We live in a world where there are literally millions of bands to check out. What do you have that sets you apart?
-This question is so complex it almost hurts! No living band with less than a 30-years long career should answer a question like that! Haha. Really, we can say we try to be like nobody. We have never thought “hey, we have to try to sound like that band, because that music rocks!”. We know music is an art, and arts exist to communicate something. A painter with no inspiration is just putting colors on a canvas, a poet with no emotions just words on a paper. We try to say something in every song, something like “ok, that’s our point of view”. We don’t pretend to be pioneers, we do not know if there’s anything totally unique in our songs, we just try to be totally honest and open. Any artist wants to be listened, watched, admired, that’s obvious. Artists should feel that spark of creation, like something that really needs to come out from within and be expressed. We want to let our messages be as uncontaminated as we can.
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
-The name was created even earlier than we decided to write our own songs. That’s a lot to do with our singer’s mania for psychological subjects, with anything related to the subconscious and generally with human brain processes. Our name says we don’t settle for scratching the surface, but we want to go deeper, both for music and lyrics. We are aware that simple messages come through complex creative processes. This is exactly who we are.
What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of music you play? What inspires you today?
-Each member of the band has a different musical background. Name a rock genre spanning from the 70s to today and surely one of us listens to (or used to listen to) that kind of music. Plus you can add 80’s electronic music, American folk music, musicals and a bunch of other genres. There are few band names we have in common. Most people would imagine Dream Theater to be among that, being prog metal champions as they are, but that is only partially true and we surely not aim to that kind of sound. I suppose this diversity is the reason for all the various styles you can hear in our songs. We can approach every new song we write as a new standalone project. If you really want names, well… The Police, Iron Maiden, Pain of Salvation, Van Halen, Alice in Chains, Genesis, Whitesnake, Depeche Mode, Devin Townsend. No intentions to be exhaustive. Talking about today, there are a lot of bands to listen to. The last couple of years have finally seen a sort or rebirth for creativity in rock music and we feel a wave of new chances and interest in the audience. Opeth, Pain of Salvation, Devin Townsend, Disturbed, Ayreon, Steven Wilson, Transatlantic, are masters to take as examples of how original and successful music still can be and I’m not talking about a hundred other great bands.
What is the advantages/disadvantages of CD and vinyl these days of internet promotion where digital seems to be king?
-From our point of view, there are no real disadvantages. There are people who want the physical copy, they want something to put on the bookshelf. Somebody loves to grab the vinyl and the gesture of picking the stylus on the record player. Others want to read the physical booklet while listening to the CD. Some others buy/collect CDs from their favorite artists and digital copies from all the others because of available space on their shelves. Diversity is really helpful these days. Think about on-demand tv services. That’s what people want now. We want the chance to choose the format we prefer. In the next future we’ll probably see a big growth for print-ondemand CDs and vinyls, or digital copy sales right at the merchandising desk through mobile payment. I can’t see why not. That’s already happening for books. In the 80’s a lot of friends just wanted mixed compilations, others wanted full albums only. That’s the same today, with digital downloads. They someway replaced tapes and made getting a fully legal personal compilation easier than ever, but that’s not for everyone. As the world and the people inevitably change, music must always be ahead of times. There’s no fear in change. Change is a natural bent for humankind, it’s part of evolution.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when your out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-That’s what most of us do too and the reason why platforms like Amazon gives you a free MP3 ripped copy when you purchase a CD. We are slightly worried about piracy, but that’s everchanging too. We are mostly worried about people who don’t think that somebody’s work is worth any money. Maybe musicians should include advertising tracks in their CDs? Haha, that could be an idea! If that’s enough for Spotify it could be good for bands too. Well, just kidding, I really hope not. Digital copies and streaming services are useful but relatively new. Sure we’ll see an evolution of the music rights management in the next years. Since the Napster case in the 90s, more and more legal digital download services have grown. We are at the beginning of the digital era and must be patient. Laws can’t always be ahead of times, but things are moving, countries have finally realized what’s happening in the digital world and that involves music too. Any revolution brings great chances. The music business is going through a hard crisis, because of the digital revolution. We must be open to new solutions. That already happened in the past and will always happen in the future. ‘
What part does art work and lay out play? Any message that you want to bring forth with it?
-That’s an attitude that changes from band to band. We love to make anything part of a bigger message or concept. A CD art cover is not different from a book cover, or a movie poster, that’s a part of the opera and an exciting one for sure! We put a lot of efforts both in Beholder’s cover and booklet layout. We wanted it to be homogeneous with the music, something to be pleasant to read along while you listen to our songs or even just by itself. Each song has its own page and image, because every one has a different mood and message, that’s part of the bigger concept of the album. It’s a lot of fun to hear people impressions when they put together music, lyrics and the image we choose for each song, because everyone interprets everything in a different way. Arts start from a personal point of view that becomes a stir for anyone interacting with that. It’s absolutely amazing.
Is it a whole different way to promote a band today with all these social media channels? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way? Playing live and word of mouth.
-Someone would say it’s easier, thanks to social media, but that also means that everyone can do it. It’s very tough to stand out against the crowd and there are almost no more filters. That’s a big chance for sure, but it’s really challenging too and brings you to be overexposed to the world, in any possible manner. Many of us are quite shy and don’t appreciate social media, but there’s actually no choice. Our crowdfunding campaign to support the making of Beholder success was accomplished with a big help from social media. We receive new contacts for reviews and interviews on our social media pages almost every day. That can’t be denied. You can’t live with them but you cannot live without, accept it or not. We appreciate the chance to spread our music in countries where it would have been almost impossible to be heard before.
Do you feel like you are a part of a scene, locally, nationally and internationally?
-Italy is a very difficult country to promote original music that’s not mainstream or someway pop, in many ways. Most venues and clubs will rather choose a tribute/cover band than anybody playing original/unknown music. Bigger cities like Milan or Rome give a few more chances, but still, prog rock made by perfect strangers is a niche here. This is a fact and that’s because people are not used to listening to new artists with no heavy rotation songs on pop radios or tv shows. That’s always meant a hard work to find gigs and live chances for us. Yet we must admit that some of us are well-known musicians in the local area and that’s very useful. Some of us have kids too and that makes even harder to plan concerts far from home. Answering your question, well, we sure feel part of a local scene. We are also very confident that Beholder will be well received in many countries, where prog rock is an established genre. Italy is our beloved homeland but we are aware that it will be our hardest challenge How much of a touring band are you?
Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
-Well, that’s a rock dogma. Gigs have always been a core element of being a musician. You cannot avoid playing live (if you are not Arjen Lucassen!!). But this era has seen so many dogmas fall, the economic crisis and technology put everything under new terms. We love playing live but we are aware that a good video promotion, for example, can give you more feedback and results under some circumstances. We believe that diversification and balance are the right answer once again.
What will the future bring?
-A new video soon, that’s for sure. We are currently producing the official music video for our first single from Beholder and plan to release new lyric videos for every song periodically. Hopefully, we’ll be able to play a few gigs in the next months and maybe shoot more official music videos, we’ll see.