The Sonic Dimensions of Tragedian
The Sonic Dimensions of Tragedian
The almighty Tragedian from Germany present metal at it’s most grand and imaginative – and now with the unveiling of their epic new album Seven Dimensions on Pride & Joy Music, the band is ready to take on the world with their glorious anthems. In addition to the superb musicianship and dynamic songwriting, Seven Dimensions features a varied selection of guest musicians – this would include the appearance of Southern California’s own Dan Palmer, best known for his work in Zebrahead and Death By Stereo. Highwire Daze recently interviewed founding member Gabriele Palermo to find out a whole lot more about the world of Tragedian and the sonic adventures found within the realm of Seven Dimensions. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Tragedian, and how long the band has been together.
Hello Ken and readers of Highwire Daze, my name is Gabriele Palermo. I formed the band in August 2002 and I’m the guitarist, songwriter, producer, booker and manager.
Where are you based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
Tragedian is based out of Hamburg, Germany. When I first moved here in the summer of 2000, the scene was booming. There were many clubs to play, endless musicians, national bands coming through almost every night, kind of remined me of L.A. when I moved there in the early 90’s. Hamburg is famous for a few places like Headbanger’s Ballroom, Rock Cafe and the Goldies where on any given weekend you would run into members from Gamma Ray, Helloween and Metalium who were either catching a show or hanging at one of the partys. Still today we have the Markthalle in the center of the city that hosts not only major names but small and upcoming artist’s as well. Twisted Sister, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, and Dream Theater have played there in the start of their careers. Since the mid 2000’s , the scene winded down a bit like Hollywood in the early to mid 90’s but not so drastically. The musicians are still there but the club scene started slowly dying out and by the end of 2008-09 , there was more capacity for cover and tribute bands. Somewhere around 2012 the scene suddenly picked up again, younger players started forming bands again, a few new clubs and venues popped up since then and all was going great again until Covid hit.
How did you wind up signing with Pride & Joy Music?
As the recordings were ready, I set upon looking for a new home for Tragedian. I sent a few copies of the master out, got a few offers in return but at the recommendation of our friends in Terra Atlantica, I sent Pride & Joy the master and exactly one week later on my birthday Birgitt sent us an offer. Upon agreeing on the offer, I went to the office to meet her personally and we had a very nice business and private talk and we both concluded with good vibes and a positive work atmosphere.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the Seven Dimensions album title?
Yes, since our last release, Unholy Divine was too direct and in your face, I listened to the fan feedback and went back to the direction and shape of our first 2 releases where there was a variation of songs and styles. The title is a metaphor that each song is a different world and will take you mentally to a different place.
Select two songs from Seven Dimensions and what inspired the lyrics.
Out Of The Dark: Inspired by the many crazy women and beyond whacked relationships we had over the years
Rising Rage: Inspired by the birth, rise, near demise and the many triumphs and agonys of the band since the beginning.
Who did the cover art for Seven Dimensions and how much input did you have on it?
Since Tragedian formed I’ve been working exclusively with artist Rainer Kalwitz, he hand painted the cover for Dreamscape. Since our second release he’s been sub-working with digital artist’s and suggested Piotr Szafraniec and this is the second cover he did for us. The idea for the cover comes sometimes before the music is written like with Seven Dimensions and Unholy Divine, the idea or concept started with the cover, or like the first 2 releases, the cover were created when the songs were completed. Once I have an idea or vision of the artwork, I relay it to Rainer and either he or Piotr will present a draft and once its approved, it becomes a reality.
How did Dan Palmer of Zebrahead and Death By Stereo become involved with Tragedian? His bands are based out of Southern California (as is Highwire Daze magazine).
I’ve know Dan and the Zebrahead guys since 5 or 6 years, great lovable guys, the shows are amazing and I’m still hoping to man The Tiki Bar during a performance one day. Whenever they are in town, he calls me a day before the show and we get together at the Reeperbahn in Hamburg and the party goes on the next day when they play the Markthalle. At the after show parties, there’s always 80’s metal playing over the blue tooth box and Dan and I started talking guitar players. We both like a lot of the same players and have similar influences even though you would never guess by hearing his bands. When Out Of The Dark was complete, I decided to push the envelope and include him as a guest soloist to spice things up a bit and the result was exactly what I expected.
Zak Stevens from Circle II Circle also appears on the album. What was it like working with him?
I first met Zak in the early 90’s when he was living in Boston singing with Wicked Witch. I used to go watch the band on a regular basis and suddenly it was announced he was joining Savatage. Thanks to modern technology I reconnected with Zak over social media as Facebook was taking off. Whenever Zak was in Europe, we would sometimes meet up have a beer or 2, rehash bad jokes and bullshit for a while until the next time we met. As Forces Of The Light was being finalized, the idea of a deep warm voice was in addition. At the suggestion of a very good friend, I asked Zak to partake in the song. Due to the pandemic, it looked like it wasn’t gonna happen as the studio where he records his work was shut down. In that time while talking to another singer, I got a message from Zak that the studio reopened and he would be able to do it. I sent him the track and a few days later I got it back with all expectations fullfilled. I can only say when it comes to session work, Zak is professional, passionate and prompt.
What has it been like to record and release new music in the middle of a pandemic and so much social unrest in the world?
The recording process wasn’t as bad or hectic as expected. Since Nicolo joined the band, he’s been recording his drum tracks at his home studio in Italy and sends them over. By the time it the bass was ready to be recorded, the lockdown loosened and Dawid came and recorded at my home studio and Denis recorded from home. The only real challenge was for Joan who never recorded a professional recording, had to record vocals at his home under my instructions and guidance. As far as the new release goes its too soon to say but I can only say since the lockdown went into effect, our downloads and streams went up and are still continuing to do so.
What is a live Tragedian show like for those of us who have yet to see you?
A live Tragedian show is all about connecting with the audience, pulling in everyone including the people in the last line all the way in the back. Our singer has the know how of taking a big room and shrinking it down to have the feeling of a intimate small audience. We are also full into giving a full show with visuals and movement because if a band is not moving and just standing still, the public can stay home and listen to audio and it would be the same. Meet and greets are also possible but preferably after the show.
What are you looking forward to the most about your April show with Mob Rules?
Foremost I’m looking forward that the gig is allowed to take place. Then I’m looking more than forward to getting back on stage and playing our new material to a hungry audience. Most of all ,sharing the stage with Mob Rules and having a great time again. This will be the 3rd or 4th time we will share the stage with them. Great band and guys. I’ve been a fan since the first album.
If Tragedian could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. All of us in Tragedian are Deep Purple and or Rainbow fans, especially myself, a massive Blackmore fan. I only own the Deep Purple recordings where he is on and I own everything from Rainbow. It would also present the opportunity for me to finally meet him and show him what impact his influence had on me.
Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside of Tragedian?
Besides Tragedian I compose film and commerical music, occasionally compose music for other artist’s and sound design. Since 2013 I’ve been playing with James Rivera (Helstar, Destiny’s End) in Sabbath Judas Sabbath (Judas Priest, Dio era Sabbath tribute) and since November 2019 I joined the Wade Black Project with singer Wade Black (ex Crimson Glory, Leather Wolf).
What do you hope 2021 brings for you and Tragedian?
I hope the world and society gets somewhat back to normal and all musicians can get back to playing live and touring and the stagehands and other technicians can get back work.
Any final words of wisdom?
Always be prepared for any situation, good or bad, if a nice chunk of money comes your way, don’t spend it all at once, it may never come again. Don’t sign anything without knowing what you’re signing. If your uncertain hire an music lawyer. If you write songs regardless for yourself, commercially or other artists, secure a publishing deal and always register your work with your local collecting society. Music reviews are nice to read but don’t take them seriously cause if you you believe and accept a great one, you also have to accept a horrible lesser one. Don’t be a dick to your fans five minutes of your time is a lifetime for someone else.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
I thank you for the opportunity and I thank the readers for reading…
Seven Dimensions by Tragedian will be available worldwide January 29th via Pride & Joy Music!
(Interview by Ken Morton)