It wasn’t the band’s name that got me interested in OvO but the music. So to find out more I interviewed the band. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
Back when I first got into music a band’s name could make me buy a record. Nowadays there are millions of bands out there. How important is the band’s name in giving out the right kind of vibe?
-It is more important nowadays than back then. But unfortunately we come from that “back then”, as we formed in 2000, when a short name that everybody could remember was good enough. Now, it’s better than to have a long name that you can google, and that can give the people an idea of the scene you belong to. But that wasn’t the case when we started, so we just choose a short name that looked kind of cool when you write it, and that was it.
I wanted to start a band in the 80s but couldn’t find the right people to do so with. What was it that made you want to do the band?
-We used to be a couple, now we’re just best friends, almost brother and sister. but back then it was natural for us to start a band together, in order to travel and spend time together around the world. I was the trained musician, Stefania was the natural, instinctive improviser. It was easy to create a musical and spiritual relationship, and it still is.
With so many genres and sub-genres of rock/metal today what is your definition of the music you play?
-I really don’t know, and I hope not to sound pretentious. Whoever listens to OvO can tell that it’s hard to file. It’s relateed to noiserock, metal, industrial, hardcore, punk, sludge, doom, harsh noise, not even mentioning the more abstract definitions like experimental or avant-x. We’re a little bit of all those, plus somethning else, but we don’t belong to any scene.
How do you arrange the tracks? Is there a method to how you arrange the songs on a record?
-It changed during the years, We started in 2000 as a total improv band, and that’s how the first 2 records (Assassine and Vae Victis) were born. Then we slightly started to repeat some parts of the improvisations every night in concert, creating a sort of song. when a certain amount of songs was ready, we put them into a recording. And that’s how “Cicatrici” and “Miastania” were born. But it really didn’t catch the live feeling, so we started to use the opposite approach: creating the song in studio, always starting from improvisation, fixing it, and then rearranging it for the concert. You can find this approach in “Crocevia” and “Cor Cordium”. Finally, for the last 2 albums, we are using a much longer and more complex system. I go to a studio and create a lot of drums patterns, about 1 minute long each. Stefania chose the ones that she likes better, and we return to the studio where she can improvise on them, until we have a sort of preproduction with some fixed ideas. Finally, we go to the proper studio to record the album. This whole process takes about 2 months, and it was used for “Abisso” and for this last one, “Creatura”.
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?
-Thanx for this, it’s very important to us when people notice that what we do doesn’t sound like anything else before. As I said, it’s quite simple, because whatever I play, Stefania will come up with her unique style, something which is ancestral and unexplainable. When she sings and plays on it, everything I can do will sound like just OvO sounds.
How important is the graphic side of the band? How much thought goes into art work etc.?
-That’s more Stefania’s part, she took care of the artworks of the first albums, and then decided who was going to do it for the next ones. She likes esotheric references and she has a very clear esthetical vision, I can say the artwork is very important for her, and definitely helps to create an imaginary reference for the band.
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?
-The album is definitely less important today, even if metalheadz are among the last ones to give up with it. It’s a shame, cause some genres can be better appreciated on an album’s long distance. Songs can be important of course, but I’m still very fascinated by the whole album idea. Anyway, even the album is something that was born in the 20th century, with the invention of record players. Music has been heard in many different ways during the centuries. it was just a piece of paper with notes on it and, for the luckier ones, the chance to see it in concert, until the radio came. Then the radio created the 4 minutes songs format, together with the first 7″ and 10″. Then the 12″ created the album, then the download and youtube put it back to the song (or video), but now the streaming is giving the musicians a whole new possibility to share long (or even very long) recordings, so we’ll see.. The only thing that’s always been there is the live performance.
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?
-As I said, things will just change, but there will be always space for music, especially for live music, no matter how.
Is there a scene to speak of for a band like yours? Where do you fit in?
-We don’t really fit anywhere, but at the same time we fit in a lot of open minded spots os different scenes.
What does the future hold?
-We will tour for the whole year 2017. Then we will work on our other projects (Stefania has a solo act called ?Alos, and work with theatre companies as well, while I play in Ronin and Bachi Da Pietra and direct the Byzantium Experimental Orchestra), and then we will work on the next album, which may be fully electronic.