I recently had a chance to speak with Daniel Madgic, the guitarist of the progressive hard rock band Renaissance Of Fools. The band is preparing to release their debut, Fear, Hope And Frustration which was mastered by Ty Tabor of Kings X fame and also includes a guest appearance from Per Wiberg of Opeth. Here is how the conversation went.

Are you happy with the way your debut, Fear, Hope And Frustration turned out?
Daniel: Yes we really are. We knew we had some great songs, but the production is really important too. We didn’t have a label at the time that would pay the huge amount of money it would take to hire a producer so we decided that we should do much of it ourselves. Kjell who has a degree in music production took care of much of the recordings and then we put our faith in Pelle Saether for the mix. I really think we nailed it in the end!

The album contains a guest appearance by Per Wiberg from Opeth. How did that come about and what was it like working with him?
Daniel: Actually Per is an old friend of Kjell, so as we fantasized about how cool it would be to have a mellotron on “Intervention Pt. I & II”, he called and asked him if he could give it a shot, which he did. The interesting thing about it is that the notes he played in the chorus changed the mood of it to the extent that we had to change the vocals (Per received the song without vocals from us). But we liked it so much and it really supported the song so we rewrote the vocal lines.

You guys gained the attention of Metalville Records pretty quickly. How did that come about?
Daniel: Again it’s all about contacts, and again it’s very much Kjell’s credit. One of Kjell’s friends, Patric Johansson from Astral Doors, sent it to their label which was Metalville. So they contacted us and we thought that they seemed just right for us. It’s a smaller label with a handful of bands in which they really put an effort in, to promote.

How do you relax when you have a day off or in between tours?
Daniel: Well, at the time we’re not a touring band. But if we did I would surely visit a lot of museums and historical places or if I’m too tired for that I would read a book. I hope we get the chance to do some touring and meet the audiences around the world.

What kind of preparations go into your live show?
Daniel: Well, we’re quite a simple band so we very much prepare ourselves with rehearsing and make sure that we sound alright.

Do you still get nervous before you perform?
Daniel: Yes, and I think I’ll always be. I think it’s a part of the performing and it gets you focused.

Some of your songs are quite complicated; do you ever have trouble translating them into the live setting?
Daniel: No not really. The songs are written to fit a live performance and there are very few overdubs actually. The difficult part is the vocals and most of all the harmonies. Our goal is to deliver our songs the way they were supposed to sound but with the energy of the live performance. I don’t like seeing bands that skip the harmonies for example or hide themselves behind backing tracks; I think you lose much of the energy.

Check out the song: “Polarized Round”

Give us some insight into the meaning behind its title?
Daniel: Initially there was no outthought meaning with the name Renaissance Of fools – we just fooled around trying to come up with a name. But during the medieval times the fools entertained the kings, and they were the only ones who could make fun of him. So even though we’re not so funny, we are fools. The album title is just announcing the content. There are songs about fear, such as “Misguided Mind” or “Leave It All Behind,” there are songs about frustration such as “Claws Of Norms” or “Polarized Round,” and then there are glimpses of hope in “Precious Life.”

Times are tough these days. Do you have a job when you are not touring?
Daniel: Yes I do. You need to be a quite successful band to earn a living with only the music. I work as a teacher in the 10-12th grade (I think it’s equivalent to the U.S. high school), teaching history and social science.

What is next for Renaissance Of Fools?
Daniel: We are now waiting to see the response of Fear, Hope And Frustration and hopefully we’ll be able to tour a bit and meet you all on the road!