Agonia Artist Forgotten Tomb Interview is up
Interviewed - Ferdinando (Herr Morbid)!
With your new album there is a mix of so many style going on Doom. Avant Black metal and strong dose of a very dark industrial melody with ever album you seem to expand on the sound . Is this an ever evolving event?
Yeah, we like to progress with each album, even if we always kept some of our peculiar qualities over the years. I think it’s important for a band like us, who’s always been a bit ahead of the game, to constantly offer something that sounds fresh and even a little shocking to the purists, it has always been like that. Some eerie-sounding Black Metal, some heavy Doom/Sludge elements and some classic Rock and Punk influences are more or less always prominent in our sound, though in this new album you can hear even some early-‘90s alternative/crossover or grunge-tinged Metal, such as Helmet or Life Of Agony, even some Alice In Chains maybe. In regards to the “dark industrial melody” you mentioned, I think you can hear some Godflesh, Fudge Tunnel, Prong or Pitch Shifter here and there; we don’t have any synthesized sounds, except for a couple of movie samples, but the riffing and groove have a similar vibe I guess. To sum it up, we don’t just stick to our guns, we like to test ourselves and the listeners.
You have grow with Agonia from a smaller indie to a Major metal force in 2015 if you could move on to a larger or major label would you . Or has Agonia become the perfect home for Forgotten Tomb?
We are fine where we are at the moment with Agonia, though who knows what the future brings. We try to do our best and keep working as hard as possible, then we’ll see if our results will pay off, one way or the other. We’re loyal to everybody working with us and we try to cooperate at our best everytime.
What is the story line of theme that " Hurt yourself and the ones you love" brings to the listener?
The exploration of death in its various facets for sure is a constant in our lyrics. The attack to society and its morals/values is another theme I cherish, as well as the glorification of some negative aspects of human behaviours. In an older song we did on “Under Saturn Retrograde” there was a line saying “Harm yourself and your loved ones tonight” and I wanted to expand that concept, so I slightly altered that sentence for the new title and worked on it. It’s basically a very nihilistic title and it expresses my contempt for society as a whole, it’s an invite to destroy all moral values and join the dark side of life. Basically the lyrics on the album fully explore the topics of soul-corruption, urban violence, homicide and perversion hidden within all human beings, often written from a personal point of view.
Does shock value really play a role in this style of suicidal Dark Doom metal any more. I know in earlier days Bands like Shining, Bethlehem, Abyssic Hate used those elements. What do you think makes you stand apart from the scene now?
Aside from our first show in 2002 where I came on stage with bloody scars and stuff like that we’ve never used any shock-value elements during our shows, so we can say we’ve never been into this stuff. Everybody is free to do what they want with their music or stage-antics, we just don’t feel it’s necessary to us and we’re comfortable with going on-stage, kicking ass and going home. Probably if I wouldn’t have to play guitar on live-shows I could certainly be a bit more scenic, but after so many years being a 4-piece we’re reluctant to have another guitar-player just because of that. I think the music is strong enough to say fuck off to theatrics, even if I know for a lot of Metal fans it’s more important how you act on stage than what you play. But we’ve always been anti-spectacular so I guess we’ll keep on being true to ourselves and to our stripped-down, no-frills image. This said, on album covers and booklets we certainly have some very strong and shocking material at times, but that is part of our concept and of what we are so we cannot change that, if we do something it means we believe in it, it’s not merely shock-value. Considering how the genre we helped forging back in the days (the now so-called DSBM) was distorted by hundreds of bands over the years in its original meaning and musical direction, I’m glad people say we took distance from that, ‘cause I feel there was an involution in the style all these younger bands play these days. They didn’t add anything to the style, they actually made it more minimal which is something I don’t appreciate at all. Also, the whole suicidal and nihilistic image became a cliché and as a consequence it has lost the dangerous power it had back in the days. The bands you mentioned were the only ones, together with us, who actually contributed significantly to create this sub-genre, so I’m not referring to these bands but to most of the bands that came after them/us.
I know you just released an amazing full length DVD as well tell us a bit about that and does that show Forgotten Tomb in its full live glory?
Yes it’s titled “Darkness In Stereo – Eine Symphonie Des Todes” and it was released in 2014. It include 3 shows in Germany, one at a big festival, one at a medium-size festival and one in a club, all in Germany and filmed over 2012. I think all 3 shows are pretty faithful to how we sound live, though the main show has better cinematography and sound so it’s definitely the better. I think it’s a cool release for those who never saw us live, compared to the usual shitty-sounding YouTube amateurish videos, though I invite everyone to see us on tour this autumn to get the real thing!
What Bands are you listening to and any thing interesting your reading . It tell a lot about the band and were the road leads in the future?
I’m not reading at the moment, mostly watching a lot of B-movies as always and listening to stuff that has basically nothing to do with FT music, such as Rap/Hip-Hop, synth-Pop and female singers such as Tove Styrke, Zhala, Chelsea Wolfe, Gin Wigmore. And some old Death Metal also. FT mostly takes inspiration from my own inner self; when it comes to music, we take inspiration mostly from old stuff, especially early-‘90s Metal, so fans can be safe that we won’t turn into anything strange in the future. We’ll keep evolving but keeping it heavy and dark, and within the realms of Extreme Metal.
Whats Forgotten Tombs thoughts on Social Media and the Digital age how ahs it changed the way underground music is presented for the Good or Bad?
I started doing music in the mid ‘90s when of course Internet and such were basically non-existent for the majority of people, so I was into the typical tape-trading thing, letters, printed magazines, fanzines and all that old-style activities. I did my demos with my teenage bands during that era and it was great for a series of reasons, mainly because people were really into the music, buying albums, building a solid musical culture for themselves, attending shows in hundreds even to see demo bands playing live. With the Internet-era, most of the magic of those days went away; in the beginning things like e-mails, early webzines and early websites were a very good help for musicians and bands, but the more the technology advanced, the more the scene became overpopulated and the interest towards music became very superficial. Now a kid can download 10 albums in merely few minutes, or streaming everything on Spotify, but most of the listeners are not really focusing on a band or an album and they’re very confused. Not to mention the drop in sales for the bands and all the damages connected to it. Everybody now has access to softwares so you can record your album and put it on the web, but like everything else, quantity is not quality. The total access to culture on the web doesn’t necessarily mean people will be enriched by it, most probably they’ll lose interest in it ‘cause there’s nothing more to seek, everything’s too easy and too fast. This leads to a general shallowness and it creates trends that come and go within weeks. Once you release a new album, after 1 month it’s already considered past history; in the early days you spent your hard-earned money on it, listened to it sitting in front of the stereo for whole afternoons and read everything inside the booklets. There was a real value to the albums you owned and you had to dig deep to find new bands and such. To make a long story short, I’ll say I’d go back to the 56k modems and make Internet available just for e-mails and essential tasks. Fuck YouTube generation. Of course I know the world can’t go backwards, so we try to follow the current and to be up to date with promotional things for this digital era, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that I like it.
If the members were not making this extreme form of music what would you be doing and why?
I don’t really know, probably killing people? Or doing something illegal anyway. Or probably I would have killed myself when I was 16.
Do the members of Forgotten Tomb create other styles of music in other projects if so tell us about them..
Other members play in bands such as Whiskey Ritual, Hiems and other projects from time to time; I used to play in another band called Tombstone Highway, we did an album on Agonia Records a couple of years ago, it was Southern Hard Rock stuff with a Black Sabbath vibe to it and Bluegrass influences. I also sing in a band called Formalist which will release some stuff very soon, it’s some kind of very extreme Doom/Post-Hardcore stuff. I also have some other project unrelated to Metal but it’s nothing too serious for the moment.
Italy has been a hotbed for Doom and Extreme music why do you think Depressive dark sounds have come from there so often ?
I think over the ‘80s and early ‘90s we had some great Extreme Metal bands in Italy, such as Mortuary Drape, Bulldozer, Necrodeath, Mondocane, Schizo, Necromass, Opera IX, Sadist, Death SS, Paul Chain, Funeral Oration and many others, including some underground acts/demo bands, but all those bands in their prime didn’t get the recognition they deserved. Most of them still play to this day or they reunited but of course things changed a lot from the early days. In regards to Black Metal, we were probably among the first bands to sign to a Scandinavian label and to be acknowledged worldwide even before having a real fanbase in Italy. I think our popularity grew a lot over 2 or 3 years with our early albums, which are still recognized as cult-albums to this day. This said, as an Italian band to achieve some goal you constantly have to struggle twice than others. I think Italian Prog-Rock bands of the ‘70s had similar problems though, we had some of the best bands in the genre here but they never achieved the popularity of british bands for instance. I think the main problem is that Italy is not taken too seriously in the music world, in regards to Rock or Metal music, not even from its own inhabitants. When you lack any kind of national pride, culture and/or support for this kind of music, of course it’s a lot harder to get out. On the contrary, in places like Scandinavia and Germany Metal has always been very popular and somehow supported and accepted. Italy is not a Metal-country, so Italian Metal is not well-regarded as in other countries, except for a few bands which play some more popular genres. I think Spain, Greece or Portugal have similar problems though, southern Europe in general is a bit overlooked within the metal scene. Back to your question, I guess the reason why a lot of bands in Italy were dealing with dark, doomy and occult sounds was a cultural thing, we have a very ancient culture and some cities (such as Turin) are known for their esoteric roots. I think some bands had a very peculiar sound but this occult atmosphere kinda got lost over the years. Now there are many good bands but the styles are very varied.
If there was one song you could cover and make it your own what would it be and why?
We covered a lot of different stuff over the years actually. We are particularly good at covering Punk stuff and early-‘90s stuff, like we did with Buzzoven and Nirvana. I think also The Stooges one and the Joy Division one came out great. We’ll see what crosses my mind for the future in regards to cover-versions…
When you perform live do you like to play with like minded artist or is a more diverse show something far more interesting for the energy of the band?
I don’t really care much, I’m focused on being the best band on the evening usually hahah. This said, I like if we’re friends with the other bands playing and if we share some vision, more than the music style. I’m very open-minded when it comes to music, but I’m not when it comes to beliefs or ideals. I’d rather not play with bands that have radically different visions than mine or that are in stark contrast with the values I portray with FT.
How has the band kept it creative and interesting for so many yrs when other bands have so many issues to make it a few records ?
I’d say we always tried to keep the quality of the releases high and to be ahead of the game, we never followed trends but we created them in a certain way. Being different from other bands is commercially dangerous but it’s what makes the band stand apart from the rest, as well as keeping it genuine. The strict bound between band members has been also a winning point, we use to consider ourselves as a gang more than a band. Last but not least, perseverance and having a vision to fulfill, even if it takes a lifetime.
Thank you for the time any closing thoughts place here
Check out our new album “Hurt Yourself And The Ones You Love” and put the title in practice!