TALISMAN STONE is one hell of a cool band. If you haven’t checked them out yet do so and you will not regret it. Interview with Erica. Anders Ekdahl ©2012
OK could you please give is a brief recount of the history of TALISMAN STONE?
Erica: Beginning as a duo in 2007, Talisman Stone became a trio in 2009, when Erica Bassani (bass and vocals) joined Andrea Giuliani (bass, vocals and sitar) and Lucia Centolani (drums & tablas). Since our beginning we tried to reach a personal sound mixing our different musical tastes. It all happened in a spontaneous way. We can say that there was a special chemistry among us that made us able to create an original sound without any constriction. We were only following the flux of our own creativeness.
The first time I heard a band with no guitars but two basses was the Swedish band Borås Energi. Why are there no guitars?
Erica: We wanted to have a low frequency sound and experiment with an instrument that hasn’t been “exploited” so much. Well, you can find new sounds with any instrument if you want to, but we were really fascinated by the chance to elaborate a heavy bass sound: its frequencies go straight to your brain at a certain volume they’re literary able shake it! I think it’s like entering inside the mind of the listener, something intriguing and one of our aims as well.
Have you had much criticism for not being a conventional line-up? Does it really matter how the line-up looks like if the music is great?
Erica: Well, not so much indeed. More than criticism we had, especially at the beginning, some misunderstandings, we can say. You know, there are some musical critics that are not even able to discern the difference between a bass and a guitar.. once one of them said about us: “Yes, they have a strange sound.. There’s something wrong in their guitars, they certainly must improve their way of playing”. I think this episode is really symptomatic of how hard it is to be a musician these days. So, I think that if your music is great the line up doesn’t really matter, but it takes some time to be really listened to. It takes a hard constancy but at the end you’ll be appreciated for you music. So, do not ever give up!
How would you like to describe your style of music to somebody not familiar with you guys?
Erica: This is our most often asked question! Well, the truth is that’s difficult for me to give a precise definition of our music. Indeed, more or less any time, a give different descriptions. I would say that our music gets you through a psychedelic stoner journey walking at a doom pace, meeting oriental pixies and lovecraftian monsters.
Where do you see yourself fit in? What kind of scene do you feel that you are a part of?
Erica: Hard to answer! Our music is something odd, hard to define. Maybe for these reasons we usually feel part of that post-hardcore scene that recalls bands such as Swans, Neurosis, Cult of Luna.. Or maybe, thanks to their influences, bands such as Siouxsie and The Banshees, Joy Division, The Cure, Killing Joke..
What kind of reactions have you had to your album so far? I like it a lot.
Erica: Well, so far we had really positive reviews. We didn’t even expect such a huge consent. Our last album was largely appreciated both on paper and live. Thanks to Lovecraftopolis we had the chance to share the stage with bands such as Sleep, Electric Wizard, OM… We consider this album as a rewarding child, the result of our passion for music.
How pleased are you with the album now that you have lived with it some time?
Erica: We undoubtedly still enjoy it a lot. We love playing it live but at the same time we feel like it’s time to compose new songs. After a while you’ve got a sort of physical need, the overwhelming desire to let your creativeness spread.
When you are a smaller band what kind of live scene is there? How important is playing live to a band?
Erica: When you’re a teenager you begin playing live in the city pubs hoping at least your friends will come. Then, if you really love what you’re doing, you realize that you have to play live as much as possible and outside the town. In Italy the owner of a pub gives you a refund only if you play in the city you live because you’ll bring drinking friends at your concert. Alcohol means money, money means happiness, and happiness means a little recognition for the band. We prefer playing live all around Italy at our own expenses and not in front of people that comes to our gigs only because they’re our friends. Actually, outside Romagna (the region we live in) we found a lot of people appreciating our music and that meant for us an incentive to continue composing. So, I think that playing live is maybe the most important think for a band: it allows you to be more known and, most of all, it’s really funny and exciting!
If you were to go on tour what kind places can you play? Is it worth it to go on tour? What does a tour give to you as a band?
Erica: Well, it doesn’t matter if you’re playing in a small garage or on a big stage. What’s important is enjoying yourself! We also played in front of three people but it was a great experience, too. Even in that occasion we found someone who appreciated us. It was worth playing even if only for one person and for us Talisman Stone. For what concerns going on tour, I think it’s a great experience, both on a personal level and on a musical one. For example, while we were on tour in Ireland we met a lot of great people! First of all our friends Electric Taurus, Weed Priest and Trevor Seery who sent on air our song “By the sun of the lightkeeper”. It was really funny touring with them, they’re special person and made us live a wonderful experience. We found lots of fans and friends. Yes, it’s something it’s worth doing.. We’re actually looking forward to going on tour once again!
What do you plan for the future?
Erica: At the moment we’re writing new songs. We’re trying to evolve our sound adding new instruments but without changing our peculiarities. We don’t want to subvert our style and at the same time we’re trying to compose without any preconception. In short, we continue to be guided by our creativity without any boundary. The result? Who knows! We’ll see where our instinct we’ll guide us!