SIGN OF THE JACKAL (Eng.)

– Thank you so much for answering to our interview. How are you guys feeling on the imminent release of «Mark of the Beast»?

We are quite excited about it. It took a long time for all to be finished, so we are amazed by the results and can’t wait for the day it will see the light. The first time we listened to all the tracks in a row, a glass of wine in the hand after all this massive work, we were both surprised and excited, and this will remain one of the best moments ever in our band. We really hope to get the chance to move a bit across Europe. I think that the first full length means a kind of passage in a band’s life, and will take us on another level… so we hope it will open for us a couple of doors! J

– We could say this will be your first full album. Tell us a bit how have the recording sessions been, and if it will keep the vibe of the superb «The Beyond» EP.

Yes, it definitely is our first full length. The Beyond put together the pieces of different recording sessions, so, this will be something very different. Recording sessions have been long and we even had some troubles…. we needed to re arrange all the previously released songs, and to put them down in a new shape. This means, chorus, refrains, solos, sometimes the lyrics itself changed from their first versions. Is was good to have a second glance all over these songs, and mostly they now play the way they should since the very first beginning. I’d say we took the time they deserved to be in their perfect shape!

By the way, in the meantime Heavy Artillery stopped the activity and we needed to look for a different label. So we get in touch with High Roller Records and agreed a deal to release Mark of the Beast. After this, some technical problems led us to re record a good part of the takes, and months went on and on…. so it took a while to be finished… but we’re happy because we had it the way we wanted to. The sound is as usual obscure and old styled, because we like it and because it’s a kind of trademark for us! J

 

– Also tell us the cover artwork’s representation, who did come up with the idea? When I look at it it reminds me to MERCYFUL FATE. Is just my perception or maybe there’s some inspiration by this kind of covers?

The Beyond reminds a lot on Mercyful Fate – that’s right. Bob had the idea, he’s the man behind the graphichs ahahahaha! Of course, he knows our tastes, and it always comes out with wonderful ideas. Even Mark of the Beast has something obscure and weird itself… We wanted to keep it bi color and easy, we don’t really like complicated artworks. We always thought that we needed to know people can imagine our style just by glancing our cover.

I think it is elegant and evil at the same time. I really like it, even because red and black have somehow be our colors since the beginning.

 

– You are hailing from Italy, so I would like you to tell us how was the band born, just to get to know a little bit more of your history. When and how did you decide to put together a Heavy Metal band?

We formed back in 2007, and at first it was somehow and experiment to see how people will react on 80ìs HM style if done today, as a response to all those bands who prefer modern sonorities.

At the very beginning we did not want to show ourselves to the audience, but then the stage called so badly and we finally step on it in summer 2008. We bumped into Heavy Artillery from NY and re issued our first Demo called The Haunted House Tapes, and then in 2011 The Beyond. In the meantime we had the only line up change, where Roby stepped in instead of Kill on the bass guitar. A couple of good opportunities followed, Keep It True Festival, Bombers and Barbarians, Metalcova Fest, Heavy Metal Espectros…. so we travelled a while across Italy, Spain and Germany most of all. Mark of the Beast will see the light for High Roller Records, and we’ll see what the future will reserve for us….

 

– I remember back in the 80’s was hard to get stuff from Italy, anyway importation brought us material by STRANA OFFICINA, REX INFERI, FELINE MELINDA, CREEPING DEATH… You are a younger band, but are you familiarized with these Italian bands from the 80’s when it comes to look for influences?

Of course we are familiar with our roots…. many of these bands are still active today. You did not mention Vanadium, Fingernails, Bulldozer, Crying Steel and most of all Skanners who come exactly where we are from. We’ve got the chance to be on stage with some of them and recognize their talent more that what it happened all over Europe. Unfortunately being Italian not always help to gain consideration abroad. Honestly said, our influences themselves are much more into German and US Metal… female fronted bands of course, as Malteze, Chastain, Black Knight and Warlock, but also Accept, Scorpions, Dokken…

 

– In 2011 you released «The Beyond» EP. What did it mean to you? This was your first «serious» recording.

The Beyond consists in a collection of tracks recorded in different times and for different purposes, and some covers we are used to play on stage. If helped us a lot to gain more consideration as a cult band, and opened the way to the full length, where all these tracks will be proposed once again but in a different shape. It helped us to play in different places and in bigger stages, and in some ways even to have a greater audience. I do personally like a lot EP format, collector’s version for metalheads.

 

– I think it has been a release that has worked pretty good, at least in Spain a lot of people got it. There were just 5 tunes pero really heavy and straight-foward. Did you have in mind it got to be an EP to start to get known?

More than getting known it was a kind of gift to all those who followed us from the very beginning. As I previously told, it is a collection of different tracks recorded in different times. It is good to see how the sound is different from song to song, and it gives you an idea of what you could see on stage. To our luck the voice spread and many people were interested in it. It gave us a lot of satisfaction, because is some kind more serious that a demo, and opens the way to what will follow. I’m pretty happy even about the cover songs (1 in CD, 2 in vinyl), ‘cause it’s a second life to these songs which are pretty unknown by the main audience.

 

– Something also that I dig a lot from bands with female vocals are really heavy singers. I’m a huge fan of voices like Leather Leone, Jutta, Doro, Barbara Malteze, Wendy or Ann Boleyn, and on my eyes you are also part of this team. What were your vocal influences, both feminine and masculine?

My influences are most of all masculine especially in the beginning. I am fond of Judas Priest, Krokus, Queensryche and so on, i like them because of the rough screams and soft and intense low tonalities. One day, when I was not more than a teenager,I bumped into Doro, and I fell in love with her on stage. It opened me a whole different mind and I discovered that women could be in metal themselves, and I decided what I would love to do. In the following years, I discovered that Doro is just the pick of the Iceberg… she was great in writing vocal lines especially with Warlock…. but I litteraly fell in love with the rough voice of Leather, with Iron Maiden’s like Lory Wilde, and with the intensity of Barbara Malteze. Most of all I do what I like, and hope this could properly match with the instrumental part.

 

– Regarding shows, I have had the chance of seeing you on stage 3 times. I would like to start with the show you played at Keep it True; what didit mean for you to play on the underground Metal Mecca?

It meant a dream came true. Really. Form the first day I entered Frankentauberallee I thought I would love to play on that stage. And Sign of the Jackal were not even formed! J it was a great, immense pleasure, and I was shaking form pain as it was my prime. I guess all the emerging bands in this world will be honoured to be in such a bill and perform in, as you said, the underground Mecca. So, I was speechless as Oliver asked us to take part. I could to this every day of my life and never get bored! JJ

 

– And then I also saw you is Spain, both at the Espectros fest as at Metalcova Fest. I personally think there both were awesome shows, of the bands born in the last years… just the best. How was your experience in Spanish festivals? Did you like them?

I liked them more then what I thought. I never had so many possibilities both to visit Spain and most of all to move in Spanish metal scene. You are great… a great audience (maybe the best until now for Sign of the Jackal), hot and easy going people. Both festivals were cool and the organizers spitted blood to put all the stuff together, they did a great job and treated us as rockstars. Nothing to say. We enjoyed a lot being both in Murcia and Barcelona. We enjoyed being there with people who truly like this music and this world and who give you a great energy while you play! Can’t wait to come back!!!

 

– And now talking about your near-future, do you already have plans to support your upcoming record? How is the live situation, both tours and festival?

Live situation is not so good. We never played live that much. We like to choose our shows in order to enjoy every time what we are doing, and in order to never bore the audience. I mean, if you play twice a month you make people bored. Once cleared this, unfortunately there are not many places where you could play. This is due to many factors: poor interest from people in Heavy Metal, poor interest for live music generally (talking about Italy), band’s mafia and things like “pay to play” , and then I could go on with the fact that you barely could recover the expenses you should afford to move, or that there are a few places with a proper stage… it’s not the best situation! J

Besides this, we are always pleased to present our work, and hope there will be good occasions (some days ago, we were talking about an hypothetic Spanish Tour?? J ). All of us is working full time and unfortunately we’re not longer in our “teen”, so it’s not so easy for us to leave everything for a tour. But we0ll see….

 

– And well, I know the album hasn’t been released yet, but do you already have any ideas for next records or that will just come on its own in some time?

No ideas. And I don’t want to think for a new work for a while! J no, I’m joking. We’re already planning to do a split with another Italian band that you maybe know, called Walpurgis Night from Torino, who are both good musicians and long time friends, and another EP… but I don’t want to talk about it right now, I need to taste the moment and Mark of The Beast, after all this long work and long time!

 

– That’s all from our side, Laura, our best wishes. Hope to see you soon in Spain in support of «Mark of the Best» and just let you know I love your voice. Thank you so much.

Thanks to you. I’m just sooooo sorry it took a long time to write you back. Unfortunately as said, my spam filter decided for me it will be hard to keep in touch with you! Ahahah! Hope you are satisfied by the answers, if not, let me know. You’re doing a good job! J

Thank you for having be patient, and hope to meet you soon… most of all, I hope we could meet in Spain again J

Fight for Rock!

Laura

 

Paco Gómez

paco@queensofsteel.com

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