Melodic, virtuoso, creative, clever, arrogant, exhibitionist. An artist that strongly believe in himself, able to create high level music and shows, also thanks to the great and distinctive members he features in his band. After the release of the fifth Iron Mask album, “Fifth Son Of Winterdoom”, we had the pleasure of setting up a private interview, outside the official channels. Almost a relaxed chat between friends. What came out is something pretty funny and very, very interesting. You understand many things about the job of these artists that to get us those forty-five minutes of music, they basically must sacrifice their whole life. Among laughs and jokes, Dushan describes everything with details, with a focus on his beliefs, the things he is sure of, his rules nobody can change adding -as a gift- an introspective vision of his own personality. Ladies and gentlemen, Dushan Petrossi… (versione italiana)
Hi Dushan, thank you a lot for this opportunity. You’ve a new album out, what a great chance to ask you few questions… actually I have one million question to ask you! Let’s go. So, you aren’t just a regular guitar player. I can easily declare you belong to the virtuoso players territory. Anyway you became known in rock scene in ’99 when the first Magic Kingdom album, “The Arrival” was released. Almost yesterday if we look back at the history of rock. What did you do before and, mostly, how did you develop your impressive playing style? What is your musician background?
I’m a rock guitar player but I also love acoustic guitar, in fact I started with an acoustic guitar my father bought at a flee market and with only 3 strings on it, when I was 7 (laughs, editor’s note) I so loved the sound of a guitar, it was a shock to me, I understood that was the perfect way to express my hidden side, my feelings and emotions, I always been a shy boy as a kid, but when I got my first electric guitar I became more wild and rebel! The power of a good distorted sound invaded my heart and changed me forevermore. Later I learned everything alone, without any teacher, all theories,scales, classical elements, orchestration, I did alone in my bedroom,hours of playing,researching and back then we didn’t get any internet, we needed to buy all books,and tried to play every solos I loved, when I had my first home studio, I started to learn keyboards and more advanced orchestrations, and working with orchestral samples; that’s is something I really love because you can have so many possibilities of creation, it’s infinite, and that’s is just the way I like it, I love to get a very diversified album, with lot of different feelings, and when I read some stupid reviews,which nowadays you find more and more on the net, writing i didn’t know what I wanted on my album because one song is slow the other fast then again a mid tempo song, I just realize those people don’t get anything in my music, or its written by very young guys who better stop writing and start to learn a bit more about music, theory, scales, and modes, this really make me smile…I love to get no boundaries, nor limits, if a song is melodic and short then it is the way it should be, another song could be 10 min with prog elements and lot of different harmonic parts, and melodies, that’s is my way to write my art.
Your surname is Italian. I also know that the mixing has been done by an Italian! Quite a connection with this country…so as an Italian webzine, it comes natural to ask about your relationship with Italy, Italian fans, food, cars, cities, shows, women… whatever you like from here!
Yes I love Italy, my mother was half italian too, I just feel like I’m home in Italy, I love the food, the landscapes, but most of all the people; We’ve been recording the drums in the south of Italy with Angelo Buccolieri (which was a student of the great producer Michael Wagner in the USA) and it was fantastic in the SUDE studio, great professional guys, I loved every minute of our trip.
Often you get compared to Malmsteen. That ain’t bad: an italian virtuoso recently claimed “it’s better to be compared to Yngwie Malmsteen than to Justin Bieber…”. Cannot disagree, can’t I? But I believe you got a pretty clear style of your own, very different from Yngwie’s. How do you live this getting compared and evaluated?
Oh I really don’t care about that, I always said he’s a big influence on me, for my guitar technique, but I’m very different, you can’t say that’s only Ynwgie style when you listen my albums.
Since we were talking about Malmsteen, it’s known he is quite a Fender addict. You, instead, are about different guitars: LAG, ESP, Fenders, to name few. To satisfy all guitar playing fans reading this, what can you say about feeling, sound, preference and choice of a guitar brand/model? Tell us about your spiritual relationship with those six string ritual objects!
Well, I really love to play on FENDER, and for me those are the best guitars concerning solos, but sometimes I use LAG (my endorsement guitar company) for rhythm guitars, recently I also used IBANEZ, but 98% of my solos are always recorded with FENDER, now I have a new Japanese FENDER which sounds terrific, gonna use it a lot for my next album. I feel that is a part of my soul when I play, it just speaks through my fingers, playing always fast isn’t necessary, playing the right note is my main goal; you need to make your soul scream through a pice of wood, and that’s the most difficult part of an artist, being true to yourself, my music is me and I don’t care if people say that’s not original, none in the world invented original music, not even Mozart or Bach, every musician tries to make his own universe with something that already been created decades before he was born.
Talking again about Magic Kingdom, is it active? Are you writing music for that band? Anything coming soon? And: You did five albums as Iron Mask and three with Magic Kingdom. Iron Mask started later and did much more. How is for you the Iron Mask vs Magic Kingdom thing?
Yes it is still alive, I’m working right known a new album called “Savage Requiem”. I mostly play live with Iron Mask only, Magic Kingdom is more of a studio project, but one day I’d love to record a live DVD with an orchestra and make the metallic tragedy chapters live. It would be awesome.
Well, about those five Iron Mask albums: they got released in 2002, 2005, 2009, 2011 and 2013. An increasing frequency. Is your creativity improving? A strong need to release music, tour it and be in touch with your public?
Music is my life, and nowadays you need to be productive or people will buy the next band album, so much choice, but on another hand, only the strong will survive and it makes me doing and wanting to achieve only the best from me, and releasing strong albums.
A question I always asked myself, and want to share with you: why is your “side” project Iron Mask a band and not a “solo” project with your name? Any plan to actually do a “solo” album or project?
In the beginning it had my name on it, but i realized people would remind better with only a band name. One day I’ll do a solo cd, probably with more bluesy stuff.
”Fifth Son Of Winterdoom” the album, sees Mark Boals again at the mic. That’s great to have such a singer again with you. How is the relationship with him? Does he take part to song writing or any band decision/choice? I mean, is he a performer or can we say he is an Iron Mask member 100%?
Playing live with him is not a problem and never was, what is hard is to get 400 Euro from a club to play a gig, when only the flight ticket for Mark is sometimes as high as 1000 Euro, thanks God we always sell a lot or merch, and we can sort out like that. He is not involved in writing lyrics nor melodies, but he doesn’t ask for more either; he just likes the way I write lines for him, I asked him very operatic melodies to sing, and sometimes high pitched notes as well, his interpretation is perfect and that could be very hard for a less good singer, that is just the way I write vocals melodies; but he considers himself like a real band member, he always been there, when we need to tour or do a video clip; and he’s a nice guy too.
It is also the second album in a row with AFM Records: looks like things are working well with them. How important is to have a good label believing in what you do and the style you play to get an album released?
Yes of course that’s the best label we ever had, they really believe in us and they love my music, they do the best for Iron Mask; I’m fully satisfied with them. Promotion is also great.
”Fifth Son Of Winterdoom” it’s indeed a great disc. Full of power, great solos, melodic, catchy: what was in your mind during composition process and how would you compare it to your previous works? What was the leading rule in the creation of this new rocking disc?
I can’t describe it, its the way I hear music, what i just wrote in that period of my life, its like a photograph, but with musical notes; it’s very diverse and powerful, with maybe more pro parts this time but still the Iron Mask trademark, epic, hymnic, fast but also slow and heavy and always great choruses to sing along!
Melodic, symphonic, progressive, power, neoclassical. Many definitions of metal, and often the boundaries aren’t clear. Your opinion and in which territory would you feel home and where would you actually place ”Fifth Son Of Winterdoom”? Because there are a lot of thing in there to be listened…
Like a said, that’s is what I like to hear, I like a very diversity album, when you need to eat you don’t eat the same every days (laughs, editor’s note)!
Sticking to the those genre classification, I want you to comment these relationship between few songs of the new album and some styles:
“Like A Lion In A Cage”: guitar virtuoso, where you claimed your skill exhibition space.
Right but also very memorable sing a long choruses and verses, my goal is always to get chorus you can remember fast and stay in the heads.
“Rock Religion”: damn heavy, very power.
Right but hymnic too.
“Father Farewell”: a ballad with a neoclassical feeling.
Right, sad and emotional, intense and intimate. With a soulful solo that just express my anger against destiny and the absence that you can’t fight.
“Seven Samurai”: one of those great heavy metal track with far east feeling like the 80s used to produce.
Yes but it’s very wild and get some thrash riff as well, with also very proggy elements.
“Run To Me”: heavy metal with a progressive guitar.
Very melodic, more in a Rainbow style (laughs, editor’s note)
“One Commandment”: confess it, you created a great heavy song, with great riffs, superb melody around a refrain that is simply an instant legend! And Mark sings it great!!!
What can I say? just THANK YOU! (laughs, editor’s note) this one will be on the next gigs setlist for sure!
Now I must ask: your favorite track of the album? The one you think will be loved the most? The one you will never tired to play?
Very hard to me, “Rock Religion”, “Only One Commandment” (“Only” added by Dushan, editor’s note), I like straight forward tracks for live gigs a lot! “Like A lion In A Cage” too! We actually played them already in July gigs before shooting the video clip (laughs, editor’s note)!
You can have a great album and a great label, but illegal downloading, copying and all those things may be messing up with a band career. How’s the music business nowadays in your opinion? How hard is to get an album done, paying all the expenses and make sure you can get paid back and do a tour for it?
Well you just don’t know and you can’t tell the future for sure, we try to do our best with the advances we get from the labels, and that is true, it’s more and more difficult each years, so one day maybe we’ll have to stop, but we’ll play gigs, and if we can’t get CD anymore, we ll try to sell tshirts only, but that is very bad to see, that downloading problem getting worse every years, I hope vinyls could be a new solution…
Talking about touring: what’s the plan for ”Fifth Son Of Winterdoom”? Can we hope you will have several gigs in Italy to cover the whole country (forcing you to spend several days here… something you may enjoy, isn’t it?…)?
Oh yes! I’ll enjoy like hell! We hope to get a booking agency very soon; We are trying to get as much gigs as we can, but sometimes costs make it vey hard.
Gig track list plan: classic tunes? Last couple of albums (to support Boals range and work with Iron Mask)? The pleasure to listen to almost all the new album live?
We always play songs from every albums; and of course we’ll focus a bit more on the new album and the songs we talked about earlier. Our gigs are the place where all fans sing along with us, that’s very spiritual and it’s just make us realize that this is the best feeling in the world. United in Metal!
Why not some projects to do a live album? You and Mark could be recorded playing outside any strict studio rule, offering the public all your skill, all you can give on stage!
Maybe, I’ll ask AFM! (laughs, editor’s note). But that’s a very good idea indeed!
Last question about the new album: I love the cover. How was it created, what do you want to say with it… Are the two dogs (white and black) meaning something like good and evil, or something? Your public want to know more, after all that’s the first thing you get in touch when you buy the album!
Let me explain bit about the lyrics. Every song has it’s own identity, “Fifth Son of Winterdoom” is a poetic metaphoric to explain how I see my ‘life’ and my sadness concerning the loss of my parents and what changed in my vision of life since I was a kid, turning into a more dark and pessimistic feeling, about the meaning of life, our hopes, and what we have to face one day, the brutal reality of death and having to ‘survive’ without the one we loved the most, the one who really knew who I am. I am the “Fifth Son of Winterdoom” in every way, I’m the fifth child of my family and it’s also the fifth Iron Mask CD, so for me in a way my fifth baby. The baby on the cover represents me, the black and white wolfs represent my parents, who both passed away in winter. That’s a winter curse, a frozen doom.
Ok Dushan. I will be eternally thankful for this opportunity! It was a great fun to talk with you! I hope to see you onstage soon… meanwhile please close this interview with your message and some special words to the faithful Italian fans, readers of METALHEAD.IT…
Thank you so much for that great interview, bro, and I hope people in Italy would like to listen to our new album, you wont regret it! and soon we’ll come to rock some stages in Italy, I promise!!!!! Cheers Grazie Mille!