– Hi, thanks for your time. What are you currently up to? How is everything doing right now with MELENCOLIA ESTATICA?

Right now we are focused on the promotion and the diffusion of “Hel”, working closely with Temple of Torturous and trying to fix even some live dates in Italy and Europe. Surely there will be a short pause as I am occupied with the writing and recording of the new material of Absentia Lunae.

– You are about to unleash a new album, and it seems with it you are starting a new chapter: new sound, new logo, new elements and new musical approach. Do you really face this as a new era? Is each new release a new chapter in your career?

Exactly, “Hel” represents a new beginning for M.E., a device that gave me the opportunity to make some renovations inside the project, both aesthetically and in terms of songwriting, influences and collaborations. In my philosophy to making music I don’t conceive the idea of doing a copy of an album, for me, music and above all, this project represents an opportunity to evolve my way to composing, to experiment and to include various elements that I find interesting.


– And is this a natural or planned evolution?

Always all takes place in an extremely natural way, making music is for me a moment to feel free from any constraint, then talk about planning for me is really impossible. M.E. has always been a purely introspective project that evolved as I have evolved my interests in different fields of life … like art … photography, philosophy and even an attitude and a different approach to existence itself.


– This new album is entitled «Hel». Do you aim to keep such a high quality level of your previous albums? What are your expectations on this new opus?

Letum was a very important moment in the process of M.E. and I think it is still one of the best albums I’ve written over the years. “Hel” is for me a different perspective in the way I write, the idea since the writing of the first riff was to bring a little of modernity taking distance from the label of «depressive black metal» trying to create a sound that maintained its roots in the genre, but much more modern in terms of production and imaginary. My expectations are very high with “Hel”, but I can consider myself happy to be able to implement all the ideas that until a few months ago were only abstractions.


– Starting to dig into this new record; what could you say are the main differences between it and your previous «Letum»?

Letum is rooted in black metal and much of the depressive black especially in regard to the concept. The approach to the records was more traditional as well as the production. As I said before “Hel” is a new way for me to relate to the project, I think the external collaborations and a more modern production have given new strength to the project keeping it in the landscape of black metal but not, however, be repetitive or «already heard.»


– You took a break in 2010 but have returned just 2 years later. Why did you feel the need of releasing short after this new release?

Two years of time have been sufficient time to record the album … Being honest it would have come out much earlier but due to the change of label I had to wait a while before to release this album. Meanwhile, in the past two years I have had the opportunity to go on tour with Absentia Lunae and record a folk black project called Lintver which I’m very proud even it came about for a small label and only in 200 copies.


– In fact «Hel» was inspired by the 20’s German Expressionism movie «Metropolis». What did inspired you specially from this movie? Why did interested you about it? As German Expressionism also gave birth to some other great movies as «The Testament of Dr. Mabuse» or «The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari».

Inanyc and cinema. The idea of Metropolis was created from a collection of images and personal research that i have done over the years, and subsequently revised in terms of lyrics byAfthenktos that’s provided to arranged the lyrics, singing and recording on “Hel”.If in Letum, perceptions of gray were premarily expressed by a feeling of a limbo, with «Hel» I wanted to develop this feeling projecting at that chaotic world, futuristic and decandent imagined by Fritz Lang almost one hundred years ago. Can I call this a tribute to one of the films I appreciat most but what i wanted was to reinterpret the personal atmosphere of the film omitting references so too trivial or obvious, which recently have also tried to bring on stage during the last live of M.E.


– As I said before, it seems for this album you have adopted a new approach, and you show evolution is a constant process for you, and you are still trying new things so, is there any musical limit for MELENCOLIA ESTATICA?

In the next album of M.E. I would like to continue the work of vocal experimentation and orchestrations that I started with “Hel”. In saying this I do not mean in the future render M.E. an ambient project but I would like to take better care of the orchestral parts and making it one of the strengths of the project. At the moment I only have some ideas certainly after a break I’ll start to experiment with something new for the next album.


– You have also developed the huge atmospheres have always sorrounded your music, being always really deep and dark. Where do you draw inspiration from to create them?

The music plays a role in my life of contemplation, a moment of solitudine where peer lights and shadows within themselves. Most of the atmosphere derived from personal experiences or situations that I would like to live then I tried to translate musically. Surely old movies, art, photography are passions that has always been a safe haven from which to draw inspiration … but in general I think that the long period that I spent in my personal life since the release of Letum helped me to find the inspiration for “Hel”.


– In fact your music has always been full of feelings like despair and sadness so, do your albums reflect somehow your inner self?

Absolutely, from the first album, the idea was to create a project realistically introspective, using as much of my personal “ink” made of emotional experiences, dreams, hopes and feelings also seen by most people as negative.


– On this album you’ve had the cooperation of artists like Mories from GNAW THEIR TONGUES. Would you mind to tell us why did you choose certain artists and what have they brought with their collaboration?

I Have long been an admirer of the works of GTT and our collaboration came about in a very natural way, Mories appreciated the sample I sent of the songs and from there came then this collaboration between us. For me it was the first time I’ve worked with people outside the sphere of black metal or extreme music and I must say I found it a really positive and exciting experience. With regard to cooperation with Valentina Mangieri and Monochrome Art, who made the cover of the album and some of the images contained in the booklet, our collaboration started primarily for a mutual esteem then both being Italian and having in common a passion for art and scenarios of the early ‘900 s. In the future there will definitely be other collaborations with artists I mentioned.


– How does the songwriting process uses to be like for MELENCOLIA ESTATICA?

Generally everything happens in a natural way, as I said before for M.E., music is a moment of silence, a way to isolate myself from all that is chaotic and ordinary .. so generally the only thing I need is total silence which is very easy to get living in a very small country reality. In general, I focus primarily on the concept to be developed by the research of course, then I try to stream every element of the writing process in a quite way without thinking about deadlines or schedules … the time has always been a very important element in my way to write music.


– And leaving the musical aspect aside; what did you want to express with the cover artwork and how did you work on it?

The cover is Hel, a key figure in Metropolis, reinterpreted by Valentina Monochrome art, making a sort of mythological figure but at the same time modern and post apocalyptic. The colors we used, grays, gold, want to be a clear reference to the decadent modernity expressed by Fritz Lang, without necessarily descend into the banal imitation of the film.


– All this about «Hel» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?

I can say atmospheric, grey and decandent.


– All your albums have always been critically acclaimed, and also have gotten an overwhelming response from the fans, but MELENCOLIA ESTATICA is still a really underground project, or even not really well known. What do you think you would need to get to the next level? I’m not talking about not being an underground and anymore, but getting more recognition from Metal fans.

I can say the limit of M.E. is not to be primarily a live band. I think that surely you’ll agree with me telling you one of the best vehicles to get to know a band is to do a lot of gigs. With M.E. we did about 4 gigs to over the years and all of them in Italy, the main problem is that being a solo project composed by session members is quite difficult to program gigs or tour dates around Europe.


– In fact Italy seems to have a strong and ever growing Metal scene, into different subgenres, and we can prove it with bands as FROSTMOON ECLIPSE, FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE or FORGOTTEN TOMB among others but, how do you see the Italian Metal scene as an insider?

I think that in Italy we have some realities that are living since many years that are the highlights of our scene. I think, however, from my personal experience, that there are many underground and little and equally valid realities that fail to emerge due to the current crisis in record sales and I could mention many bands that I think are very talented as the ones you mentioned.


– From Queens of Steel we have always tried to let people know women are equally capable of playing Metal music. Even though many people respects and admires female Metal musicians doing their own thing, into this world people tends to illustrate differences between both genres instead of highlighting similarities. Have you noticed this during your career or as a Metal fan?

I try to stay away from this kind of stuff, and I can tell you that in all my years in all these years in the metal scene I’ve never had problems with discriminations or sexism. I am not a follower of girl power and I really don’t like when lot of girls are trying to play extreme music only for be like a man or stuff like that. I always try to maintain a certain distance on issues like this and I have never felt compelled to have to «prove something to someone.»


– And how do you think has evolved the role society uses to give women into the Metal scene? Do you think there’s still discrimination into this world?

Surely discrimination is present in any area of life but I think the feminine figures in the field of extreme music are becoming more frequent, but

as I told you is a question that I do not care. I know several girls who have started to play extreme music just for the sake of proving that they are good to play as guys and from my point of view there is the wrong motivation to start playing or composing music …. Prove something others rather than to test themselves it’s a thing I really consider be sad ..


– Finally, what are your near-future plans?

At the moment I’m busy with recordings of Absentia Lunae, my plans would intend to do a couple of gigs with M.E. in the coming months and certainly a short break before the drafting of the new songs.


– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.

Thank you for the interview and I hope “Hel” will be perceived in its entirety as a further step of M. E.


Sergio Fernández

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