Do you feel that is has gone the way you intended when you formed back in the days?
-Hi, Valerio (the vocalist) speaking. Rome In Monochrome was born as a Gianluca’s solo project so I think that the six of us are not exactly what he thought about when he decided to start. I was the first to join him and we have always thought about playing melancholic music without borders or limits or specific genres’ topics to use: so I think that maybe this is how we figured it out, or almost. But, just to be clear: we love to be guided by music in places we never thought we would go and so we started knowing only the main direction, but not having a map. The trip is still on and it will always be, until Rome In Monochrome will exist.
How do you feel about your latest recording? Did it come out the way you expected it to?
-Well, we like it and we feel that it’s a strong album. Personally, I feel well represented by the songs and the sound, it’s powerful and heartbreaking. Each record is a picture of who you are when you write and record it and we just expected this from Away from light. I think it works, it represents us.
Do you feel that you by now has found a sound that is the band and that you can build on it?
-We have our feet on a solid ground, for sure: we like our sound. But, as I said before, the trip is on and we are going forward: the general mood will stay the same because it’s us, this is our dark side, this is where we meet when me make music together but we are working on some new stuff and we are still moving and expanding. Expect different sides of resignation and despair, we will never stop moving until we’ll be dead.
Is having a message in the lyrics important to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
-Of course yes. I am the lyricist and words hold my vision, my way of thinking and feeling, my way of watching the world. I am crushed by feeling that human life means nothing at all, crushed by staring at the sky and feeling so small and insignificant, obsessed by the past without melancholia but listening to the noise of my breaking heart. These are the main topics, resignation takes the lead.
How important is the cover art work for you? Can a really cool cover still sell an album in this day and age of digital download?
-Well, I don’t know and I just don’t care. Obviously I care about selling records, simply because it’s the only way to continue writing and releasing music, and the only ones I heard saying they didn’t mind about it are the ones who sell a lot of records. But “there’s no school like the old school” and I have always been and still am a maniac record collector, so I always thought that artworks and packaging are a great part of the whole thing. I also use all modern devices, Rome In Monochrome are online anywhere possible but I think we all humans are becoming noise, wires, fastly travelling data and we are missing the feeling of holding and having something. This is not my way, this is not the way Rome In Monochrome is.
Why is it so hard for bands that come from places not the US or UK/Sweden/Scandinavia to break big? What is success to you and is it something you’d like to achieve?
-It’s difficult to say: it’s a mixture of culture, context, media attention, people. It’s not a matter of quality, I think. It holds a minute to recall great italian projects from pop to metal, but here there’s a lack of “international” approach in listening, starting from English language and ending to sounds and production, we are closed in our mental borders and I think it’s the same for a lot of other countries. I always thought that globalization has killed identities and so this conservative approach could be just self-defence but it leads to blind resistance and closed mentality. Maybe truth is in the middle, as it often is. Anyway, humanity tends not to be curious, and so it has always been easier to look in Scandinavia to find a new band to discover and not to search in less known scenes/places. Nowadays there is this web that connects you with everyone on earth so it happens to become important for someone in America and not in your hometown: it’s strange.
About success: we are ambitious. Our main ambition is to be ourselves and represent ourselves through music: I always say that success and fame are out there for someone or more, I would be curious to experience it but I don’t lose sleep about it. We are here doing our thing, let’s see what happens.
Today the competition is harder. You got plenty of digital platforms for new talent to display their music. How do you do to really stand out in a world where everything but the music is blind to the listener?
-It’s hard. Our approach seem to be backdated but I don’t mind: I love cover arts, buy originals, think about music in the form of an album and not of a single song in mp3 format. Our music is to be listened and to be lived, not to be consumed: we follow our rules, and stay true to ourselves, it’s the only way we know to do this. As I said before, let’s see what happens.
What is your local scene like? How important is a national scene for a band to be able to break out and make it international?
-Well, we have a lot of great bands, not only in metal scene. We have strong relationships with fellows that have decided like us to sell their hearts writing their own music, we support each other but, sadly, I can’t think of us as a scene: maybe it’s just because of my negative behavior. I think that a real national scene has always been important to break up but maybe I’m too backdated and web replaced everything.
Rock and metal has come a long way since the early 70s but still some people’s attitudes towards it seem to be left in the stone age. How accepted is metal in your area? Is it like in Finland where it seems to come with the mother’s milk?
-Here? Surely metal is not a part of Italian mainstream culture, except for the “million sellers well known names” we all know. Great bands but always the same people to live shows, events that happen the same day in the same city, it’s a sort of ghetto.
Everyone is upset and pissed off about this situation but the first one that emerges from this sort of paralysis is perceived as a betrayer and accused to be a “sell-out”. This makes you want to make your own way and don’t mind about others.
What does the future hold for you?
-Well, we’ll soon discover it, aren’t we? Thank you for the interesting questions. See you on the road and join the cult of the absence of color.