The Italian technical/symphonic death metal band Fleshgod Apocalypse, just released their third full-length album “Labyrinth” through Nuclear Blast Records. We had a little talk with lead vocalist and guitarist Tommaso Riccardi about this new epic release. Read the interview here
Revolution-Music: Hallo. First of I would like to congratulate you on your new album "Labyrinth" which will be released August 16th. Could you start out by introducing yourself and tell us what part in the band you have?
Answer: Hi, I am Tommaso Riccardi, and I'm the lead singer and guitarist of Fleshgod Apocalypse.
Revolution-Music: Why did you choose this title "Labyrinth" for the record, does it have any special meaning?
Answer: Of course it has. The title of our latest album is referred to the ancient greek myth of Theseus and the Labyrinth of knossos.
We liked to use this story as a metaphore with life and especially with one of the most important fucuses in our life (if not THE most important): the search for ourselves. I always think that there are two kinds of death: one phisical, and one mental, or maybe it's better to say "interior". Most of the people in this world die much before their death, and this happens because they find a lot of excuses to tell themselves that they cannot reach their deepest dreams or be what they want. This is a mental cage, created by fear, that prevents us to see the truth: the only way to reach what we desire is knowing and accepting ourselves. And this is a very hard work to accomplish. Theseus represents a hero who recognizes his roots, that is the very first step of this journey, and fights to understand them deeply. Then he takes the responsability of changing his destiny and his people's destiny by hiding between the 14 sacrifed to the Minotaur, to kill him and bring revenge on Minos, the greedy king of Crete, representing someone who wants everything without giving anything.
The labyrinth perfectly represents ourselves and the complexity of our soul, a place where you can easely get lost. This is why, we also need the help of the others to accomplish this difficult goal.
Ariadne, daughter of Minos, helps Theseus giving him a golden thread to show him the way out after he kills the Minotaur: this shows the importance of the others. We need to be able to trust the others and accept their help. Only a strong hero is able to do this, and break the wall of arrogance. Anyway, there's a tragic ending. Theseus doesn't understand deeply the role played by Ariadne in his victory, and abandons her on the Island of Nassus. He will pay with his father's death, due to his negligence: he forgets to take off the black vessils from the ship, signs of defeat, when he comes back to Athens; and that's when his father, destroyed by the thought of a dead son, eaten alive by the Minotaur, throw himself in the sea from the cliffs.
Revolution-Music: When you started working on this album, how long did the process take from the first step to the final product? Was it hard to write new material for this record or did it come naturally for you?
Answer: it took about 5 to 6 months for the composition, and about 2 and a half months for the recording sessions. Well, all of our composing process is very natural. Success is always brought by a big curiosity and the freedom to experiment whatever you consider valid. It's a matter of being able to take the serious things like a game, to challenge yourself but not taking things too much seriously. When you can do this, than you can do serious things, and not be killed by the pressure. I think that Francesco Paoli e Francesco ferrini, the composers of Fleshgod Apocalypse, are very good at following their instinct and in the meantime using rationality and musical knowledge to compose music in a very sinthetic and functional way. Nothing is left to the case, really nothing. We knew since the beginning that we made experiences and improvements in these two years that could only give us the abilities to do better than before, and I feel we accomplished this goal.
Revolution-Music: You recorded the album with Stefano Morabito at 16th Cellar Studio. Why did you choose to work with Morabito and how was he to work with?
Answer: Stefano is our profucer since the begging, and the reason is that he is a sixth member, when we talk about recording an album. It's very important to work with someone who has a sincere artistic interest in the final result of the album, and not only the will to get payed. I think his presence is very important because he knows our music, he knows how we work, he knows what we want...he knows us! Even when recording, it's extremely important to have someone who deeply knows your potential and can always tell you when you could do better! Also, a lot of patience and cooperation is crucial when mixing and mastering such a full album, with all these insteuments playing and mixing together.
Revolution-Music: Are you trying to express something through your music?
Answer: oops...I think I kinda already answered to this one talking about Labyrinth...but yeah, of course we do. Our music talks about humans, and the many ways they behave, the reasons and the consequences. It's very important to talk about these things in this historical period. People seem to have lost the path, the reasons to build instead of destroying for no reason. I personally feel that music is a mission in this sense. To do something that I really love and do something good for myself, and for the others. Sharing all this with my band mates is an important expeeience to grow up and understand deeply the meaning of my existence. This is music, for me.
Revolution-Music: Who did the artwork and what is the idea behind it?
Answer: The artist is Colin Marks, with whom we decided to work again after two years of positive experience for which reguards some designs for t-shirts and backdrops. We found his style perfect for us, very classy and mysterious. The cover art in a very direct way represents this huge labyrinth getting lost in the horizon, to give the idea of something that is probably endless, since this journey we do in ourselves never ends, indeed.
Revolution-Music: How would you compare the material on this release to your previous material on "Agony" from 2011?
Answer: in my opinion, Agony was a very good album. On the other hand, it also was a first time, for which reguards many elements we introduced back in 2011. It was the first time we found ourselves to deal with an entire orchestra playing throughout the whole songs, something that deeply changes the process of composition, arrangement, production...etc.
This means that our style was still taking form and that obviously many things could still be improved and perfectioned. These two years gave us the time to understand all the little and big things that could be improved to reach a perfectly balanced music, and use in a functional way all the elements that we have in our music. So, it's useless to say that Labyrinth is a step forward towards Fleshgod's identity and maturity.
Revolution-Music: "Labyrinth" is said to feature guest appearances, can you elaborate on this?
Answer: Of course. We always liked the idea of cooperating with more musicians to enrich our albums. Untill now we only did it with Veronica Bordacchini, the operatic singer. This time we introduced some other elements, like, for example, the instrumental guitar song "Prologue" played by Marco Sensi, good friend of ours and amazing classical guitarrist, some parts of Orchestral snares played by Riccardo Perugini, and a Cello solo performed by Luca Moretti. Of course we collaborated again with Veronica for "Labyrinth".
Revolution-Music: What kind of stuff did you grow up listening to, and what kind new music do you listen to these days?
Answer: I really think that the imprinting is very important especially for your future musical taste. I had the chance, like most of the guys in the band, to have parents who listened to music, and not only to classical music (of which my father is a big listener for example) but a lot of rock and pop music of the past. I remember listening to The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd and Queen in my parents car while going on vacation, and I know that this is the kind of music of my imprinting. Same thing for the italian singers like Lucio Dalla, Franco Battiato, Fabrizio de Andrè, Francesco De Gregori, Renato Zero...the italian scene of the 70's and 80's was in my opinion incredibly rich and valid, and thats still one of our main influences!
Than obviuosly we spent many years into metal music, since we were 14 or something, going from the most classic albums to the different various metal genres. For which reguards today, we keep listening to every new form of metal to keep updated, but also continued expanding a lot our visual and try to get interested in many different kinds of music. If I could say some random names of bands we like I'd say Rammstein, Septic Flesh, Queens of the stone age, Foo Fighters, Muse, A perfect circle, Wintersun, The Faceless, Spock's beard, Elio e le storie tese, The Strokes, Cannibal Corpse.
Revolution-Music: Have any of these bands been source of inspiration for the album?
Answer: Yes. Our musical insipiration, in deed, comes from many different genres, including pop rock music. Music is architecture, you need to know the story, and the structure of music, of all the music, to create something valid and not anachronistic.
Revolution-Music: In your time as musicians, what is your biggest musical achievement so far?
Answer: Having played all this shows in the last 4 years. Nothing gives you more than experience. And experience on the on the road in my advice is the most important. Only certain adrenaline and certain huge bands and realities with which you need to compare yourself, can push you to the limit and make you understand the little and big mechanisms behind the path to become a professional musician. I couldn't even imagine the things that I learned in this last years, and I'm always thankful for this. It's a crazy job and a beautiful one. All in all, I think the most important skill to achieve, and the one you mostly learn while doing this, is to let yourself completely go. You already have everything. You just need to discover it and let it out.
Revolution-Music: Could we expect any European tour and maybe see the band back in action here in Denmark any time soon?
Answer: Of course. Unfortunately I still cannot say anything official, since in this period we are working on a bunch of different stuff, but I know we're gonna hit the whole Europe pretty soon to promote Labyrinth. In the meantime, we are preparing the new show with new songs from the album and getting ready for the North America tour with Wintersun.
Revolution-Music: What would be the ultimate tour, festival or show for you to play at?
Answer: there are many we still didn't do and that we are waiting to get the chance to do as soon as possible. Obviously for which reguards europe one of those is Wacken Open Air, and certanly HellFest that is getting huge. On the other hand we did some crazy stuff already of which we are very proud such as Heavy MTL in Canada last year, or the Summer Slaughter tour 2011; cool stuff man!
Revolution-Music: Do you have any breaking news with the bands?
Answer: As I was saying, we're gonna do direct support to Wintersun in this August in North America. We are very excited about this particular tour because we know it's gonna be huge and really important, being also the first promotional tour for Labyrinth. Also, I know we're gonna start thinking about the new videoclip as soon as we come back...so, stay tuned.
Revolution-Music: That's all we've get this time, do you have anything that you'd like to add or say?
Answer: Yeah, of course. Whatever is the kind of music you like, support good music.
Revolution-Music: We would like to say thanks a lot for your time. And we wish all you guys all the luck in the future whatever it might bring.
Answer: Thank you! Cheers
FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE - Minotaur (The Wrath of Poseidon)
OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO
- Band/Kunstner: Fleshgod Apocalypse
- Interview med: Tommaso Riccardi (Lead vocals/Guitar)
- Interview dato: Fredag, 16 August 2013
- Samarbejdspartner: Nuclear Blast Records