Interview and translation by Arianna G.
Pure Italian excellence: this are the right words that can only to describe Fleshgod Apocalypse. The band, fresh from the release of the latest studio album, “King”, is gaining more feedbacks worldwide, reaching in a few steps what other current bands are unable to get in such a shorter time. On the occasion of the Italian tour that will develop in 13 live shows, we had the chance to have an interesting and funny chat with two precious members of the band, the soprano Veronica Bordacchini and the master Francesco Ferrini who unveiled us what does this record represent for the band, revealing also some interesting gems about the future goals, between a joke and another, useful to make the wait more pleasant before their entrance on stage.
Hi Veronica and welcome to Femme Metal. How are you doing? Are you excited about this new tour?
Veronica: Hi, thanks. I’m so and so, despite this moisture that it’s not helping that much… I’m joking! Everything’s fine. We’re finally on tour in Italy, after a European tour and a tour of festivals that went really, really good, because we’ve attended the Hellfest, Graspop, Rock Harz… There were a lot of festivals in Germany, we’ve attended Vagos Festival in Portugal. Fleshgod are doing fine, luckily the band is getting bigger and it is growing. We’re very happy about that.
Summer has ended more than one month ago. You’ve had a beautiful and busy season between the European festivals, you’re currently on the road in this Italian mini tour that sees something like 13 dates. How are the things going so far?
Veronica: We have twelve gigs, I’m not that well-prepared about it just because I tend to forget, as usual. Well, we’ve already done some gig, amongst the most important ones we’ve had the one attended in Perugia, where we’ve recorded a live video, we’ve played in our hometown. We’ve played in Florence, which was the very first date of this tour, it was Calenzano basically. We’ve played in Naples, Rome…
Modena was also in the list…
Veronica: Modena… You know what? The very first official date of the tour was the one we had in Calenzano, Modena was a bit earlier because it was basically a festival, it was the last date of the season. Now we still have to play in Foggia, Pescara, I am not listing those gigs in a chronological order because I don’t remember everything. We’ll play next weekend in Udine, Pescara, Foggia (this is a new location, because the same gig should have taken place in Bari), while the next week we’ll be in Udine, San Donà di Piave (Venice) and Turin! Yeah! And as the English people say, “so far, so good”. It’s going very well.
Do you already feel tired?
Veronica: I do feel tired a bit, my voice – and you can hear it – is a bit hoarse, because we’ve got some cold. It was basically summer in Naples, yesterday we’ve played in Rome and everything went really well. Personally I think that this kind of tours is a bit more tiring compared to the ones that have 30 gigs in a row, just because you don’t have the time to get used to it. You come back home after three days, then you have to leave for other 3 days, then again you go home, then you leave again and so on. Usually you feel good when you have to face really long tours, even with a hostile weather, even if I have to say that the first week is always a bit tougher, then you go with the flow and you get used to it.
As I said earlier, you’re currently on tour promoting “King”. After so many months, what kind of appraisal can you make? I know that the album has been well received by both the fans and the international press.
Veronica: We had a really great feedback, especially from the Italian people, the album is going so well from what we can see, and I’m not talking only about numbers, since the people who come to see us also write to us, they meet us. Moreover, Nuclear Blast has written to us a while ago and it told us that the selling is going so well, better than we expected. The feedback is there, we’re really satisfied and happy. Fans are really appreciating this record, maybe it’s a more immediate album compared to the previous one, so people have started to understand it, maybe they’ve started to understand “Labyrinth” now and at the same time they try to understand “King” as well, since no one seemed to understand it (laughs, ed). To me this record is more immediate so people have appreciated it; of course the people who have appreciated, who still do and who is more into this record have really enjoyed since day one. Yes! And of course I’m pleased with it!
“King”. A straight-forward album title, another concept album. This time around you’ve dealt with a story based on a imaginary court and each song of the record deals with a specific character. Each character interacts with all the characters of the story. We’ve got to know the Queen with “Cold As Perfection”, then we had the Jester in “The Fool”, but what about the King?
Veronica: Good question. Honestly, talking about the composition, the lyrics and the storyboard, Tommaso is the man, he is the one who manages everything, so can I skip this one?
Would you like to answer, Francesco?
Veronica: Well, actually, I know the answer, but I wouldn’t like to say something wrong.
Francesco: The King depicts the bond to those old, upright values, principles like the courage, nobleness, uprightness, those things that are trap-ladden. Each character depicts some specific feature, mostly negative, of the human soul. There is the minister of the war, the bishop, the jester, the queen, the harlots, some characters who try to undercut the King’s power, while others intersect their story, conducting parallel stories.
Veronica, a lot of people started to know your voice thanks to “Agony”. What could you tell about the work you’ve done in on “King”?
Veronica: The vocal lines are really tough, especially now since the support band is going to play so it will be hard to speak (the interview took place while The Burning Dogma were doing the soundcheck, ed). The vocal lines have been very hard, but I’d like to say this: I’ve read a lot of comments from people who pretend to be teachers, some of them have written that this is not my vocal range, that you can clearly hear it and so on… I’d like to tell everyone that there’s something called “the altissimo register”, which can be seen as a different range! I do have it, actually everyone has it, but of course higher is your range, higher is the altissimo register. I am a dramatic soprano and, as I said, the vocal lines have been tough, but I made it! Furthermore, my dearest friend Cinghio (Marco Mastrobuono, ed) – and I really have to say this – has nicknamed me “Otaria Turunen” (Otaria is the Italian name for “otter”, ed) because every now and then I made this sound that recall the call of a otter, especially in “Paramour (Die Leidenschaft bringt Leiden)”, where I had to deal with this complicated and tough monologue. The part I sang in German has been really tough.
Will be the next record written and sang in German, my dear Francesco?
Francesco: I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve been told of finding a German poetry, I’ve googled, I’ve found it and I’ve set it to music!
What has been the most difficult part of the creation of this record?
Francesco: Francesco Paoli! No, I’m just kidding! The most difficult part was trying to find new formulas without repeating ourselves, trying to reinvent and propose something new without breaking the mold, without proposing the same solutions. Trying to find something different that could sound as we sound.
Veronica: Making ours something new.
Francesco: Exactly. You can only write this word: reinventing.
Today we’re here in Pinarella, Italy. Have you already had the chance to play here?
Veronica: Yes, but we weren’t with the band. Fleshgod Apocalypse has played here with Suffocation!
Francesco: Yeah, with Suffocation!
Veronica: Moreover, I was here that night, but I came late and I missed the show, so I’ve only attended Suffocation’s performance!
Francesco: I’ve just seen a gig here and it wasn’t a metal gig. It was a sort of rockabilly night!
I’ve mentioned the King Italian Tour earlier. What has pushed you to book something like 13 dates in a month, each one strewn all over Italy? Why haven’t you opt for some specific, sporadic date?
Francesco: I’ve said that the number 13 is a bad number. Bad luck!
So we have to add another date!
Veronica: Or to cut one off! I don’t know, I think it was decided by the Italian promoter.
Francesco: In my opinion the promoters said: “We want the band to become even more popular, so let’s propose…”.
Veronica: Yes, sure, we will have a show with Gigione, Bagutti and Fleshgod Apocalypse.
Regardless, I assume that the expectations are quite higher, because we know that the fear of not seeing so much people is always around the corner…
Veronica: Let’s say that this problem doesn’t concern us only as a band, this doesn’t happen in Pinarella only. We’ve talked about this matter just a few days ago. I think the problem is due to the new generation of people. People don’t want to move, they really don’t want, they prefer staying at home. I think that there’s not that devotion to music anymore. I’m 28 years old and I’ve started attending gigs when I was 15, so it was nearly 13 years ago. I remember that, in order to reach this venue in Pinarella, sometimes I asked a friend of mine to bring me here, because he had a car and the driving licence, but I couldn’t use him everytime in order to move, so I took the train to reach the place. My friends and I took the sleeping bag and during the summer we slept at the train station or at the pine forest and we came home the day after. I don’t see people doing this anymore and I have to say that if you do sleep now at the train station you could find yourself with no clothes, maybe just underwear if thieves allow you to wear it! Everything has changed and I’m sorry for that, I’m not saying this because it deals with me, but it also deals with the other guys. It’s the mentality that goes this way, unfortunately!
Talking about the audience, have you ever noticed some big difference between the American people and the Italian one?
Veronica: I’m sorry to say this, because I’m talking to an Italian webzine and the audience is Italian, I’m truly sorry but we’ve grown faster in the United States. In the US people – and I’m not telling that they are “old” – move and they drive for miles, America is such a big continent and if you want to see a gig you have to move. American people go, there’s not such a big financial crisis like the one we have in Italy and the dollar is decreasing. The American people have, for example, a budget of 100 dollars, 30 dollars go for the car and gasoline, 30 bucks go for the ticket and the rest of the money is useful for purchases. The American people buy at least one t-shirt, we sell a gadget at least. I still remember when I was the merch chick for Fleshgod Apocalypse the first times. I do remember of a guy who came in order to get a copy of the album and he told me that he already had a copy at home, he had also t-shirts and he told me that he wanted to buy even more because he wanted to give us his complete support. The market is very different there, but this also depends on the package, on the tour… Of course we hope that everything will be fine with Epica. Venues are bigger and more beautiful. Capacities are three times bigger than the normal ones. We already had an headlining tour in the United States, we had our very first headlining tour a few months ago. It went really well, we almost reached the sold out every night and venues weren’t that small. We had a sold out show at the Grand Mercy in New York, with 600 tickets sold!
Francesco: It was nearly soldout!
Veronica: Yes, 20 tickets left to reach the soldout show, I assume! The gig was in the center of New York and the same day Cradle Of Filth was playing too. Oh no, that gig happened in San Francisco, also that gig was nearly soldout.
Francesco: Two huge tours, in the same city, the same night!
Veronica: Yeah, we were kinda really low-spirited and the venue was full! Reconnecting to the question, in America there are people who are willing to travel, to move. It’s not the same in Italy, we’ve talked about this matter a few days ago. There’s a problem about the generation, people do not want to move because we have the financial crisis so people don’t want to waste their money …
Francesco: In America people are big spenders, they are more enthusiast, more careful to the underground music. If Metallica comes to play, they say “Ah, ok”, if Maiden comes to play, they say “Oh, how cool”, Fleshgod Apocalypse comes in Italy – but this is valid for other bands too, also for the ones who are bigger than us – and you gain small numbers. We talk about those bands who come to play abroad and they have something 500 or 1000 people attending the gig, while in Italy the same bands have the half of the spectators.
Veronica: 150? 200?
Francesco: Indeed we have this sad nickname, “Shitaly”. When a tour comes across Italy, you know that you won’t sell any merch, the catering service sucks in some place, promoters don’t work properly…
Veronica: There’s some carelessness, especially from the Italian promoters to those foreigner bands. We have worked with a lot of people who came to play in Italy and they said: “Oh, Italy is so beautiful. What a pity that everytime we played there everything sucked!”. We’re sorry to hear such things, because when we played in Naples we had great food, we’ve eaten a lot and I’m still suffering from that! We had really great food and people treated us in a very good way. I don’t wanna say that people would treat in a worst way bands like Ne Obliviscaris or Cradle of Filth. It depends on and it changes from person to person, but on average, unfortunately, if you are an Italian band you know what you could come across so people tend to cook dishes in a good way, if you know what I mean. Perhaps these people can save money for what it concerns foreigner bands and they tend to think: “Ok, let’s make this pasta, who fucking cares”. To me this is the carelessness we have in general. I don’t know, I’ve never been in the crew of a gig by Iron Maiden in order to see what happens to those levels, but I think that it may happen that the tourmanager comes and say: “Ok, doesn’t this pasta have the basil along with tomato souce? Then the band will not play. It’s been great, let’s go away. It would have been so cool, I’m sorry” or also “Oh, isn’t there the parmesan cheese? It would have been so great to play here tonight, thanks for the cachet, see ya”. Of course I’m talking about extreme situations, also playing a joke on it, but so far everything went well in our Italian tours.
A few days ago you’ve reserved your fans in Perugia a great surprise: you’ve indeed filmed a live video. What can you tell us about this choice?
Veronica: No comment, not yet, also because we can’t reveal anything, but the flyer of the gig unveiled something about the recording, it didn’t tell which song was going to be filmed…
Francesco: It hasn’t been mentioned what song will be picked up.
Veronica: The video won’t come out that longer, because we’ve recorded now, we’ll see!
Talking about live gigs, isn’t there any plan of recording a DVD?
Francesco: No, no, absolutely not! Just videos!
Veronica: It’s a DVD containing one song only, ahahahah. If you want, we can put it on a DVD and we will give the result. Let’s make a one hour long DVD, we can also put that scene of that guy who screws the pen (Veronica is referring to the Lawyer George from “The Aristocats”, ed).
Francesco: Nice, now I feel like watching that film.
Veronica: We will watch it for ten hours.
What about the future plans? What’s brewing for the band now?
Veronica: We have the headliner tour now, then we’ll have something more, but I don’t know if I can reveal or not! Of course, being serious now, we’ll have the tour with Epica and it will be so cool. In this new American tour we’ll have some off date, some headlining gigs.
Francesco: Yes, we’ll have these gigs since we will not only support Epica in this tour. We’ll play these shows when Epica will have days off.
Veronica: We won’t have any day off because time is money! Later on we’ll have an headlining European tour with Carach Angren and Nightland. This Italian band will be here tonight in order to support us (and to stand us too)! This is what we’re going to have next, there’s nothing else confirmed.
Francesco: There are also some other things that I won’t tell you!
Veronica: We could say that these will be beautiful things, if they will be successful! We only have these things planned for 2017. We’ll embark on this new EU tour on January 7th, the day after the Epiphany!
So we’ll stay tuned for more things to come! Ok, guys, thanks for this funny chat we had.
Veronica: I wanna thank you for this interview and let’s see very soon, wherever you may like to see us!
Francesco: Can I say something? I’m Francesco, I like reading and my weak spot is split ends. I work by myself, I’ve studied at the University Of Life. It really helped me.
Veronica: Haven’t you specialised in the University of Metal?
Francesco: No. I’d like to say hi to all my music idols: Aqua, Roxette, Zucchero Fornaciari and Oliver Palotai.. and I stop here my list because the band is going to play!