Interview by Robin Stryker
Good things come to those who wait. In this case, a thirteen-year wait has brought the metal scene a lovely slab of eclectic tunes from Italian speed/progressive metal band, Darksky. Femme Metal chatted with Alis Bos to learn what happens when musicians with interests in classical, power, progressive, thrash, rock and pop come together.
Hello Alis, and congratulations on Darksky’s full-length debut album “Where Angels Hide”! Is the album everything you hoped it would be?
Hello Robin, first of all I want to thank you for the opportunity of giving this interview. Concerning “Where Angels Hide” I can say I’m really satisfied … Even if it’s already time for us to think about our next release!
Why did Darksky choose “Where Angels Hide” for the album’s title?
We have chosen this title because it well reflects the concepts we talk about in our lyrics. These ideas are also emphasized by the cover of the album. The lyrics deal with important themes like sin, salvation, decadence and love. We liked the idea that even the purest being (an angel) could be attracted to human weaknesses, escaping from Heaven in order to hide in an unknown place. The listener should find this secret place!
The album includes a lot of different musical styles — progressive metal, speed metal, symphonic metal, gothic rock, and even a bit of electronica. What three words do you think best describe Darksky’s sound?
Innovative, dynamic and… romantic!
What were the challenges of self-releasing an album like, “Where Angels Hide”?
Well, working on an album is not so easy and we made a lot of efforts (for executive production too!). Before the release, you can’t even know if the people would appreciate it!
I can listen to “The Last Rose” again and again without ever getting tired of it. Which song means the most to you, and why? Do you have a favourite song to perform live?
The song which is nearest to my personality is “The Colour of Dreams” because at the beginning it is sweet like a ballad then there is a “strange” break and finally it explodes with a Metal ending. And I am like that!! My favourite song to perform on stage is “Lightstorm”!
The band was formed in 1997 by brothers, Francesco (guitar) and Max Diblasio (keyboards), as a male-fronted band. How did you become the vocalist for Darksky?
I have been part of Darksky since 2001, after the ending of my collaboration with Thy Sirma. I felt like doing something new, but always related with the Metal sphere. I liked Darksky’s new compositions (“Crimson Butterfly”) very much because they combined the power of Metal with melodic parts. We made some rehearsals and… here I am!
Did you always know you wanted to be a singer, or did you consider other paths for your life?
I would like to be a professional singer but… no strings pulled! (laugh) I think that my voice is my best quality; I was born with music in my own blood and I have always been quite in tune. But I started studying music late, at age sixteen.
Would you please tell us a bit about your musical background and the backgrounds of the other band members?
My greatest luck was to meet a very special singing teacher: Carola Caruso. She built my voice, my own personality, and I want to thank her for this. I am still studying with Carola! The Diblasio brothers (Guitars and Keyboards) have a Classical/Power/Progressive Metal background. Davide Martinelli (Drums) comes from Thrash and Progressive Metal and our bass player Paolo Sciaresa loves Pop, Rock, and Metal in general.
Comparing the versions of “Lux Aeterna” on the mini-CD “Crimson Butterfly” (2005) and on “Where Angels Hide”, the two versions sound quite different, particularly with the growling male vocals on the earlier version. Why did Darksky pick this song to re-record for the new album?
“Lux Aeterna” was the “Crimson Butterfly” song that obtained the best success. In the meantime, our line-up changed and musical evolution brought us to release it again in a lighter and more particular version.
In what ways did Darksky’s music evolve between “Crimson Butterfly” and “Where Angels Hide”?
I think there is a big difference between the two works. “Where Angels Hide” is surely the result of a work done with higher maturity and consciousness. “Crimson Butterfly” is a “sharper” work in which we all were in the quest of our personality. In the new album we added some electronics and more catchy melodies. Moreover, the instrumental parts have been designed expressly for my voice.
When Alessandro Bertagna left the band, did Darksky consider getting another male growler?
In the beginning, we thought about it, but then, we understood that my voice was enough!
Having been in a couple of bands (S.K.A. and Thy Sirma) and provided vocals on Monumentum’s “Ad Nauseam” album, how has your experience with Darksky compared?
They are all different experiences, but Darksky is the most gratifying one! In my past bands, I have always felt myself like a performer of somebody else’s ideas … With Darksky, I can sing what my soul wants to express; so I can show how I really am and, in my opinion, this is the best union!
Andrea Stefanelli is a guest vocalist on the song “A Way Out for the Sinner”. Did you know him from when you both recorded vocals for “Ad Nauseam” or some other way?
Andrea and me, we are old friends. We have known each other before the duet on Monumentum’s “Ad Nauseam” album. I think our voices are on a pretty wavelength, so I like to sing with him very much. I hope we will have other common projects in the future!
You have been part of Italy’s music scene for more than 15 years now. What are the biggest changes you have noticed during that time, whether good or bad?
There were not big changes in Italian scene… here in our country, you always have to fight. Abroad, the “Metal woman” role has had a big success in these years, so I hope we will get positive feedback and success in another country, sooner or later. In other countries, like England or the U.S.A., people are more into going to live shows, even if a band is not that famous. Sometimes, here in Italy you have to pay if you want to play live, and nobody cares about new and promising bands, overall if they come from Italy. There is a sort of xenophilia.
What are your goals for the future of Darksky?
We are already composing new tracks for the next album that will be a concept about man’s multiple personality. The new thing is that, for the first time, I will write all the lyrics. And I am really excited!
Thank you for talking with us today, Alis! Do you have any parting words for your fans at Femme Metal?
I want to thank everyone who supports Darksky and listens to our music. I want them to know this is really important for me and the band. And thanks to Femme Metal for this opportunity and for the nice interview!