do bad ass metal also. When I see people talking crap on my voice, I think I’ll just keep being me and I don’t have to fit in with all the other AOR singers. I’m into Motown and more of a raw nasty approach to singing. Sometimes, I’ll even leave in stuff that’s a little pitchy so it’s not over polished. I love throwing a little dirt on what I do so it keeps it real. So that was the overall goal — to keep it honest and in your face but also keep melody and trademark Faithsedge style.
Sleaze Roxx: Is it the same line-up that you worked with on ‘Restoration’?
Giancarlo Floridia: With the exception of Alessandro Del Vecchio [Hardline] on keys, it’s still Alex, Tim [Gaines] and Matt [Starr]. They’re my bros and best friends! Love those guys! Thanks guys!
Sleaze Roxx: With speaking about Tim Gaines, since the last album, he has officially left Stryper. What’s your opinion on the subject? It seemed to be quite a big move for Stryper as Tim was a founding member of the band.
Giancarlo Floridia: I know I can’t run from this question because it’s being asked in other interviews. So I might as well get my view of it off my chest without being rude to anyone. Also you have to remember Stryper is one of my favorite all-time bands. Tim is my brother and family. Stryper helped me through some hard times with their music in the past, so to see what happened really sucked. I wish Michael [Sweet] would just sit in a room with Tim and work it out. They’ve been bros for what over 30 years? From someone on the outside and a fan, it hurt the band’s name. Stryper, I thought was a good tool to help people in a positive way with their music and message. Tim’s a quiet guy so Michael, if you read this, maybe it’s time you call your brother of over 30 years and forgive. Fix it with no outside input from the people around you. Life’s too short and you guys have too much of a positive tool to help people with your music. And to all the fans that are bashing one side or the other, let’s stop! I mean, even look at the cool stuff we could’ve done together. Faithsedge can help people too. We have positive lyrics even if we aren’t a religious band but instead I get haters because I’m not Michael, etc. Tim’s remarried and is happy. Let’s all move on. The music scene is in enough trouble as it is. We need bands working together, not this mess.
Sleaze Roxx: I would assume in this situation, there will be no chance of reconciliation between Tim and the guys in Stryper?
Giancarlo Floridia: That’s up to Michael. He can stop this whole thing and forgive Tim. This may stop the fans from fighting but it just keeps going on and on. Stryper has always had controversy but this time it’s not for the best. Look we all mess up and no one’s perfect. Call your bro, say you are sorry and start rebuilding your friendship. That is my view. If I can work with Tim, why can’t he? Tim’s been nothing but respectful and easy to work with. Zero problems with him at all and I’m proud to call him family. Stryper will always be the original four to me. It would be great to see them work it out one day. My best friend who passed away that helped me name the band, “Faithsedge”, his favorite band was Stryper. So it’s important to me that they make this right. My friend’s heart would’ve been broken by this. We will see what happens but it’s just sad to see someone who is in a way a Christian mentor to many people not forgiving his own brother. The rest is up to Michael. Let’s see what he does. The ball is in his court!
Sleaze Roxx: One thing I noticed was that this is the first Faithsedge album that you’re only handling vocals. As you’ve mentioned, you’ve put down the guitar. Was that a conscious decision or just became a natural progression?
Giancarlo Floridia: Yes! We were able to get better tones at Alex’s studio in Italy, where, as before I had to rush guitar recordings here in America. Like ‘Restoration’, I cut the whole album including doubling parts, etc., in like a day. This way Alex could just do everything. Honestly, let’s be real, he’s a much better guitar player then I am so I trusted him to handle it this time. I have my writing style and my voice is my own sound so we’re on the same page with the guitars and the album. I’d like to keep it that way. He did a great job and the guitars sound awesome! I’ll show the album to people and then Alex starts shredding. I always tell them “That’s not me!” [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: Will you still play guitar live?
Giancarlo Floridia: I like fronting bands at this point. I like running around and getting the audience into it. Same deal, it kind of has naturally changed for me live. But I’ll never stop playing, writing and singing. It’s my passion.
Sleaze Roxx: Tell me a bit about the songwriting process. In terms of songs, again, you’ve mentioned this is a little more ’80s sounding than the previous effort?
Giancarlo Floridia: Yeah, I wanted to do a retro album. I always take a dark turn on most of the records because I’ve been through a lot and that’s just who I am. Things I went through in the music biz when I was a teenager, through my early 20’s will just always be a part of me. I’ve thought about talking about it more but most people probably won’t believe me anyways. If people knew my full story and what I went through as teen in this business, they would really be shocked. Seems like it’s best if I just live with it, move on and write positive, productive lyrics to make right of what went down with me. So keeping that in mind, my lyrics will always have that dark edge but I grew up in the ’80s and early ’90s so the music itself is just a reflection of what I loved. My riffs aren’t the most original but I’d say my voice and words are. But the overall goal was to make a retro album with the honesty of who I am as a person. This band, it’s just music to me. It’s like who I am all around as a fan of the old school genre.
Sleaze Roxx: A track like “Angelic” has some very cool tempo changes, but the chorus is very melodic with a great hook. What can you tell me about that song?
Giancarlo Floridia: The haters came out for this tune on a few sites [laughs]! It’s been our best received song and at the same time, people have been ripping me apart online too. But I’ve dealt with people much worse in this business that have sold millions of albums that have tried to stop me from succeeding so if online haters, that sit behind their computer want to talk shit, I let them. It’s not going to work or make me quit. Fact of the matter is, I’ve sold albums all over the world and my labels believe in my writing enough to give me freedom. The song musically, yes, has some pretty cool changes, almost slight prog without going overboard. The lyrics are about seeing someone you love deteriorate. Do too many drugs or chemicals. It’s watching someone that was once great, fall apart. It’s like I’m processing the emotion of that in the lyrics. I’m very happy with it and I’m glad you like it also. The lyric vid is already over 80,000 views and I’m proud of it!
Sleaze Roxx: The opening track “Back From This” has a very Dokken type feel. Was this something that was intentional? With Alex De Rosso being a member back in the early 2000s, is that just a coincidence or do you think that has rubbed off on him slightly?
Giancarlo Floridia: Well, I wrote it all by myself so maybe you can say that’s a sound that will forever follow me as I mentioned earlier, some things in my life will never go away. I don’t want to get too much detailed about it but when you are around something or someone for long periods of time, sometimes that influence rubs off on you or even worse, stays with you for good or bad. That sound is just a part of who I am and a part of my history so I just go with it. I think we are going to release it as the second single. It dark and it’s got a great hook. I love the Italian spoken outro. That’s Alex on the Italian part talking. But yeah, I wrote it on my own and Alex put the icing on the cake. He just killed it on that one. Another song I’ve very proud of!
Sleaze Roxx: The track “Acceptance” — lyrically, it seems to be a song of reflection. What were your feelings when you wrote this track?
Giancarlo Floridia: Yes, it’s about waking up one day and saying to yourself, “I’m okay!” I may have made mistakes but I am a good person. I just need to make some changes, move forward and believe that I can do better with myself than what I thought before. It’s about looking in the mirror. On days where I’m saying bad stuff that went down but I’m just going to believe in myself and start moving forward. Life’s just better that way I feel. I want things to be better but starting to believe and have faith in yourself is a good starting point.
Sleaze Roxx: “Through The Scars” really has a great feel to it. It’s very modern sounding to me. There seems to be more reflection going on here. Was this album somewhat a source of therapy for you? Sometimes when we write, the things we can’t generally say or speak, come out in our art.
Giancarlo Floridia: Tim Gaines co-wrote that with me so it’s more groove based and also, I feel progressive. I deal with psychology a lot in my lyrics. It’s in a way like therapy. I am hoping for others too. I’ve had people reach out to me before and say my music has helped them too. That’s what separates us from just being another ’80s knock-off, the words have something more to say. I want to help people have better lives and be able to rock out at the same time. I think they are both good therapy music and being positive about your life’s outcome. I’m real about life but I’m also someone who wants things to get better in life so you’ll see that many times in my words.
Sleaze Roxx: If I have to say I have a favorite track on this album so far, it’s “I Know I Need To Let You Go.” I hear that same earthy acoustic guitar tone like on Dokken’s “Alone Again.” Possibly, this is about somebody, possibly not, but what are your feelings in regards to this track?
Giancarlo Floridia: Yes, Alex did a great job on the guitars and the acoustic mix. It’s risky doing a ballad as a single but I am thinking about doing it as the third one. This song is when you have a person or a loved one that you know is affecting your life. Even though you care about them, you know that if you don’t do something about it, it’s going to pull your life down with them. So I am kind of processing in the lyrics how I can’t let this stuff affect my life the way it used to. I can’t allow it to affect me negatively anymore. Once again, a good ending outlook! But yes, thank you. I think it’s one of my best songs. I was trying to top “Faith And Chris” off the last album, so it came out really good. I set a standard for when I write to out do myself. So I’m really happy how it came out.
Sleaze Roxx: “Girl When” is such an infectious, catchy track. Is a song like this sometimes calculated? You start writing and think, “I need a fast, melodic, catchy rocker! Boom, here it is!”
Giancarlo Floridia: I’ve been trying to write the ultimate break up song for years now [laughs]! “Girl When” and “Bleeding With The Memories” are my attempts again! I think I came pretty close to getting that break up vibe across but keeping it up-tempo and driving. And also tuning the guitars up instead of all these drop tuning just helped the album sound more driving over all. Another thing, the reason why it’s so hooky is I completely changed the main key in the chorus so it pops out at you so there’s a little song writing tip for all you aspiring writers!
Sleaze Roxx: So with all that said, what is the plan for supporting this album? Will there be some dates? Will you play festivals, tour, etc?
Giancarlo Floridia: No gigs yet. I was gonna try to go to Japan this year for my label but they are doing a thrash metal festival so I don’t think me going to Japan with my acoustic opening would go over too well [laughs]!
Sleaze Roxx: Will there be vinyl for this release like the last album?
Giancarlo Floridia: I’ve been asked but no plans yet. Maybe we can do a limited run. I think in Japan, we are going to do like buttons, shirts or something to go with it. I’ll know shortly in Japan. They also get the bonus track of “Angelic” — the acoustic version — which is completely different than the metal version and I love it !
Sleaze Roxx: Well Giancarlo, that is all I have. Is there anything you’d like to add as we close out?
Giancarlo Floridia: Thanks for the support. You guys have promoted us since album number one in 2011 when we started. Keep up the great work!
Sleaze Roxx: Thank you. Cheers bro!
Giancarlo Floridia: You got it!
Faithsedge’s “Angelic” video:
FAITHSEDGE – Angelic (Lyric Video)