Review Fix Exclusive: Q & A With Sacred Dominion’s Danny Corso
With an old-school metal sound and creative musicianship, Sacred Dominion may be the best metal band you haven’t listened to yet.
Review Fix: What was the creative process for the album like?
Danny Corso: The creative process was a lot of fun. With the chemistry in the room and the feeling behind every chord progression and movement was just awesome. There’s a bass line in the bridge of “Somewhere” where you can hear that emotion and how it captures the meaning and the essence of what the song is saying so well. It might be my favorite bass phrase of all time from anybody.
In the beginning I had a few pieces and brought it to the band and it was just a total collaboration and we instantly realized the chemistry in the room and the musicianship were blending well. Ben and Jeff took those pieces and songs and just made rock songs progressive pieces, which was the beginning and early defining moments of what Sacred Dominion would eventually become. During the writing process when we wrote The Inside, we kind of knew then we had something special. At least special to us. Lyrically it says so much and the music captures that lyric totally. The other part of all of that emotion is the room was filled with all Italians save for keyboardist Dave Watson. So you can imagine the hand-waving conversations. Mario and me have been best friends since we were 15 years old and this was a project with a group of musicians that is second to none. The creative process was just incredible with input coming from everybody. Ben has his own unique style of playing the bass so it took a while to get used to what he was doing sometimes. Him and Jeff just locked in right away with their styles together and it was almost magic at times. There is never a loss for ideas here.
Review Fix: Favorite song on the album? Why?
Corso: Wow, my favorite song? That would have to be The Inside because it is a lyrical collaboration between Mario Brescia and me and because of it’s meaning and what it says. A close second would be Somewhere because I believe that captures what Sacred Dominion is all about in a way in that it’s an idea and or an observation of humanity. The Inside though has become an anthem of sorts along with Closer. The Inside is almost a definition of where Sacred Dominion is in many ways and it all seems to stem from there and grow from there. Mario had the first verse written from in an old notebook and it must have been years old I think. One night, I put the headsets on to the music and wrote the rest of it off of what he wrote. So to have a song like that written together that is so defining is something I’m very proud of and something that brought us all together as a band and more importantly close friends. That’s what music is about to me.
Review Fix: Who inspires you musically?
Corso: I am inspired by the great friends I play with and by the people around me and the world around me. Music is such an emotional medium to express yourself in writing a song. Ben Chiarini is a very inspiring player. When he plays a bass line it always has something to say which is truly inspirational. Jeff Anzelone helps to define that and does the same thing with all the intricacies he plays with and power he combines with it. Mario Brescia brings the cynicism edge to things with his vocal and writing style that really bring out a darker side to the lyric that brings it all together. Dave Watson can add that one thing on keys that just changes the tone of a song and with all those things combined it’s easy to be inspired. More importantly, you’d have to have no heart at all to not be inspired by these people as human beings and great friends. That is the most inspirational thing and I am grateful to be a part of it. We all are family in so many ways so that, when you realize it, is what’s truly inspirational.
One player that has inspired me recently is Doug Alrich. We opened for Whitesnake last year and this guy took the time to sit on stage at the monitor board and watch our entire set. When you grab an ear like that for a half hour that’s something special. I always knew he was a great player. It’s just when you actually get to watch him play from 10 feet away you gain a new appreciation for everything the guy can do so effortlessly. Plus he was a nice guy too and he had some nice compliments when we finished our set. Things like that keep you going and writing and pushing forward. We’ve been lucky this last year getting to open up for all incredible national acts. The Dio Disciples and Ace Frehley, The Bullet Boys and Iced Earth and coming up Symphony X. There are more on the list too. It certainly makes all the struggles to get there worth it and it’s that much more rewarding when you do it with people and a band you consider family. That’s what’s inspirational and keeps you writing the next song and making it through the difficult times.That and being able to do it with your best friends.
I think we all are inspired by our fans as well. With out them singing along to songs they didn’t know, applauding the way they do just keeps you going. Especially since we are playing to national act audiences who just so happen to get to see Sacred Dominion. When you win those people over instantly, that’s inspiring! It’s something you feed off of that if you haven’t been there it’s really hard to describe. We have close friends around the band who are also inspiring and keep us going. Especially in the early days. They all know who they are. There are a few Sacred Dominion lyrics that have been written that were inspired by those close friends as well.
So inspiration comes from everywhere Patrick.
Review Fix: Any guilty pleasure musicians we wouldn’t expect by listening to the band?
Corso: Yes. Steve Vai for me. He combines rock and jazz and classical and is just an amazing player. He can almost make you laugh just listening to him play and what he says with everything he plays and every note. There is nobody out there, to me anyway, that can communicate all of the emotion into musical phrases the way he does. You won’t hear any Steve Vai licks on the album. – laughing – I also like Boston. I think Brad Delps voice is just a great voice and has that soul that is just makes you believe what he’s saying.
Review Fix: Time to Sail is a great track. How was it written? What inspired it?
Corso: Thank you for the compliment and thank you for taking the time to listen. Time To Sail is one of my favorite songs as well. It started at rehearsal one night and we were playing Memento Mori, the track that precedes it on the album. At the end of that song it breaks down into a moody acoustical type eerie part that I have always referred to as “The Funeral March”. Well, at the end, I just went into the opening chords of Time To Sail and said to the band, “keep playing” and that’s what came out. I wrote the lyrics that night after practice, drinking wine and listening to the track on headsets over and over and singing to it. It almost seemed to write itself. Time To Sail is the breathe reprise of Memento Mori and that story. The two songs combined are actually one conceptual piece so it’s really a long song.
As for the what inspired it, the song was inspired by a few people and experiences I had and experiences I observed and in certain parts it also becomes or can be a little introspective, especially in Time To Sail as the introspective. Writing about something you observed and experienced and contemplating on it’s intricacies of emotions and *their* introspective you end up also finding some of that introspective applies to yourself in part as well. One of the things I find rewarding is when people listen to the album there are so many different favorite songs for people. One person might like Closer, or The Inside, someone else might like Desert To Dust, which was the very first song we ever wrote, or Losing Ground or Mememto Mori, … It’s such a compliment because it shows all the genres of listener we’ve been able to say something too and or attract. We write from so many different angles at times and still find a way to keep a certain constant with it all.
Review Fix: What are your short-term goals for the band? What do you see you guys doing over the next year or so?
Corso: The current goal is to work on a record deal and finish writing the second record. We want to release The Inside world wide and go from there with the 2nd CD. We have new music written, 6 or 7 songs, and ready to go and most of it has been audience approved. What hasn’t been audience approved hasn’t been played for them yet. I really like the new material as well. It’s kind of a fine wine I think in that we have a standard of what a Sacred Dominion songs should be and that is more understood and defined now as we’ve grown together as friends and musicians and as a band. There is also a video in the works for The Inside and a one of the songs from the new record as well.
Review Fix: How do you want the album to be remembered?
Corso: I want the album to be remembered as a collaboration of music that was written with great friends and with heart. We wrote what we felt and never held back. The concept of Sacred Dominion is to write from the heart and to write with substance in the lyric and music as well as keeping it melodic and meaningful. One of the first things we noticed playing out before the CD was completed was that fans were singing the songs or the chorus’ on their way out. That was a nice compliment to see and hear. I hope the album says something in the end and entertains people as well.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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