Interview by Matteo BussottiName any italian band you know which is as famous (if not more) abroad as it is in Italy. Done? If you didn’t by yourself, add Belladonna to the list. This italian band rose above many other bands, by simply making excellent music, and self producing its own CDs. Their list of successes would simply be too long to put here, then I’ll limit myself by telling you: go visit their Facebook page! And, of course, read this interview, for a very nice chat with Luana, singer of Belladonna! Hi Luana! Welcome to Femme Metal! It’s always a pleasure to an italian, successful singer here with us! My first question is: Edgar A. Poe, Alfred Hitchcock, Kate Bush, Philip K. Dick, Led Zeppelin, Charles Baudelaire, Black Sabbath, Federico Fellini, Michael Nyman, The Beatles, Arcade Fire, Immanuel Kant, Motley Crue, Greta Garbo, Ziggy Stardust, Roman Polanski, William Blake, Lucio Battisti, Karl Popper, Blue Oyster Cult, Park Chan-Wook, Caravaggio, Fleetwood Mac, H.P.Lovecraft, Lisa Dal Bello, Fëdor Dostoevskij – these are your “Influences” as listed on your Facebook page. …how do you cope with them? I mean, that’s a HUGE and diversified list. What did you take from them? Who do you think influenced you, as a band, the most?
First of all thank you for your kindness! It will always be a pleasure for me to answer your questions! Well, actually the list would be much longer because many are the names of those who through their art, science and life inspire us… I think it’s the same for anyone! But I can’t actually point out any main “influence” since by this term we don’t actually mean a willingness to model our music on anybody else, but only our being so forcefully connected to somebody’s aesthetic ideal that it then pervades our artistic output, and that comes in equal measure from whoever we recognize as an influence on our music.What about your personal heroes? Everyone usually grows up thinking “When I’ll get older I want to be like…” Who did you want to be like when you were a little child?
My greatest heroes are those who risk everything to pursue their dreams. As a child I dreamed of becoming many things… the only one that I never dreamed about (because in a surreal way I was then thinking it already was my reality) was to become a singer/songwriter!You pretty much single-handedly created a new genre: rock noir. Can you tell us about the genesis of it? I know, it’s probably the question you’ve heard the most, but I’ve never heard anything about it, so I’m really interested of how it developed.
We coined that term to emphasize the difference between our music and gothic or metal, genres that we love but that we feel distant from us and genres to which, superficially, our music could be aligned. Erotism, mystery, and a certain esoterism of the mind are – I would say – the main ingredients of the Rock Noir recipe.Another amazing fact: you toured the world, entered the Grammys, were produced by the Tool’s producer…and you are a self-produced band, without any label. How…simply how do you do that?
They say “where there is a will there is a way” and we believe that the only way to make this very quote become reality is to stay totally indipendent and steadily and happily trod the path of your own choosing!Now, some questions on a more personal level: when did you start singing? At an early age? Did you grow up in a family filled with music, or were you the “white fly” of the situation?
I have always sang! Unbelievable as it sounds, I used to whistle back the songs that my grandmother used to sing me when I was 9 months old… It made me look like an alien! My father was a musician (he abandoned this passion when I still was a child) so maybe it’s somewhere in my DNA. I’ve always loved singing and my parents used to take me to sing in voice contests for children when I was only 4 years old… Then – after a long musical silence – my voice started singing again thanks to the magical encounter I had with Dani Macchi (guitar player and co-writer with me of all Belladonna songs).
Some people begin with a particular genre, and go through many “transformations” before finding their peculiar genre (I personally know a friend of mine who was an heavy metal guitarist, and know he plays electronic/ambient music, just saying). What’s your story? Did you immediately (or kind of) find your genre, or did you go through many stages of progress?
As soon as Dani Macchi and I met we started writing songs and they right away all sounded like Belladonna songs: our songs are the exact sum of what Dani and I are as human and spiritual beings so they could only sound that way and never any other way.What do you think about Italy’s music scene? And, having toured a lot abroad, what do other countries think of it? How does the rest of the world see us?
Actually in the rest of the world people do not seem to think much about the Italian music scene… and in all honesty anybody who loves Music would tell you that here in Italy – save for some rare and marvelous exceptions (all the bands that are recognized and loved abroad, mainly) – there’s not really much worth reflecting upon.About your latest album, “Shooting Dice With God”, the first question which pops up in my mind is…what’s the story behind the album’s title? It’s not a title like “Let’s rock!”, or “The destructor of the world with flames and death” or something like that, I really like it, it sounds really deep to me.
I’m glad you do find it deep… within the depth of this title there is also your own personal interpretation, as well as everyone else’s … it’s a depth that thickens at every glance! The idea of calling our album “Shooting Dice With God” came out by reflecting on the famous statement of Einstein on the then nascent quantum physics: “God does not play dice!” .A question I usually ask everybody: is there something you’d have liked to do differently with this album? Something you left out which you’d have included in it? Something we’re maybe going to see in your next release?
Absolutely nothing! We are very happy and proud of the way it is! It was recorded totally live (voice included) in only two days! We feel it is a perfect photograph of what we were in that moment in time and as such we cherish it and will always cherish it.Last question: is there something you’d like to do in the future with Belladonna, or by yourself? And I mean…everything, every project (even the craziest one) you’d like to try, or a particular sonority you’d love to put in a song.
I’m sure that nothing of what we now imagine about the future could be more amazing of what eventually will happen to us … it’s always been like this for us! And we are the first ones to be surprised every time by it all! It’s like if there was some strange and wonderful astral design to guide our musical adventure…Thank you so much Luana for your time and your answer, we really hope to see you at a concert soon (even though, if I’m not wrong, you played in Perugia earlier this month, which is quite close to where I live), and wish you the best luck for everything!
You are totally right!! It is such an awesome city! Thank you very much my dear and I really hope to see you soon as well!