Interview with Giovanni Smet of Giotopia and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
Gio: Giotopia is based on a fantasy tale that I have written. It’s epic, melodic heavy/power metal. Every song is a chapter and guest musicians from all over the world play the characters.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
Gio: I am a Belgian musician/composer/producer/author. I started to play the guitar at the age of 14. I played in some cover bands before I formed my first real band in 2006 called Gitaron. Since then, I played many live shows and released albums before I started Giotopia in 2017. Now, besides Giotopia, I have other musical projects like Horrorwish and Devil’s Desire. My father was a hard rock and heavy metal fanatic and introduced me to the music I fell in love with.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
Gio: First of all, my father. He used to talk for hours about music and that inspired me so much. Bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Dio, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Queen,…and later Iron Maiden, Helloween, Manowar, Gamma Ray, Primal Fear, Ayreon, Iced Earth,… My biggest influence remains Iron Maiden. My lyrics often explores the thin line between good and evil, heaven or hell,… that is something that fascinates me.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
Gio: I am satisfied when only one song or even a single note of my music can touch someone and creates an emotion. That is my biggest ambition, to reach someone. Therefore, the more people I can reach the better.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
Gio: Working with many talented musicians from all over the world. I am very proud that they share their talents on my songs. For example, working side by side with Fabio Lione in my studio really was a moment to be proud of.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
Gio: I feel there is definitely a lot to offer but maybe the demand is less than the actual offer. Therefore, it is hard for starting bands to get themselves heard. Not only for starting bands of course, but for everyone, in a way. It’s a shame because there are so many talented musicians out there that really deserves more attention and chances. Maybe some organisations should spend more time and attention on the local bands.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
Gio: It is very hard for a project like Giotopia to go on tour, as there are so many musicians from different countries and bands. There are plans, however, to organise a onetime only live show for Giotopia.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
Gio: It is different of course. I believe cd sales have a different perspective for all bands because of people downloading the music. In the digital world, streaming services like Spotify can be useful to get yourself known as a band. Nonetheless, I think there should be a better deal for the bands in the share of revenue. I think a lot of streaming services have the bigger part of the share and that should be the other way around. Maybe if that would be arranged better legally, I think platforms like Spotify could be more interesting for bands to keep making music and investing.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
Gio: My all-time favourite song is “Fear Of The Dark” by Iron Maiden. I think that song has such an energy on so many levels, so that’s why.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
Gio: Like I said before, more attention for the local bands is needed to keep the scene alive.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
Gio: For the moment, I am taking a short break. I am thinking about some possibilities for future projects while the promo for the new Giotopia album is going very well.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
Gio: Here are some links to the world of Giotopia: