5 STAR GRAVE impressed me enough to wanting to know more about them. Hence the interview. Anders Ekdahl ©2012
How important is it to find a cool name? How much does it mean to have an eye catching name in today’s die hard competition for attention?
CLAUDIO: Quite important in my opinion. We struggled a lot to find a name able to represent our attitude, at the very beginning we were using “Ground Zero”, but we grew bored of it pretty fast, so we switched to something more personal and catchy for the recordings of the first album. 5SG is absolutely perfect for us ‘coz it’s open to a lot of different interpretations, it’s easy to remember, sounds great and looks even better… So, yeah, it’s a cool name and I’m glad we chose to use it.
When you releases album 4 years apart does it feel like you are starting anew? How much of the attention that you got the first time around can you use for this new album?
THIERRY: Every time we start writing or recording something new it’s like starting again from the beginning ‘coz every time we set the bar a little bit higher, trying to do things in a better and more professional way. The first record was a self-produced and self-distributed effort, while for this album we had the opportunity to work with an award winning producer and to be distributed by a real label, so it’s been like starting anew on a higher scale. We try to gather as much experience as we can each step we make, developing as musicians and avoiding doing the same mistakes twice.
Everybody seems to come to Sweden to record. What is it that is so great about Sweden that you want to come here to record?
CLAUDIO: Ahahah, the women! What else?!
THIERRY: Actually we did all the recordings in Italy, in three different studios to be precise. Then we decided to fly to Sweden for the mix and mastering process ‘coz we had the opportunity to work with a big name such as Tobias Lindell, we all loved what he did with the bands he worked with, especially on the latest Hardcore Superstar record and were looking for the same powerful rock’n’roll feel. Now that the album is finally complete and released we’re still 100% satisfied of the result, so I guess we did the right choice.
How much do you think it has brought to the album that you were isolated away from home when you recorded the album? Did it make you more focused?
CLAUDIO: Recording an album is, in my opinion, a true pain in the ass. I absolutely hate being stuck in a recording studio, locked in a small room screaming my lungs out, it makes me feel retarded.
Besides, you cannot feel the energy of the audience or the complicity of the other guys from the band playing with you and that’s a huge loss. It’s damn unnatural, so I love to rush through the songs and get out of the studio as soon as I can, doesn’t really matter where we are recording.
On the other hand, considering what I do in the studio more on a storytelling level I force myself to completely isolate my mind from the rest of the world while recording and focus on the characters of each song as much as I can trying to give a convincing and involving interpretation. It’s just a completely different mindset if compared to a live performance and I don’t consider recording albums so relevant, it’s just a good excuse to do live shows.
What is a drugstore hell? Why chose that as the name of the album?
CLAUDIO: We compiled a damn long list with maybe a hundred titles and then had several discussions about which could be the best one to pick up. Ale (our guitar player) had an idea for the development of the whole artwork around the title “Drugstore Hell”, we all liked it and so decided that “Drugstore Hell” was going to be the title of the new album. It sounds pretty cool, has an 80’s horror flavour and being this album basically a collection of 80’s horror-influenced tracks fits the mood of the album perfectly.
When you are naming an album how hard is it to come up with a title? What are you looking for in an album’s title?
CLAUDIO: Not that hard, it’s all about the mood of the album and the themes dealt in the songs… If you’re singing about pussy, murder and alcohol you ain’t gonna head for a serious title for sure, the real tricky part is to find a title that sounds cool, is easy to remember and summarizes the overall atmosphere of the record as well.
I sometime wonder how a band goes about defining their sound. What is it that mead you sound the way you do?
THIERRY: Nice question, first of all I can tell you what we are not. We are not death metal, we are not goth metal, we don’t do trendy music… Basically our main influences are rock’n’roll, heavy metal, punk, thrash, some industrial… We’re like a big melting pot, each of us brings his own influences in and being six different persons with well defined musical tastes we blend it all together until we’re all satisfied of the result. It’s hard to explain ‘coz it comes really natural for us, we start to jam on new riffs and each of us adds his own stuff in the most spontaneous way. It’s also hard to describe our sound ‘coz there’s a little bit of everything in it, but I love to call it extreme crossover.
CLAUDIO: It’s very important to know how you DON’T want to sound or the message you DON’T want to give. I don’t know what happened, but heavy metal seems to have lost all the fun and energy along the way, now it’s all about fools with a fringe complaining about how much depressed they are and how hard it is to have an erection… Are you fuckin’ kidding me!?! Is this supposed to be entertaining music?!? We want to bring back the reckless attitude and the “who gives a fuck” behaviour that is lacking so bad in nowadays music. We want to be dirty, vulgar and shitfaced ‘coz all the funny things in life ain’t clean at all and heavy metal is supposed to be mostly fun.
When you are signed to a label like Massacre what does that bring with it that you can’t get from a smaller one? How do you avoid being lost amongst all the other bands on such a large label?
THIERRY: When we finished the new album we took our time looking for the best way to release it, Massacre Records simply did us the best offer.
CLAUDIO: I’ll expand your question a little bit… Something like “In nowadays collapsed music scene what makes us think that people could really give a flying fuck about 6 fools from Italy like us?” Oh well… First of all, the quality of our songs. As long as you provide people good songs they will follow you and care about your music, no matter how crowdy the scene is, quality pays off, always. Second, the entertaining factor. Most of nowadays music is boring as fuck, so many bands want to save the planet and change the world, whining and complaining about society and stuff like that over and over again… I mean, it’s a good thing to have ideals, but you can’t complain about how much the world sucks all the time or you’ll bore people to death. Nowadays society sucks really bad, we all know that and that’s exactly why we’re trying to give people a good time while listening to our music. We try to be as entertaining as we can and help them forget about their troubles and being the world so damn fucked up as it is there’s a huge need for entertaining bands like us. Last but not least, we have our own identity. You can like us or not, but you cannot say that we sound like anybody else and that’s what makes the real difference. For the sole reason of sounding like nobody else out there and being the music scene completely infested by bands looking and sounding all the same this record deserves to exist. After hearing songs like “Death Times Eleven” or “Boy A” many people would probably think that we’re crazy ‘coz there’s nobody else mixing styles like we do, but I’m pretty sure that if this record is successful many will follow, so it’s always a good thing to be the first to do something fresh and new.
What do you yourself do to promote and make sure that everybody gets to hear about 5 Star Grave?
THIERRY: The best way to promote your music is still to do live shows. We’re doin’ some warm-up shows right now to get the rust off our old bones, while planning something bigger for the future, but it’s too early to talk about it. On the other hand Massacre Records is doing a great job promoting our album, it’s easily available worldwide and we’re really enjoying the great feedback both media and fans are providing us. Our name is getting bigger day by day and we’re really grateful to the fans that are making this all possible.
What are the future plans for 5 Star Grave now that there’s a new album?
THIERRY: We already have some new ideas for the next album, but before starting to work on new stuff we want to expand our audience as much as possible doing live shows in places we’ve never been before. Each song we compose is meant to be played live and we can’t really wait to hit we road on a larger scale.