Saturday, August 2, 2014

Oltretomba Interview

1. For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Both me and Falco come from other bands, Athanor and Malanoctem. We were already friends before; he appreciated the first tracks I gave him to listen to and I've thought he was the right drummer to play them. It was easy to set up the first rehearsals to see that the line up was working. No one with the need to play technical or modern stuff could be a nice member for the band. Just play powerful and straight so the listener can feel the impact on his face.


2. Recently you have released your first full length album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from your previous demos?
I see many young bands starting right into a studio to get a professional debut cd. That is not a demo, they don't want a demo at all, just a cd to feel famous. We recorded our first demo into the rehearsal room with few microphones already there; this is the reason why we've distributed it only on tape: this way to record is no more in use today, for the reason said above... people start a band already with the will to show themselves to everyone and on internet. Our "Cross the bone" demo tape was recorded the old way, then sold only to few maniacs. It was not our intention to say the world 'hey, we are here!' or to act as stars in front of our friends. We only wanted to see how our songs could sound by listening to them outside the rehearsal room; however it was appreciated and even suddenly came the interest of some labels, which took us to proceed with something more.
This time we really focused on sounds. The first days to prepare for the recording set were spent to tune the drum, to choose microphones ant their position on it. The same was later made for guitar amplifier. We are really satisfied with the final sound because it's really what we were working for there tracks: old fashioned, powerful and personal in some way.


3. On your website the band refers itself to 'retrogade metal' can you tell us a little bit more about this tag?
As for some reason already told, as for the need for labels and... customers (?) to distribute something more modern (contaminations, experimentations, etcc...), we wanted to detach our music from this avantgarde wave. So we play retrogarde as to compose/playing as for sound/recording. We are not really focused on black or death metal, we just want to play extreme and primitive.


4. Your lyrics cover some satanic, occult and blasphemous topics,  can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in these topics?
I don't like very much (I don't like it at all) the 'politically correct' way to write lyrics into extreme metal today. Sometimes it is more a 'be philosopher game', or other issues more socially committed. Nothing of my interest while listening to extreme metal. On my side, I can only write about what I've got in my mind even while not playing. To be sincere, I don't write about how happy I could be with my family or friends and if this world would be a better one if we all love each other, because I'm not going to play gay music. When I compose lyrics or musics it's like to get a a mysterious inspiration coming not from anything materially existing. In this low level of existence I find interesting to express low level instincts and sure, I mix this kind of topics with my interest in occultism and satanism or demonology that I've got since years now. And again, not to be politically correct, why don't add some simple blasphemies to have something more 'actual' or 'social' under my point of view...?


5. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Oltretomba'?
Oltretomba is the italian term for the beyond. We like how it sounds, even though we use english lyrics; it also remains as mark of our nationality, even though it's not a topic for us. The beyond is a so simple concept but really great to collect so many images and sounds. We really needed a name as simple as outright.


6. I have read that the band was originally a solo project, what was the decision behind forming a full line up?
As said I was already bass player and backing vocalist in Athanor. I wrote some tracks that I didn't feel adapt for their style and so, after a while I recorded them just to save all for me and that's the 'Demo 2008', which I have never really distributed (only few friends listened some tracks at my home, or sent via email). I was thinking about a solo project but not sure to go on with it.
In 2011 the activity with Athanor was slowing down so I decided to dedicate more time to Oltretomba, as I had the chance to propose this to Falco. As said in first answer, I would not ask everybody to join us, one necessarily have to understand (first) and then to appreciate the concept.


7. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
We had a venue into a little pub not far from our town and the owner was really great with us, even other bands in the bill were nice. We even played into a bigger club with Taake and other italian bands but only few of them were there to support each other; just some remained with us until the end so I cannot say if it was batter the bigger or the smaller venue; for sure we have been lucky until now, but it's early to talk by now...
The most important thing is to see that the public did appreciate the combo lineup, as we don't have a bass player anymore. I just had to work a bit more on guitar's sound and Falco has to hit drum as if there were no tomorrow...


8. Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
We are preparing venues at least one in each region here in Italy, we shall evaluate foreign dates only in a second time.


9. The new album was released on Fistbang Records, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
We had the chance to get in touch with it thanks to our previous demo tape. It supported us since then; and since we already had some tracks more we suddenly began working on a full length. We did update it monthly even sending audio previews. Fistbang ever supported us without asking for compromises or any limitation. All our work have been fully satisfied by its own, as we see now the album distributed through lots of catalogues, online and offline. It was a really lucky deal for us, as well as a friendly relationship actually. It even got selected stuff and bands in its rooster, so it's a pleasure to have its mark on our album.


10.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
We didn't expect everyone appreciate it. We thought many people would just say that there is nothing original in our music, but on the opposite it seems that 'The Death...' resulted balanced, as mix of personality and old style black death metal. We even read (few) people just labeling it black'n'roll, but maybe because they didn't listened to the whole cd. It was not meant to be a classical death, nor death or thrash proposal. There you can find any on these genre just because it's what we listen to, what we like to play, withouth the need to stay closed under one single label. I suppose it's the only point on which we are not going to work, we'll never use a standard musical genre. If it sounds retrogarde, wild and primitive, it's ok; on guitar riffs as on drum patterns. This is simply because the difference between all that styles mentioned, was not so defined at the beginning. To label it is a commercial way to catalogue music today.


11.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part off?
In more than 15 years of activity Athanor did pass through hard periods and forced stops due to the more various reasons. Their last (recent) recordings came after a long period of silence and even now I cannot say how things will go on; they have been not officially released yet.


12.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Our music is not supposed to evolve into something more than what it is. we will just keep on to play the fierce metal at its roots with a sinister and vulgar attitude.
All these which have been cult bands have now lost aggressiveness in exchange of a more clean sound, powerful only in loudness/decibels terms... I disdain this.


13.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
It's rare for me to listen to something recorded after the 2000. I consider more interesting an '70 rock or punk than many actual so called death or black metal bands. This is due the way to compose and to record. Boring songs with really bad sound for an extreme metal band. Years ago I was still able to recognize a band by their sound, but now this is not possible. The personality is covered under modern recording/mastering techniques, all bands have got the same sound.  Who are still playing real death black metal today? It is really hard to think on a name... Autopsy for sure, Mortuary Drape... Inquisition... it's hard to say, 'cause all play something totally different from what death black metal was meant to be.
When I was younger I ever had Mayhem, Satyricon, Marduk, Emperor, Morbid Angel, Slayer, Kreator in my hi-fi. And I still listen to the same albums of that period, nothing new in the last 10, 15 years. A pair of nice albums seems to be enough for a band before to start playing soft metal. Now it is all an only one, very loud, very compressed, very fast, very all-the-same music. I prefer Beethoven and Hellhammer, no way.

14.What are some of your non musical interests?
I like to compose, to arrange, to record, to mix... and I like instruments, it would be nice to have the chance to play lots of them. I even try cello and flute. But ouside this field I don't have so many passions. I like reading nice (then rare) book on occultism, demonology, high magic, esoterism; but even quantum physic's, then horror stories too like Lovecraft's. I also like old movies, since 1900 to 1990 mainly; nowadays movies are just computer effects and dudes. I rarely leave my home, so it's all connected to what I can do inside; I just like camping sometimes, to sleep far away in a silent and fresh wood. I like smoking my pipe, or cigars, with a nice glass of scotch or barrique grappa!

15.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
I wish people like you shall keep supporting the underground even in a period like this when all has become social-networking and bands grow up day by day in 5 minutes. Too many useless bands around but still sometimes I find great musicians, even without these funny I LIKE IT on their facebook pages... keep searching and find the still living black death metal! And all you reading now, ever keep an eye on Occult Black Metal Zine!

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