For the longest of times I’ve had this romantic notion about PANDAEMONIUM being the perfect Italian metal band. Now that I had the chance to interview them I had to take it. A new, third album is to be released in early 2012. Answers by Lorenzo Zirilli and Daniel Reda. © 2011Anders Ekdahl
It’s been a while since your last record and it’s been awfully quiet about you. What have you been up to in-between?
-In these years, besides having to deal with our day-jobs, we also followed our side projects. We all play with other bands: Steve Volta, as you may know, released the second album of his solo band “Perpetual Fire”, Daniel Reda is recording an album with a gothic-death metal act called “Dying Moon”, Federico Ria played drums for several bands and Lorenzo Zirilli has just finished recording the first album of an alternative-rock band called “Mile Of Joy”.
You guys take your time between albums (6 years). Can you afford to take this long between albums when you’re a small Italian band and not big like Metallica?
-Actually the reason why it takes so much time is because we ARE a small Italian bands, unfortunately in Italy heavy metal doesn’t pay your bills, so we all have to deal with day-jobs, side-projects etc. in order to go on. This steals lots of time from our main project, for example we can’t afford to stay long period of time in studio, and when you can go to the studio only a couple of nights a week it takes an awful long time to get things done. Especially if you set your standard high, as we did for our third album!
Why does it take this long to get a new album out? Are you overly pedantic when writing music?
As we said, for our third work we decided to work very carefully in studio with Steve, who produced the album. Actually, the first draft of the album was already completed in 2008, it took the following three years in order to record all the songs properly at Steve’s “Burning Sound” Studios. Our songwriting process is pretty tricky, but fairly fast! Usually, Lorenzo or Daniel come up with the basic idea of the songs and the lyrics. Lorenzo usually records some demo-tape at home where he put some ideas of riffing (that Steve usually hates and changes completely) and the basic melody of the voice. Daniel writes his music only on piano instead. Than we discuss our ideas together and Steve starts working over the guitar, providing musical parts, keyboards arrangement, solos and so on. Finally, we work with Federico for the drum parts.
I have this romantic idea about Pandaemonium being the bearer of Italian symphonic heavy metal. How do you view your position on the Italian heavy metal scene? Do you feel you get the respect you deserve?
-We are flattered by your words! Heavy metal fans are the most loyal and intelligent people over the music business. That being said, sometimes we feel like some people, especially in Italy, don’t value power epic metal scene as it would be deserved and are a little confused about the history of it. For example, some youtube user once said that we clone the sound of Rhapsody (of Fire), that’s funny ’cause we started at the same time and we didn’t even know who Rhapsody was when we wrote our first album! We started these scene along with other great Italian acts when few were listening to power and symphonic metal, so it’s a bit frustrating seeing people hating on this genre and labeling all bands as clones. After all, power metal was the first proper Italian heavy metal scene, before that only a couple of Italian bands ever sold records worldwide, but now it’s taken for granted. Anyway, we do feel that most of the metal-heads can tell the difference between a “clone” and a genuine artist.
Your previous album’s artwork has been incredible. How important has it been to have the albums look great?
-In every fantasy inspired art the visual parts is very important. How would you feel if “Lord Of the Rings” movies had crappy special effects? Anyway, we have just been lucky to meet Diego Ferrarin, who is a fantastic artist. He did a lot of works with power metal bands, but we still feel that he made his best work with us. If our albums look fantastic, it’s only his fault!
What is it about fantasy that is so great that bands write entire concept albums based on fantasy themes?
-If you count how many love songs have been written over the years think you would agree that fantasy lyrics still have a long way to go. Anyway, fantasy is great because it gives you an imaginary setting where you can tell a story with imaginary characters, that – nonetheless – bears a deeper meaning that relates to real life or can be a metaphor of real feelings. For example, “Alone in the dark” tells the story of a young man chosen by a prophecy to lead an attack against an evil emperor, but by doing so it deals with human feelings like the pressure of other’s expectations and common people disbelief. “Two spirits one heart”, inspired by the movie “Eragon”, tells the deep bound between two creatures from different word, that one can see as a metaphor of impossible love.
Underground Symphony might not be the greatest record label in the world but do you feel that they helped the band more than damaged it in getting the name out to the public?
-Underground Symphony was a great label that helped lots of bands to spread their music and was one of the first to believe and to develop a proper Italian power metal scene. To be honest, we think that in the past years they should have concentrated more on their most valuable projects. We have nothing against them, they also had to deal with music industry crisis, but we do feel that something
more could have been done for us.
Your new album will be released by a German label. How will this help spread the name of Pandaemonium to those most likely interested in the band?
-We hope it will help us to reach more people, especially in the North-Europe, we really think you would love our third album if you got a chance to hear it. It’s heavy, it’s epic, and it’s not cheesy at all.
What’s the difference working with an Italian contra German label?
-With an Italian label you have a warmer relationship with people, you speak the same language, you share the same background, but it takes lots of time, talk and rethinking to get things done. With a German label you do things right away with a couple of short e-mails, and you only have one word. We really trust IceWarrior and working with them has been fantastic up to now, but to give you the definitive answer to your question we have to wait for the release of the album!
Is Pandaemonium a touring band? What is the ultimate live show like?
-We love to play live, but it’s very hard for us to find good place to play in Italy. Our dream for a live show would be playing with an orchestra in front of a large audience and on a big stage, where we would express ourselves at best. But also seeing some hundreds of people jumping and singing along a song that you wrote would be more than enough!
Now that there’s a new third album out will we see the fourth album in 2017 or do you intend to work faster the next time?
-We promise that we will work faster if our album hits the top 40! We are already making projects on our fourth album, maybe it will be a concept, but right now we are focusing on “The Last Prayer”. We want to spread our music everywhere, and if this album will be successful, a fourth album will come along much faster! So support us, buy our records and come to our shows!!!