Every now and then you come across a legendary band that you wish you discovered earlier, for me that band is Ufomammut. Upon being recommended to listen to Oro: Opus Alter by someone on Facebook, I discovered they were a band that really connected with my soul. Before heading off on tour I managed to ask the boys a few questions about their history, the new album and its recording process, the upcoming tour and more.
Jack: How are you guys doing at this moment?
Vita (Drums): I actually can’t wait to start playing on stage with songs from the new record.
Urlo (Bass/Vocals): Good. Working on the live shows for Ecate, pretty excited.
Poia (Guitar): I feel like suspended, but spring is coming.
Jack: You’ve been a band for sixteen years, is it hard to believe you’re still performing and touring for this length of time?
Vita: Yes, it’s hard to believe we made it till now. Sixteen years is a long time.
Urlo: When you like to do something, time flies away pretty fast, not so hard to believe and we hope to make music for some time more.
Poia: We joined Ufomammut pretty late, but I feel like there’s a lot of hidden music we have to reveal.
Jack: Do you have jobs or other sources of income outside of the band?
Vita: Unfortunately, I’m not able to make a living at this point solely with music. It’s not easy. So, I’m also a jeweler and a model maker.
Urlo: I’m one of the three (with Poia and Lu) behind Malleus, a rock art lab devoted to poster art and graphic. Everything I do is what I’ve always dreamt of, I think I’m a pretty lucky guy.
Jack: You’ve also not had a line-up change at all in this period, why has your relationship been so healthy?
Vita: It comes from the love that we have for the music in general. Playing music is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Urlo: We are the only ones able to create the alchemy behind Ufomammut. I think that it wouldn’t be the same if one of us was not in the band anymore. Again, we’ve been lucky to find each other. Poia and me are friends since decades and we played together in a first band called Judy Corda. Thanks to it we met Vita and we became friends. We’re old guys now, but still together.
Poia: Even if the core of the band has always been the same, we tried in the past to have a keyboard player during the shows, but it’s always been difficult, cause four is not our number, and then we know each other, and how to make the sound work. We three share the knowledge of this spaceship’s engine.
Jack: Your debut album Godlike Snake is fifteen years old this year, are you still proud of this album?
Vita: Playing in a band and making records was a dream I’ve had since I was 16 years old. Godlike Snake made me so proud when it came out and nothing has changed that sensation to this day.
Urlo: It’s a very important step for us. We realized a dream with it and I think it’s a good album. The sound is different, but it was 15 years ago and lots of things change in such a time.
Poia: We put extreme effort in every record we made. It’s the only way possible, if you believe in music. I’m very proud of each note we played.
Jack: How would you say that the band has progressed since Godlike Snake?
Vita: In the beginning we were younger as people and musicians. We have improved as musicians and we are more tuned into each other musically because that’s a normal process in a band.
Urlo: I think we’ve changed little by little the way we feel the music, now everything comes more natural, we’re tuned one into the other and it’s easier to make new stuff and play together. I think the thing that never changed is the approach to what we do.
Poia: There’s been a better understanding of our limits and possibilities. Ingredients are pretty much the same, but we discovered new mixtures.
Jack: You have a new album called Ecate out on the 30th March, how does this material differ from Oro?
Vita: It’s one step ahead in comparison to our previous records. It’s in its sound and in our personal experiences as well as how songs are structured. It’s also heavier and more aggressive than our previous material.
Urlo: Lots of things evolves with Ecate. The riffs and structures of the songs are more complicated, drum parts are way heavier and focused, vocals are different from the past and synths are very present. I think Ecate is an evolution, a new path in our sonic adventure.
Poia: It’s shorter and more dense, compared to our previous works. It’s made of different songs but it’s more focused. It’s heavier and differently psychedelic.
Jack: The album is influenced by the Greek Goddess Hecate, what inspired you to write about her?
Urlo: Ecate is the ancient pre-Hellenic Goddess able to move between the world of the living, of the Gods and of the dead. This album is a journey between these three realms, it’s simply the story of everybody’s life. So Hecate came in mind, she is the most powerful Goddess ever existed, and due to this power she’s been transformed into the queen of black magic and witches by the Catholics. It’s the story of humanity and the way we fight our fears, trying to hide them instead of facing them.
Jack: What was the recording process like?
Urlo: We recorded this new album in the same place where we did Snailking, Lucifer Songs and Oro, the building where we have our rehearsal room. It’s been a great process, we recorded into this big hall with a fantastic natural reverb and we had a great time with Lorenzo Stecconi at the desk.
Vita: Personally it was harder because of the different structure that the songs have. The drum beats are more metal, so I needed more time to play it.
Poia: Ecate had some unexpected hidden challenges, so recording the new songs has been an intense and fruitful experience.
Jack: You filmed yourself in the studio, what was behind the decision to chronicle the recording process?
Urlo: To avoid questions about recordings in the interviews (Laughs). I’m kidding! I think it’s cool to share what we do with the people following us.
Poia: Moreover, this way we have a visual memory of this part of our life. Maybe we’ll see it again, when we’ll be older.
Jack: You released a new song called ‘Temple’, are you happy with the reception to it?
Vita: Yes we are and I hope that the rest of the record will have the same appeal.
Jack: Italian music has become popular in recent years, with the continued success of Lacuna Coil, Elvenking, Rhapsody of Fire, and the rising popularity of bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse, Graveworm and Arthemis. Do you think Italian music is doing well?
Urlo: Personally I follow a totally different music than the one you mentioned and I think the more underground we go in Italy, the better music we can find. Bands like The Secret, Zu, Lento, Morkobot, Zolle, ICO, OvO to name a few, are really doing something different here in Italy. I’m happy Ufomammut is not so known in our country, it makes us stay in this underground and it’s great.
Jack: What is the music scene like in Italy?
Vita: There is not a real rock culture in Italy, most of people prefer “pizza and mandolin” music, so my personal answer is just one word: sad!
Urlo: It’s different. There’s the mainstream that is the one Vita is talking about and there’s the underground that is really creating new stuff and it’s like a volcano.
Jack: Oscar Dronjak of Hammerfall mentioned in an interview that touring in Italy is hard because of the concession fees which is off putting for bands, do you have anything to comment on the matter?
Vita: Welcome to Italy.
Urlo: Never had this problem. As I said above, we’re not mainstream, so we don’t have to think about these things (smiles). Anyway, I think taxes are everywhere. For example, I can assure you that playing USA is totally expensive too.
Jack: You’re touring Europe in April, what can we expect from this tour?
Vita: We’ll play the whole new record with a few old songs, that’s all I can say now.
Jack: You have a visual show by Malleus when you perform live, what do you think the visuals add to the show?
Vita: Visuals make the show more complete. That’s what Pink Floyd taught us.
Jack: You’re also playing Desertfest in London where you are playing just before Sleep, how important are Sleep to modern metal music?
Urlo: They’ve been a great band back in the period they came out.
Poia: They have always been one of my favourite bands, since 1992, when I listened to Holy Mountain for the first time. They had this different sound attitude, heavy and alive, with that typical derailed drumming. They surely had influence on many bands and you can hear some echoes of Sleep in our music too. Playing just before them is really, really strange.
Jack: You’re also playing the prestigious Maryland Deathfest, are you looking forward to playing the festival?
Vita: Of course, MDF is one of the best rock festival and I love festivals.
Jack: Finally, what are your plans for the rest of the year after the US Tour?
Vita: More concerts and more music, that’s all I care about.
Poia: This is the year of Ecate for Ufomammut, we’ll try to spread her seeds everywhere.