What is your full name?
K: Kaspar Friketsson.
E: Enrico Meloni.
Do you have any aliases?
K: Frik Et
If you had an alias what might it be?
E: Probably a silly’n’simple translation of my name: Henry Melons!
What bands are you actively involved with?
K: I’m involved in a fantastic band called IKITAN!
E: I play drums (and cowbell) in IKITAN, a heavy post-rock band which is being interviewed right now, then I also play drums (only) with The Healing Process, a techno-thrash band that just released its debut album “Locked Inside Yourself”, and I’m involved with VietBong too, a killer instrumental metal/stoner duo.
What was the first instrument that you played?
K: The first instrument that I played was piano, and I was 5.
E: Probably flute, as this is what’s compulsory in the Italian school. I picked up drums when I was 10 or 11, but have always wanted to thrash things since a much earlier age. My parents didn’t allow me before that as we lived in a flat, so I had to wait until I got to 10-11 and never stopped since.
Tell me about one of your first musical memories?
K: My first musical memories are the cartoon's acronyms, in particular the Italian acronym of Lupine III.
E: My sister and my dad are playing classical guitar. Music’s always been in the house so it was natural for both of us to want to play from a very early age.
What was the name of the first band you were in?
K: My first band was “Free Spirits”, and I played banjo.
E: Los Merenderos: the band lasted one gig (which we did without ever rehearsing) and consisted of two covers from crazy Italian rock band Elio e Le Storie Tese. I was 12 and my cousin sang in the band. That was my initiation!
Tell me about the genesis of IKITAN.
IKITAN’s story officially began in October 2019 when Luca (guitar) replied to an advert on a local musician’s Facebook group as Enrico (drums and cowbell) was looking for a new band. Luca and Frik Et (bass) have been playing together for over 15 years, and their idea was to make an instrumental stoner/post-rock band inspired by the likes of Yawning Man and Tool. In fact, the three discovered they were at the same Tool concert in Florence earlier that Summer and a connection was instantly made.
From that point onwards, we've been playing a lot in a very spontaneous way. We do have some common points of reference, but from day one we just started jamming without talking too much (a sign of now having a vocalist? Ahah!). One thing that we’ve always focused on has been to record each and every rehearsal, in this way we can look back at the unique jams we’ve been playing. Not having a plan means each note can be precious so we have to record everything to select the best bits afterward.
IKITAN’s music appeals to folks who enjoy metal, prog, post-rock, stoner, and everything in between. Not having vocals makes it fit for a number of activities where you might want to concentrate, such as coding, but where you still want to enjoy a good riff or melody and some occasional head banging.
Our influences are quite varied and our music has been described as a mix of Russian Circles, Tool, Pelican, My Sleeping Karma and Yawning Man.
“Twenty-Twenty” (EP, 2020): A few months after we formed as IKITAN, COVID-19 came along and we had to stop for 3 months (like everyone else on this planet). Luckily we all live in the same city, Genoa, so at the end of May we could pick up exactly from where we left in March 2020.
With a “anything can happen, it’s now or never, let’s close this chapter of our history” spirit, we put the final touches to three-songs-turned-into-a-long-one aka “Twenty-Twenty”, our debut EP. It’s a 20-minute-20-second instrumental song which truly represents what IKITAN were at that point in time. The EP was released in a limited-edition digipack on 20 November 2020 (see all the 20s? Lol). To our surprise (mind you, we had no social media presence, no gigs, nothing: we formed, played a few months in our studio, and then the world stopped), the EP has been extremely well received by the press and fans alike all over the world. We have been putting a lot of effort into spreading the word about our activities on social media as no gigs were allowed until a few weeks ago (not to mention nobody knows what the future holds… ), and we’re beyond grateful to still have the possibility to talk about IKITAN.
“Twenty-Twenty Live at Forte Geremia” (live video, 2021): As the situation has not been any easier even after the release of the EP and we wanted to do something (but doing a live from our studio would have been so obvious), we decided to load all our gear and climb on top of Forte Geremia, one of the many forts that surround Genoa, a city with a rich history that is literally squeezed between sea and mountains. On a freezing yet sunny Sunday in March (the minimum temperature was around 5°C… ), we prepared our stage as we were meant to play live… but we were by ourselves. A tribute to our beloved generator-parties world, “Twenty-Twenty Live At Forte Geremia” is officially the first gig by IKITAN. We filmed the whole thing and made a live video of it (not a video clip: all you hear is played live, including mistakes and faster parts!). The live concert was released in June 2021.
What inspired the name IKITAN?
This is one of the many wtf’s of our short history. Luca fell in love with the name IKITAN as he found it on the Italian Wikipedia as “the god of the sound of the stones” for the Aztecs. Can you imagine anything more powerful than that? We couldn’t!
As you know, you should never trust Wikipedia, especially if the source doesn’t have a blue hyperlink (aka unverified). And so it goes on and on, until a few days before the release of “Twenty-Twenty” (cds are ordered, artwork is done, etc), we want to double check and here’s how we found out that… no, there’s no god of the sound of the stones in the pre-Colombian culture! We even asked a university professor who’s specialized in Latin America’s traditions and religion and no, there’s no IKITAN whatsoever.
So eventually we kept the name because how many made-up divinities are there, if you think about it? It does keep the same meaning for us (it’s too good: references to stones, rocks, stoneR, and being stoned… too perfect to be true!) and… we’ll never trust Wikipedia again!
How long did it take you to write and record “Darvaza y Brinicle”?
“Darvaza y Brinicle” (tape, 2021): After Summer 2021, and still not being able to do a single concert whilst we’ve always been playing and writing new music, we decided it was time to release at least two new songs, which will eventually go in the first full length. Massimo Perasso of Taxi Driver, a super cool local label, approached us and he offered to publish our two new singles on a limited-edition tape by Taxi Driver Records as he’s been producing a lot of tapes lately and liked “Twenty-Twenty” a lot. Why not?, we said to ourselves. And so that’s how “Darvaza y Brinicle”, our newest singles, saw the light on 3rd December 2021. The limited-edition tape (30 copies, each one including the mandatory Bandcamp code plus… a BIC pen) contains “Darvaza” and “Brinicle” on side A, while side B features “Twenty-Twenty Live At Forte Geremia”, previously released only digitally and on video.
The recording of the two songs was done in our studio, which is also Luca’s studio, so it was all super easy, relaxed and straightforward. The whole recording and mastering process lasted about one month (October 2021).
The journey continues. We’re now working to complete our first album, and just played our first gig in front of a real audience (one week ago at the time of writing this)… it was so cool! We never want to do only social media again, rock bands are meant to be playing concerts and as much as we recognize the value of all our marketing and PR efforts… We want to play live!
If you could insert yourself into any one band what band would it be and why?
K: I think I’d like to be put in the early Black Sabbath to see Ozzy in all his splendor.
E: Kaspar gave the best answer and now I don’t know what to say!
Probably one of those big big bands like Guns’N’Roses, Motley Crue or AC/DC: party, music, drugs & booze, girls… the full package!
Have you ever heard a song and immediately wished you had written it? If so… What was the song and artist?
K: “Helter Skelter” by The Beatles.
Who are some of your non-metal musical inspirations?
K: My non rock/metal inspirations come from hip-hop or electro music. Like NWA or Daft Punk.
E: I’m a big fan of funky music and one of my previous bands was some sort of local version of Living Colour (or at least that was the goal). I also love prog in all its forms.
What’s a pop song that you’d like to do a cover of?
K: I think “Man down” by Rihanna is a good choice, maybe mixed with “Byob” by System Of A Down”.
What band have you played with that has really impressed you with their live show?
E: I have to say the dudes in Nitritono put together a nice show on our last gig. A very violent post-everything duo from Cuneo. Check them out: https://nitritono.bandcamp.com/album/eremo
Do you have a favorite venue to play at?
E: Not yet, can’t wait to find it. For now it’s our studio, we’re lucky enough that it is also Luca’s studio (he works as music producer too, among many other things) so we don’t have to share it with anyone except his clients. So that’s our best stage, for the time being!
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
E: Warm-up my hands and feet with some good old air-drumming.
What is your favorite thing about touring?
E: I guess (and I can only guess as I never toured) it’s a bit of everything: being able to travel, see new places (even though “new” might be very close to home), sharing those moments with your pals in the band, sharing the music you created with people, finding yourself in random places and situations… I can’t wait to experience all of this. Fucking COVID.
What is your least favorite thing about touring?
E: Not such a thing as we never toured and I know the other folks in IKITAN have never toured before either. So we can’t wait to experience and then be able to answer a question like this.
I have the suspect that a fucked-up routine and not having your own toilet might be one of the least favourable things about touring.
Is there a city that you love to hit while on tour?
E: Surely our city, Genoa, as it’s the only city where we did the only three gigs we ever played! Live at Forte Geremia, then a musical contest in an empty theater and most recently a secret show, the first one with people in front of us. Thanks Genoa for having us!
What’s the weirdest experience you’ve had on the road?
E: There’s this thing that happens in some venues in Genoa, and when you’re playing or during breaks folks start yelling at you. It’s not violent or offensive, they just say “SUONAAAA!”, which means “play!” or better, something like “keep playing!” I guess it’s a local joke by now, and it’s meant to be some sort of encouragement, even though it’s quite funny that you get screamed at “SUONA!” even if you’re already playing! Like, what am I supposed to do other than keep playing?! Ahaha! If people don’t say that at your concert… that’s very bad.
Luckily we got a lot of “SUONA!” the last time we played there, we’re very satisfied by this.
The year is 2006. Where are you at and what are you listening to?
K: I was in high school and I’m listening to grunge and metal all day and all night.
E: I’m starting university, I still have long hair and I’m between Sardinia and Sicily all the time as my girlfriend back then was living in Palermo. I’m listening to the albums by Holocaust from the 90es, loads of stuff like Atheist, Sadist, Cynic, Death, and I’m still 90% metal head “only”. The transformation to musical omnivorous (or almost) is yet to happen.
What advice would you give young musicians that are just starting out in the music business?
E: Never stop believing in what you do, no matter what, be consistent, and patient. We’ve seen with IKITAN that even if you’re a nobody with no gigs and no connections to back you up, you can get known and appreciated both abroad and locally. The internet opens up so many opportunities, it’d be bad not to try and make your dream come true.
What is an absolute band killer?
The most obvious is if you sleep with another mate’s girl! Some more profound and meaningful reasons might be someone changes career, city, or loses interest in the project for whatever reason. Also not having enough time to dedicate to the band can kill it sooner or later.
Bands are cool but it’s a lot of hard work whichever way you look!
Have you ever recorded a song that you really didn’t like, but somebody else in the band really did?
E: Not yet, in IKITAN the key is experimentation and seeing where the jams take us, every single time, with no upfront rules. So until now, at the cost of endless discussions… We've only released songs we love! And as we really like this way of composing, we think this will carry on in the future too.
If you were to start your own music festival what would be the name of that festival and who would be the three headlining bands?
E: Gentle Giant, Twisted Sister and Voivod. I’ve only seen two of them (the last two, of course), and they put together an incredible live show, each one in its own right.
We’re happy to open for these three giants (pun intended).
What’s the longest time you’ve gone without bathing?
K: I think four days when I was in Eindhoven as a supporter of the Sampdoria football team.
E: Probably two-three days at Bloodstock 2016 (last time I saw the afore-mentioned Twisted Sisters… what a gig). Man, those queues were infinite. I loved the festival though, and managed to get so drunk on Slayer’s gig that I vomited all night, so I guess taking a shower was not the priority at that point.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
K: In 2019 I had hair.
E: It’s so strange I can’t even tell you. I’ll go with the second one: in 2009 I still had long hair, just to pair it up with Kaspar!
Is the Fistful of DOOM show in the top 10 of your favorite music podcasts?
E: Hell yes - especially the episode with that Italian band… who are they… ah, right: IKITAN!
Do unicorns sleep standing up?
You’re driving cross-country and you can only listen to one album the whole time. What album will it be?
K: “Blues for the red sun” by Kyuss.
E: Any ZZ Top, or Kaspar’s bass line at the beginning of “Darvaza” in loop.
You are writing a book about your life thus far. What is the title of that book?
K: “Around the world in 80 days” by Jules Verne.
E: “How to pretend you know what you’re doing and somehow always manage to pull it off - For dummies”.
What is your favorite song by Britney Spears?
E: “I cum blood”.
Baroness or YOB (if you had to choose)?
Doobies or Boobies (if you had to pick one)?
E: Boobies, clearly.
Waffles or Pancakes (if you had to pick one)?
Star Wars or Star Trek (if you had to choose)?
M: Star Wars.
E: Shockingly, I dislike both equally, and in all these years I have not been able to force myself enough to give them a second chance. Just can’t get excited about either of them.
Favorite band t-shirt you own?
K: Isaak, a killer stoner band from Genoa.
E: Anthrax “Among the Living”, such a classic! But also IKITAN’s ones, with the artwork of “Twenty-Twenty”, are not bad! Check them on our Bandcamp.
E: Carbonara and pizza (not the American versions, of course, which don’t even count).
K: “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London.
E: “One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand” by Pirandello. A novel on perception and perspective; the protagonist gets told by his wife that his nose is not as straight as he’s always thought it was. Shocking news. He’s got an identity crisis as he’s not who he thought he was.
The way we picture ourselves in the world is different from what each one of us sees about us… I was mind-blown by the revelation when I read it.
So each one of us is… one, no one, and one hundred thousand!
K: “Gangs of New York” by Martin Scorsese.
E: “Animal House” by John Landis, the movie that modeled (or, at least, that inspired) my teenage and uni years.
E: I never get tired of 80’s Iron Maiden. Probably “Somewhere in Time” could be my all-time favourite.
Mucho thanks to the gents in IKITAN for taking the time to answer my questions. I appreciate it. I also appreciate all those righteous tunes they have been cranking out. Click on over immediately, if not sooner, and wrap your ears around IKITAN. Your aural canals will be so happy you did.