Congratulations with your new album ‘Et Liber Eris’! Can you explain the choice of this title?
This Latin title means “and that you are free”. We wanted to start from the concept of “being free”, a sort of unconscious sum-up of our latest years, both from personal and band’s perspective. The previous two years were not so easy to handle, we had a lot of matters to solve including new management, label migration and new line-up to build. With that said we just followed our feelings and turned them into eight songs that flow into a stream of pure freedom, without setting any genre or sound limitations and reaching broader range of dynamics in the songs.
Before we are going to focus on the new album, let us start with a summary of the history of the band so far?
Fifteen years - with a hiatus of four years in the middle -, four albums released, genre switch from a melodic death in the early period to arrive to our current progressive sound. Many line-up changes on the way, but nevertheless from 2008 there’s always been a central composing core made by me and drummer Federico that kept the vision of the band always consistent in the following years. When he joined, we were finally able to bring all the ideas and common interests we had to fruition.
And what about the live experiences of the band so far? What were important gigs/tours?
We are definitely what can be considered a hard touring band, we’ve been all over Europe and also had the chance to tour UCAN, all of them have been great experiences that gave us the chance to grow a lot and forge our attitude on the road. We have amazing memories connected to each of our live appearances, from Meshuggah to Opeth, passing through Suffocation and Death Angel among the others. And about the Netherlands, I remember the show in Rotterdam with Swallow The Sun as a very emotional moment, the energy was just incredible.
’Et Liber Eris’ happens to be a new start for the band in several ways. First of all a new line up. If I can believe Metal Archives, Sami is your fifth singer. Where did things go wrong?
I would say Sami is our third official singer, the others have been with us only as session singers in some live appearances, as temporary substitutes when our main singers couldn’t join us live. When we first started, we were extremely young and carefree, but when things started being more serious the other members simply decided to take different routes as music wasn’t necessarily the main goal of their lives. It is just about growing up and having to deal with a job that isn’t always easy: so many variables that make you question everything and eventually bring you to different life choices.
Can you introduce the new forces?
Sure, we have a killer new bassist Cecilia Nappo, she joined us initially as a session musician and then became a stable part of the band. She is a super skilled musician that mixes a lot of styles into her playing, a lot of tasty choices in her musical vocabulary. Sami is our new singer, when I heard him for the first time, I just had the strong impressions that I was in front of one of the best voices of the Italian metal scene. He naturally ranges from an emotional and highly interpretative clean to an aggressive and powerful growl, definitely an essential addition to the current sound of the band.
Secondly you have a new label: Indie Recordings. How did this deal come into being and what are the expectations?
When we started looking for a record deal, we sent the record out to different labels, starting with “dream” ones in which Indie Recordings was included and well...here we are! This signing gave us the fuel we needed to keep going and grow as a band. We see this as a fresh start with the aim to bring our music to more and more people and also raise the bar in terms of quality of our music. We are honoured to be part of this new team... and also being a raised with Satyricon this is just an achievement that makes me even prouder.
The new album is more than ever inventive and progressive. I should even say that it reminds me of the style from Opeth and Soen. Do you agree with that? What do you think yourself of the evolution of the sound on this new album?
Well, these references are definitely flattering hehe. We keep reading around a lot of huge names when it comes to define our sound (Mastodon? Tool? Leprous?), but everybody eventually ends up with the same conclusion: we tend to mix so many different elements - definitely contradictory between them - that make us sound anyhow different from the aforementioned ones. We’ve just carefully interwoven this multiplicity of influences into one cohesive and personal sound.
Can you tell a bit more about the recording process. I think a Norwegian studio was involved as well?
The album was recorded in Rome, our hometown, at the 16th Cellar Studios by Stefano Morabito. We preferred to invest in the “time factor”: having the chance to be at home, we took two full months for the recordings. In the past we made different choices opting also for foreign studios, but this time we preferred not to have pressures of any kind and concentrate on building the new material at the pace it deserved. The album has then been mastered in Norway by Stamos Koliousis, to give ‘Et Liber Eris’ a sound that was more aligned with the standards of our new label.
What about the lyrics? Is there a common theme? A main source of inspiration for your lyrics? Most funny title seems ‘Joshua Tree 37’ to me. Why 37?
As done in all our previous work, the lyrics touch apparently obscure and depressing spheres, but at the end there’s always an opening to optimism, the desire to rise again from the abyss, the redemption. A recurring element in most of the lyrics of ‘Et Liber Eris’ are dialogues, as if there’s always a someone beside us, a presence that guides us in the maze of our minds. In any case I prefer not to enter too much in the details of each song, as I want to leave it open to the listener, everyone should have the chance to give them their personal interpretation. And for ‘Joshua Tree 37’, it takes the name from a spiritual drug, similar to what we have done in our previous album with ‘Ayahuasca’... both songs guide you into a colorful and psychedelic mind trip.
We see you as the main writer and driving force behind the band, Alessandro, but was there a different kind of input from the other members now for this album or can we see Adimiron as you with ‘performing ‘ artists?
For sure the main impulse comes from me, I’ve solidified a specific modus operandi across all these years that helped me staying focused despite all the line-up changes. I do not, however, see the band as Alessandro & the others, simply because even if everything starts from my guitar composition, it is then filtered through the personality of Federico and Cecilia for the rhythmic session and Sami for the vocal lines. In this way we keep the sound identity pretty coherent, while mixing it with the musicianship of the other members of the band.
What struck me in a very positive way, is your soloing. It is very melodic, emotive and I would even say ‘neoclassical’ in a sea of restless progressive twists and turns… Can you tell a bit more about your background and how you got into music and metal in your youth?
Thanks for these kind words. I must say that all solos are written by me often in moments of impulsive creativity, then for the recording I’ve sought the support of some excellent guitarists, among them a wonderful contribution by Davide Tiso of Ephel Duath. Even if I dedicate myself more to the construction of riffs and to the arrangement, when I work on the solos, I do it in a very impulsive and emotional way, simply abandoning myself to the feelings of that moment. There are certainly more technical and cutting episodes with neoclassical imprint, but especially with this record I tried to follow a new and untracked road with little bluesy inserts and giving more importance to the pathos, even with less technical moments. This also says a lot about my music background, I’ve always been open and listened various kind of music, if it’s good music I’ll listen to it and keep it in the back of my mind as inspiration, that’s for sure.
I read somewhere that Davide Tiso guests on the album. Please tell about his contribution and are there other guests on the album?
I’ve always considered Davide a brilliant musician, his vision of the guitar and the composition in the Ephel Duath is what inspired me for a long time. That’s why, when I realized that I was missing a last one before ending the song, I immediately thought of him, just because I wanted to give that different brushstroke and out of my typical style and approach. As a guest figure a mention also goes to the talented Pietro Finzi Vita (Theia) who supported me with solos in both ‘Joshua Three 37’ and ‘The Coldwalker’.
The visual aspect is also important. I watched the clips for ‘Stainless ‘ and ‘Zona Del Silencio’ with pleasure! Can you tell a bit more about the making of?
About the creation of those videos, I can tell you that from the beginning for ‘Zona Del Silencio’, we thought about doing something animated that followed the trail of our previous ‘Ayahuasca’. A sort of continuation of that story, starting basically from the same visionary and distorted concept of reality, so once finalized we sent the song to Monica Janoulva, director of the previous clip for ‘Ayahuasca’ and we let her work for a month. The result was, as expected, extraordinary and aligned with our disturbing vision. For ‘Stainless’, which was the single most close to the release date of the album, we simply wanted to show the band in action, because in all these years, strange to say, it had never happened to have a clip with the band at the center of everything, so we just thought it was the right time to do that. Of course we kept the mood also in this more straight-forward video, with a stunning set into a cave and a photography that tends to stay pretty dark.
What are your thoughts about the artwork?
We wanted to give a distinct aesthetic that could naturally fit the sense of the title of the album, and embody the full concept at its full. We didn’t want to follow any genre dictate when it comes to metal artworks, we wanted to be free also in this. It is an analogical picture that dates back to the nineties and shot by artist Manuel Pina, it depicts a man in full dip towards an open and unknown ocean...well when I saw this picture I immediately felt the attraction, it was just the perfect expression of all the feelings I wanted to transmit with this work.
To occlude: What are your prospects in playing live?
We are a band born to be on the road, and since the release of this album our first thought has always been to bring it live as much as possible in Europe, so...keep your eyes peeled ‘cause we’ll be back very soon next year!
If there is anything you’d like to add, please feel free to do so…
First thank you for this space and interest in our new release, it always means a lot to us. Keep up the amazing work and see you soon on the road!