FORGOTTEN TOMB (Eng.)

– Hello and, first off, thanks for taking the time. What’s currently FORGOTTEN TOMB up to?
Hi there. Currently I’m doing promotion for the new album, both for european and american market. In the meantime, I’m thinking about live-shows/tours for this autumn and I’m starting to write some new material for the next album. I’m hyper-active lately.

– I won’t start with an introduction of the band, as I think most people reading this interview already know you but, what was the band formed? Which aims did you want to get with it?
You know, every band starts with an aim and then it changes and evolve over the years. That’s the way it should be. I mean, you always try to do more and more and to get bigger year after year. Personally, I think my aim has always been the same, more or less: playing the stuff I like, becoming the best at what I do, and possibly grow enough in popularity to live off music. I never thought of my band as an hobby, even when I had a regular job besides music. Music has always been the top priority, regular jobs are just a way to get some extra money to survive and nothing more.

– Your latest «Under Saturn Retrograde» came out just a few weeks ago. How has been its feedback so far? And what are your feelings on the album? Are you guys happy with the result?
Of course there’s a lot of work behind every release and this one was no exception, so the whole process has been quite stressing. I’m glad it’s over now, though I’m very proud of this new album. You know, there’s always someone complaining for something on every new album we release… We can’t make everyone happy. We need to be happy ourselves with what we have accomplished with a new album, in the first place. If the others like it, hat’s great, otherwise it means they are not ready to understand our evolution. We are getting used to be misunderstood and ahead of trends. Most of people start to like our albums 3 years after their actual release-date. It happened the same with the previous album, «Negative Megalomania»… But of course there is also a lot of people who like our newer releases and we’re getting a good feedback from both press and fans for the new album.  It’s still early though to take conclusions, the album has just been released in the USA so we’re waiting for responses from there too.

– What does the album name mean? And what can you tell us about the lyrics for the title track? As I guess there is some astrological theme…
There’s some meaning behind the album title-track. As you might know, according to astrology the influence of Saturn retrograde has basically a very negative effect on life and personal achievements, and it’s partly responsible for failures, pessimism and other negative sides of everyday’ life. It is especially negative when it is in your natal chart. I’m also a Capricorn and Saturn is my ruling planet. Basically I used «Saturn retrograde» as a metaphor. It is meant as something like «being born under a bad star».

– So, did you document yourself for this song? Or do you believe/like astrology?
Yes, I documented myself a bit. I don’t really believe in astrology but I thought the meaning was fitting to represent the sense of oppression and constant bad luck that followed me over my lifetime. The rest of the songs deal with different topics but each one has negativity and hostility as the main themes.

– Anyway, your lyrics have always been quite negative, and this album is not an exception. What are your main sources of inspiration? Does your mood and daily life affect your lyrics?
Of course the glorification of negativity, death, hatred, pessimism, cynicism, homicide, suicide, abuse and in general of everything that is helpful to destroy human happiness and life is a recurring theme of our albums and imagery, as well as hostility, and this album makes no exception. These topics are always the main source of inspiration. Music has been written in different moments over 3 years but there’s some stuff that was written even years before and then rearranged and reworked later… It was a long process and of course I don’t keep a record of my mood over the years. I guess some of the readers would like to read that I was cutting myself while rehearsing the songs or attempting suicide while writing the lyrics, but nothing of this happened, heh. I currently work in a very professional way, like a real musician does. Of course the right mood (or a few beers) can help but there’s a study behind lyrics and music, there’s nothing left to improvisation. Mood and daily life of course can help at times, but they’re not enough to write a good song, if you know what I mean.

– This is the first time ever we can see some color in one of your covers; is there any concrete reason for this? And, what can you tell us about the cover artwork? The artist, what are you trying to express with it…
Well, actually the artwork for «Vol 5: 1999/2009» wasn’t in black & white either. However, the reason for colors this time is that the artwork realized by artist Dani2Hell was extremely interesting and then we didn’t care if it was colored or black & white: we just liked it as it is and it fits the album mood very well, then we used it. In addition, other bands in recent years begun to use abandoned buildings and stuff like that on album covers, so we wanted to detach from this trend. For the same reason, we think it’s better to avoid black and white artworks nowadays and we have abolished the Gothic fonts from our albums too. When you take a look to the stand of Black Metal distros at concerts, you cannot distinguish album titles and band names just looking at the spine of the CDs, they all look the same! Btw, the concept of the cover-artwork to me represents pure evil. That decadent, dark angel is an earthly embodiment of something unearthly. It’s the image of iniquity, evilness, misery, suffering, negativity… It has no face because evil has no face, it’s inside everyone of us and it’s part of the world itself. That eerie, obscure angel on the cover-artwork gives me that dangerous, sick feeling that perfectly embodies my lyrics and music.

– Beside this, I noticed this album is more «easy-listening» and catchy. Was this something planned? Do you think you will now open to a broader public?
Before «Under Saturn Retrograde» was released, people thought we were going to sell-out or go new-Katatonia, but I think many will be actually surprised, ‘cause this album sounds extremely aggressive and varied. It is melodic, but it also kicks ass and I think it retains a bit of that Black Metal insanity from where we come from. Also, this time I worked a bit more on the clean vocals and I offered a more varied approach. I think I also improved my style so they sound way better than on «Negative Megalomania». But anyway I don’t think «U.S.R.» is our most melodic album. A song like «Joyless» is very catchy indeed, though there are extremely heavy songs too, like «Shutter», «Downlift», «Under Saturn Retrograde Pt.I» for instance. I think it’s the same with all of our albums, melody is always there but also aggression and heaviness. Our albums are unpredictable, the next one might be less melodic than this one, who knows? I don’t think about that, it all depends on inspiration. If I have a bunch of good songs, I don’t care if they’re more or less melodic or whatever. Same goes for the commercial feedback: I’m aware that our new stuff sounds a bit more accessible compared
to our early material, though I highly doubt that we will hit the charts, especially because we come from Italy and we are constantly underrated… In other words, I have no hope anymore in a commercial breakout, and anyway I never wrote my songs to please the others. It’s pointless. If this album is a bit more «easy-listening» is just to please my taste in the first place, not to please the others. If other people like it too, then it’s great, but if they don’t, I won’t give a fuck anyway. Our album sales don’t certainly allow us to live off music, so I don’t really need to respect other people’s opinion or expectations. I do what the fuck I want with my music. That’s the only good thing in being an underground band, there’s no need to reach compromises.

– In the record we can also find a cover for «I Wanna be your Dog». Why that concrete song? Have THE STOOGES influenced you? And what changes have you done to the song?
I think we re-arranged it very well and now it sounds like one of our songs. I like the nihilistic, self-destructive power oozing from that song. Originally I wanted to do something out of «Raw Power», since it’s my favourite Iggy/Stooges album and one of my favourite albums of all time, though most of the material was not suitable with the rest of our songs. Also, we have chosen «I Wanna Be Your Dog» because it’s more well-known and also because all the cover-versions we’ve heard from other bands really sucked (including the Slayer’ one, yes). When Slayer did that cover they changed the lyrics to some macho-bullshit and I hated it. It was retarded. Iggy Pop hated it too. I think Iggy would like our version instead. I think we gave it an original Punk feeling, it sounds really nihilistic and violent. I even prefer it over the original! This would have been nearly impossible to do with the «Raw Power» songs, ‘cause that album is fucking perfect as it is.

– You already did cover tracks by NIRVANA, BLACK SABBATH… Are those bands important to you or do you try to cover songs that aren’t similar to your music style? As I think all the songs you have done so far aren’t strictly Metal…
We actually started this «bizarre covers» tradition on the «Vol 5: 1999/2009» double-album, with a couple of songs from Nirvana and Black Flag, as well as a Black Sabbath intro. They turned out great, so we decided to include another one on this new album (the Stooges cover). We always choose to cover songs that are not strictly Metal ‘cause we think it can be more interesting, both for us and for the audience. I mean, would you prefer another Darkthrone or Mayhem cover as all Black Metal bands do? I don’t think so. Also, we listen to a lot of «non-Metal» stuff so we find more intriguing to cover songs like those and make ‘em sound like one of our own songs. And yes, of course we like a lot all the bands we decide to cover and they’ve been influential on our work, in a way or another.

– It’s obvious you have changed a lot since your first albums but, how do you see has been your evolution both muscailly and personally since then? As I guess one thing is always connected to the other…
FT has always been a band in constant evolution. I always listened to a lot of different things since I was a kid, so it’s natural for me to melt together all the influences I got over the years and create my own thing. But at the same time I take a lot of inspiration from myself and from the things I’ve done on the older albums. I mean, I basically forged a new subgenre in Black Metal so I don’t really need to go looking elsewhere. I actually see a lot of bands who tried to copycat FT over the years, not viceversa. If being «grim» and «staying true» means having a poor production and limited musicianship, I’ll gladly leave it to someone else. We are a million times better than all those bands that try to sound similar to the style of our old albums, so why should we limit ourselves playing stuff that is below our current potential? Playing stuff in the old way would be child’s play nowadays, we like to challenge ourselves all the time. I think «Under Saturn Retrograde» took some elements from «Negative Megalomania» but at the same time it reminds me of some older stuff of ours. And of course there are some new elements, like in each of our albums. I think we didn’t completely leave our Black Metal roots. We never did actually. Of course if one wants a pure Black Metal album he should go for another band, but if one loves FT he should not be disappointed by this new album. I mean, FT has never been a «pure» Black Metal band, if not on the first demo/MCD «Obscura Arcana Mortis». In our debut «Songs To Leave» there were a lot of Rock and Dark Wave influences already, so it’s strange that some people can’t really notice that. In my opinion, the big difference from the past is the better production, the better musicianship and the better vocals. But you know, for some people improving those aspects mean «not being Black Metal anymore». We didn’t really «changed style», we evolved our style towards a perfectioned version of it. In the band we are all more or less in our thirties. I’m going 31, while the others this year are getting 32, 33 and 28. Of course 12 years is a long time, especially if you think I was 19 when I started the band and now I’m getting 31. Some people totally change in such a wide lapse of time. I don’t think I totally changed though of course I got wiser, at some extent at least. I can still relate to some of the old lyrics but I absolutely don’t relate to others. I’m still totally into the negativity of my old lyrics but I think some personal things should have been kept to myself exclusively. In the past some fans just used some of my lyrics as some sort of relief from their personal problems, but I never wanted this to happen. I’ve been totally misunderstood. I refer especially to the «Songs To Leave» album. I don’t want to help people, my lyrics are not propedeuthic. I want to destroy people, I want them to increase their suffering and do harm to themselves and to others. That’s why my lyrics have changed over the years. I don’t wanna write for myself exclusively, I want the message to be loud and clear to all my listeners. I’m not here to save people, since I can’t even save myself. I’d rather drag you all in the grave with me.

– I saw you will play some single gigs but, aren’t any touring plans to support the album live? Any chance of seeing you in Spain?
Probably we’re kinda late for this year’s festivals, though most probably we’ll play a few summer festivals and then we’ll see what happens this autumn. I hope and I guess that we’ll do some tour, play additional scattered gigs and play some autumn/winter club-festivals. Our aim is to play live as much as possible. It all depends on how the feedback and sales for the new album will be, and above all it depends on what conditons we’ll be offered with for weekend-gigs and/or full tours. For every band, business play an important role in live-shows. If we are offered with good conditions on every aspect of a show/tour, we’ll do it, otherwise we’ll stay home.

– And finally, what are your near-future plans?
I’m working on the re-releases of our old albums, to be out this fall. We’re also going to release very soon (this summer) a split 7″ with italian band Whiskey Ritual. Both bands will cover 3 songs each by GG Allin. It’s gonna be a cool release.

– That’s all, thanks once more for answering to our questions. Feel free to take these last lines if you want to add some final words to the interview.
To all our readers: buy our new album and get fucke
d up! Follow us through our usual channels: official website (under reconstruction currently), MySpace, Facebook and Reverbnation. Stay Negative!

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