A long time ago I reviewed a STORMLORD album. Then they fell off my grid until now when a new album has emerged. Interview answered by Cristiano Borchi, Vocals and Francesco Bucci, Bass. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
What is it that keeps you going after all these years? How many times have you started anew now?
(Cristiano Borchi): What keep us on the way is only the love and passion we have for the music, and all our loyal fans that keep the flame burning. You can imagine how many shits can happen in more than 20 years of activity, but we solved any kind of problem at the end, from smaller to bigger, in order to bring on Stormlord… we are here to stay!
When you’ve been kicked and thrown to the floor how do you pick yourself up? How will this time around be different?
(Cristiano Borchi): Again, the desire to continue the band and love of fans make the difference. “Mare Nostrum” has been our bigger success ever, and the first reviews of “Hesperia” are the greatest we ever got, so we are really excited at the moment!
Has it ever felt like you’ve been at the wrong place in time and that your music would have worked so much better at a different time or have you always been in phase with time?
(Cristiano Borchi): Yes, we felt it often. To be a metal band from Italy, especially from Rome, makes things more difficult: we are quite far from the center of Europe, and it means high costs to reach most part of EU Countries. I have to say we got often some prejudice problems too during the years, many persons in music biz don’t like to work with Italian people, sadly that’s a fact. I don’t want to say it’s impossible for a band from Italy to reach some goals, but it’s more difficult.
Probably we was in the wrong time too… when we were dressing in 1997 cloaks, swords etc… and start to combine epic with black metal, start to use medieval and classic instruments in this kind of music etc etc etc, no one was doing it… maybe it was too soon for things like them…
You got a new album to promote. How would you like to characterize this one? How does it fit into the discography of STORMLORD?
(Francesco Bucci): “Hesperia” is our first concept album and it’s based on the epic poem written by the ancient Roman poet Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro) between 29 and 19 BC. While choosing the title of the new album I was thinking about the greek/latin word that means “land of the sunset” or “Western land”, the name whereby ancient greeks called Italy, because it recalls the journey made by Aeneas and his companions from the ruins of Troy to the shores of Latium, to reach the land where, one day, Rome will rise.
On the other hand, you can intend the whole “reaching Hesperia” concept as a development of the original “Supreme Art Of War” topic: the will to fight to achieve what you want.
(Cristiano Borchi): About “Hesperia”, I think it express the most epic and solemn soul of “Mare Nostrum” but with many new ideas and elements. It’s the natural son of “Mare Nostrum”, with a bigger pathos and glorious incipit.
What is the Italian metal scene like for a band like STORMLORD? Do you get the same kind of respect that f x Lacuna Coil gets?
(Cristiano Borchi): We have a good fan base here, but Italy don’t support its bands too much, or at least not at all. It seems people here need to have the approval of foreign Countries to get seriously interested in an Italian band. And even in this case, a part of the audience will look at it suspiciously. Lacuna Coil for example are not supported so much in Italy, and it’s a shame because they are a great band and really nice guys. And that has been the same with Rhapsody in the first years.
So, backing to your previous question, an Italian band have to fight many prejudice problems in Europe, and it’s rare it have a strong support in hometown. That’s why you can notice many Italian bands find their way to access Europe through USA (I think to Fleshgod Apocalypse, Hour Of Penance or Lacuna Coil too for example).
I don’t like to dwell on the past too much but when you look back at the albums you’ve done is there one particular album you feel should have broken you “big”?
(Cristiano Borchi): To become a big band is an extensive combination of things, and a great album is only a basic part of the trip. We grooved up with “Mare Nostrum” and I hope we’ll continue with “Hesperia”.
When you have been around as long as you have how do you avoid repeating yourself? How do you come up with new songs to write?
(Cristiano Borchi): Simply being ourselves. The approach of the band to the new album has been similar to “Mare Nostrum”’s one. That album has been a step for the band in music view. It has been wrote in a totally spontaneous and free way, and the same is for “Hesperia”. Maybe this time even more than in the past. We want to express ourselves with the music, and it’s not important how you can label our sound, or if that riff is good ‘cause it recall the sound of someone else (or a specific metal scene) etc… If the songwriting is spontaneous, it will sound 100% Stormlord even if you develop your sound. To be spontaneous means also you need to take your time to complete the work at best you can/want, and it’s the reason because we are quite slow in releasing new albums. But we don’t fear to repeat us, because we are the first ones not interested in repeating ourselves.
(Francesco Bucci): right now we are working that way: Gianpaolo (the guitar player) writes most of the riffing, both on guitar and keyboards, than he works with me for the early arrangements, to find some inspiration to go on, to develop the music and to build the structure of the song, then we record a very rough demo on the computer. When we have this rough structure we share it with all the other guys and we start to work on the full song all together in the rehearsal room; everyone of us give his opinion and we try to arrange not only our parts, but we even exchange suggestions each other (it could happen than Gianpaolo gives me a good advice for the bass line, that I suggest some ideas for the drums or that Cristiano speaks about some keyboard arrangements, just as an example). As the final step, Gianpaolo and Andrea (Angelini – guitar player) works on the final guitars arrangements, Gianpaolo and Riccardo (Studer – Keyboards) works on the orchestral arrangements and me and Cristiano works on the vocals. In the end, I write the lyrics.
How important is the presentation of the band? How much in control are you of the way the band is portrayed?
(Cristiano Borchi): We have full control on it. Our costumes for “Hesperia” are creations of an Italian stylish artist, Salvo Cardillo, that’s also a good friend of us. When we was thinking about the look of the band for “Hesperia”, we was searching for something different in epic, as the album is. I think Stormlord have its own sound, and we want the same for the visual concept. We was searching for something good but different, not seen hundreds of times in folk pagan bands nowadays. At the end we understood that, like for the music, the only way was to create our own look ex novo, with no standard remarks. We already knew the great style of Salvo’s creations, so the right choice was to give the work to a professional of dress creations. We are really proud of them, Salvo entered in the sound of the band and perfectly understood the feel we was searching for, combining ancient elements with modern ones… the same of Stormlord music.
What do you feel that STORMLORD has to offer in 2013?
(Cristiano Borchi): A load of Extreme Epic Metal.
What future lies ahead?
(Cristiano Borchi): Hit the stages.