In case you are simply a fan: what was your last concert? In case you are a journalist/photographer, which was your last press conference? I can answer both. As a fan, I can answer: my last concert was Rhapsody of Fire, March 8th, the year of Corona. As a journalist/photographer, I can say, my last press conference was Saxon, 2018. In one word: a long time ago (those were three words).
So, when my former editor sent me a message to ask if I am invited to the Intelligent Music Project press conference, I was deeply shocked and appalled. Few emails and messages here and there and I invited myself. What do I have with the Eurovision Song Contest? Nothing! What do I have with the Intelligent Music Project? Nothing! Let’s think twice. Ronnie Romero!
Lords of Black is one of the rare bands that attracted my attention right from the beginning. If we consider the fact that I am a really old metal fan, nowadays it is really hard for any new band to catch my attention just like that. And they did it. Even though Intelligent Music Project is, I have to admit, the band I heard of for the first time a couple months ago when I read headlines “Rock super group Intelligent Music Project along with Ronnie Romero will represent Bulgaria at the Eurovision Song Contest “. Then I dag deeper and found so many interesting facts that from the moment I knew I would go to that press conference I had a bunch of questions in my head. But you will not believe, those questions were not for Ronnie, but Stoyan Yankulov-Stundzhi, drummer. The man has a long Eurovision history behind, so questions were just coming. Anytime I prepare myself for anything, guess? Yes, something has to go wrong. Although announced as, I will quote: brunch and hanging out with members of the IMP, Bulgarian candidates for Eurovision, somehow, naive me thought the whole band will appear. I did not read, as I never do, all those small letters, but… In front of IMP, to Wurst Platz Bar, with a little delay, because “colleagues from television” were stuck in traffic, Biser Ivanov and Ronnie Romero appeared. After a beer with my Croatian friend and former editor, I have no idea how the event was late, but does anyone care? Most importantly, our colleagues from television came and it started. We do not want big heads to miss something, right? Ok, maybe traffic is horrible in Belgrade, but be professional. My grandmother was always saying: “Leave home earlier, you never will be late.”
To put my personal impressions behind… Let’s be professional…
I will not debate much about the Eurovision Song Contest, because, simply, not my point of interest. Ok, it was once, the year when Lordi won, and that is all. Now it is again my point of interest because of Ronnie Romero. In my personal opinion, Ronnie is one of the best young(er) vocalists and the fact he is a part of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Michael Schenker Group, CoreLeoni and many other projects including his own band Lords of Black tells us all. This time, as already written, he came to Belgrade as a part of IMP.
Intelligent Music Project is a Bulgarian-Chilean super group founded in 2012 by Bulgarian businessman Milen Vrabevski. After Simon Phillips, John Payne, Carl Sentance, Bobby Rondinelli and Todd Sucherman, Ronnie Romero took a microphone in 2020. In November 2021, it was revealed that IMP was selected to represent Bulgaria at the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 in Turin with the song “Intention”, which was released on December 5th, 2021.
Respecting the goal of the event, the band itself, organizers and promoters, I realized it would be extremely stupid to ask anything that has absolute nothing with IMP or Eurovision, I decided to keep my mouth shut and hide behind the camera. To be honest, listening to the questions of other participants, my stupidest question might be the most intelligent, except those that came from, I will be free to say, our legendary journalist, Jadranka Janković Nešić.
Most questions were uniform. Everyone was mentioning other musicians who are participating at the contest. Bunch of questions went in the direction of the Serbian winner and last year’s winners. Answering the questions about Måneskin, Ronnie was strict saying that they (IMP) are playing rock music longer than Måneskin and sees not a single similarity with the band who won last year.
Journalists were curious to find out if the guys were familiar with Serbian rock music, and the best answer they could give is demonstration. Biser Ivanov played a part of the song “Daire” of Serbian legendary rock band Smak, while Ronnie Romero added he is more into soccer.
Not so interesting question but very interesting answer: what do you think about the rumors Ukraine will win. Ronnie cynically answered: “They will.”
Ronnie was talking about his influences: “Probably I would say that Richie Blackmore was one of my favorite musicians, Deep Purple was one of my favorite bands… “
He also said that he was listening to music a lot, standing in front of a mirror after school and singing.
When asked about the new generations of fans and to their accessibility to music and how he did it in the past he said:
“Everything is so easy for them, they have everything, there is just a click. When I was a kid, a teenager, I knew that one of my favorite bands would release an album, so you had to go and buy the album. Go to the record store, buy the album, getting back home, waiting to open the album, to figure out what is inside, you never knew what is inside until you open it and you read everything. Now it is too easy.”
He continued: “The people are not paying for music anymore, everything is almost free, it’s going very hard for us to put music on the market… In the past music was the main way of entertainment, now you have the internet, you have Netflix, you have YouTube… People don’t go on shows because they want to stay home, on the couch, watching Netflix. And then you got YouTube, thousands of bands…We lost the magic to discover the music as it was in the past.”
After the set of questions, we were delighted to listen to not one, but two songs Mr. Ivanov and Mr. Romero performed for us.
After the press conference I took a chance to talk to Ronnie informally about Lords of Black and Michale Schenker, but as I wrote it was unofficially and I will remain in silence.
Eurovision changes every year! It’s a traditional competition that keeps changing its form. New songs, new musicians, new trends, new lights, technology… If nothing more, it surprises us year by year, and I hope, if IMP wins, we will all feel that magic Ronnie was talking about.
Till May, if you still did not, listen IMG, their song “Intention” and feel free to vote.