Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A non-Sunday Conversation with Ogen

When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.

What have been your musical epiphany moments?


Surely when I was given as a birthday present the eponimous album from Iron Maiden. Since then I devoted myself to the discovey of this rather unknown dominion that back then was for me the heavy metal world. Then I would probably say, seeing Tiamat supporting Black Sabbath in my own city, which got me into fantastic bands far from being mainstream that populated the scene in Europe from the early Nineties.

Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

First comes the riff, but the riffing itself is loosely bound to a lyrical, or conceptual idea that strengthens and in some way leads the writing process. Sometimes it takes some just few hours to have the final song, more often it's, maybe, a matter of weeks, it all depends on how excited I get with the newborn riffs and... on my laziness!

Who has influenced you the most?


Bands from the Eighties – melodic stuff as Iron Maiden and other NWOBHM bands – and various bands from the northern side of Europe, like Emperor, Ulver, In the woods, and other Norwegian acts, Swedish bands like Bathory (mainly the epic stuff) and more elaborate stuff like Opeth and maybe old Katatonia, but even some mid Nineties' doom-death bands like My dying bride. But I think that a real musical influence was mainly played by the above mentioned black metal bands.

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

I really love mountains, and Рeven though it may sound a bit clich̩ РI still think they are a perfect subject for writing lyrics and music that's both intriguing and epic. I love mountains not only from a poetic, literary perspective since I always 'lived' this kind of environment, being the Alps really close to where I live and having climbed, skied and walked a lot on their backs through all my life...

Genre's are so misleading and such a way to pigeonhole bands. Without resorting to labels, how would you describe your music?

An adventurous, sincere, epic output of basic musical needs.


What is you musical intention? What are you trying to express or get your audience to feel?

I'd be more than happy if I could bring the audience to feel for a while isolated from the noise and repetitiveness of daily life; I'd like to offer a brief yet intense way to rediscover the basic need to feel in touch with nature and awe-inspiring elements – like mountains – that are the same age of the Earth.


Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?

The best Spinal Tap moment of my musical 'career' actually deals with another band I played in for the last 15 years. It happened while gigging abroad and basically it was me thanking the great audience we were lucky to play before through a microphone connected to an harmonizer / octaver set tu 'on', so that each time I addressed the audience my voice was actually super high-pitched...


What makes a great song?


The feel to be hearing something that's obviously great and simple but none ever managed to write before.


Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?


I really can' remember which one it was! I remember that with every new slice of music I was able to write, felt that something was happening with my compositional skills and it kind of forced me to go ahead without topping!


What piece of your music are particularly proud of?


Maybe 'Crest of the forgotten', fast, short but rich nonetheless.


Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?


I think that great bands are to be seen in Enslaved and Opeth, just to make the first names which I happen to like a lot. They are always evolving though retaining solid roots to what makes them recognizable. And they play music for music's sake.


Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

CD, but I wish I could turn my CD collection into vinyls.


Whiskey or beer? And defend your choice


Beer: you can drink a lot and still be able to play some music.


We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

My home town is a middle Italian city not far from Milan, whose name is Brescia. You definitely must go to Magic Bus Dischi, the temple of Rock-Metal music in town and a real sanctuary for anyone willing to form a band and get some advices by a great person and a real rocker, the owner Gigi.


Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?


I'd like to thank anyone who invested time in reading and conducting this interview. Give Ogen's debut EP a chance: we didn't reinvent the wheel but you might find some little gems here and there...

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