With my heart pounding and palms sweating, I nervously dialled his number. The ringing was interrupted by a friendly, inviting “Hello?”
If I hadn’t been leaning against the back of my couch, the only sound Dominic Cifarelli would have heard through the phone line was the “thud” of my unconscious body hitting the floor. I struggled to maintain my composure and tried to keep the giddy school girl inside me quiet.
“I’m a huge fan of yours!”
Oh well, so much for that idea.
Part I: The Introduction
Many who know of Dominic Cifarelli, one of Montreal’s great musical talents, first heard of him through the now defunct Montreal rock band Pulse Ultra. Lately, people have been discovering Dominic through another band he was part of: Rise Electric, fronted by Lukas Rossi (now of Rock Star Supernova). No matter what led us to him, the path followed or turn of events bring us to his current project: The Chronicles of Israfel.
Part II: The Beginning
“It was while we were looking for a new singer for Pulse Ultra, that the idea of making an instrumental rock album came about,” Dominic said about the beginnings of The Chronicles.
“After recording with Pulse Ultra I would go back to the studio with Joey Bastone and jam. It felt great, I did what I wanted without being told to stop or have a group discussion with a band. Joey just backed me up.”
The chemistry between the former drummer of Unbind and Dominic led to the recording of a few songs. It wasn’t long before Joey encouraged Dominic to take this project further. And he did.
Part III: Israfel
For a year and a half now, Dominic has been writing and recording the first, and highly anticipated, The Chronicles of Israfel album. The album’s songs create a story about a boy who’s lost in a big city, slowly discovering his split personality and coming to terms with it. This premise gives way to a diverse album of heavy riffs, sinister vocals, as well as a somewhat lighter symphonic side.
The music is actually the score to a movie, which is, for the moment, trapped in Dominic’s creative mind. He passionately talked about his ideas for videos and future albums.
“Future albums?” I politely pointed out that his first album isn’t out yet and already future albums are being planned out? “Four, maybe five,” he affirmed.
Having complete creative control over The Chronicles of Israfel seems to have opened up the gates to a flood of original ideas and inspiration. “A lot of the songs are based on my dreams,” he said explaining the dark content in his music.
Having such graphic and vivid dreams led to darker songs which, after a while, brought the usually upbeat Dominic to a different state of mind. “I would have these dreams, then spend hours in the studio recording. I thought, ‘I need to take a break’.”
The need for a break is understandable, not many artists spend almost two years on a record. So, what happened? “The album was supposed to be released in August 2006.”
Ok, so he’s a little behind schedule.
“I’ve gone way over budget,” oh, and spent a bit more on this than planned. What started as a guitar centred rock album, has now turned into something more.
“It’s experimental, progressive rock,” he described. “But I consider it metal rock.” Having heard two of the songs available on his Myspace page, I sensed an orchestral feel to the tunes.
“It’s funny that you say that because we brought in a violin, cello, and viola.” Dominic carried The Chronicles to another level.
“Every month that went by I just kept adding something to it, like the strings. It got to the point where my cousin said ‘we’ve gone this far, let’s just do it.'”
Part IV: The Man, the Cousin and the Album
“I started playing the guitar because of my cousin,” Immediately I sensed a departure in time travel. “I would go to his house, he had these guitars and he taught me how to play some Pink Floyd.”
Genuinely excited, Dominic talked about how the man who taught him how to play guitar was now supporting him morally and financially with The Chronicles of Israfel.
“If he didn’t like the music, he wouldn’t be supporting it,” said Dominic.
With the amount of respect Dominic has for his cousin, something tells me that having gained his cousin’s approval of the music means more to him than the money.
With the go-ahead from his cousin, Bridge of Hands Entertainment was created. “It’s a way for me to just get my music out there without having to answer to anybody.”
With such a positive attitude and driven determination, it’s hard not to respect this musician. Can The Chronicles of Israfel album be expected soon?
“March! Definitely!” Dominic resolutely vowed.