Interview by Miriam Cadoni

In Italian Inno means hymn which is something quite powerful that can inspire and provoke an inner change. In this case, INNO is one of the most interesting metal acts out of Italy. Not only because the debut album “The Rain Under” released via Time to Kill Records is so full of emotions, but also because the featured line-up is special. Now, let’s do some basic math and consider that the singer’s former band is the celebrated stoner/doom metal band Riti Occulti while Giuseppe Orlando is one of the active members of The Foreshadowing. So, what we shall expect is pure doom metal excellance. Let’s embrace the doom together! Enjoy!

Hi Elisabetta, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine. How are you and how life is treating you in these precarious days?

Hi Miriam! I’m delighted to have my own space with this interview. This is a rough time for everybody and it’s not easy to keep the mood up, but I’m not easily discouraged.

For our readers that are not familiar with INNO, would you like to tell us how the band together?

The idea came from Marco Mastrobuono (bass player) and Giuseppe Orlando (drum player) during a trip somewhere with Hour of Penance, for whom Giuseppe was working as live sound engineer. Then, Cristiano Trionfera (Guitar player) and I were called to compose the first melodies along with Marco, second one vocals and lyrics.

Back in February 2020, it was released INNO’s debut album “The Rain Under” via Time to Kill Records. What would you like to share about its general production? When did you start to collect the first ideas for it?

The whole album was recorded, mixed and mastered at Bloom Recording Studio and Kick Recording Studio, with Marco and Giuseppe working behind the desk, than mastered by the mastermind Jacob Hansen (Hansen Studio). Considering our previous and actual backgrounds, this was an ambitious project because very far from metal sub-genres we are coming from, but so many bands influenced us through years. Probably we are aging and we need to express also another facet of our personality. We expected that someone would reacted bad, but we are also grateful for the great support we received from so many people and from so many metal ambient!

Even though INNO has under his belt just one full-length, its band member are veterans of the Italian metal music scene, what did you learn from your past experiences and how all this improved you as a singer?

Actually, I owe a lot to my previous bands, starting from Stormlord – we are friends since I was 15!!- to Riti Occulti, with which I probably had the time of my life! At the time, I started my classical studies as a opera singer and Riti Occulti offered me more options for explore different styles while keeping a sort of a “classical mark”.

Also, I was a guest for Black Oath on their last album “Behold the Abyss” and I performed live last year for a couple of gigs. Instead, with INNO I decided to put myself out there and modify a little bit my vocal style which was inspired by one of my favorite muse, Anneke van Giersbergen. In the end, I’m still attempting how to find a balance between all the different influences and vocal palettes. I’m aware there’s still a lot of work to do, but I love challenges!

The album was introduced by the single “Pale Dead Sun”. What can you tell me about this specific song, and what’s the story behind the lyrics of this song? Lastly, how was to collaborate with Sanda Movies’s Martina L. McLean?

So, this song talks about depression and I wrote it many years ago during one of the worst moment of my life.
After sending this song to Martina, she instantly understood the whole theme and in just few days, she wrote an amazing screenplay.

With the help of her tireless team, she realized a masterpiece: the striking images and the melancholic atmospheres perfectly match with our melodies and feelings. Actually, we were already familiar with Martina‘s incredible talent, but the result exceeded our expectations!

Which are the main inspirations that lies beneath the lyrics and the musical texture of INNO?

Well, Marco and Cristiano composed all melodies together by showing an unexpected sensitivity and a really good taste in gothic/doom metal. Actually, who’d have thought that members of two of the heaviest bands in Italy could bring out those soft melodies? What I loved about this is that they dared to show their “sweet side” which led me to do the same. In this regard, I dusted off an old diary where I used to write on it around the age of 15.

At that time, I was dealing with my sleeping paralysis and I kept on dreaming a lot. In order to don’t loose the secret link with my imaginary world, I drew or wrote what I’ve seen because when you dream fears, hopes and desires are mixed up and sometimes you can barely distinguish them from your real life which, in some cases, it can be even worst than the nightmares.

My dreams were so frightening they scared me for days after or leaved me a bittersweet sensation, like I wasn’t really woke up. Unfortunately, It still happens sometimes, especially when I’m stressed. Thus, my lyrics are a sort of mix between nightmares, dreams and real experiences. My lyrics are directly connected to my life experiences. It was extremely hard with me and many times I though I wouldn’t make it. Before this project, I’ve been very close to give up for umpteenth time, but once again, music saved me. So, I decided to share what was going on in my head hoping it could help someone who had similar experience as mine.

I know that you are an accomplished illustrator and together with the album orders, the fans get always an illustration which it’s quite raw and horrific. How it’s possible to associate your ethereal vocals with these brutal illustrations?

You know I love contrasts both in music and life. While the old artistic trend in the 70s was to associate pop music with super sad lyrics, in my illustration, I really try to tell stories about my horrible visions that I had in the past. Excluding “The Hangman” and “Scorched”, my goal is to expressed them in the sweetest way ever. Due to my illness, I have drawn a lot of monsters, ghosts and witches I had seen in my dreams. So, I wanted to give to listeners a real vision of my nightmares by including a sketch together with the CD.

The song that closes “The Rain Under” is the cover of Pink Floyd’s “High Hopes”. What does personally represent for you this song and why did you opt for this one?

You know, I feel myself quite lucky to be raised by a father with a great music taste. Since I was born, I’ve listening to Pink Floyd, Beatles, Queen, Rolling Stones, David Bowie and many others. In this case, Pink Floyd‘s “High Hopes” is special to me because it recalls me about memories of lost childhood and of good times that, sadly, will never come back. Since everybody in INNO loves Pink Floyd, we agreed to include that because our concept was very close to “High Hopes”‘s lyrics. Personally, it was really hard to not crying during its recording and the performance during the live streaming.

What the future holds for INNO and how the pandemic impacted your original plan?

Consequent to the release of the début album, it was announced the first lockdown so, all the planned concerts were scrapped. Despite the situation, a lot of people still supported us by buying our CD and our T-shirts and by following up the band on our social channels. Also, thanks to the support of our follower and our amazing label Time To Kill Records, we managed to play our first live streaming and record it. Indeed, it’s available for free on Time to Kill records YouTube account here. For the rest, we are looking forward to play again, hopefully in a better situation and with a real public in front of us.

So, Elisabetta, we’re almost at the end and with this please be free to say hi to your fans and your readers. Thank you so much for this interview.

Thanks to you Miriam and thank you so much to everyone who’ll spend 5 minutes to read this interview. Then, thank you for all the warm support we have received!

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