Infernal Masquerade: Mandragora Scream has been around for over 10 years, how do you think the band has evolved during all these years?
We have grown a lot, not just from the point of view of our music but also from a personal and spiritual perspective. We had moments of great joy and enthusiasm followed by moments of deep suffering and despair. The death of my father in 2006 left a deep scar in my soul.
Terry and I, however, never lost sight of the path we were following. We were connected by a kind alchemic bond. In all of these years, we have tried to become more and more professional in our approach and to leave nothing to chance when it came to producing a new album.
That’s why the path ahead of us has always been clearly defined: starting from an artistically well produced demo - recorded at the ‘New Sin Studio’ and accompanied by a concept album and a photo collection - down to the contact signed with Nuclear Blast, to the creation of our small ‘feud’ with Lunatic Asylum Records, with which we became publishers and producers and – eventually - to the cooperation with, Poci One Records and Massacre Records. We are now building our own studio that will be used to produce audio and video recordings and, hopefully, in the future we will be able to promote other bands, too.
Ours is still a small ‘empire’ but we are growing thanks to the support of ‘brave warriors’, wonderful people who are endowed with amazing enthusiasm and terrific professional skills: our new band members Furyo (drums) and Max Rivers (bass), our sound designers/engineers Daniele Francini and Luisa who have been with us for years to beautifully support our live performances and, last but not least, the person who really marked a turning point for Mandragora Scream, a person we are proud to know and have as Manager: Simone Gagliardi.
I.M: “Volturna” has just been released and it’s the band’s fourth album, how would you say it’s different from the previous ones?
Every album is a story on its own, a concept, but they are all linked with one another by a subtle line of decadentism. As to music, instead, the first album is based on more ‘natural’ sounds and was recorded in a traditional way, a bit like in the seventies. The drums, for instance, were fully acoustic, no sampling techniques or loops were used. In the following albums, instead, we went for sounds that were progressively heavier and more extreme; we also used samples, loops and experimented with new solutions to fully match and express the contents of our Poetics.
I.M: What was the main concept or idea behind “Volturna”?
Let the dances of the ancient vampire begin, my father …
London, 1805. ‘Varnya’ who has been a vampire for many centuries loses her father. ‘He’ had always been her master and confidant, he had guided her through the cold nights and had taught her the secrets of obscure arts. All of a sudden, she feels lonely and completely lost. Holding a young man, Moldan, in her arms she tries to overcome the immense feeling of emptiness that is progressively taking hold of her.
As time goes by, Varnya’s love for Moldan makes her weaker and weaker until she goes blind. Eventually, Varnya decides to make a trip to a small Italian village called Sovana, where there seems to be an enchanted forest, ‘Volturna’, that can be reached after a long pathway winding through steep tuff walls, the‘vie cave’ . Mesmer, the ancient lake of secrets that lies at the heart of Volturna is guarded by ‘Venihan’, the Eclipse Goddess. Varnya asks her to reveal her destiny to her and to explain the cause of her blindness.
Venihan tells Varnya that she can recover her sight and bring her father back to life only if she kills Moldan and finds her true love, the person who is really meant for her. Venihan explains that Varmya lost her sight due to a change in fate that Varnya has experienced but that was not ‘meant’ by the Gods. Varnya is torn by pain but she accepts and goes back to London. There she lives the rest of her days until something unexpected happens… One night, when the border between the World of the Dead and the World of the Living is blurred, during a moon eclipse, a woman knocks at her door and brings her a baby…Varnya vaguely remembers the face of that woman, it is the Lake Goddess who, while giving her the baby Vampire Prince tells her: ‘ Take good care of him, he will be your future, your infinity, never let sunlight shine on him…feed him with blood, he is your destiny! … his name is Volturna.
I.M: How was the recording process of “Volturna”, has it gotten easier over the years or it’s still as hard as the first album?
The way we work is more or less the same. We do not just write songs and lyrics, we try to go deeper into our souls. We are never happy with the first test pieces that sound good. We have always been trying to reach our listeners’ heart, to build a communication bridge with them. We always produce ‘concept’ albums. Recording our music hasn’t gotten any easier; it’s just that we use different methods and technologies.
I.M: The band has changed labels constantly; do you think you are finally at home with Massacre Records? Why did you guys ended up signing with this label?
Well… Unfortunately, in the past we were with Nuclear Blast and we did not have a very positive working experience with them. The opportunity we got with Massacre Records looked very good to us because they are very transparent people, people with no ‘frills’; they are very active and they really care for the bands who are with them. In Italy, for instance, we release our music through our label, which is called ‘Lunatic Asylum Records’, in Russia we are with ‘Irond Records’ whilst Massacre takes care of the rest of the world.
I.M: The band is currently on tour with Christian Death and The 69 Eyes, how is the tour going? Are the new songs working out live? How are people reacting to them?
The tour will start in January 2010 and it will go on for three months. The new songs that we are rehearsing right now seem to be really excellent and that is confirmed by the fact that we are selling a lot of records. I cannot tell you yet what it will be like when we perform live …but we are positive about the fact that it’s going to be a good show.
I.M: Any plans for a North America tour?
We are thinking about it, but we do not have any details yet. Our manager is dealing with it at the moment.
I.M: Any other things you wanted to add for your fans and our readers?
We thank you for this interview and we would like to say hello to our fans and really thank them for supporting us, for making us feel they are there for us, be it when they come to our concerts or when they send us their e-mails. We thank them for believing in us also in the most difficult moments.
What else can we say… You better lock your doors at night… the vampires are back!!!!!
I.M: Thanks for the interview! And good luck promoting the new album