Spirits Of Fire just released their sophomore album Embrace The Unknown. It was their first with new vocalist Fabio Lione (Angra). Guitarist Chris Caffery (Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra) fills us in on the latest.
Chad Bowar: How did Fabio Lione come to join the band?
Chris Caffery: When we were looking for someone to replace Ripper (Owens), Frontiers and our producer suggested Fabio. I’m sure the fact he is from Italy as well helped make the connection but in The end he was the best singer for the project.
How did the songwriting process for Embrace The Unknown compare to your debut?
On this record I decided not to write lyrics and melodies. I wrote full songs in the last record. The first four were some of those. I wanted to just write the music.
So I focused on the riffs and arrangements. Fabio wrote the lyrics and melodies. Aldo helped him with the melodies when he recorded his vocals. I think this process worked perfectly and I’m extremely happy with the results.
What led you to work with producer Aldo Lonoble, and how was the experience?
Aldo had been doing more producing with Frontiers. He did an amazing job on the Archon Angel record with Zak Stevens. I think from there they thought my Savatage musical history and Aldo would marry well. They were right. The whole process was a lot of fun and again like Fabio I’m very happy with the results.
How did the pandemic affect the process?
I think it helped! It gave everyone a little more time to do their parts. We recorded the first record in different studios and away from each other so that didn’t change. But like I said the amount of time that each individual had to work increased and that was very helpful to give us the time we needed to make the best record possible!
A lot of the song titles would have made good album titles. How did you decide to go with Embrace The Unknown?
I think it’s the perfect one. Since there are so many unknown factors in life these days. Also many people didn’t know what to expect from Fabio as the new singer so there are a lot of different meaning you can give to that title. It was the one that we all fit the best.
How has the band’s sound evolved from Spirits Of Fire to Embrace The Unknown?
I think on this record we sounded a lot more like a band. The whole record fits together as a piece. None of the songs are the same, but in the difference there is a cohesiveness. I also recorded my guitar tracks to finished drums. I practiced to his beats and fills. This helped me to change what I played to marry the drum parts better. From there Steve had I believe a more solid base to place his bass. It sounded more like a rehearsed band for that reason as well.
How were the video shoots for “A Second Chance” and “Into The Mirror”?
These were very different than the last CD because we were all in different places. So it was a lot different performing all alone. But I think the performances pieced together well.
How important are music videos these days?
They are very important. Especially since the record business has changed so much. It’s the best way to spread your music besides touring. Videos have always been important. I just think nowadays with the internet being such an important part of our lives it’s best to have a video out there to promote.
How does the response to the initial singles affect your expectations for the album?
Well, it makes me excited to have everyone hear the rest! I am just hopeful it gets the same reaction. It’s really fun to hear that people enjoy listening to your work. I never make my expectations too high to avoid any disappointments, but I’m pretty happy so far and I hope that continues.
Do you have any plans to play live shows in support of the album?
I would love to. It depends on getting everyone’s schedules together and hopefully the world doesn’t stop moving again! But we are discussing the possibilities now.
You’re involved in several other projects. Any updates on new albums/tours?
We will be working on releasing the Paul Oneill music and stories for TSO that have not been finished or released yet. I am writing for a new solo record and for a possible Savatage record. We will see what happens with that in the future too! For tours TSO has already started working on our next winter tour. I’m also looking into some other offers to do live gigs. I will announce anything that comes up in my social medial pages.
What are some of your non-musical interests/hobbies?
I like to make hot sauces and I’m a partner in a hot sauce company called High River Sauces. I also do a lot of sea glass art. I’ve sold over 500 pieces of my artwork! I like looking for the glass too it’s very relaxing. I also have a lot of gardens and spend a lot of time working on my house and yard.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
I never have one set rotation. So I kinda just listen to whatever mood I’m in. There has been a lot of great new records from our favorite metal bands. The amount of music out there is so high! But my player can run anywhere from Smith Kotzen to and anything in between Exodus!
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
I have my mascot called Wilbur the Metalphant. Through him and our web pages I sell my sea glass art and so many other merchandise pieces. We give a lot of the profits to charity. That and again High River Sauces! Thanks for the interview and have a safe, healthy and happy rest of 2022!
(interview published February 22, 2022)