The Sonic Declarations of Last Union
Italian progressive metal band Last Union has declared their sonic declaration of independence in nothing short of an epic way. Twelve is their latest auditory manifesto, jammed packed with inspiring compositions that will set the imagination in flight. In addition to the massively talented core membership of vocalist Elisa Scarpeccio and guitarist Cristiano Tiberi, Twelve by Last Union also features the grand participation of Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie, Mike LePond of Symphony X on bass, and the one and only Uli Kusch from Helloween and Masterplan on drums. Twelve is now available worldwide via the mighty ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records! Here is recent interview we conducted with vocalist Elisa to further exploration into the vibrant entreaties of Last Union. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Last Union, and how long the band has been together.
I am Elisa, singer-songwriter from Italy. In Last Union I am co-writer with Cristiano, the guitar player. The band has been together for at least a decade and in the beginning there were three of us…me, Cristiano and Claudio (Feliziani) at keyboards: a little group of friends having dreams in common. Claudio co-wrote some songs with us…we share a lot of good memories of our time together!
Where is Last Union based out and what is your music scene like there?
In the centre of Italy. Even though I am from Liguria (North of Italy), I’ve lived in the Marche, mostly: I soon got to know the guys and found myself singing and composing in a metal band. I must say the music scene is sacrificed here: we tend to build factories, not song structures. And if there is someone wanting to approach music it will often have to do with competitions or TV shows, otherwise you go for classical studies. Where we live, it’s rare to meet a person who listens to something different from Italian or international pop music like crazy. Nothing against it, don’t get me wrong here…we like many pop songs, but not ONLY popular music, you know…there are too many music genres and artists that are still unknown here!
We felt our interests were different from the start but at the same time that’s the way we found inspiration in a hostile situation.
How did you wind up signing with ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records?
Actually we were looking for a good and trusted label to distribute our music and ROAR! even expressed an interest for our album. That’s how Most Beautiful Day (self-released back in December 2016) was re-released under the name Twelve (via ROAR! exactly 2 years later) and including a fresh version of President Evil, our first single. We are very grateful for this opportunity.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the CD title Twelve? Who did the cover art for Twelve and how much input did you have on it?
The idea behind the concept/cover art was suggested by Cristiano, the guitar player. The artwork was done by the talented Thomas Ewerhard who previously did the cover art for Most Beautiful Day.
There were 11 songs/chapters/hours in Most Beautiful Day and Twelve is the 12th and final chapter/hour (there’s a clock in the actual album cover) of our work. Twelve is “our moment”, the moment we are living right now that we have the opportunity to get our music heard, to live the dream.
Select two songs from Twelve and what inspired the lyrics.
President Evil, the “Day Of Righteousness” tells about the existential conflict of a corrupted businessman torn between power and his responsibilities, who’s hopelessly trying to find a way out of the dirty work. But the twisted minds surrounding him are leading him to be a bad man against his will.
Back In The Shadow, the “Day Of Independence”, is a song about gambling addiction.
How did James Labrie of Dream Theater wind up being involved with Twelve and have you performed any of the song live with him yet?
During the composing process it became evident that there were songs inspired by one of our all time favourite bands, Dream Theater. Especially when it was time for Taken, from the early draft it was like I could almost hear James’ voice. We just followed our intuition that we should really contact him somehow, that clear idea in mind forced us to be determined, we wanted to give it a try. After a while we happily received James’ reply that he liked our work and that he would have been on board!
Not yet! We would love to.
Mike LePond and Uli Kusch are like the dream rhythm section for progressive rock and metal. How did they become involved with Last Union?
Yes, they are really amazing musicians and it has been a real pleasure and privilege to watch them play together live during the video shooting for Most Beautiful Day!
We have wanted to invite Uli and Mike to be part of Last Union because we truly love their work, we needed their passion.
Back in the days me and Cristiano, wanting to take forward the project, realized that it was impossible to find the right people in our environment. Such a high level of technique and expression, but also their mentality.
Drums were recorded in Sweden where we had a lot of fun and shared magical moments with Uli, and Mike recorded his bass lines in New Jersey. Their interpretation of our tunes leaved us breathless.
What could one expect from a live Last Union show?
A joyful show where a group of friends that loves Hard Rock will get to the bottom of this!
What are you looking forward to the most about your upcoming shows in Russia?
Russian fans have already made us feel at home with their positive reactions and kind messages! We can’t wait to meet them! We are looking forward to build energy with them throughout the show and enjoy the moment. And of course we are very excited since it’s our first time visiting this beautiful country.
If Last Union could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I like this question very much. Not easy to reply though and each member would probably answer differently!
Thinking of bands from the past, in this moment I would personally say Queen in order to be inspired, able to absorb the power and purity of their live sound and adrenaline, enthusiasm both from the band and the audience in the presence of such great performers and musicians. Then, thinking about the heaviness of some new songs we’ve written for the next album, I like to imagine Last Union opening for Pantera! Haha.
Other than that they would be Skid Row, Megadeth, Dream Theater, Symphony X and many more bands having really strong songwriting and again a strong connection with the crowd.
What’s up next for Last Union?
Live shows and a new album!
Any final words of wisdom?
Music threw humanity a lifeline…”don’t settle for the horizon” (from the song Most Beautiful Day!)…surround yourself with positive and caring people…listen to your inner voice…be patient with yourself but hurry up being you because the world is waiting for you!!!
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
Thanks to you, Ken, our pleasure! All the best!
Last Union is:
Elisa Scarpeccio – vocals
Cristiano Tiberi – guitars
Mike LePond – bass
Uli Kusch – drums
Feat. James LaBrie
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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