How important is the band’s name in giving out the right kind of vibe?
CLAUDIO: Quite important for sure… It kinda sets the standard for everything that comes next. We wanted to have a name that was both catchy and could incorporate a cool “80s horror” kinda vibe, being both horror-oriented and light-hearted at the same time and in my opinion “5 Star Grave” fits perfectly. Of course there’s people that don’t like it as well and think it’s a stupid name for a band, but they can fuck off.
I wanted to start a band in the 80s but couldn’t fin d the right people to do so with. What was it that made you want to do the band?
CLAUDIO: I guess everybody starts a band for the same reason: to get chicks! Ahah, besides that, this band has been really goin’ on forever, starting from being just a bunch of kids playin’ together in the very beginning, switching names and line-up several times and just havin’ a good time writing stuff and playing shows all way along. I joined these gentlemen later, after finishing high-school if I remember correctly, but stuff got a little more serious some years after when we really wrapped the whole “5 Star Grave” concept together and started writing stuff in a more focused way.
With so many genres and sub-genres of metal today what is your definition of the music you play?
CLAUDIO: I’d go for heavy metal anyway. First of all because I don’t like to label music in general, it’s like masturbation, what’s the point of it? Sure, as a metal fan you can spend days labelling each band and creating dozens of sub-genres to describe this or that kind of music, but at the end of the day it all comes down to heavy metal with different influences by the way I see it, so what’s the point in all that struggle? Labels usually divide people and I’m sick as fuck of people arguing all the time if that band is metal enough or not and blablabla, so no, we play heavy metal and that’s it.
How do you arrange the tracks? Is there a method to how you arrange the songs on a record?
CLAUDIO: Usually Thierry comes out with some riffs and a song structure and we start to work on it as a team, arranging and changing stuff here and there, like the amount of times the riff is played throughout the song and so on, then me or Andrea write the lyrics and we rehearse the track until it sounds fluent enough, then we move to the next one. It’s a quite natural process, we’ve been working like this forever and there’s no need to change it.
I am fascinated by how people can still come up with things that hasn’t been done before, chord structures that hasn’t been written, sentences that hasn’t been constructed before. Where do you find your inspiration to create?
CLAUDIO: You don’t. I mean, everything’s been said and done before, period. By the way I see it the goal cannot be being original at all costs, first because you’re gonna fail miserably and second coz you’re probably gonna end up playing crap music, in the best scenario… So, the only true important thing is to perform something heartfelt, something that makes you feel good and as a listener you’d love to listen to. Here’s an example to it: so many people are telling me that our latest single “Eat You Alive” is probably the best song we have ever written and that it sounds a lot like Alice Cooper as well… And let me tell you, they’re damn right! And there’s nothing wrong about it, inspiration is just something you can avoid and as long as you give your personal touch to it without becoming a copycat it’s all good… The only goal is to write good songs.
How important is the graphic side of the band? How much thought goes into art work etc.?
CLAUDIO: Very important. I’ve grown-up listening to bands that had gorgeous cover artworks, just think of all the cool detailed artworks by Iron Maiden, I spent hours just looking at the “Somewhere In Time” cover while listening to the record… So, for me, just like the name of the band, it has to give you the overall mood of the album, kinda like an introduction to what you’re gonna hear when you put the record on. All our artworks are done by Ale, our guitar player and they sum up the mood of each record quite well.
I get the feeling that more and more metalheads too are just downloading single tracks. Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
CLAUDIO: The net has killed everything. File sharing has completely destroyed the music industry, now everybody listens to shitty low quality mp3s and that’s it, bands get constantly robbed on a daily basis of their work and it doesn’t suprise me that so many bands are underproducing their records and basically recording shitty albums with random songs written in five minutes just to have the possibility to go on tour, why should they put hard work into something that is gonna be robbed anyway?
Are we killing our beloved metal scene by supporting digital downloading or can anything positive come from supporting single tracks and not albums? Will the fan as we know him/her be gone soon?
CLAUDIO: Business-wise the metal scene is already dead. It’s funny coz I’m usually comparing putting out an album nowaday as doing some sort of charity, you already know that the album is gonna be stolen anyway but you keep doing it coz that’s what you love to do but you’re not really expecting anything out of it, you just put it out and forget about it, coz people just don’t care anymore, listen to it for an afternoon, tell you that it’s good and then completely forget about it the day after… That’s how it goes nowadays and there’s nothing we can do about it, it’s not even worth to brag or complain about it anymore.
Is there a scene to speak of for a band like yours? Where do you fit in?
CLAUDIO: Well yeah, I mean, maybe we’re a little louder and scream a little bit more, but I see no big differences between what we do and bands like Wednesday 13 o Lordi for example… It’s horror-themed heavy metal / punk rock in the end , so yes I think we kinda fit in the horror-metal category.
What does the future hold?
CLAUDIO: We’ll be releasing another video later this year, this time for the song “Once Upon A Time” and is going to be the last video taken from “The Red Room”, then we’ll be playing a bunch of shows and maybe start writing some new stuff as well… It took five years to have a new record out and we don’t want to wait that long anymore, so we’ll probably focus on writing as much as we can in the near future so we can probably have another album out in a couple of years from now… We’ll see, in the meanwhile tnx for the interview, check our latest album “The Red Room” and see ya around!