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Inner Shrine

One of the most intriguing albums, released in autumn 2013, is without any doubt ‘Pulsar’ of Inner Shrine. These Italians, hailing from the beautiful city of art Florence, created an overwhelming soundtrack for the Apocalypse of mankind and the beginning of new life on that album. The musical elegance (gothic/doom metal with loads of atmospheric depth) as well as the idea behind this enterprise raised our curiosity and interest to contact band leader Luca Liotti (vocals, guitars, keyboards) and his new companions Claudio Tovagli (drums) and David Cangi (bass). They all contributed to make an engrossing story of this interview, just as they did with their musical creation.

By: Vera | Archive under death metal / grindcore

With the new magnificent album ‘Pulsar’ available, it is high time to have an upgrade of things, since last time we published something about Inner Shrine was for ‘Samaya’ and additional interview with Moretti around that time. So how are you doing?
Luca: “Hello Vera. First of all thank you for this great opportunity. I am very happy to be able to talk to our fans of Lords of Metal and the Netherlands. Since our last interview, many things have changed. However INNER SHRINE is always active and renovated in many things that I will be happy to explain.”

It was a nice surprise to find out about the resurrection of the band with an amazing new album ‘Pulsar’! But last years, many things have happened indeed… first of all your buddy Leonardo Moretti quit. What happened, because I thought you were partners in crime when writing?
Luca: “Time passes and life brings changes and commitments. In the case of Leonardo, before starting work he called me, saying that he had not the necessary time to spend on the new album. He was very correct. In the meantime, I decided to reshuffle the cards. I wanted to give new life to the band. Good luck helped me. In fact in the meantime, Claudio Tovagli came back in the line up. He was the first drummer of Inner Shrine. Then came the moment of David Gangi. We are friends since 2007. And I am very honored to have included him in the project ‘Pulsar’. All good musicians ready to give a good hand to the rebirth of the band. I had very clear ideas, we must change our way. We were a very special band. I wanted to change everything to be perfect in the realization of the idea of ‘Pulsar’.”

Can you tell a bit more about these changes, going from female fronted gothic (also Cecilia quit) to more darker areas?
Luca: “I always thought that the musician has to adapt to the idea of a concept album. This is because I come from the area of soundtracks. First, I think what I want to create, then choose the tools. Cecilia has played an important role in the past. A primary role in the work of the ‘Mediceo’. However ‘Pulsar’ required different atmospheres. It required a new sound. Thanks to our Digital Studio "Lands of Glory" we were able to express our ideas, without compromise. I did not want to be the Italian clone of other European bands. I do not like it when I read that Inner Shrine is similar to ... Many journalists fail to understand that INNER SHRINE is a band without compromises! Full of originallity and discovery!”

’Pulsar’ has a concept or at least a red thread going through the album. What do you want to share with us about this storyline/concept?
Luca: “’Pulsar’ is the exaltation of the emotions that our music can give. One idea that runs through an album, you can imagine and travel with the mind. When you have finished listening to ‘Pulsar’, everything will no longer be the same as before. We hope to educate people to understand the importance of life, the importance of respecting nature. We are part of this and part of the universe. We are not the superior race, but we are the guardians of our planet. When we raise our eyes to heaven, we have to think of not being alone. Every time we think of being thankful for what we have, everything may disappear at any time.”

The video clip for ‘The Last Day On Earth’ left me in awe. In addition it is a stellar song with an amazing epic feeling. Can you tell a bit more about this video, most likely made up of movie snippets I think?
David: “Thanks for the compliments! This song means a lot to us, it's one of my favorites out of the album. The video had to be made of images of what was expressed with music....like an audio-video unison, so that the listener could be overwhelmed by the strong emotions that this song wants to give. We decided to put the listener in the center of the scene, as if he was watching a movie and from this we had the idea to pick up parts of famous movies that talk about that theme.”

What puzzles me… the apocalypse on earth has taken place… but new life comes out of that. How do you think it would look like or can happen anyways? We see a kind of massive egg in space…
Claudio: “In physics the basic rule is that nothing is destroyed, everything is transformed. In this case, if a race fails, a new one is ready to rise from the ashes. As the selection of natual Darwin, in the case of extinction of our species, a new race would be ready to repopulate the planet. In ‘Pulsar’, the epilogue is very different. A new species arises from the reset of the earth. It is a fusion between the earth and the energy alien race from the star Pulsar. We like to think that God is a set of rules that are the basis of the laws of the universe. Maybe we really think that we were created by an alien race that, on his return, he discovers that we missed the opportunity.”

What are your thoughtful considerations about planet earth and how people mistreat it (I see you love animals as well, just like me)
Luca: “It is a good question. Let me answer by Buddhist. We must always be thankful for what we have. Every day I feel grateful for the small beautiful things that I have. Many of us live in Florence and Tuscany. The land of beauty and art. The life and nature live in an eternal balance. We need to preserve as much as possible our planet. However, trying to focus on the real things. Religion, politics, factions, domain, are not values that can nourish our position in the universe. We must look for a better way to distribute our happiness. Our race continues to fail.”

Can you tell a bit more about the current musicians that are part of Inner Shrine? How did this constellation come into being last few years?
Luca: “On this album, I have the honor to collaborate with professionals in the Italian metal. Claudio Tovagli is a great drummer and the first historian of the Inner Shrine. His contribution was decisive for ‘Pulsar’. He manages to be a very good drummer and arranger. We have many ideas in the pipeline ready to be put into musical notes. On bass there is David Gangi. An incredible musician and one of the best consultants musical instruments Italy. His support has been crucial for the realization of our sound. In addition to being a musician, he is a consultant to the sales of musical instruments store Vieri Niccolini of Arezzo. It is also the developer of bass for a well-known company. For the live shows we have included Lorenzo Evangelisti, I like to call him our n.10. The best player in our team. Fantasy and pure technique!”

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And concerning yourself… how did you ever get into music and finally metal? What are your influences, musicians that inspired you, choosing the path of being musician?
Luca: “My musical origins were varied. However, I think that the basis of all is: there was always the desire of emotion. My childhood was full of Japanese cartoons. Full of exciting music. Then came the youth, metal music and classical. I do not have details of the bands. The music has evolved along with the experiences of my life. I like to think that the metal manages to shake and caress, depending on the time of my life.”

We cannot ignore that ‘Pulsar’ marks a totally new era for Inner Shrine, with mystery, arcane feelings, dark apocalyptic flavours… how did you come to that sudden change? (I even more like it, by the way)
Claudio: “In this moment we have the means to realize our wishes. In this case, as a drummer I like to insert sounds typical of soundtracks in the music. I think that makes the most scenic track. I am certain that my return was perfect to marry this new idea. We shared all our musical experiences and joined forces with Luke and David.”

In ‘Between’ we hear a kind of heartbeat and breathing. Is this the moment new life comes into being? Is there a chance for a sequel on this concept?
Luca: “Vera, your interview fascinates me. I will reveal a secret. ‘Between’ is a very strong song from an emotional point of view. I wrote it years ago, in a very hard and difficult time of my life. A moment in which my heart has stopped beating. A moment where all life of the last ten years will pass before, without being able to stop. From this starting point, along with Claudio, we decided that it could close our new album. In the story, it is the moment when the last soldier of the earth finds himself in a hospital bed, destroyed. The moment when the soldier; next to death, imagines and remembers the beauty of our planet. A moment of poetry, pure art, a moment to reflect. The writing of this piece is special. I have used subliminal sounds. Sounds researched and developed in the Lands of Glory studio. I wanted to wrap the listener in the atmosphere of the song. The video will be released soon, it will be very exciting!”

In a way, I think the album is also kind of spiritual. Are you a spiritual person? Is any spirituality involved in the concept?
Luca: “The music is an expression of the soul. The music of the Inner Shrine is pure art. I consider myself a very spiritual person. I am a Buddhist and I try to practice in my life many lessons. I do not know if this is the right way, but I like to think that "seeing" is not only the ability to open your eyes. I love all that is spiritual. I love life and I try to live it reflecting on how much beauty it gives me. This spirituality evolves me and inspires me in every song I write alone or with others. In the song ‘The Rose In The Wind’, you will find the highest expression of this spirituality. You'll find the highest evolution of the meaning of love.”

As a matter of facts I think the album would appeal to many people: those who like gothic/doom, those who like atmospheric music, even the ones that prefer alternative rock, because it also has a diverting variegation. Do you agree on that?
Claudio: ‘Pulsar’ is an album open to any type of listener. An album modern, new, innovative. In the era of internet and digital music, you have to give more opportunity to listen. From a compositional point of view, it is a very hard experience. Trying to work on different sounds, it's a beautiful adventure but very hard!. Fortunately the results are rewarding us!”

What about the artwork and layout of the album? Can you give us more insight in this fragment of the album presentation?
Claudio: “The choice of the cover is not accidental. It is a strong image. I think that gives immediately the idea where this album will take you to with its listening. The city is a symbol of the supremacy of humanity; in this case it is swept away in a few seconds. It gives you the feeling of inertia, silence, submission. The implementation was done always in the Lands of Glory, the place where our ideas evolve. In the artwork is also present our symbol. By now it has become very famous! We did sell a lot of shirts! And it is no coincidence that it represents the chaos and balance.”

Since you are not a duo anymore, heavy touring is announced. What are the plans about playing gigs and touring?
David: “Inner Shrine decided to abandon the "two" formation just to start a tour and we are working on this at the moment. It won't be easy to bring the "Inner Shrine atmosphere" on the stage, but we're pretty sure that we can perform ‘Pulsar’ live at our best. We hope to announce the first dates soon.”

To occlude: I am afraid we missed ‘Mediceo’. Can you tell a bit more about this album and how do you look back on it?
Luca: “Damn! You do not know what you've been missing! “Mediceo” is an album "extemporaneous”. A tribute that we wanted to do to Florence. The city of art, the city of the Medici family. I start by saying that it is not a metal album. It is symphonic music and classical. Several have written that it is poorly recorded. The truth is that we wanted to do a classic and medieval approach. This album is much loved by people who are able to have a free vision of the music. It is an album full of mysteries and clues. The key is the song ‘Electrice Palatine’ of Anna Marie de Medici, the one who has created and preserved the heritage of the Uffizi museum in Florence. One of the most beautiful museums in the world to treasure the art of Florence.”

What are the plans for the near future?
Claudio: “We worked hard to come back on the scene live. We are now ready to evaluate the offers and opportunities that befall to our show. We hope to be in your areas and Germany soon! We are happy to be invited to some interesting opportunities.”

If there is something you want to add for our readers, feel free to do it right here…
Claudio: “Thank you for the excellent treatment. Your professionalism is admirable. We thank all our fans, our labels, our sponsors and the lands of glory. We'll see you soon in Belgium, the Netherlands or Germany.”

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