~ Interview with Vittorio Ballerio ~
Before the Underground will start to praise the new stars, we wanted to shed some light into the previous darkness of the new Italian group CARAVAGGIO; so we asked former ADRAMELCH-singer Vittorio Ballerio for an interview:
Vittorio, first of all congratulations to the comeback to the music business. You have forged new plans with Fabio Troiani (guitarist, also ex-ADRAMELCH). When exactly did you start CARAVAGGIO?
Thanks a lot for your interest, Michael! CARAVAGGIO started during the latest phase of ADRAMELCH, more or less when it was definitively clear to all of us that ´Opus´ was going to be our gravestone.
Fabio had been workin‘ on his own stuff separately since, as it was evident to all of us (and it will be for all of you) Fabio and Gianluca (Corona, guitarist, ex-ADRAMELCH) have two totally different styles as authors. This stuff could never be part of ADRAMELCH’s repertoire without distorting the nature of the band.
Was this an adversarial response to the split of ADRAMELCH, or a process that subsequently followed?
Knowing that the time, which we could dedicate to a band, is limited, I think that the space for CARAVAGGIO was made possible only after the split of ADRAMELCH. This being said, its birth has anything to do with ADRAMELCH’s end.
Gianluca had decided to stop, first because the „creative vein“ was drained, and second because his work (as you may know he’s an incredible painter) was growing faster and he had not enough time for the rest…
Have you now overcome the grief because of ADRAMELCHs split?
Yes, at least Fabio and I did for sure, as we are extremely involved in this new project.
Sig and Sarmax are also playing together in another band…
Gianluca, ADRAMELCH’s heart… well I’d say he’s in standby?! How can we see what’s ahead?! 😉
Sure, I can’t deny that the remembrances of the concerts, especially of certain festivals (Keep it True, Headbangers Open Air, Bang Your Head, Up the Hammers…) are too good and I really miss that. I miss the wonderful people you meet in such occasions, and the love and peace all around.
Lastly, I love ADRAMELCH’s music, it’s an important part of my life, meaning that, should there be more stuff around, I’d love to work on it, but it’s over.
And when it’s over, the best you can do is to let it go.
And now there is a new band called CARAVAGGIO. What is the meaning of the bands name?
The name comes from the Italian painter Caravaggio (1571 – 1610), who was from Milan, like us. His masterworks can be very inspiring, also for musicians. Painting with very strong contrast between shadow and light, he achieved incredibly dramatic effects, totally unknown at that time. And his life was dramatic as well. Young, fascinating and famous, but also rebellious and violent, he committed murder and was involved in other crimes. Don’t worry Michael, we’ll take only the best part of his heritage!
How did you find the rest of the fellow musicians?
Fabio had home produced a very accurate demo/pre-production version of a bunch of songs, and in his home studio I recorded the vocals. Later on, we started looking for the other members of the band: Marco arrived pretty soon. He was an old band mate of Fabio.
I heard about him a thousand times, he was a well reputed name in the area, but I never met him before our first rehearsal, which was totally mind blowing…
Marco is a bass player with a superb technique. But the world is full of hyper tech musicians, who often play totally flat and blank. Marco is a peak in regards of expressiveness and taste. I’d say, one of the best musicians I had the luck and honour to play with.
Alessio was the drummer of a band of friends. Namely, he was playing with Andrea Malandrini, who has been the guitarist with whom I started singing, mostly BLACK SABBATH-covers, in the very early beginning, when I was 14…
So it was a pretty delicate deal: I didn’t want to cause them a problem… but I knew that – despite the huge age difference (he was 24 when we started…) – he could be the man and indeed so it was: He plays great, he listens to tons of music of all kinds, he’s extremely open minded and he always targets to take each song to its best (which is actually the main goal for us all).
What musical direction can we expect from your debut?
Not an easy question, Michael… Fabio named it Mediterranean Prog Rock and I think that, though it doesn’t enlighten any clear idea, it remains the most adequate definition when you think about our music, that mixes influences from progressive rock with Mediterranean sound…
So no classic rock music cast?
I’m convinced that the classic rock is inside each one of us, part of our DNA, and one way or another it transpires.
Don’t misunderstand me if I say that besides writing good music, we love originality. Not at any cost of course, but it applies also to the music we love, meaning that besides the good old stuff that contains an incredible fount of wisdom and inspiration, we love the incredible new bands that offer something really original. As in regards of myself, as you VERY WELL know, Michael, I love bands like BENT KNEE, THUMPERMONKEY, A FORMAL HORSE, SEVEN IMPALE, ALAMAAILMAN VASARAT, INFINIEN or, shifting to the Jazz world, Nik Baertsch, Antonio Zambrini, Avishai Cohen, Tigran Hamasyan, Rymden, Simone Graziano’s Frontal…
And the reason to love these artists lies just in their approach which is a mix of tradition and innovation but above all: strong personality, immediate recognizability.
You mean typical Italian music?
Well, it depends on the meaning of „typical”. If you think about the Italian pop music, I don’t think you can find a trace, none of us has never been a fan of such music.
But if you refer to Italian folk music, well, that’s a different story; indeed you can find elements of it, starting from the instruments like accordion, jaw harp, mandolin, castanets, percussions!
How far are the recordings done, when can we expect the release?
The truth is that the most is done but … but there’s still a lot to do. Some percussions and some accordion and some vocals also!
It’s a damn complicated job, but we were too much impatient, we definitely wanted to know what the people could say about us, that’s why we decided to start issuing a song and “test the water”.
Are you afraid that you will be judged by the quality of ADRAMELCH?
We’re not afraid. Without false modesty, we’re pretty much convinced about the quality of our music. None of us would bet on ADRAMELCH’s fans to fall in love with our music. But comparisons will be simply not avoidable. ADRAMELCH has been indeed a good and pretty much original name in the Underground Metal scene, with a quite weird life path…
It is definitively normal, that somebody who was a fan of that band, will listen to our music, searching for possible similarities, though, in my opinion, the actual points of contact are really few. This being said, I tend to think that ADRAMELCH was already a “non-classic band”, its music was outside of the schemes. Meaning that who liked them was already an open minded listener and therefore might appreciate also CARAVAGGIO, notwithstanding the big differences!
But isn’t it a heavy heritage?
I would call it a great privilege. Having been part of such a band in its two lives, has been a great privilege, something that will remain well grounded in my heart forever. I know that CARAVAGGIO’s life will most probably be punctuated by comparisons, but that’s pretty much ok.
It’s just like when we were doing concerts presenting ´Lights From Oblivion´ but we were asked to play ´Was Called Empire´ …
It’s Love! It’s totally ok! It was part of our lives and then, the crowd singing with commotion and interpreting your songs remains invaluable!
Are you a real band that is also available for live performances?
We are definitely a real band, Michael. But your question is fully legitimate, since at the moment, the members of the band are only 4, and we are wondering who we should involve on stage to play this rich stuff!
We are all now looking forward to the release!
Yes. Thank you so much, Michael, we can’t wait to give the whole bunch …