Sunday 30 September 2012

Interview with ZIPPO

Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing the brilliant Italian Sonic Maestros - ZIPPO – The brilliant Stoner/Sludge/Post-Metallers who released one of 2011 best albums – Maktub. Which I reviewed in 2011.

Well Dave (Vocalist) and Stonino (Bassist) have kindly agreed to do an interview with me. Which I am pretty excited about as they have became one of my fave bands since I started doing Sludgelord.

Q1 – For People not in the know – Can you tell them how the band came about, When you formed etc...

(Stonino) The band officially born in 2004 when the singer Dave joined in. Before that, we played different music, for different purposes.

Q2 – How would yourselves describe your sound.

(Stonino) Our sound is a mixed juice of stoner rock, Italian prog and a touch of metal, with a lot of melody, sometimes powered by tch inspiration.

(Dave) It's unconventional music played from the heart.

Q3 – Which bands influence you on your music.

(Dave) We listen to a lot of music, really. I grew up with metal and heavy obscure music in general, some of the guys grew up listening to punk or 60s/70s rock, but when we started togheter we found in Kyuss and stoner rock our common passion. It's hard to say which bands influence us the most 'cause we hardly ever think about this or that band when we write our music, but surely all the shit we listen to affect the way we are. Journalists say we sometimes remind of Mastodon, or Tool, or even King Crimson.

Q4 – How has your music been received by fans and critics. Has it all been positive.

(Dave) The reactions of fans and critics toward our music have generally been enthusiastic. Of course we also received some bad critics through the years, but they can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Q5 – Is the band a Full Time Project or do you have normal jobs to do as well to support the band.

(Stonino) I would say that the band is a full time job, but it doesn't gives us enough money to go ahead independently, so we have to do other boring jobs.

Q6 – How do you cope with families, full time jobs and being part of a band. It must be a struggle at times.

(Stonino) It is a real struggle indeed, we always try to raise money from concerts and merch, money that we basically use to pay the rent of the rehearsal room, and other investments within the band. It's a tough life, even if many people think we are only having fun and fucking around.

Q7 – Your latest album 'Maktub' is your best work to date. You must be really happy with the reception it has got. Every review I have read has been positive. Was it a rewarding experience to record that album.

(Dave) Of course we are. Many webzines talk about "Maktub" as a masterpiece, and we're very proud of our Son when we read such statements. The process that leads to the recording of every album and the recording sessions themselves are always a rewarding experience to me, because you see the creature taking shape. We recorded "Maktub" in just 5 long days, can you believe it?

Q8 – How did you get the legendary Ben Ward from Orange Goblin and Luca T. Mai from Zu to record with you guys on Maktub. Bet that was a rewarding experience in itself.

(Dave) We shared the stage with Orange Goblin and Zu few times in the past, and after one of these shows we simply asked them to appear on our new album and that's it. With Luca it was easier because "Maktub" was recorded in Rome and he simply came to the studio one afternoon and recorded his parts straightaway, though he had never listened to the songs before. Ben came to Pescara instead, our hometown, where we spent a cool weekend together, recorded his vocal parts, ate big amounts of Italian food and drank a lot of beers. We also had the pleasure to have him as a dj in one of our favourite clubs. All in all, we had an amazing time.

Q9 – What is the song-writing process like in the band. Is it a whole band collective or individuals that write the music.

(Stonino) We usually put the song structure togheter, without voice, though Dave is almost always in the room when we're jamming. After that, he works on the lyrics and the vocal melodies, which are the last blocks to be added to our buildings, the glue that binds everything together.

Q10 – What has the reception been like to your music when playing live at home and abroad. I have seen plenty of YouTube videos and you guys look like you kill it on the live stage.

(Dave) It's really hard to be an underground band in Italy. There are always less structures willing to invest on original music and there's a crushing crisis everywhere, that's why many venues are closing. We tend to play more abroad, where people is generally more curious about what we do. But it doesn't mean we don't like to play Italy, we've had some great shows here too. I must say that the reception is usually pretty good, maybe a little more outside the country.

Q11 – Italy has a great Stoner/Sludge/Doom Metal scene thanks to bands like yourselves, Ufomammut, Morkobot, Zu, and Rotorvator (OK Black Metal but what an awesome band) – Can you tell our readers of any upcoming great bands to keep an eye on from Italy.

(Dave) You're right, we have plenty of cool bands here, even though it's always hard to emerge from the swamp. You should check out Doomraiser, Lento, The Orange Man Theory, Last Minute To Jaffna, Gandhi's Gunn, Quiet In The Cave, Viscera///, Veracrash, Le Scimmie... We also have cool festivals dedicated to the genre (Stoned Hand Of Doom, Mi Odi/Solo Macello, Pietrasonica, Tube Cult Fest, etc.) and also a great website called

Q12 – You recently released Maktub on Limited Edition Blue Vinyl on Subsound Records. A great label specialising in great underground bands. How did you hook up with them. Have you got any plans to release your other albums on Vinyl.

(Dave) With our first album"Ode To Maximum" I spread many promos looking for a label, the true story is that we found no label interested in its release, so we simply put it out it by ourselves. I met Subsound Records' boss in person after some time when I was living in Rome and he told me he really dig the promo. Few months after we signed a deal with Subsound Records in order to release two albums, simple. We have in the plans to release our sold-out debut on Vinyl, can't wait.

Q13 – Have you toured with any famous bands and have you got any interesting stories from your tours?

(Dave) We've done many gigs with well-known bands, we've had the pleasure to share the stage with Orange Goblin, with Karma To Burn, with Brant Bjork as well as Entombed, Crowbar, Ufomammut just to name a few, but we've never shared an entire tour with these bands unfortunately. We've toured with underground bands such as Stereochrist and The Orange Man Theory instead.

(Stonino) I think it would take more than a book to tell what happened on the road so far. We saw naked girls in wooden houses on the lonely Czech roads longing for a truckdriver to stop, we played in an underground bunker from Second World War in Germany, we met two 45 year old punks from Belgium and slept in their scruffy house, we ate mushrooms in Amsterdam and fried chicken in London, we spent hours at the borders, talked with every strange people from all over Europe, played in a boat on the Danube as well as in a garage in a Slovenian village... I think my brain cannot recollect all the crazy things we've seen.

Q14 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band.

(Stonino) There are good things and bad things, but I hope that good things will be much more than bad ones in the end

Q15 – It seems like the Sludge, Stoner and Doom Blogs took to your music in a big way especially with Maktub. I know blogs can have their good points and bad points. Like giving music away for free. What is your stance on that. Some bands are for it and some are not.

(Stonino) I don't think we'll ever become rich with the music we do, so I prefer to know that our albums can reach as many people as possible, even for free, and that those people will come to our shows and party with us.

Q16 – Finally what are the future plans for the band.

(Dave) To keep on writing new material for our fourth album, an european tour in spring and nothing else in particular. Maybe a 7'' vinyl split with a cool band one day, I'll put it on the list.

Well guys thanks for answering these questions. All the best from all of us at Sludgelord.

Check this brilliant band from the links below

Soundcloud - Check this page where you can download a few songs from their past albums for free.

Check out "The Personal Legend" from Maktub to see why I rate these guys so highly.