Face The Music with Francesco Nepitello

Most interviews with games industry figures tend to be about our latest game or “hot new thing” we’re working on. But what about the people behind the games we play and, hopefully, love? Little is said, or explored, of the actual person’s tastes, or how they got into the hobby, etc.

Face The Music is a new column in which I aim to explore a side that is rarely explored – music tastes of the people behind the games we play. What do they listen to? Bands they love? Greatest gig? Do they use music whilst they work, or whilst they game?

Each week I’ll be chatting to someone in the games industry about their musical tastes. Kicking everything off is an old friend of mine, Francesco Nepitello, an Italian games designer behind a host of great boardgames and tabletop RPGs. He’s currently a game design manager and head of RPG design for CMON, and the main designer for The One Ring RPG published by Free League.

What are your favourite bands and genre?

I tend to listen to music with a harder edge. Metal is probably my favourite genre, but in the broadest sense possible! In fact, that definition strays from thrash metal, to prog, to sometimes AOR, when I am in a softer mood. 

My favourite bands change with time, so a current list might include Ghost, Rammstein, Volbeat, Hällas, and some prog stuff like Riverside, Lunatic Soul or Steven Wilson. But I really listen to a lot of different music.

How many gigs have you been to? What was your first/last? Your favourite? What band/performer have you never seen live but would love to (or have loved to if the band/performer have broken up, retired, or died)?

I can’t count the number of gigs, I can’t remember, but I was fairly active in my twenties. I’ve seen an awful lot of hard rock and metal bands, especially thanks to the summer festivals – so I’ve seen most of the greats, from Aerosmith to Black Sabbath to Maiden, Metallica, Testament, Queensryche, Anthrax, Kiss, Motley crue, Manowar, Pantera, Dio, David Lee Roth… 

My first gig, one I paid for, was Ultravox, at some point in the early eighties. My last was Rammstein, a few years back. My favourite was probably a concert with Prong, opening for Faith No More – Prong was amazing, they had a minimal set and instruments, and they crushed it. Faith No More were excellent too, and I have nice memories of them because we spent some time with the drummer and bassist in the back lot, chilling out after the gig.

One band I regret having missed is Soundgarden… me and my brother were exposed very early on, when we were doing a radio show and another DJ told us ‘you guys like Black Sabbath, you’ll dig this’ and handed us their Fopp EP. I was meant to see them in Milan years later, when they were opening for Guns and Roses – I missed the train, and I got there when their section was over… later I saw Audioslave twice, but it was not the same thing.

I also regret having not seen Rush.. I know most of their albums by heart.

Prong – Revenge Best Served Cold

Do you listen to music whilst writing/designing?

Yes, I do. And when I do, I’m more open minded than usual, as my associate Marco is with me, and he hasn’t the same taste in music. Sometimes I put on some movie soundtrack, as it works well as a sort of musical backdrop.

Do you use music whilst gaming?

Not much. I mean, it happened, but it’s more of a casual thing. I am generally very focused on playing! 🙂

What are your top five favourite albums?

Super hard question… I’ll regret the choice, I’m sure. In no particular order: 

Moving Pictures (Rush), Danzig (Danzig), Hail to England (Manowar), Badmotorfinger (Soundgarden), Boston (Boston).

Boston – More Than a Feeling

If you were stranded on a ship hurtling through deep space, which ten tracks would you want to have with you?

Another very hard question… 😀

Jesus Christ Pose (Soundgarden)

Mother (Danzig)

More than a Feeling (Boston)

Hallowed be thy name (Iron Maiden)

Revelation (Manowar)

Deutschland (Rammstein)

Cirice (Ghost)

Jacob’s Ladder (Rush)

South of Heaven (Slayer)

Hunger Strike (Temple of the Dog)

And a non-music question – any plans/projects for the coming year that you’d like to talk about?

2021 was very busy with projects that I can’t talk about yet. I hope that in 2022 I will be busy presenting them!

The One Ring, by Free League, is currently available in PDF.

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