On this day, 25 years ago….”
It has not been a terribly long time since I took the opportunity to write something to everybody and now here I go again. This time, it is for a very good reason, as we celebrate the first quarter of a century of Frontiers! Yes, 25 years, to the day, have passed since I “officially” registered the business in 1996.
I believe I already shared a lot of thoughts when we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the label about how I started and the initial years of the label spent in my father’s office amongst piles of cds that I was packing up to ship to Italian records shops. Quite a few years, 25 to be exact, have passed since then and looking back it seems like just a few weeks have gone by since those early days. It was an incredible learning curve, an amazing ride, and while I had been dreaming (and still do) for my entire life to be able to work with my musical heroes, having actually been able to release new music from so many amazing artists is something I really could not even dare to imagine. When I look back, I can proudly say that we have created some real rock history with so many great records released and combining the amazing talents of the artists with our creativity. So many artists have managed to release new music again and feel the passion and the fire of the fans’ love. This is really difficult to believe for me, even now, and a sign of the times thanks to the very hard work we have put into the creation of this label to serve a faithful and passionate pool of fans like yourselves.
I think we kind of closed an initial phase of the plans for the label a few years ago when we managed to help rebuild a healthy interest in certain musical styles which – for many – were considered dead and gone. Not that we’ve abandoned that plan, but it was time to start a new plan as well. We then started a second phase where – looking to the future and not to the past – we started developing several different A&R missions for the label.
First of all, in addition to the classic hard rock bands of the ’70s and ’80s, we have been extremely active in scouting new talent, especially in the past few years. In 2020, we launched the “Frontiers & Beyond” (www.frontiersandbeyond.com
) scouting website which has so far brought four amazing new signings to the label. The first one that will be released, on March 12th, is from Lebanese prog metal masters TURBULENCE, followed later by False Memories, Kandia, and Devoid. In the coming weeks, we will spread the word more for the website and encourage a fresh round of submissions. We are bound and determined to find and work with musicians who will make your head bang from now until eternity!
We are keeping hard at work to develop the exciting new talents that have been signed in the past few years too. We are working with a lot of the individual artists from these bands on additional projects for the label in order to increase their exposure on a global level and in turn, increase the visibility of their respective original bands, whom we fell in love with in the first place.
To illustrate what I mean, here are a few that I am personally really thrilled about!
*SKILLS (formerly known as Escape Machine), which we plan to release after the summer, sees ELECTRIC MOB (Brazil) singer Renan Zonta paired with well known, legendary American musicians Brad Gillis of Night Ranger, Billy Sheehan of Mr. Big, and David Huff of Giant).
*CROWNE, which can rightfully be considered an epic supergroup from Sweden, features Jona Tee (H.E.A.T.), Alex Strandell (Art Nation), John Leven (Europe) and Christian Lindqvist (The Poodles).
*LAURENNE / LOUHIMO, the stunning alliance between Netta Laurenne (Smackbound) and Noora Louhimo (Battle Beast).
*THE GRANDMASTER, which sees an alliance between the awesome singer Nando Fernandes from Brazil with Jens Ludwig of Edguy.
*THE ERINYES, which will offer to you the stunning talents of vocalists Justine Daaé, Mizuho Lin, and Nicoletta Rosellini all on the same album.
*And also the mind-blowing new group – name to be revealed later – with Nathan James of Inglorious, Michael Sweet of Stryper, Joel Hoekstra and Tommy Aldridge of Whitesnake, and Marco Mendoza.
I wish to take this opportunity to emphasize again that the label, and myself especially, believe strongly in the concept of putting together talented musicians who can creatively expand outside of their ‘main job’ and let their talents flourish. I personally work very hard on the A&R direction of those albums, selecting the songs and the musical concepts together with the producers and the songwriters. This is why, moving forward, I wish to “sign” the projects that I work on, putting a sort of signature that you will find on the albums we release as “A Project by Serafino Perugino.” Frontiers is, in fact, literally the sole label of the scene being so proactive and creative with the A&R of these types of artists.
In 25 years, Frontiers has created, or started together with the musicians involved, projects and bands such as (in alphabetic order): All 41, Allen Lande, Allen / Olzon, Ambition, Andersen/Laine/Readman, Archon Angel, Black Swan, Brother Against Brother, Chaos Magic, Cry of Dawn, Dirty Shirley, Dream Child, Find Me, First Signal, From the Inside, Gioeli/Castronovo, Groundbreaker, Headrush, Her Chariot Awaits, Icon of Sin, Indigo Dying, Kee of Hearts, Khymera, Kimball / Jamison, Kiske Somerville, Kryptonite, Kreek, Level 10, Lione / Conti, Los Angeles, Lovekillers, LRS, Moonland, Nordic Union, Over the Edge, Perfect World, Phantom 5, Place Vendome, Pride of Lions, Prime Suspect, Places of Power, Radiation Romeos, Rated X, Resurrection Kings, Revolution Saints, Roth Brock Project, Seventh Key, Shadow’s Fade, Shining Black, Sinner’s Blood, Sonic Haven, Spirits of Fire, Sunbomb, Sunstorm, Sweet & Lynch, Sweet Oblivion, The Big Deal, The Codex, The Dark Element, The Defiants, The End Machine, The Ferrymen, The Magnificent, The Mob, The Sign, The V, Three Lions, Two of a Kind, Under Suspicion, Vertigo, Vicious Mary, Voodoo Hill, Waiting for Monday, W.E.T, and Zion.
My heart swells with pride looking at that list! I hope that at least a few of those albums have brought you some serious joy while listening to them!
As I said before, in 25 years we have managed to release new music from an incredible list of Classic Rock and Metal legends. The list is so long, but really how can you not name such LEGENDS as Alan Parsons, Asia, Blackmore’s Night, Blue Öyster Cult, Bob Catley, Boston, Chicago, Danger Danger, Def Leppard, Dennis DeYoung, Dokken, Electric Light Orchestra, Enuff Z’nuff, Extreme, Fair Warning, Foreigner, FM, Giant, Glenn Hughes, Graham Bonnet, Great White, Halford, Hardline, Harem Scarem, Heart, Honeymoon Suite, House of Lords, Hurricane, Jack Russell’s Great White, Jeff Scott Soto, Jimi Jamison, Jim Peterik, Joe Lynn Turner, John Waite, John Wetton, Jorn, Journey, Kee Marcello, Keel, King Kobra, Kingdom Come, Kip Winger, LA Guns, Last In Line, Lynch Mob, Mark Boals, Michael Bolton, Mr Big, Nazareth, Neal Schon, Nelson, Night Ranger, Operation: Mindcrime, Orianthi, Pink Cream 69, Praying Mantis, Pretty Maids, Primal Fear, Quiet Riot, Red Dragon Cartel, REO Speedwagon, Richard Marx, Richie Kotzen, Rick Springfield, Riverdogs, Royal Hunt, Sammy Hagar, Sebastian Bach, Shaw Blades, Steelheart, Stephen Pearcy, Steve Lukather, Steve Walsh, Strangeways, Stryper, Stuart Smith, Styx, Survivor, Tak Matsumoto, Talisman, Ted Nugent, Ten, Tesla, The Lou Gramm Band, Thunder, Timo Tolkki, TNT, Toto, Treat, Triumph, Tyketto, Unruly Child, Uriah Heep, Vanden Plas, Warrant, White Lion, Whitesnake, Wig Wam, Winger, Y&T, Yes, and Zebra.
This is really The Who’s Who of Rock! Amazing! Again, my heart swells with joy and pride to look at that list and see something I never imagined in my wildest dreams 25 years ago.
To be clear, I know we talk a lot lately about new talent for the label and signing and developing them, but we have no intention whatsoever to leave out the “giants”. For example, we have new albums coming from Dennis DeYoung, Night Ranger, L.A. Guns, Stryper, Anette Olzon, Nazareth, and Giant, to name a few, between the end of this year and early next. We are of course talking to several other heavyweights, which we hope to be able to announce very soon and that will delight and thrill the long time fans of the label!
While we are extremely proud to have been able to release new music from all those artists, as a label owner I need to mention some of the most amazing success stories we’e had over the years. I am particularly close to one, which is related to the monstrous, amazing Swedish band ECLIPSE. The guys debuted on a small British label which they soon left to land a deal with Frontiers. We released their “Second to None” album which, truthfully, was not particularly successful. So, we were on the verge of dropping them, but they sent us their, at the time, new album “Are You Ready to Rock” and we immediately understood that there was really something going on with these guys. With that album, the band started to click with the fans. When we created the W.E.T supergroup with Jeff Scott Soto, who was just coming out of Journey, and Robert Sall from Work of Art, the timing was perfect to lift Erik Martensson’s profile. An absolutely killer album came out in W.E.T.’s debut and Erik really started to hit his stride penning an amazing amount of great songs and launched his production career. At the same time, Eclipse became bigger and bigger, started touring Europe first, and the world after. We are fairly sure you know the story from there and the band’s star is only continuing to rise and burn brighter. Their recent “Paradigm” album has been a massive success, with the lead single “Viva La Victoria“ reaching and surpassing 10 million streams on Spotify. Erik, Magnus, Daniel, and Victor, I warmly and wholeheartedly congratulate and toast you on this tremendous achievement and wish you more and more of the success you so richly deserve! It’s an honor to be part of your journey. Let’s kick some ass with your new album later this year!
Together with Eclipse, I wish also to mention bands such as One Desire, Inglorious (whose new album “We Will Ride” landed on the charts in the UK, U.S., and Germany), Work of Art (of course!), The Dark Element (Anette Olzon and Jani Liimatainen), Electric Mob (whose debut single “Devil You Know” is approaching 2 million streams on Spotify!), Bloody Heels, Wayward Sons, Edge of Paradise, Eternal Idol, Phantom Elite, Sinner’s Blood, Lords of Black, Smackbound, DGM, Edge of Forever, Secret Sphere, Crazy Lixx, Perfect Plan, The Treatment, Creye, Vega, Landfall, Lionville, Leverage, Semblant, Stardust, James Durbin, Animal Drive, and so many more. And for the near future… among many others…Icon of Sin, Temple Balls, Seventh Crystal, The Big Deal, and Manic Sinners. And one band that many, many fans have asked us to sign that will be announced in the coming day, but I can say they are from… India!!
Thanks of course to ALL the other new, developing, and classic bands whom we work with every day and that put their heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into the creation of the music you all love! Even if you don’t see your name here, you are with us and we will do our absolute best to kick asses with your music!
Another A&R path we are developing lately are different musical styles from what we are traditionally known for. Besides the more “traditional” Melodic Rock and Hard Rock styles, we have been working with and developing artists in different musical areas. We have touched the extremes in metal and are also exposing new progressive rock and metal talents. This expansion to new styles testifies to the hard work we do on the A&R side and the wide, eclectic taste of many of the fans that closely follow what we do. But still, if you like metal and don’t follow melodic rock for example, you can find plenty of music from us to dig into regardless. Same goes if you are into progressive rock or metal. We want to be a very wide, welcoming, diverse home for great rock and metal music and we will not be afraid to work and develop “new” sounds since we are determined and committed to build the present and the future of rock!
An amazing and delightful consequence of the “digitalization” of the marketing and overall sales in music is that we are now signing more and more bands from all over the world. This is especially due to the results and the exposure we are getting from the so-called “secondary markets”. We have signed truly great talents from South America (especially from Chile and Brazil), Eastern Europe (Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Albania, Turkey), and Asia (Lebanon, India). Great musical talent is not restricted by geography or borders and is from everywhere. We are not afraid to give opportunities to real talents from everywhere who, now more than ever, can really be the next big thing in rock! I hope everyone can be open minded about that since a lot of interesting music is now coming from territories that we are all guilty of having ignored for too long. I look to every discerning music fan out there to lend us your ears to check out this amazing music. Rock is a universal language that has been flourishing everywhere and we as a label are committed to find and launch real talent from anywhere!
Moving forward we will also work on a few more catalogue releases and we are going to continue to unearth some gems from the catalogue for some special repressings, including (for the joy of some of you) on vinyl.
All of this I hope shows you clearly the passionate and extremely hard volume of work that we manage to put together year in and year out. In 2020 alone, we concluded close to 200 deals for the label which include new albums, catalogue deals, and individual musician deals for the label’s productions. The label has options to exercise on approximately 100 artists and albums and we have more than 100 productions in the works as I type this. All of this helps the label’s visibility grow and proof of this is the growth of the subscriptions to our YouTube channel and social media channels. Not to mention all the fans who have subscribed to our newsletter and the work we have put in to launch, maintain and expand the two webshops in Germany and the U.S., which is truly about to be launched NEXT WEEK. It was and will continue to be a labour of love for us to offer this store with an expanded selection of titles for the many American fans who like to support the label by purchasing direct (and saving yourself some shipping costs, of course).
I wish to spend a few words also on the outstanding, I dare to say exceptional, work that our publishing arm and songwriting team are putting together. Thanks to the tireless efforts of
Alessandro Del Vecchio
especially, we have managed to create an amazing team of superb writers who can work and pen songs in so many different music styles. We represent now more than 250 writers in every continent and we are proud to give them the chance to present their amazing output to the worldwide markets with great artists who perform and present their songs. This also prompts me to mention and thank all the great producers we have worked, developed and launched from (of course!) the ubiquitous Alessandro Del Vecchio to
Magnus Karlsson’s Free Fall
, Dennis Ward,
Fabrizio Grossi & Soul Garage Experience
, Michael Palace, and more new guys to come to your attention VERY soon!
Frontiers is also a label that has invested directly in live music during our history. Together with Now & Then, we worked and supported the GODS festivals from 1998 until 2003, we – then – had three editions of the United Forces of Rock in Germany together with AOR Heaven and Escape Music, and finally we launched the Frontiers Rock Festival, done OUR OWN WAY in Milan! We had six amazing editions and brought in to play some of the most exciting international attractions, new bands, and projects we put together. It was met with a fabulous response from the fans who came from everywhere (South and North America, Japan, Russia, Korea… Even Mauritius island!) who have been asking for more. We had to take a little pause, but we hope to be back soon, stronger than ever!
During this pandemic, I asked many bands to deliver live in-studio performances so that fans could see them performing their beloved songs in a live (as close as we can get these days) environment, notwithstanding the problems that everyone is facing for such get togethers. Perfect Plan, Bloody Heels, and Smackbound have already posted their performances on our YouTube channel and you will see more coming soon, depending on how the pandemic will allow the bands to gather and play. I hope you will enjoy their performances and take the opportunity to check out some new bands, if you like.
Time as always to thank my loving family: my wife Maria who supported my brave vision in 1996, when I left my job for a challenge that as of now I feel we both won. My father Fernando, my mentor, my soul, my heart, my everything, I hope you are proud of me, I love you eternally. My kids Eleonora and Fernando, who I am so proud of and that come every day to the office and give their contributions to Frontiers.
Massive thanks also to Mario, Elio, Nick, Lorenzo, Giulio, Ezio, and Francesco. Heartfelt thanks to our amazing advisors Dario De Cicco, Piero Di Nono, and our computer guru Ezio Festa. A winning team that does not change and continues to kick asses year after year!
Thanks to the one who helped start it all, wherever you are, Mr. Hakan Hagbloom, who prompted me 25 years ago to start a business to distribute his label Westcoast Records in Italy.
Major thanks also to everyone who has stepped up to help, support, or partner with us during the years… from Mark Ashton of Now & Then Records to our good partners at The Orchard: Brad, Colleen, and Manlio, and not forgetting all that the great Scott Cohen did for us in the past. And then Jochen Richert of Soulfood Music, Derek Shulman and all the distribution companies, label managers, and PR partners that work so hard every day on the label’s products. A big shout goes especially to Xavier, Ben B., Ben F., Enrico, Sjuul, Michal, Montse, Suzan, Marco, Charles, Gary, Jon, Dustin, and all the other good guys who support and bear with us every day.
I wish to mention and thank John Baruck as well. This label all started from my love for JOURNEY and having had the honor to release the last few Journey albums makes me feel blessed and I am beyond grateful to John, a man of his word. Also I wish to mention Mr. Martin Darvill, with whom we managed to bring back the joy and the magic of the classic ASIA sound and to bring to the world the unbelievable talent that is Inglorious. More great partners are to be found in people like Tim Heyne, Robby Hoffman,
, Mike Kobayashi, and Nik Krofta, among others.
Of course a special thanks goes to
who were the first release from the label and are currently hard at work on not one, but TWO new records to be released sometime in 2022. They have the FR CD 001 catalogue number and after all these years we still work together! What a ride!
And before finishing, hugs and thanks to the one and only
, Johnny Gioeli,
, Jack Blades,
, George Lynch and of course
Jeff Scott Soto
for bearing with us for 20 years this year!
So, after 25 years of serious, hard and passionate work, I can safely say we managed to create a recognizable and fan-friendly brand for all rock fans. We have been WITH everyone of you in the past decades and we look forward to another 25 and more years of great rock to be enjoyed together! Let’s ROCK together! You make this all possible!