UNDER SIEGE

I really like this UNDER SIEGE. They have a really cool vibe to their metal. Check them out. Anders Ekdahl ©2018

You have one of these names that do not really tell what kind of metal you play. How hard was it to come up with the name?
-The first thing you usually ask yourself when you pick a name for a metal band is: have someone else already taken it? If the answer is negative you’re already on the right track. The name choice has been object of a long debate (we debate… a lot) but “Under Siege” made everybody agree. It literally alludes to values of courage and sacrifice an old (and more cruel) way of living required. But it also metaphorically refers to battles we all have to fight, in our everyday life, even nowadays against an alienating and unjust society that besieges and suffocates us. It reflects our music: and our lyrics: it’s fiery, solid, martial! It is literally our banner.

How do you introduce the band to people that are new to your music?
-We guess our songs are the best introduction. Maybe a rough definition could be “scandinavian death” or even “folk melodeath”. But we do not like labels so much. We shall say we play death metal spiced up with bagpipes, orchestrations, epic choirs and battle drums. The kind of music you would like to ear going to war, before a charge.

We all carry baggage with us that affects us in one way or another but what would you say have been the single greatest influence on your sound?
-Amon Amarth. Undoubtedly. A band we all love which inspired us in many ways. It’s not just a matter of sound and musical affinity. It’s something about their attitude, the spirit they bring on stage and convey to the crowd. In one word: their “vikingness”

What is the scene like in your area? Is it important that there is some sort of local scene for a band to develop or can a band still exist in a vacuum of no scene/no bands?
-It is hard to imagine any musical reality growing out of nowhere like a tree in the desert. Maybe it is not impossible but a local scene is necessary for any band to develop live performing skills and confidence through direct experience. On the other hand it provides occasions to test the waters, check on people’s reaction and feedback. It also matters in building one’s own identity as musician and performer because you can relate and make confrontation with others. We were luck y enough to grow up in a very rich and stimulating artistic scenario. Of course it also implies a lot of competition and rivalry but it is a fair price. If no one else stands around… it is a burden to carry for the band to fill that vacuum. To be the first pillar of a community to be. And that’s not an easy task. The real cancer to eradicate here in Italy is the tendency, among live clubs, to prefer tribute bands over original music. That’s because club owners “assure” to get more visibility and affluence (so more money). That is just preferring emulation over creativity. The same goes for mainstream radios and podcasts. Artists and musicians proposing something new should get and do deserve more space.

Something I have often wondered about is if you feel that you are part of something bigger and greater when you play in a band, that you are part of a movement sort of?
-Not exactly. But of course there is something like an unspoken feeling of brotherhood among metal fans and musicians everywhere in the world. I mean every kind of extreme music. We perceive ourselves as an alternative to the kind of stuff most people listen to, to the way they dress and live blindly following every new trend, to the superficiality through which most of them cope with life. We cannot define ourselves as “counterculture” anymore but… this is part of our heritage.

When you play the sort of music you play I guess you cannot have birds and bees on the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
-It must reflect the spirit of our music. Other kind of music might benefit from provocative or metaphorical images. This is not our case. When we chose the artwork for our album (made by Andrea T. Montalto) we appreciated the strength and the personality of his works: the way he could combine, in the same picture, light and darkness, cold and heat, was the chromatic and emotional transposition of the chaos of a battle. The image almost speaks for itself. The final test comes when you press play and listen to the first track. Something in your mind should say: “Oh! I got it! There it is!”. If it is so, you hit the bulls-eye!
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What is your opinion on digital versus physical? Is digital killing music?
-Personally, we are happy to know that people can have the opportunity to listen to our song freely. That’s why we leave all of our tracks available on streaming. Music should not be “private”. On the other hand, this is the same reason why, if you wanna make a “private use” of someone’s music, you should reward him. For example: if you wanna have a track in your player and listen to it while you work out in the gym you should pay for it. It’s not different from having someone’s CD in your car after all. We know, of course, music can spread online in many uncontrolled ways. But that is not something you can prevent or stop. Piracy was born far before the digital era. We need to trust our potential fans. So far our faith repaid us. Metal people are far more honest than most of the others. They are usually willing to reward a good work. The only problem the virtual age really introduced is the huge amount of low-quality material that stuffs the web. So even if you’ve got something to say, it becomes increasingly difficult to be heard in such a noise

What kind live scene is there for bands like yours?
-A little and crowded one. We struggle to find spaces to perform and people are bored and disillusioned. The Italian musical scenario is really discouraging. We already exposed part of the problem in previous answers. On the other side there are countries in Europe and all over the world where this kind if music is far more appreciated. So the big step would be the one we will take (hopefully soon) out of our borders.

When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
-It is like a battle. So it is an happening AND a party, like our pagan ancestors taught us.

What would you like to see the future bring?
-We are already working on new material. The good feedback we received for our debut album gave us new enthusiasm. But right now our priority is to play as many gigs as we can. We are searching for new stages to put “under siege”! As we said, we would like to play outside of Italy. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Thank you for this interview. Cheers guys!

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