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The Foreshadowing - Interview #3

Interview with: The Foreshadowing
Conducted by: T.V.

Rome (Italy) based absolute masters of melancholic and atmospheric gothic/doom metal, The Foreshadowing, are a band that our readers should already know a lot about. The band which is around since 2005, released in April last year their fourth full-lenght conceptual album named Seven Heads Ten Horns. Album was released by German label Cyclone Empire in Europe and in colaboration with Metal Blade Records for the North American market. Seven Heads Ten Horns is a highlight of their career, a stunning concept talking about Europe as the new Babylon. It deals with the decline of Europe that foreshadows its coming fall, a view on life nowadays consequent to the failure of United Europe. The topics have biblical references (the collapse of the Tower of Babel, the scarlet woman with seven heads and ten horns arising from the sea, the mother of prostitutes, etc). The album is the first one with a new drummer, Giuseppe Orlando (ex-Novembre), who replaced Jonah Padella. After the release of the album, in autumn last year, the band was invited by the mighty Portuguese band Moonspell to join them on the European tour, 'Road To Extinction', and they stopped for a date also in the club Mostovna in Nova Gorica (Slovenia), where after the amazing show I talked with very friendly guys. This is already the third interview with The Foreshadowing published on our website, but the first one done with all of the members. Marco I. Benevento (vocals), Francesco Sosto (keyboards, backing vocals), Alessandro Pace (guitars), Giuseppe Orlando (drums) and Andrea Chiodetti (guitars), answered to a lot of interesting things concerning their live shows, song compositions, the concept behind the last album, conditions in the music scene, future plans, videos and yet much more. In some parts the interview might be a bit outdated, because it was done some months ago, but still, I hope that you'll find it interesting enough and if you'll have a chance, go to see The Foreshadowing playing live.

T.V.: Hi guys! Thank you for the amazing show you offered us tonight. Tell me, how it was for you on the stage? The tour with Moonspell just started, so...
Very comfortable, the audience was really cool. We all liked it, it was the first time we played here and it was very good.
Marco: Yesterday we played in Milan, Italy, there was huge crowd, really a lot of people came to see the show and it was as well very good. Tonight the stage was smaller, but the people tonight were in a way warmer, so all in all it's a great start of the tour.
T.V.: Even if it's just the beginning of the tour I wonder how do you get along with guys of Moonspell?
Marco: We already know them well, we toured with them in the USA three years ago. They are all nice guys and we are good friends. It is very nice to share the stage, and not only the stage, with them.
T.V.: How do you select the songs which will be played on your live set?
Alessandro: Interesting question. Mainly it's about our taste, but we also respect the taste of audience. We don't play always the same songs. It's kind of a balance between those two factors.
T.V.: I noticed that made the order of the songs in a way that they are building up the intensity and the atmosphere, or maybe was that just my impression?
Alessandro: Yeah, of course, that's a logical decision, we try to raise the climate.
Marco: We are often starting the set with a bit more aggressive songs.
Francesco: The main criteria is that we try to keep the rhythm very high. So, it's important to choose which songs are good or are not good for the tour, and of course it also depends on the playing minutes we have on disposal. For example, if we have a concert of 30 minutes we have to exclude very long ones and we have to play 4 minutes long songs, but appart from this the main criteria remains that we have to keep the rhythm always very high. It's very important to insert some atmospheric songs, but what's even more important is that those songs have the necessary groove that stirs up the audience.
T.V.: I kind of missed the Sting's cover "Russians". In the first interview we did some years ago you said that this very song was done especially for live shows?
Alessandro: At that time we needed a cover song, but now we have four albums out and is difficult to put it into the set with limited time, also we prefer to play our own stuff. But on the early shows when the new album was released we played it often.
Francesco: That's what I was talking before about the minutes. If we have only 45 minutes of time we have to give priority to the last album.
Marco: We are promoting the new album on this tour, so it's kind of logical decision that we choose more from this one.
T.V.: Yes of course, and it's an amazing piece of work. It was released quite some months ago and is one of my favorite albums released in 2016, and not only, for me it's one of the best gothic/doom albums ever released. The question that pops up in my mind is: where can The Foreshadowing go from here? What kind of things can we expect in the future?
Francesco: Hmm, it depends on a lot of things to find an answer. I think that we have found our own way in terms of songwriting and I'm sure that we'll keep on going this way, but still, in the future we will need to take some important decisions in order to grow up. But the growth of the band doesn't depend only on us, but also on the audience, fans, on the people who believe in us and in our music... So, it's difficult to give a proper answer to this question right now. We would like to go on this way, and from musical way we perfectly know how to keep it going on. We have some ideas, even there's some new material to develop, and we also have an idea of how the shape of next album will be, but all the rest depends on a lot of things that go far beyond our will. So, we have to say that we live our musical life day by day.
T.V.: After you finish one album and then start to promote it, play the songs live,... when do you start then to create new songs?
Francesco: Well, when it comes to make new music we have two methods basically. Mostly we record demo songs, this is the principle method that we adopted. We also go to the rehearsal room and try to work on some ideas, some riffs. Sometimes, because we have in our band an engineer who has his own studio, our drummer Giuseppe, we try to combine both methods together and record at the same time. But when and where we do compose depends on a lot of things, for example, this month we focused our energy on this tour and it was really difficult to compose something new. I think that when you make music your mind shouldn't be so occupied with other things. You have to be free, you have to get relaxed and only then you should go to the rehearsal room and try out something. That's how it works. At this very moment it was impossible to work on something new, but you know, we always try to make new stuff.
T.V.: As you already mentioned it, I believe that it's much easier to experiment with everything if you have a studio engineer in the band...
Francesco: Of course, since we have Giuseppe it's easier for us. Giuseppe replaced Jonah, who was also a great drummer, but now we have the opportunity with Giuseppe and in terms of sound we improved a lot thanks to him. We get some cues from him which are important to improve our sound on stage, but also in the studio we have new means to develop. From this point of view it became a lot easier. All in all, if you have a studio engineer in the band you must get some profit out of that.
T.V.: There's one thing that I admire and find very unique in your music, that you don't insert harsh vocals and growls. Most of gothic/doom metal bands do that...
Marco: Yes and thank you, we'll remember that, but a lot of people are asking from us exactly to do that, to have some growls in our music.
Giuseppe: I think it's the matter of the people who like the sound, who like the songs, but would like to hear more extreme metal in certain parts of the songs. Anyway, I wouldn't mind to put some growls, just sometimes for a couple of seconds. The extreme part of the crowd would like to listen to extreme The Foreshadowing...
Alessandro: Or we should do a death metal album with clean vocals, haha.
Marco: Sometimes I like to do some growling here and there when we are rehearsing. I would like to do some growling in the future, but I don't think we'll do it anyway, maybe just in some tiny parts.
T.V.: I prefer more when you insert some spoken vocals, I still think that harsh vocals could ruin that magnificient atmosphere that The Foreshadowing are able to create...
Marco: You're absolutely right.
Francesco: But if you payed the attention to the concert, in the song "The Forsaken Son", there's a part with spoken voice which was sung with hars vocals. The thing was that there were a couple of girls who looked at each other like they want to say, "hey, look, he can also growl and scream as well". So, maybe it's also funny that you can sometimes put it off and show it to the audience like a surprise.
T.V.: While I'm listening to your music, I find Marco's voice like an instrument on his own that adds a lot of depth to the music.
Francesco: Yes, this is who we are. We have always tried to consider the voice like an instrument and so it's not a case that we use gregorian chants, choir and backing vocals in a way like using a pad, and so the voice itself is an instrument. Our main idea of the vocals is that the vocalist must be in the service of music and not contrary. There's a difference between soloist and vocalist.
T.V.: If we go the last album of yours, Seven Heads Ten Horns, which is a concept album with thematics about the collapse of Europe. In my opinion it's some kind of a prophecy. I wonder how much of a connection it has with the migrants crisis and other things that are going on now in Europe?
Giuseppe: Actualy we were also surprised and it's some kind of a coincidence, because the whole concept of the album was done before this huge migrant crisis happened. But still, the concept is connected with the European crisis, our behaviour and such things.
Francesco: The concept of the album is about the fact that Europe has addopted this vision of United Europe, which was born with another intent. The prime idea was to make something like is the United States, one nation, one government, you know, but the result is the opposite, here's the interest of one nation to prevail over all others. I think that the idea of modern Europe is about to collapse and can be easily associated with the story of tower of Babylon. We found some similarities with this pre-historical event and that was the principle which lead us to write such a concept. In Seven Heads Ten Horns there are also references to the Bible, to the 'Book Of Revelation', which are again deeply connected with the idea of united Europe. We also discovered that in main building of the European parliament, there's the symbol of the woman riding a beast with seven heads and ten horns. This was the idea behind it and also the fact that we are living in this situation like it is, we feel the unease of the whole thing and we wanted to express it, as we always express our feelings about particular situations that we live day by day. It's an issue that concerns us and we wanted to express current events that bother us by using metaphors. We did similar things in the past, we did it on Days Of Nothing, Oionos and on Second World as well. We think that this formula works for us and it helps us to give to the songs some kind of another atmosphere. If you have a concept printed in your mind you can find the right atmosphere for it, the best way to arrange the song and all the stuff around it. For us this goes spontaneously.

T.V.: All this was also presented in a good metaphorical way in your latest video that you shot for the song "Nimrod (I - The Eerie Tower)". I like it very much, it's a very interesting and well done one... How much did you enjoy the whole process?
Francesco: It was a great experience, because first of all we had the opportunity to make this video with a couple of great Italian actors. One of them, Roberto Herlitzka, took a role in the movie 'The Great Beauty' (2013) and also in 'Seven Acts Of Mercy', which both won the academy award for the best foreign movie. Of course it was a great honour for us to have this special actor. He was playing the Christ in the video. The other important actor was Giorgio Colangeli who played the bishop. The idea was amazing, also because the director, David Gallarello, already recorded this short movie named 'Nell'ora che non immaginate',...
Marco: In the days when he shot this short movie we decided to shot our own video and we just poped in. He wrote the screenplay, but David talked with us a lot about the whole idea, so actually it was his idea how everything should look like. We just sneaked in into the part of the story. I can say that we were at the right place in the right time.
T.V.: Can we expect any other video for any of the songs from the last album?
Giuseppe: I would like to, but I don't think that any other will be possible. We would like to continue the story of "Nimrod" with all three parts. Also for any other song would be good if it gets its own video. At least I would like to do it.
T.V.: I think that this would be a very good and original idea to make videos for other two parts of "Nimrod" as well...
Giuseppe: I know, but tell them, haha.
Alessandro: It depends on our budget which is always a problem.
T.V.: And because you have really great live performances, have you considered to make a live album, a DVD perhaps?
Alessandro: I think it's too early. Not in this moment, maybe later on. We would like to tour more and improve even more before doing that, it's not that easy.
T.V.: Soon a tour with German doomsters Ahab awaits you...
Marco: Yes, we will tour with them on four dates in Italy and we are really looking forward to that. For that occaasion we will prepare much more doom oriented setlist than it was this one tonight.
T.V.: I guess it's too early to ask, but still, when can we expect a new album from The Foreshadowing? It was quite a long time gap between your previous two albums, four years if I'm not mistaken...
Francesco: Let's hope that you won't have to wait 10 years (laughs). It depends on inspiration. You know, every time you record an album you have to be more demanding to yourself, so every time when you start making a new album it becomes even more difficult. For example when we recorded our first album, Days Of Nothing, everything was smooth, every song was like, take one and it was ok, but already on the second album, Oionos, it was much more demanding, we said that we need to make something more researched. And then on every consequent album it even was more and more demanding. We cannot make ourselves happy with the first thing that comes into our heads. First of all we have the riffs, we have to choose which riffs are good and then we have to work hard on everything else, the song structures, the arrangements, the concept, the coherence between one song and another and also the coherence between lyrics and the main concept, so there are a lot of things, it's quite complicate.
T.V.: I heard from quite some Italian bands that it's hard to survive as a musician in metal scene in your country, mostly because people are talking shit one over another, that there is a lot of jealousy between bands and that the one must really work hard to achive something... How much of truth is in that?
Alessandro: Yes it's true and there's a lot of this shit going on, but we just don't care. We keep us apart from that, we must think about our band, how we play and keep distanced from all this shit.
Francesco: I find this very sad, but it's nothing we can do, we must go our own way. To those who are friendly with us we always open our doors, like we did with Eleine who are touring with us now, they are very good and humble band, very nice guys, cool people, the same with Moonspell as well. We always have the same attitude to whatever band in front of us. We don't change our attitude according to the band, but of course it also depends how the other bands act towards us.
T.V.: And how difficult is for a band like is The Foreshadowing in these times when most of people just download the music?
Francesco: The main source for a band is to play live, and less you play less chances are there for a band to survive. I think that after the internet age something has changed. Technology and internet are good instruments to make advertisement, but the problem is that the people still don't know how to use all that technology that is available and how to get profits from it. If people prefer to download an album instead of buying it, it means that they're not supporting the band and if you're not supporting the band and the label, both have consequences and everything leads into financial problems with the result that the band disbands. People should start to be more sensitive and aware about this issue. We are still in the time where the old system should remain the same, the label, the band, concerts,..., but with a new element which is this new kind of technology. Ok, it's not new anymore, now it's been 20 years since people are downloading music. The problem is that these two things don't cooperate between each other, so we should find a way to make this two elements cooperate.
T.V.: In the end tell me when can we expect to see you again playing in our country?
Marco: I think that we will play on the festival Metal Days in Tolmin next summer in Slovenia.
T.V.: Ok guys, I think that this is everything from me, it was a real pleasure talking with you. The last words are all yours...
Marco: It was very very nice for us to play here in Slovenia, cool and friendly people. Thank you for all the support!
Giuseppe: We would also like to thank you Tomaz for this interview and for the fact that you really support our music. We are really thankful for that and it's good to talk with a guy who knows your music so very well.

The Foreshadowing links: Official website, Facebook

Live photos taken on 3rd October 2016 in Mostovna Club, Nova Gorica, Slovenia, by: Franci Palčič and Tomaž V.

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