Sunday, June 20, 2010
A Sunday Conversation with Ufomammut
Do Italians do it better? When it comes to psychedelic/experimental metal, the answer is a loud “Si!” Ufomammut recently released their 5th album entitled Eve and it’s a mind bending mix of Pink Floyd at Pompeii trippiness and Black Sabbath heaviosity. Bassist/vocalist Urlo and guitarist Poia were nice enough to answer some questions for us here at the Ripple Effect. Even though their music is deadly serious, these guys have a great sense of humor. Pour yourself a nice glass of grappa and read on. Ciao!
Eve is your fifth album and contains 1 song divided into 5 parts. Talk a little about the songwriting process and how it was different from your previous albums.
Urlo: It's been a different approach to the song structure, working on a single long track has been quite different from what we've done in the past. We started with the idea of realizing an album structured like “Meddle” of Pink Floyd but we did the mistake to start from the long song.
Poia: We focused more on transitions and dynamic between parts: from whisper to scream.
Is Eve a “concept album” (like Tommy or The Wall) or more of a musical suite (like Tales of Topographic Oceans or Love Supreme)?
Urlo: Don't know, it's just what came to our minds.
Poia: I think it's more a very long single song.
Where did you record Eve and how long did it take?
Urlo: We recorded Eve in Roma, at Locomotore studio with our Soundlord Lorenzo Stecconi.
We had it done in 10 days.
For someone who’s never heard Ufomammut before, how would you describe it to them?
Urlo: Well, it's a nice album, just give it a listen.
Poia: It's a mixture of easy listening and complicated listening. So you'll need several listenings for appreciate the listening.
What was the first music that really excited you? And how long after that did you pick up an instrument?
Urlo: Sex Pistols. Then I started in play bass accidentally cause our previous bass player left the band and we had a gig coming in a week. I was only a singer...ahahaah
Poia: It was an Italian musician called Franco Battiato, in 1980. Then, I began with the guitar when I was seventeen, trying to play Led Zeppelin songs...
Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations? Favorite albums?
Urlo: Meddle of Pink Floyd, Malval of Shora, Lysol of Melvins, Lucifer Rising of Bobby Beausoleil and many more.
Poia: Beatles, Pink Floyd, Sabbath, Zep, Purple, King Crimson, Spirit, Captain Beefheart, Creedence, Ten Years After, Area, Sleep, Kyuss of Blues for the Red Sun, The God Machine, 35007, the early Motorpsycho and Monster Magnet, Entombed, Sons of Otis...
What current bands do you find inspiring?
Urlo: Shora, Shining and everything starting with SH.
Poia: Shora for me too, and Circle.
How do you feel about people posting your music for free on blogs?
Urlo: It's good. The more people listening to us the more we'll be happy.
Poia: It's an important thing. This way the music is flowing around the world. Then, if you like it you can always buy the physical object containing the music.
Your records have tons of cool layers. Do you try and recreate the sound of your records when you play live or do you prefer a rawer approach?
Urlo: We try to reproduce the record live the best as possible. Working on Eve has been difficult, there are a lot of layers!
Poia: Anyway live is different thing, and thanks to our live soundmaster Ciccio, we are both layered and totally raw :-)
Ever had any good Spinal Tap moments on stage?
Urlo: Mmmhh... guess not.
Poia: I must confess, never saw the movie. But I'll watch it very soon, and I'll tell you.
Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?
Urlo: I start with the digital and if I like it I buy CD (cause I listen to it easily). I love vinyls.
Poia: I think CD, but I prefer the big size of vinyl, for appreciating artworks too.
What’s the crowd like at your shows?
Urlo: Bearded men screaming. We're searching for girls, possibly not bearded...
Poia: It depends on the country we play.
How’s your hearing these days?
Urlo: You mean my ears? A little deaf, but still good. If you mean what I'm listening to... a lot of different stuff.
Poia. My right ear is frizzling.
Bands like Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator and Gentle Giant found an audience in Italy before the rest of the world. Why do you think Italians love prog rock so much?
Urlo: Because in Italy people is more interested in the good technique first. That's why nobody like Ufomammut here...
Poia: You have said all...
Were hardcore bands like Raw Power and Negazione an inspiration?
Urlo: Not for me. Never listened to them too much.
Poia: I'm sorry, I know them only by name.
Who’s the biggest mammone (mamma’s boy) in the band?
Urlo: Poia? Or me? Or Vita maybe? We're all mammoni!
Is it frustrating to go on tour and have to endure inferior food?
Urlo: Sure. We need spaghetti to survive, like vampires we need to refill our bodies with pasta. And coffee.
Poia: Of course. As Italians we are very proud of our food and wine. We know, we are boring about food, but it's probably the ONLY thing in which “Italians do it better” ;-)
Why do northern Italians look down upon their countrymen below Rome?
Urlo: Because we're idiots.
Poia: Since the fall of the Roman Empire, Italy has always been divided. It is a quite young nation, formed by several regions, each with its own dialect/language, food, wine (again!) and, amongst all, habits. This is peculiar of Italy, but could be a problem for someone. Even in 5 km things slightly change. For many people difference between us is an excuse for divisions, instead a matter of enrichment. We can apply the same consideration on what it's happening today with the problem of foreign immigration. It's a natural and unstoppable process, the chance of mixing dna and cultures. But it's seen as a real danger, especially from the “most blind” part of our country, including our government.
What’s next Ufomammut?
Urlo: Ufomammut again. And hopefully a little of Farwest Zombee...
Poia: Dont know, we'll see in future.
Preferisci pasta e ceci o pasta e fagioli?
Urlo: Pasta e Ceci forever!!!
Poia: Pasta, aglio,olio e peperoncino.