At this year's Musikfest in Pennsylvania, I was walking about with a group of friends and seeing the nihil amount of talent that was abound. I may not have the right to say this as I am not a musician, however, I finally stumbled upon an act pointed out by my friend. Cast in Bronze is a unique act that uses a one of a kind instrument, and after seeing him perform twice, I wanted to talk to him about his project. And, well, here I am, interview in hand, for your reading pleasure. Read along to find out more about this mysterious masked man:

So, to begin off, I know you usually explain what exactly your instrument is and how long you've been performing during the beginning of your shows. Could you explain that to us?
Frank - "Okay, my name is Frank DellaPenna. The instrument I play is called the Carillon. The definition of the Carillon is an instrument of bells - 23 or more bells arranged in chromatic series and played with a keyboard."

And where did you first hear of this instrument?
Frank - "Everyone discovers the Carillon like you did: by accident. I mean, you don't hear about it on TV, you don't learn about it at school, you don't hear about it on the radio. I was looking for a piano teacher, and it just so happened he played the Carillon in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. So, I started studying the piano and the Carillon. Then I got really interested in the Carillon and I finally enrolled in one of the European Carillon schools."

What called you toward the Carillon and why did you find it so unique?
Frank - "Well, it's the largest instrument in the world and it's beautiful. I don't know; it's just one of those things. Not everybody likes it, but I just thought the instrument was really powerful and it's really physical to play it. So, it's not the easiest instrument to play if you know what I mean."

Yea, I could tell that, because I saw you using both kick pedals and the piano keys to play it on stage.
Frank - "Yea, you're using both your hands and your feet. And you're actually moving the weight of the clappers, you know, it's a direct hookup to the clappers. And the heavier the bell, the heavier the clapper so the harder it is to push the key in."

How long have you been doing this for, then?
Frank - "22 years. I created Cast in Bronze in 1991. And it's really kinda a cool story because I kinda always wanted to do something like this in my life, but of course I couldn't afford a Carillon on my own. Then I happened to be playing at the church in Valley Forge one Sunday and this gentleman walked up in the tower and he said, 'People should see you do that.' I really didn't think anything of it at the time. Then, two weeks later he calls me on the phone and he said, 'I think I found a Carillon on wheels.' And I said, 'No, I don't think that's possible because there's only one in this country.' He called me from this guy's house, his name was John Hall, and he said, 'If you think you know what to do with this thing, we'll buy it.' So, he purchased it - a travelling Carillon, and I've been playing it for a while because he didn't know how to play it. And he said, 'It's a really nice instrument.' And I said, 'What are you going to do with it?' He said, 'You told me you know what to do with it,' so he gave me the keys to his warehouse and he said, 'Go ahead, get it out and see if you can make people like it.' And that was 22 years ago."

That's a pretty cool story; it's like a stroke of good luck.
Frank - "Oh, it's an awesome story because, you know, I always wished for that instrument and here it came. It came to me just like that."

It's almost like fate.
Frank - "So, then, um, after 20 years of Cast in Bronze, my wife and I decided that we'd build another instrument cause I've been turning down for about ten years. I thought that I'd need to train someone else because the instrument wasn't about me it was about the instrument. The mission of Cast in Bronze was to share the Carillon with as many people as possible. So, uh, yea, we built another instrument and we train a couple of other people. Same costume and that kinda thing. And, uh, it works. It works with or without me and it's really great news, that is providing they play the instrument right."

I doubt that anyone's gonna be able to play it as well as you can at the moment.
Frank - "Well, no, there's some good players, but, you know, it's not just playing the instrument it's also the show and making it look like it's easy. That's the hard part of the show."

Now, when I was researching you, I found out that you had participated on America's Got Talent and all the judges gave you a no go. When I was watching that, I was shocked at their decision because the only comment I agreed upon was Howard Stern saying that if Hell had a musician, you would be it. How do you feel about their judgement?
Frank - "It's not a legitimate competition, you realize that, don't you? It's reality TV. And none of those people are qualified to be judges of real talent because they don't have any of themselves. Anyway, it's one of those things, like, behind the scenes, you have to sign a contract, and you have to submit all of your signed contracts for the year and, of course, I was booked every week except that week. So, in reality, they couldn't do anything with me. All they really could do was put me on once and get rid of me. You know, they thought, 'Well, we got a weird instrument, we got this guy with a weird costume that we can make fun of and then get rid of him. And that'll be it, the end of that. It'll make good TV.' So, anyway, that's kind of how it went and I'm happy I did it, and it's one of those things I would do again if I could share the Carillon with 20 million viewers. But, 20 million people aren't that stupid."

Well, that's a good way of putting it.
Frank - "Yea, you know, a bunch of my fans came up to me since then and were very upset as to how I was treated on that show. But that's alright. I have thick skin. You can't do what I do and then not expect to get some people, you know, to make fun of you for doing what you do."

Now, at MusikFest, I watched your performance twice. I think I saw your six o'clock show, and then your final show at nine o'clock. Now, in the day, I enjoyed your show, but during the night, I felt as if there was much more of a atmospheric tendency for you to perform better. Do you prefer playing during the day or the night?
Frank - "Oh, night time performances are magical. And I don't get to do it very often, but sometimes I get to do shows in the dark such as at MusikFest and then I'll be doing the Halloween Haunt at Dorney Park in Allentown later where there'll be all night shows. So, this year we decided we would like to do a special lighting project. You know, I did it with my nephew. And he basically figured out how to light the bells when I push the key down. It was really awesome. People just love to see what's going on, as well as hear it. So, that's really cool, all the bells light up eventually as I play them. But, yea, that added a great deal to the night time shows. So, of course, I just think that the whole feeling of the night show plus the strange character all dressed in black has more of a impact in the dark. Most of my work is during the daylight hours, but that's alright. Maybe someday I'll change it."

A lot of the times your image comes off very dark and gothic. But, after the show, you used a lot of humor such as when you were addressing your nephews, you called them hideous and you made your audience laugh. Is that something you do to balance out the act just to show that your not just this evil looking guy?

Frank - "Oh, yea, it's just like I coulda created a different type of show where I wouldn't speak at all and then just leave. But, I didn't wanna do that because my mission has been to be a diplomat for the instrument. So, I try to make myself, and I always mention this in the beginning, make myself accessible to people who have questions and especially to children. They come up and they have all these questions and they get a big kick that I'm the bell man. And some of those kids have been listening to me since they were three years old. You know, they've been listening to me for fifteen years out there. So, it's really interesting to see how they, you know, respond to character versus personality."

And, when your performing, and I think you might've mentioned this before, but you take on the persona of the Spirit. Is this because you want the Carillon to be the center of attraction rather than yourself?
Frank - "Correct. The show has always been about the instrument, it's never been about the player. You know, that's the main reason why I put on the costume in the beginning. This show is not about me, it's about the instrument and the music it can create. And it's always worked out well that way. I think a lot of times musicians think they're way more important than the music that they're creating and that's there downfall."

I can see that happening a lot with everyone trying to act like rock stars. They put themselves forward rather than their music.
Frank - "Yea, I think if you're a musician, if you're a real musician, then you wanna focus on the music that you're creating and, you know, the sound, the volume, and creating the emotion that you wanna create with your instrument. And it's, just between us, I find it scandalous that people will, well, singers, will go on stage and lip sync everything. It's scandalous. I mean if you're a singer, then sing."

Yea, you really shouldn't be embarrassed about your voice if you wanna be a singer.
Frank - "Exactly. I mean if somebody asked me to play the Star Spangled Banner for the Presidential inauguration I would play it. I wouldn't lip sync it. Sorry. I don't mean to be so opinionated."

Well, that's fine. The whole site is opinionated and we're used to dealing with controversy. And, if anyone has a problem with that, then they can go fuck themselves.
Frank - *laughs* "Well, there ya go."

And, this is where it's a good time to wrap up the interview, so, is there anything you wanna say to your readers?
Frank - "Um, just that they've supported me all these years and I thank them for it. Everyone always told me that I would fail and that no one would like me or the instrument and that no one would buy the recordings and no one would support me. And all that stuff has been wrong. Because people do like the Carillon and people have supported me and people do like the music I created with it. I just wanna thank them for being open minded."

Alright, thank you for your time and I can't wait to see you live again. That'll probably next year at MusikFest.
Frank - "Alright, Steve, thank you."


Thank you for your time.
Cast in Bronze interview
August 26, 2013
Brutal Resonance

Cast in Bronze

Aug 2013
At this year's Musikfest in Pennsylvania, I was walking about with a group of friends and seeing the nihil amount of talent that was abound. I may not have the right to say this as I am not a musician, however, I finally stumbled upon an act pointed out by my friend. Cast in Bronze is a unique act that uses a one of a kind instrument, and after seeing him perform twice, I wanted to talk to him about his project. And, well, here I am, interview in hand, for your reading pleasure. Read along to find out more about this mysterious masked man:

So, to begin off, I know you usually explain what exactly your instrument is and how long you've been performing during the beginning of your shows. Could you explain that to us?
Frank - "Okay, my name is Frank DellaPenna. The instrument I play is called the Carillon. The definition of the Carillon is an instrument of bells - 23 or more bells arranged in chromatic series and played with a keyboard."

And where did you first hear of this instrument?
Frank - "Everyone discovers the Carillon like you did: by accident. I mean, you don't hear about it on TV, you don't learn about it at school, you don't hear about it on the radio. I was looking for a piano teacher, and it just so happened he played the Carillon in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. So, I started studying the piano and the Carillon. Then I got really interested in the Carillon and I finally enrolled in one of the European Carillon schools."

What called you toward the Carillon and why did you find it so unique?
Frank - "Well, it's the largest instrument in the world and it's beautiful. I don't know; it's just one of those things. Not everybody likes it, but I just thought the instrument was really powerful and it's really physical to play it. So, it's not the easiest instrument to play if you know what I mean."

Yea, I could tell that, because I saw you using both kick pedals and the piano keys to play it on stage.
Frank - "Yea, you're using both your hands and your feet. And you're actually moving the weight of the clappers, you know, it's a direct hookup to the clappers. And the heavier the bell, the heavier the clapper so the harder it is to push the key in."

How long have you been doing this for, then?
Frank - "22 years. I created Cast in Bronze in 1991. And it's really kinda a cool story because I kinda always wanted to do something like this in my life, but of course I couldn't afford a Carillon on my own. Then I happened to be playing at the church in Valley Forge one Sunday and this gentleman walked up in the tower and he said, 'People should see you do that.' I really didn't think anything of it at the time. Then, two weeks later he calls me on the phone and he said, 'I think I found a Carillon on wheels.' And I said, 'No, I don't think that's possible because there's only one in this country.' He called me from this guy's house, his name was John Hall, and he said, 'If you think you know what to do with this thing, we'll buy it.' So, he purchased it - a travelling Carillon, and I've been playing it for a while because he didn't know how to play it. And he said, 'It's a really nice instrument.' And I said, 'What are you going to do with it?' He said, 'You told me you know what to do with it,' so he gave me the keys to his warehouse and he said, 'Go ahead, get it out and see if you can make people like it.' And that was 22 years ago."

That's a pretty cool story; it's like a stroke of good luck.
Frank - "Oh, it's an awesome story because, you know, I always wished for that instrument and here it came. It came to me just like that."

It's almost like fate.
Frank - "So, then, um, after 20 years of Cast in Bronze, my wife and I decided that we'd build another instrument cause I've been turning down for about ten years. I thought that I'd need to train someone else because the instrument wasn't about me it was about the instrument. The mission of Cast in Bronze was to share the Carillon with as many people as possible. So, uh, yea, we built another instrument and we train a couple of other people. Same costume and that kinda thing. And, uh, it works. It works with or without me and it's really great news, that is providing they play the instrument right."

I doubt that anyone's gonna be able to play it as well as you can at the moment.
Frank - "Well, no, there's some good players, but, you know, it's not just playing the instrument it's also the show and making it look like it's easy. That's the hard part of the show."

Now, when I was researching you, I found out that you had participated on America's Got Talent and all the judges gave you a no go. When I was watching that, I was shocked at their decision because the only comment I agreed upon was Howard Stern saying that if Hell had a musician, you would be it. How do you feel about their judgement?
Frank - "It's not a legitimate competition, you realize that, don't you? It's reality TV. And none of those people are qualified to be judges of real talent because they don't have any of themselves. Anyway, it's one of those things, like, behind the scenes, you have to sign a contract, and you have to submit all of your signed contracts for the year and, of course, I was booked every week except that week. So, in reality, they couldn't do anything with me. All they really could do was put me on once and get rid of me. You know, they thought, 'Well, we got a weird instrument, we got this guy with a weird costume that we can make fun of and then get rid of him. And that'll be it, the end of that. It'll make good TV.' So, anyway, that's kind of how it went and I'm happy I did it, and it's one of those things I would do again if I could share the Carillon with 20 million viewers. But, 20 million people aren't that stupid."

Well, that's a good way of putting it.
Frank - "Yea, you know, a bunch of my fans came up to me since then and were very upset as to how I was treated on that show. But that's alright. I have thick skin. You can't do what I do and then not expect to get some people, you know, to make fun of you for doing what you do."

Now, at MusikFest, I watched your performance twice. I think I saw your six o'clock show, and then your final show at nine o'clock. Now, in the day, I enjoyed your show, but during the night, I felt as if there was much more of a atmospheric tendency for you to perform better. Do you prefer playing during the day or the night?
Frank - "Oh, night time performances are magical. And I don't get to do it very often, but sometimes I get to do shows in the dark such as at MusikFest and then I'll be doing the Halloween Haunt at Dorney Park in Allentown later where there'll be all night shows. So, this year we decided we would like to do a special lighting project. You know, I did it with my nephew. And he basically figured out how to light the bells when I push the key down. It was really awesome. People just love to see what's going on, as well as hear it. So, that's really cool, all the bells light up eventually as I play them. But, yea, that added a great deal to the night time shows. So, of course, I just think that the whole feeling of the night show plus the strange character all dressed in black has more of a impact in the dark. Most of my work is during the daylight hours, but that's alright. Maybe someday I'll change it."

A lot of the times your image comes off very dark and gothic. But, after the show, you used a lot of humor such as when you were addressing your nephews, you called them hideous and you made your audience laugh. Is that something you do to balance out the act just to show that your not just this evil looking guy?

Frank - "Oh, yea, it's just like I coulda created a different type of show where I wouldn't speak at all and then just leave. But, I didn't wanna do that because my mission has been to be a diplomat for the instrument. So, I try to make myself, and I always mention this in the beginning, make myself accessible to people who have questions and especially to children. They come up and they have all these questions and they get a big kick that I'm the bell man. And some of those kids have been listening to me since they were three years old. You know, they've been listening to me for fifteen years out there. So, it's really interesting to see how they, you know, respond to character versus personality."

And, when your performing, and I think you might've mentioned this before, but you take on the persona of the Spirit. Is this because you want the Carillon to be the center of attraction rather than yourself?
Frank - "Correct. The show has always been about the instrument, it's never been about the player. You know, that's the main reason why I put on the costume in the beginning. This show is not about me, it's about the instrument and the music it can create. And it's always worked out well that way. I think a lot of times musicians think they're way more important than the music that they're creating and that's there downfall."

I can see that happening a lot with everyone trying to act like rock stars. They put themselves forward rather than their music.
Frank - "Yea, I think if you're a musician, if you're a real musician, then you wanna focus on the music that you're creating and, you know, the sound, the volume, and creating the emotion that you wanna create with your instrument. And it's, just between us, I find it scandalous that people will, well, singers, will go on stage and lip sync everything. It's scandalous. I mean if you're a singer, then sing."

Yea, you really shouldn't be embarrassed about your voice if you wanna be a singer.
Frank - "Exactly. I mean if somebody asked me to play the Star Spangled Banner for the Presidential inauguration I would play it. I wouldn't lip sync it. Sorry. I don't mean to be so opinionated."

Well, that's fine. The whole site is opinionated and we're used to dealing with controversy. And, if anyone has a problem with that, then they can go fuck themselves.
Frank - *laughs* "Well, there ya go."

And, this is where it's a good time to wrap up the interview, so, is there anything you wanna say to your readers?
Frank - "Um, just that they've supported me all these years and I thank them for it. Everyone always told me that I would fail and that no one would like me or the instrument and that no one would buy the recordings and no one would support me. And all that stuff has been wrong. Because people do like the Carillon and people have supported me and people do like the music I created with it. I just wanna thank them for being open minded."

Alright, thank you for your time and I can't wait to see you live again. That'll probably next year at MusikFest.
Frank - "Alright, Steve, thank you."


Thank you for your time.
Aug 26 2013

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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