Blue Roses for a Blue Lady

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Since inception (from the ashes of Catacomb), Italy’s Novembre has defied convention and categorization. While the majority of its work can be filed under atmospheric death, the band, helmed by brothers Carmelo and Giuseppe Orlando, is much more than that. In fact, as early as 1997’s Arte Novecento Novembre ventured so far as to employ […]

Since inception (from the ashes of Catacomb), Italy’s Novembre has defied convention and categorization. While the majority of its work can be filed under atmospheric death, the band, helmed by brothers Carmelo and Giuseppe Orlando, is much more than that. In fact, as early as 1997’s Arte Novecento Novembre ventured so far as to employ clean vocals as a primary songwriting device and then to cover Depeche Mode’s “Stripped.” It’s on Arte Novecento that Novembre would develop and expand a formula few would try to imitate. Now on album number six (not counting remake album Dreams D’Azur), the Orlando brothers and their fine group of musicians have created The Blue. Far more aggressive and uptempo than the dreamy Materia effort, The Blue marks a return to debut Wish I Could Dream It Again with a mature set of eyes. In fact, it’s Novembre’s most consistent album to date. Check out highlights “Anaemia,” “Nascence,” “Bluecracy,” and “Deorbit” as proof the Italians are on top of their game.

What do you think separates Materia from The Blue? It’s definitely more aggressive.
Carmelo Orlando: I like to put it this way: when we wrote Materia we were a bit ‘up in the clouds’ in every respect. Physical, emotive, etc. We were working on a deeper lever of consciousness, where aggressiveness and hate barely reach. The Blue was gathered on a more rational stage, where reality causes reactions like aggressiveness and rage.

The blue theme is throughout the album. Why blue?
Orlando: Because it’s the color [that] represents our tunes best. It’s the color you/I see when I write/play our tunes. It’s the color of the evening, of the uncertainty between the day and the night. A color of major fear. It’s pre-death, it’s abandonment, [a] slow fall down, it’s everything we need to get rid of.

I heard you could’ve written more music, but stopped writing. Why didn’t you continue writing for, say, an EP or limited edition singles?
Orlando: We somehow did that. There’s so much stuff that hasn’t been gathered/assembled. But it’s still there in the workshop waiting to be re-handled.

You didn’t record a cover this time around. Any reason why? I’ve always thought your choice of covers was adventurous. I mean, Depeche Mode, Kate Bush, and Arcadia aren’t common for metal bands to cover.
Orlando: I’ll take that as a compliment, but that means we’re not a metal band then. We’re long-haired folks with no spikes and leather. That era is over. Metal, death, thrash, and grind are our main influences, but not the only ones. We obviously rely on our metal roots, when it comes to aggressiveness. But as far as it concerns the music itself, we rely on so many other kinds of music. We didn’t make a cover because… who knows, I dunno. I don’t like to give an explanation to everything that happens. It wasn’t the right time for another cover. I think the next time we’ll cover a song, it will be even more surprising. We cover songs to ‘unbury’ them. Not to gain success from them, if you know what I mean.

It seems like you guys have a pretty easy time writing music. Why do you think that is?
Orlando: Not exactly [an] easy time! To write a song is a hell of an effort. I’d dare to say it’s more tiring than actual work. Still I think this comes from our creativity. It’s such a pain to leave all those riffs that come up so frequently, unconnected between them!

You write most of the music and lyrics – at least on past albums –, but now that Novembre has a pretty solid line-up did that change for The Blue. Or will that change on releases after The Blue?
Orlando: I don’t think so. Neither my brother nor Luca come up with music. I still write most of the music. Max brings some amazing moments and we put everything together. That’s how it works. To create music is an ability you develop over time. It’s not something you start doing tomorrow. I mean, you can start doing it tomorrow, but you need lotsa of practice to develop it to a decent and competitive level. On a team, everyone has his role. Someone makes the music, someone else makes sure it’s special.

You recorded one song, “Nascence,” with Francesca Lacorossi. How did you find her and why do you decide to include female vocals in the song?
Orlando: That song was meant to be sung as a duo since its conception. I dunno, I just heard it like that, in my head. Francesca already sung in a band called Oblivio. They were recording their debut at my brother’s studio, The Outer Sounds Studios. So, when he knew I needed a female vocalist, he told me about her. We called her and it was done.

Why did you record The Blue in Finland? I thought you guys owned or operated a studio? I guess there were additional recordings done at Finnvox.
Orlando: Well, Finnvox is the best studio around and we wanted the best for our album. We recorded part of the album at the Outer Sounds Studios, then we recorded rhythm guitars and bass (which are the core of the album) and some additional parts in Helsinki. Then we mixed and mastered it there.

Do you own or work at Outer Sounds Studio?
Orlando: My bro owns it. And works there.

Have you ever thought about working with Dan Swanö again?
Orlando: Yes, but I guess he’s not producing albums anymore.

How has new bassist Luca Giovagnoli acclimated to Novembre?
Orlando: Very well. You know, same age, same tastes, good company… It’s definitely easier.

What does Luca give to Novembre that previous bassists haven’t?
Orlando: Lots of dedication!

Tell me about shooting the video for “Anaemia.” Did you shoot it in Italy or were there other locations?
Orlando: It was shot in Rome and Gothenburg.

Was “Anaemia” your first video? I don’t recall videos before it.
Orlando: Yes, [our] first video!

You’ve released two albums in two years. Think you will continue to write one album per year? I know there was a long gap between Dreams D’Azur and Materia.
Orlando: If it was up to me, I would make an album a month [laughs]. As I said before, we’re a very productive team and the reasons why we couldn’t make more albums in the past were not related to our creativity. You know, label change, health reasons (a couple of years ago my brother had to have back surgery), delays with artwork and stuff…

Do you think Novembre is still death metal or gothic metal? Curious how you view your own music?
Orlando: We are still. And we’ll always be well-planted in the death/gothic metal underground, but we grow different fruit, if you get the metaphor. Of course, we’re metal. Our albums are sold in the metal market and bought mainly by metal listeners.

Favorite band of all time and why?
Orlando: Impossible to say so I’d go for the first one coming in my mind. The Cure!


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