TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
This live interview with singer Stefan Fiori from the Italian black metal band Graveworm was done by Boris Van Berlo prior to their live show at the Biebob in Vosselaar, Belgium, on April 1st, 2005.
First of all, I want to tell you that it was a really good show, I enjoyed it but I was a bit disappointed because of the short duration.
Thank You. Yeah we only played 35 minutes and tomorrow we can play ten minutes more. They just said that we could play 45 until we took care of the set list and added the times, but we just played a little bit faster.
Yes, the Iron Maiden cover was really fast.
Yeah (laughs), but tomorrow weíll play 10 minutes more.
Is it going to be some kind of co-headlining tour with Ensiferum or will they headline every evening?
No, we play before them so we can drink more and thatís better, hahaha.
My personal opinion was that itís a little awkward that you had to open for Ensiferum,... but youíre happy to be on the road again?
Yeah, because we want to promote the new album and for me personally itís not bad to play not as headliner, especially when these shows are not in the weekends. In the week people have to go home earlier because they have to work, so I think itís better to play a bit earlier.
The last club tour you did as headliner, was it with Darkwell? It was a long time ago for sure.
Yeah, it was about 5 or 6 years ago so itís been a long time. We saw back then that people left quite early because they had to work the next day. And you can also not drink that much because we have to pack our own stuff and leave for the next town.
What all happened with Graveworm after the ĎEngraved In Blackí release and tour?
After the release of Engraved In Black ĎSteveí (Stefan Unterpertinger - BVB), our main songwriter, left the band because he is now living in Germany, in Dresden, and there was about 800 km between us and it was impossible to work together. We then did some tours and we asked Lukas, our new guitarist, if he could help us during these tours and after that we asked him if he wanted to be a member of Graveworm. He told us yes he would do it because we are very good friends and he liked playing in Graveworm, and since the beginning he told us that he had some special ideas how the new sound of Graveworm should be in the future. Because Steve was the main songwriter, Lukas had to do the same job. Yeah, we weíre a little bit surprised about his ideas and after two months I think he brought 2 new songs to us. We were surprised because it was exactly the way we wanted to go before he came. We all said Ďwowí because it was what we wanted! We are really happy with him because he is a great guitarist, a very well song writer and a good friend for us.
Secondly, Harald is back in Graveworm. He played guitar on the first two albums and now he plays bass because we already have two guitar players, soÖ . He lived in Germany and he came back to Italy last year and we asked him if he wouldnít mind playing bass and he said yes, he really liked playing in the band before. At the moment we have some changes with our drummer because Martin is building his house and he can only play 5 shows on this tour and then Moritz Neuner who played with the Kataklysm tour will help us again.
The famous drummer from Austria!
Yeah, itís the same guy who plays in Atrocity, Leaveís Eye and many more. (like Enid, Dornenreich, Darkwell, Abigor, Ö. - BVB)
So, actually all the line up changes came from practical problems with people moving.
Yeah, there were no disagreements or anything. We are all still friends and everything. Itís bad but it happens because we donít get a lot of money from doing this kind of music. We know that with this kind of music it is not possible to get rich or live from the music. If we get a little bit money thatís cool but for me the most important thing is the fun and to travel around Europe, or other places, meet new people, see some very great places. Thatís the most important.
The band is like a hobby and next to it you guys have a second life with a job or studying.
Yes. Itís still difficult now because we do more tours now and our holidays are to go on tour.
In an older interview with Tartarean Desire you said that you were studying architecture. So how is it going with that?
Yes, I still have to do 2 years and then I am finished. For me itís not a problem because when I am studying I have to learn by myself but the others are all working. I hope that in the future we can keep going on like that.
Besides the band you have other interests and you also put a lot of time and energy in your education, so would you personally want Graveworm to be your full-time job?
Yeah, it would be great but we all know itís too difficult, I think impossible with this style of music. We find it to be a big hobby that Ďrapesí all of our free time. But itís ok.
About the new album (N)Utopia: could you tell us a little bit about the idea behind the title?
(N)Utopia is a word combination of two words. At one side there is the word Ďnuí that stands for something new in Graveworm because we have a new songwriter and we are trying to make a new musical direction for Graveworm. On the other side there is the word Ďutopiaí that stands for that we are trying to make something new but at the end itís still Graveworm. We donít want to forget our roots and where we came from and we donít want to make some pop music or anything.
Itís funny that you say this, because in the small interview in last years Nuclear Blast autumn catalogue, before the album was released, it was already mentioned that there was a new songwriter and that there would be some different and new approaches to the song writing. But in the end when I heard the album it sounded like the typical Graveworm style. And during the show today I first noticed that the songs are indeed a little different.
I think we went a bit away from the black metal style and added more modern stuff like some hardcore and metalcore.
Yeah, you could see it with the mosh-pit going on at the show, a few years ago it wasnít happening.
Yeah (laughs), thatís true!
On the album you hear itís new but still it sound very familiar.
We always made what we wanted and the record label never said Ďyou have to play like thisí. For us itís good because we like to make music and because we are music fans. We want to make music from fans and give it to the fans.
About the lyrics, who wrote them in the past and for this album?
In the past I wrote the lyrics and the fact is that Lukas has a studio at home and he writes the complete songs from the drum to guitars to the lyrics. Then we get the songs and I think about it and try to make it a little bit different so itís more Graveworm because Lukas has his own style and I have my own, so the two styles are in the music. Itís not always the same, I write some lyrics and he writes some and in the future I think we will combine it.
In the past the main lyrics were fantasy oriented.
Yes, but I think that fantasy stories are not suitable for this style of music anymore. The lyrics now are more personal and better for this music.
Is it not strange to sing other peoples lyrics when you are used to writing and singing them yourself?
No, not at all. I think itís easier to write something personally because it came out of my head. I have known Lukas for a long time now and I know whatís happening in his head and so itís really not difficult.
About the bagpipes that were present on the last three albums. Were they deliberately not used or was it just not suitable on this album?
I think bagpipes are not so good for this album. The album is guitar oriented and the two guitars are the most important instruments on the whole album. The keyboards are more in the back and the guitars very much in the front. Itís better to play live the new songs then the old songs because itís always a problem of a good sound on stage. When I heard the sound of some videos of us the sound was very terrible on stage. Better that both guitars are more in front because itís easier music and I really like it that way.
(N)Utopia is the second album for Nuclear Blast, are you satisfied how the label is treating the band, promotion and everything?
Yes, of course. Itís really different then with the label before because Nuclear Blast is one of the biggest, I think even the biggest label for this kind of music and itís more professional working with them. When we ask something we get it the next day. We can do what we want musically but the thing that is most important for us is that Markus Wosgien is working at Nuclear Blast. He used to work at Last Episode before and we are now very good friends and I think he is the biggest Graveworm fan in the whole world and he is really working hard for us. Itís very good to have a person inside NB that we know from before, we can speak with him as friends and thatís very good.
He is also the person who arranged this interview.
Ah! Ok. So he is doing a great job.
Concerning the tour: is the package organized by the record labels or do you know the bands or musicians?
No, I think that Metallysee organised the whole package and they asked the label if any bands are interested. First we wanted to go on tour with Finntroll but I donít know what happened and why we couldnít go, but I think this package is very great because there are 3 different bands, very different styles. Communic play in the direction of Nevermore, Ensiferum is like Finntroll music and yeah, I think itís better to go on tour with different music so you can reach more people. Festivals like No Mercy where you have six or seven death metal bands, I think after three or four I really donít want to listen to any more death metal bands.
On the last three albums you always had a cover song. I was wondering if you also play them live. During todayís show I heard the answer to this question, you played ĎFear Of The Darkí from Iron Maiden, but do you play it every night or will it be only something for some occasions?
Yeah, after the last tour with Kataklysm a lot of people asked why we donít play ĎFear Of The Darkí. I really like this song so we decided to play it every day on this tour because the people know the song from Iron Maiden, they know the cover song and I think they like it. Especially in Germany the people are very crazy about this song. But for the new album I think it was not the time to make a cover song.
(Note: the cover song ĎLosing My Religioní by REM released on the (N)Utopia limited edition was recorded during the Engraved In Black session two years ago. - BVB)
Is it something you would like to continue doing? Giving a Graveworm touch to some cover songs, or is it more something like Ďit comes when it comesí?
I think it just comes and I will speak with Lukas about it. I think he is more thinking about cover songs but we will see what happens in the future.
Do you change the set list from day to day for yourself to have some variation or do you always keep the same one ?
I think it depends, we will of course change because we now have six songs more prepared for this tour so we can change a little bit and see. We have an old song ĎAwakeí which is very popular in Germany so weíll play this song there of course because every concert that we play people ask for this song.
I wanted to ask you quickly something about Abigor because you joined them not long before they dissolved. I was just interested if you recorded something or did some gigs with them?
I didnít record anything. Moritz Neuner asked me one day if I am interested in doing this job with them. I said yes because I really like Abigor, it is really something different and we got the chance to play at a concert in Austria but unfortunately Peter Kubik broke his arm a week before the show so the show was cancelled and after that I never heard anything anymore. One day Moritz told me that Abigor has split up and I asked why and he said that Peter was really sick about the black metal scene because all the people told him that he had to play in this direction and so on. Peter is a guy that has a lot of ideas in him and he wanted to play these things, so he quit the band because he couldnít go on and play something different just because everyone said that Abigor was a Satanic band and it was not possible to play different in this type of music. So he quitted and I think he now has a new group called St. Lucifer, I heard some demo songs and I believe itís like old Darkthrone and very great.
So you are the big mystery singer from Abigor.
Yeah! The old singer is back for this new project so I concentrate now on Graveworm and another project where I am singing.
Is this project closer to your neighbourhood?
No itís also an Austrian band and Moritz is the drummer. Of course he is because an Austrian band without Moritz is not possible (laughs).
Back to Graveworm: how does the future look for the band after this tour? Any other plans, maybe a few festivals?
Yeah, of course a few festivals and then we make a mini-tour with Kataklysm again in the summer between the Metal Camp and With Full Force. After that we are planning to do another Euro tour in October or November and I think we have to start writing new songs for the next album. Itís always the same, going on tour, making an album and going on tour again. It never stops!
Are you planning to do a live DVD in the future?
We are thinking about it because today DVDís are a very important thing for a band because a lot of people buy these DVDís, but for me personally itís important that when we make a DVD it must be something live with a lot of backstage scenes because I really like DVDís with funny stuff on it. The people have to see how we really are besides the music, they see us on stage as six musicians but they have to see us as normal people because we are the same as our fans.
The special box of (N)Utopia with DVD released by NB, was it the bands idea or that of the label?
It was from both sides because we spoke with Markus and we had some ideas. We got these two live shows filmed at the X-Mass Festivals so we decided to put them on DVD as a special for the fans.
About touring in other places: would you like to go and play in the States or in South America and is there any prospect now with the support from Nuclear Blast?
I hope so. We are now speaking about it with Kataklysmís Maurizio because I am very good friends with him and he is from Italian origin so itís easier to speak with him. He told us that he will try to make some shows in the States in the summer so I really hope that it will happen.
Do you have any final remarks or words to say to your fans and our readers?
Yes, of course. Thank you very much for the interview and I hope that the people enjoy the new album and that they will come on tour to see us and to party with us after the concert.
Links of interest: