First thing that needs some words of explanation is: why a Scandinavian name for an Italian band?
We were purposely searching for a particular moniker for our band, a meaningful and significant name. We preferred to sacrifice the pronunciation of a more simple band name. For us, the words Tystnaden, which, as you said, means silence in Swedish, perfectly represents what we wanted to tell with our music and the contrast between melody and aggression in our songs .That contrast represented us since the beginning. Tystnaden is a Swedish film by Ingmar Bergman made in 1963. With this moniker we also wanted to make a tribute to the nation that gave birth to the music which inspired our musical project in 1998.
Though with Dark Tranquillity and In Flames you have not that much in common I think…
Yes, we know that, but they were our inspiration bands in the beginning. They fascinated us when we formed the band, and they were what we wanted to become. Now you can hear a more “listening” genre because of the many changes in the band members and music tastes.
You are from Udine, which reminded me immediately of Elvenking. And there is a connection, isn't it?
Yes, Elvenking are good friends for us, we respect them as a band and also as persons, and we played with them in a lot of live gigs around here. Laura knows them since a lot of years, and she sang in all their albums as guest vocalist. For the recordings of 'Sham Of Perfection' we wanted to invite Elvenking's singer Damnagoras to sing in some parts of the album, but there were some technical problems and it wasn't possible. I think that we'll try that again in the next album.
First efforts of the band were with male vocals. Why did you decide to add female vocals?
Laura started to sing in the band as choir-singer. But after a line-up change, the band decided that the female vocals could add a special taste to our music. So she became the lead vocalist of the band, with a fusion with the growls, and all this make a good sound that we love a lot.
Aren't you afraid that there are already so many bands with the 'beauty and the beast' attitude?
There are a lot of bands like that, we know, but for us is a bit different. We think that Laura's voice is not the usual baby-voice that you can find in a lot of gothic bands, and she has not even a lyrical voice as Nightwish singer Tarja. We try to make something new, or at least something different. We are Tystnaden, and we are not a commercial movement, our fusion is natural, not mechanically studied. We're definitively NOT a “beauty and the beast” band.
You recorded the EP 'Fragments' at the Outer studios in Rome with Giuseppe Orlando from Novembre. Can you tell anything about this experience?
It was a great experience. Giuseppe Orlando is a very funny guy, and it was amazing to work with him, he has a good taste in music, and he's very professional. This experience taught us how to make an album sound clearly, how to play together and “mix” our parts to create a melody good to listen. This was our first real studio experience, and so it's an experience that we'll never forget for all life. I want to thank Giuseppe for carrying us to that point.
And why did you choose another studio now, New Sin Studios (also in Italy) with Luigi Stefanini? Any comments on the recording process would be fine…
We chose New Sin Studios because it is closer to our home, and because our friends Elvenking talked very good about Luigi Stefanini. The keyboards were recorded first in Sherpa Studios near there, to make a guideline for the drums recording. After that we came to New Sin Studios to record all the parts. This was an amazing experience too. Luigi is a genius, and he was the engineer of the great sounds you can hear in the album. We had a lot of masters and guides through our recording works. We found the help of many friends: a friend of mine that gave us a Mesa head, Laura's cello master that recorded some great pieces, a lot of friends that helped us with translations, agreements and studio life, Gianni Rojatti that played that great solo, Elvenking for the suggestions, and, obviously Luigi with his teachings and good taste in music. The recording work was huge, and the difficulties never left us until the end, but we finally made it, and it sounds like we wanted, so we're very proud of what we made.
The album was mastered in Germany by R.D. Liapakis (Mystic Prophecy) and Christian Schmid (Music Factory studios). How did you end up there?
The choice for the mastering was of our recording label. Limb has chosen these guys for making our master because he knows they are very competent in this work. After listening to 'Sham Of Perfection' we are very satisfied of their work, we trust in what they do, and it will be great if they'll master our next albums too.
The album was recorded in January 2005. Seems a long time ago. Does it mean it was a self-financed effort and only later the deal with the label came up?
The deal with Limb Music Products began before the recordings. We had some songs ready to be recorded, after 'Fragments', and when Limb asked us to make an agreement, we recorded 'Sham Of Perfection' for him. So Limb financed us for the recordings, the cover art, the photo sessions and made the rest of the work, like the printing etc.
What about the negotiations with labels and what's the story behind eventually choosing for Limb Music Products, generally famous for their straight power metal issues?
It all started when Limb listened to 'Fragments'. When you reach an agreement with a label that has a hundred of bands of your same genre and more famous, it's difficult to draw attention upon yourself. But Limb was truly amazed of our work and wanted us in his lines. So we are very proud to be with them, even if we're different from the other Limb bands, and we think Limb considers us with a special consideration.
Are there plans for a single or a videoclip? (for I think the music is very radio friendly) Which song would you prefer to release as a single/videoclip?
It will be great, maybe a videoclip video of 'First Embrace', that is more radio friendly. Time will tell, it will be a dream come true.
What about tour plans and gigs?
Well…it would be great! But I don't know yet the plans of our record label for the tour dates. So that, now, I cannot answer this question...unfortunately! For now we are playing in North Italy some live gigs for the new album promotion. Live sessions are cool because they're the most important thing to have a closer contact with our fans. Maybe in the future we'll have a larger tour, we'll wait for things to happen.
Who are the main composers of the band and maybe a few words about the writing process…
A new song starts from one of us, usually one of the two guitarists or from the keyboard player, but the magic of Tystnaden is the way we work on the original idea: we try to get a strong impact through a very aggressive guitar-riffing, but being at the same time focused on creating a good melody, that can be easily reminded. Lyrics are the final step, and they are inspired by the mood that the instrumental song provokes in the soul of the lyricist.
Who is responsible for lyrics and what are your main sources of inspiration?
Laura wrote all the lyrics of the album, with the useful helping hand of me, sometimes. It is a really difficult part of composing songs, I think. Because you have to open your heart to your sensations (good or bad), you have to find out the right words that describe a sort of painting that you are seeing in your mind, you have to face a song that do not ever remind you good moods, and you are alone with your pencil and your ghosts. Even if we don't speak about direct personal experiences ( but this happens rarely), our personal experience makes a sort of filter with all the lyrics and with all the subjects.
Can you tell anything about the cello parts (nice!)
Well, the cello parts are played by a friend of Laura, who is a cello teacher: Massimo Favento. It is Laura's idea to put in some songs some cello parts, because this is the best instrument for her, and she has always had in mind to bring cello into Tystnaden songs. Together with Massimo, we decided which ones among the songs of the album were the best to rearrange with cello parts…and we chose 'Tystnaden' and 'The Foolish Plan'.
And about the contribution of Gianni Rojatti?
There is a good friendship between us and Gianni because Federico and Cesare were both his pupils time ago, and we think that Gianni is a guitar hero not only here in the North of Italy. When we invited him to play a guitar solo on our album he was really amazed and happy, and he started immediately to write a great guitar solo, and now he says that his Rewards' solo is the most beautiful solo he wrote! And we think that his solo is amazing!
The artwork is done by Travis Smith. He seems to be omni-present. How did you get in contact with him and what are the experiences?
Laura came in contact with him via email, because we think he's fantastic, and in fact he made a wonderful cover for us. We gave him all the materials he needed, Laura talked to him about the meaning that we think for the album, for the band and for our music, and he created the cover. The album cover represents the significance given to the words 'Sham of Perfection' by Travis. Travis is one of the greatest graphic-man in the world, for us! He made a lot of famous covers (Nevermore, Novembre, Opeth…), and when he showed us only the sketch of the cover we were really amazed. For us the cherub is a synonym of perfection. And, as you could see, half of the cherub is perfect and bright, the other half is decayed and fallen into ruin, with a bloody tear running down the face. Every thing and every person has two sides: one is perfect and the other is its sham…this is our sham of perfection.
What are your plans for the near future?
We're going to prepare our next album, and we're already at a good point with that. Maybe it will have a more direct impact, without sacrificing the melody. For now we're going to spread 'Sham Of Perfection' around the whole universe, and a world tour will be the seal for our plans, because we want that everyone can hear our music, and look inside our souls, through our melodies.
I hope to see you live somewhere soon!
Thanks a lot to you! I enjoyed this interview. Maybe we'll meet again on stage around the world. Thanks for giving us the chance to speak to the world through this interview.