Interview with Francesco and Alex from THE FORESHADOWING.
Your last album is for me the real revelation of 2012… But this is your third long play. What are the differences between „Second World”, „Oionos” and „Days Of Nothing”?
Francesco: „Days of Nothing” is an simple and minimal album, melodic and solid, but also easy to listen, „Oionos” was rather more elaborate and obscure, and less immediate to an easy listening. I would say „Second World” is our most complete work because it has not only some traits of both the first and second albums, but it goes even further with new solutions. It’s definitely our most mature album.
How long did it take you to compose this new material? Who is responsible for music? Please, tell us also about how you create your compositions?
Francesco: Alex, Andrea and I usually write songs, or the main ideas, but also the other guys don’t fail to be involved in the songwriting, somehow we are all responsible for the songwriting process of each albums of ours. It ‚a process that usually lasts a couple of years, and it’s quite common process time to most bands. The solutions we use are very different, we can decide to record simple demos at home and then continue working together in the rehearsal room, or do both things in the rehearsal room equipped with computer and sound card beforehand.
Where did you record „Second World”? How long did you stay in studio? Did you have any trouble there? Your music is filled with sadness, but do you remember some funny situations during session „Second World”?
Francesco: As I said before, the work must have lasted approximately two years, but if you’re referring to the bulk of the songwriting work, well it was done in a couple of months, and were hours and hours of intensive work in the rehearsal room. I must say there hadn’t been moments of great difficulty, this time we did the recordings in a more quiet mood because we didn’t worry about finding a new label, as it happened for the first two albums. There were, of course, moments of great fun, especially Jonah’s amnesia, which proposed new arrangiative solutions on this or that part of the song, we were passing them to him, and he promptly forgot about the time of recording to carry them out:;).
How did the cooperation with Dan Swano go? In my opinion promoting of music publication with name „Swano” is highly overrated and there is nothing special here if we notice how many albums is releasing in Unisound Studio, but… he appreciates your album saying that it’s one of the best he ever released in his career… And this is a complement!
Francesco: Working with Dan Swanö was a great experience, as well as an honor for us. We have always appreciated his works both as a sound engineer and as a musician, so we’re all huge fans of him. At first we were a little concerned because he has practically compelled to work long distance, while with Giuseppe Orlando we were accustomed to another way of working. Then we realized that he would have made his best this way, and actually we have to be satisfied with his work. He has also been very patient, despite our constant requests, but somehow we believe that it was pleasant for him to work with us, as more than once remarked on the value of this album, and it did spontaneously without being asked that.
Also positive worlds about „Second World” has Andres Nystrom from KATATONIA… Do you value opinions from other musicians, or most important are this of ordinary listeners, fans, or maybe journalists? Or do you not care at all, playing and composing only for yourself?
Francesco: Opinions are important to us all, whether it’s audience or critics, but it’s clear that the judgment of a musician is very close to our heart and has a different value and meaning, without taking anything away from anyone who’s not a musician and is passionate of metal music. So it’s clear that a token of esteem from one of the greatest figures of the gothic doom metal scene like Anders Nystrom makes us particularly proud of the work we did.
Alex, you are founder of THE FORESHADOWING, but you were involved also in few other bands… Please, tell us where you played before and in the meantime. What kind of music was it? Anyway, one of The Foreshadowing members is playing also in black metal band GRIMNESS, which can surprised!
Alex: Yes, I used to play in different bands with various music styles before starting The Foreshadowing band again. From 2001-2004 I played with SPIRITUAL FRONT (Neofolk pop) and released with them also a 7” Ep and a split-cd with Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio („Satyriasis”). Then from 2002-2006 I played with KLIMT 1918 (Gothic /wave-rock) releasing with them the first two albums („Undressed Momento” and „Dopoguerra”). In the meanwhile from 2005-2007 I played also with DOPE STARS INC. (Industrial metal/rock) releasing with them two albums and a EP. As you might see I always liked to have different musical experiences apart from the doom gothic metal. About GRIMNESS, both Andrea and Jonah played with them, releasing their first two albums before they split-up.
In The Foreshadowing you explore doom and gothic metal, but the glorious years of these two genres passed a long time ago… Sales of albums is rather not bewildering, young fans have other idols… How do you find that: lonely, resigned or rather mobilized?
Francesco: We would not be here and believe in our chances if we were resigned. Everything that happens around the music industry doesn’t affect us, our task is trying to give back to the gothic doom scene the splendor of the past, that got lost during the recent years.
We use to think of doom as long, multithreaded compositions with variable structure, but here we have six minutes long, „compact” compositions, which elapses very quickly. They are simple, but in this simplicity is all beauty! From the other side, we have here swings of mood… Did you ever think about longer compositions?
Francesco: Usually we tend to not write too long compositions, but sometimes it depends on how a song takes its evolution. If „Chant of Widows”, or „Havoc” are about 7 minutes long, it just happened accidentally, not because we thought of it before. Evidently not going further with the duration of a song is one of features of The Foreshadowing that came out in a totally natural way.
In promo note we can find an information that your music will enjoy fiends of Anathema and My Dying Bride, but also Depeche Mode is mentioned there… This group gets some authority even within metal fans, some can be scared of this comparison… Tell us, what are your music inspirations? What do you like to listen now and what did you listen to in the past? I bet that it is/was not only metal… How your music inspiration shaped THE FORESHADOWING?
Francesco: Many people have noticed that Marco’s voice is similar in some respects to that of Dave Gahan. For this reason we always mentioned Depeche Mode as one of the bands that have inspired our sound, especially in melodic. However, other bands that we like to mention are: My Dying Bride, Katatonia, Paradise Lost, early Anathema, Shape of Despair, Candlemass, Neurosis, The Swans, Angelo Badalamenti, Pink Floyd, Philip Glass, Dead Can Dance.
On your 2nd album we can find „Russians” by STING – this artist is from a completely different sphere of music. But your version – sorry to saying that – is very conservative and similar to the original. What was the reason to record this cover?
Francesco: Well, I don’t catch the point of your statement. If it’s a question of chords, well, then you’re right, it’s faithful to the original, but in terms of arrangement I really don’t think so. I never heard distortion guitars or drums in the original songs, and besides in terms of structure the intro and outro is a stylistic choice of ours whereas the original song intro is completely different, and there’s no outro in the end because it fades out with that tick tock from a clock. However, this choice comes from the fact „Russians” has got a mood which is very close to Oionos: the fear and the perception of an imminent atomic holocaust (in Cold War between Russia and USA); and in these days, due to republics that still claim to possess arsenal of nuclear weapons or that are developing that kind of technology, this issue was dramatically topical.
Alex: I don’t agree, I never listened to a funeral version of this song before:-).
Returning to „Second World”: again your lyrics have some common concept and apocalyptic meaning. This lyrics are quite mysterious and give the impression of deep philosophical reflection… What is your main inspiration during writing these lyrics (some lectures)?
Francesco: The „Second World” we’re talking about goes back much to the Native American Hopi prophecy which states: „When the Blue Star Kachina Makes its appearance in the heavens, the Fifth World will emerge”. From this prophecy we have developed the main theme that always sees the apocalypse as main protagonist. The apocalypse in this album is embodied by the natural disasters that are poured on mankind, guilty of having created an alienated and industrialized world. The destruction of the old world will lead to the birth of a new spiritual age and by consequence, a new world. A „Second world”.
The human race destroys itself, the people hurt and kill each other. And even just a hurricane, would ravage the whole coast, just one eruption can destroy a modern city… Does your outlook on life tend to favor concepts of misanthropy or naturalism?
Francesco: Well, perhaps misanthropy is a bit exaggerated, basically all we need human relationships, but there is perhaps a little too many wrong people that inhabit this rule this world, and maybe we could live better without them, frankly.
What is your dream „second world” in which you would be happy and safe? Sects isolate themselves from „bad society” and create communes, and various religions cultivate the visions of paradise, a place for souls after death, etc. And how is it with you? Is it really has to come to so great a desolation, as shown on the cover of the album, that you / we want to leave this world? Do you believe in life after death?
Francesco: Personally, no matter how it sucks, I wouldn’t trade this world with anyone else, after all life difficulties help me to keep myself alive. Rather, it’s up to each one of us to know how to find good places and good people to share our best experiences and feelings with. What happens after death? I think it remains our soul who migrates to other places, maybe other parallel dimensions.
Alex: Unfortunately I fear there will be nothing after death…
The threat to man is blind faith in something / someone, false prophets… What is your view on religion? Are you religious?
Francesco: Religion is an irreversible damage to the human individual thought.
Alex: I’m atheist and nihilistic.
After releasing your first album you gave a lot of concerts – even arrived (probably in 2008) to my country (Polish), where you played at Mayday Rock Festival. Do you remember any of this concert in Poland? By the way, if you played that time at the rock festival that does not have a great reputation, so you have to come back in order to present a strictly metal audience!
Francesco: I remember in a recent interview that I had already remarked how the Polish public was the most beautiful public before which I was playing. I still remember Polish metalheads headbanging and moshing on The Fall, and it was a situation that I can’t remember to have seen in a concert of ours. We hope to return soon in Poland and find similar situations like those we found at the Mayday Festival.
Alex: I totally love Poland, polish audience, fans and your death metal scene ! Really hope to come back soon for some gigs.
Do you know, and maybe even some you appreciate the Polish metal bands? And even doom metal?
Alex: As told in the asnwer before, I’m totally addicted to polish death metal scene. Decapitated and Hate are actually my fave bands.
The author covers the „Second World” is Travis Smith, known for his work of Anathema, Amorphis, Katatonia, Opeth and many others, also „more brutal” teams. Is he the front cover made especially for you, whether you choose it from already finished works? If the former, I wonder how the process of creating a cover for such a professional artist? What does he need for his job (title, text, your suggestions)? Do you have the first suggestion turned out to be ten?
Francesco: Well, we usually let the cover designer express their art during the process, at least it was like this with Seth Siro Anton. But Travis Smith, in contrast, let himself guide by our recommendations. We gave him the lyrics and the songs so that he could find the right inspiration. Let’s say we already got the album cover at the first attempt, it has been changed just a couple of things, but overall it was that one.
Course, the picture (graphic) Travis is great and fits into the concept of this album. Why, however, you gave up to work with Seth Siro Anton, who „decorate” your two previous albums, so I think that he knows well your team…
Francesco: Certainly not because we weren’t satisfied with his previous works with us. I would say that the cover of Oionos remains my favorite one, although I must admit that Travis cover is also awesome! However the reason why we chose Travis is very simple, we just wanted a job done with a different style for this album, that’s all.
Album „Second World” was published as a digipack and looks very nice. Meanwhile, your publisher, Cyclone Empire Rec, promotes the „Second World” in online media, sending download links… And this issue vanish spell beautiful! What is your overall view of the easy availability of music on the Internet, already deprived of this unique visual covers? Does it spoil the music market, or rather contributes to the popularization of metal and bands such as THE FORESHADOWING?
Alex: There are good and bad sides about digital music, of course. I can only say that illegal downloads damaged mostly small bands like us, that’s a sure fact. Personally I came from the ’90 generation, so I still love to buy albums, I love formats, artworks etc.
How do you think metal will develop in the future? And especially doom metal, which is assessed as rigid and repetitive…
Alex: Really dunno, actually I don’t see too much newcomer doom bands so… but if world will end this year, it will not be a problem right?:-)
How is going cooperation with Cyclone Empire, the publisher of your two albums? Could you compare the activity of the label and promotional activities for the benefit of them with Candlelight Records, which released your debut album, „Days Of Nothing”?
Francesco: We can say we are happy about how the guys of the Cyclone are moving with us. We noticed that their intent is to help us growing there, and we appreciate this very much, as well as we appreciate the honesty and loyalty of Martin Purr, whereas we haven’t found anything good as with Candlelight Records. Our biggest mistake was to have signed a deal with them for our debut album, there wasn’t a minimum of effort or dialogue between us, we only have bad memories of our work together.
Alex: Candlelight was my worst experience related to the band until now… We did a big mistake for sure.
What ever happened that you did not continue to cooperate with the British? Your first album did not sell well enough? It received a poor review? Did you not hit the boom?
Francesco: They made no minimum effort to promote the album, no advertisement, no interviews, all we got during that year was a job made by ourselves. Yet we got very positive reviews that made us hope for a good album promotion, but apparently they have a throwaway policy with their bands, especially with small bands like ours, and I find this type of policy very harmful to the beginning of a band career.
Alex: If a british label forget to book interviews on british magazines, there’s something wrong right?:-)
What are your promotional plans for the new album? Are you planning any concerts or tour?
Francesco: We would like to arrange a tour in Europe for promoting „Second World”. Unfortunately, because we don’t have any booking agency that deals with us it’s a little difficult, but we will do whatever is possible, perhaps having a drop in Poland!
By the way, for what audience do you prefer to play? Gothic (like the Wave Gothic Treffen Festival in Germany) or metal (such as Master Of Doom Festival, Stoner Hand of Doom in Italy)? How did you feel as the support on Theatres Des Vampires (2011)? In my view, joint concerts can bring you a great deal of attention, but the style fits together like a fist to the nose… I do not like such marriages…
Francesco: I understand your point of view, I agree with the facet it would make more sense for us to play alongside a gothic doom metal band, as I believe it would be more convenient for TDV playing with a gothic metal band, maybe with female vocalist. But all in all that tour was important for us, as it had already been a year and we still had no concrete proposals for an „Oionos” promotional tour, so those dates with the TDV have proven very useful for our needs in the end.
Are you already preparing the next album? If so, when can we expect it and if you prepare any surprises?
Francesco: It’s still too early thinking about a new album, although I don’t hide we have already talked and thought about how it could be. But it’s still a too much remote idea to think of right in this moment, this year we will have to think about a tour.
Thank you for the interview! The last word is yours… Encourage to reach for your record of those who do not yet know THE FORESHADOWING
Francesco: If you’re tired of the nastiness and confusion that surrounds you, this album is the right encouragement to find a place in your life. Go and buy „Second World”!
Alex: Buy „Second World” before the upcoming apocalypse. It will help to acclimate yourselves.
[Herr Bee, Kasia]