Interview by Erwin Van Dijk
Forget all those Cristina Scabbia & Lacuna Coil look-alikes from Italy. If you want to hear some old sckool metal from that country that would make Doro or Sabina Classen proud you should give the band White Skull a try. No soprano vocals or sweet elven maidens onstage with this band. I saw White Skull a few years ago at the Metal Female Voices Fest and they were one of the highlights today (the others were Girlschool and Izegrim).
Did you always wanted to become a singer?
Well, from what I can remember, when I started listening to heavy metal music I was about 16 years and I imagined myself running on a stage like Bruce Dickinson, hehe! That’s probably the dream of many young metal heads. Btw, then I started learning guitar and I found my own style on vocals just many years later.
Did you have any other bands before White Skull?
Yes, but as I said before, I was playing guitar. I played in some underground bands of my town, sometimes on guitar, later on vocals, and sometimes both on guitar and voice. Everything is good to make experience!
Who are your favourite singers?
Bruce Dickinson, Bobby Blitz and Ronny James Dio.
And to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
I love and listen mostly to thrash metal (‘80s Bay Area bands) and classic heavy metal like Iron Maiden and Scorpions.
What are your other passions besides music?
I love reading books and watching horror films. I like being scared!
And is it difficult to combine White Skull with your personal life?
No, luckily my job gives me the chance to plan my time in an independent way.
Besides White Skull you are also busy with your mail-order shop (see www.over-zone.com). What made you decide to start your own mail order shop specialized in old school metal stuff from the eighties?
Thanks for the question about it. I’m into the ‘80s style since I was young and I also worked with a business partner in a rock-metal shop for several years. After making enough experience in it, I was in need of independence and I also found out that she wasn’t the right person to share my work with. So I opened my own on-line shop and finally I could put my own style in it! It’s been a great satisfaction and I hope to support the old school style as long as possible, also for the young generations.
Do you think that metal as genre and life style was better in the eighties than today?
Surely it was better in the eighties. Everything was new, and you had to make sacrifices for your passion in Metal. Now everything is much more simple, you can find everything on-line, Mp3, information, shops… So it’s also less strong than before. And then, today many pubs and clubs are closing or just stopping to let bands play. It’s very sad!!
Unlike most female singers today (who try to be the next Sharon den Adel or Cristina Scabbia) the way you sing is more in the style of Sabina Classen from Holy Moses. Since this is not the most gentle way to tread your vocal cords, what do you do to keep your voice in top condition?
Yes it’s not a gentle way at all, haha. I’ll be honest I’m doing very few things for it: just concentrating in the right breathing and rehearsing at home to find the best position of the sound in my mouth or head, or nose.. I’m sorry, I haven’t got time for vocal lessons at the moment.
How did you became a member of White Skull?
Oh, totally by accident! I wasn’t following the band in the last times, so I didn’t know that they were searching for a new vocalist. One night I met Danilo in a pub and he just asked me what I was making in music now. He only knew that I was playing guitar in some local bands but he didn’t know that I was singing too. So he simply asked me to make the proof with them.. I did it one week later and here I am.
And since you are not White Skull’s first singer, was it necessary to adapt the songs to your voice?
Of course it always happens, when one vocalist comes after another (or two!!) and he has to perform songs that he hasn’t composed. That’s a old story! I’ve tried to do my best, but it’s natural that I prefer singing my own songs, I haven’t got problems in telling it.
What are the most memorable moments for you with White Skull?
We are a band and a family as well, so every time we go out and play, we have very good time together, in total harmony and fun. I can remember when we played at the MFVF in Belgium. We arrived to the place the day before playing, so we had all the day and night to relax and touring around Bruxelles. It was like a little holiday and we really had fun (especially with food and beers!!)
I have seen White Skull only once, at the Metal Female Voices Fest of 2008. How do you look back at that festival?
Oh, I didn’t read this question when I told you about it in the previous one!
No problem 🙂
As I told you, we really enjoyed that little tour and also the organisation of the Festival has been good and kind with us. I only have to say that we were the only True Metal band, that day. The other bands played mostly gothic or doom or some new metal, that’s not my genre. It seems difficult to find female metal bands in classic heavy metal! Luckily at the end came the Girlschool with their funny and old school rock’n roll, hehe.
Can you introduce us to the other members of White Skull?
Tony Mad (Rhythm Guitar) and Alex (Drums) are the founder members of the band. Later, after other mambers, came Danilo Bar on the solo guitar and me on voice and finally Jo on bass. During the story of the band there have been several line up changes. For example, Alessio Lucatti (Keyboards) has just left the band due to employment purposes. It’s not easy to find the right people to play with, sometime for personal reasons, other times for a different style in composing ad taste in music, or simply for problems in the job. Now we hope to last many and many years like this!
Who is responsible for the music and lyrics in White Skull?
The music is composed by all of us, sometimes all together, other times working on one’s idea or riff. When each song is ready I write the lyrics and the melody for the voice.
And were do you and the band get the inspiration for the songs?
We all listen to metal since years and years, so I think that our inspiration comes in a natural way from all the bands we love. Though, ‘cause we have different taste in music (I’m mostly into thrash metal, for example), at the end everything mixes together and that’s the way how the White Skull current style was born.
“Forever Fight” is White Skull’s latest album. Is “Forever Fight” a concept album or are it thirteen individual songs?
I’d better say that they are 13 different songs, linked together by the same historical period (the end of the Roman Empire of Occident). Some of the songs tell about the same story (for example, “Boudicca’s Speech” is the prologue of “A Mother’s Revenge” and other songs talk about Attle and the Huns). But in the end it’s not a real concept album.
How did the press and the fans received the album?
Well, I can honestly say in a good way. I’m happy about the result. Of course there will always be who prefers the old WS style or members, but it’s natural and it’s not a problem. Everyone has his own taste in music and you can’t say anything, everybody is right. The important thing is that fans come to our shows and at the end they are really happy and come to talk with us with much excitement. And this is the biggest satisfaction for us!
Since “Forever Fight” was released in 2009, are you already working on a new album?
We’ve been busy with the live shows since now, so we’re planning to start the new album around this summer but with no hurry. There’s nothing worst for a musician than being late and having to write songs as quick as possible. We also live in different and also far cities, so it’s not easy to meet each others and play together, so the times are a little longer than normally.
If you look back at “Forever Fight”, are there things on the album you would have done different now?
This is my first album with WS and I’m much attached to it. So, even if nothing is always “perfect” and you could always improve it, now I wouldn’t change a single note in it.
And what are White Skull plans for the future?
Going on with the live shows and starting the composition of the new songs as well.
And the last question: is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
Oh you’ve already asked a lot, hehehe! 🙂
One can never ask enough questions 🙂
I can only add that WS is a band with a strong passion for the true heavy metal and we do nothing if we don’t like it in that moment. We’ve done sacrifices like many other Italian bands to have the chance to play around, in a bad period for heavy metal music. Our only interest is passion and not business! Keep the Metal alive, guys.