Bretus is an Italian doom metal band with a long story. It was formed in 2000 but for long eight years guys didn’t produce any worth material for real record. Slowly they elaborated their own style, gather right people in the band and their debut full-length “In Onrica” (2012) shown that Bretus has some potential to create gloom trad doom music.
The sophomore concept album “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” crystallized few features to Bretus sound: recognizable deranged vocals of Zagarus, dirty retro sound Ghenes extracted from his guitar and creepy, “hollow” effect of rhythm section performed by Azog and Striges. Few months ago guys returned with new full-length work “…From The Twilight Zone”, and if you missed their previous records then you should check this one, it deserves attention of every doom fan. We had a talk with Ghenes, here it is.
Ciao Ghenes! How are you? Bretus latest album “…From The Twilight Zone” was released in June. What does the band do now?
Cheers Aleksey is a pleasure to hear you again. After the recording we were invited to play at the Doom over Summer in Lecco (Italy) and in October at the Doom over Karalis in Cagliari (Italy). As you can understand, we do not play live very often. We live in the southern part of Italy and we are forced to travel for long time, not easy for us, so for the moment we decided not to do long tours, we only play in festivals, possibly DOOOOOM ...
Bretus debut “In Onrica” was released on Ukrainian label ARX Productions, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” seen the light of day through Blood Rock Records and now you’re returned on post-USSR territory with Russian label Endless Winter. How did they find you?
Zagarus sending the master around to understand who was interested in the press of the album. Among those who replied, Gennady (Endless Winter) was the one that gave us more guarantees. The fact that there is an interest in our music in that part of the world is a great pride for us. Latest new is that an Indonesian label called Hellas Records will make also a tape version of the album.
I’m wondering why didn’t you get an offer from any local labels, because the album has something of that famous “dark Italian sound”… So how do you work with Endless Winter? Do you provide the band enough promotion or you already used to do everything by yourselves?
After the release of “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” the relationship with Bloodrock was at a dead point for some reasons, including the lack of release in the vinyl version of the album. We did not receive any good replies from other Italian labels. In any case, the relationship with the Endless Winter is solid, Gennady the owner, he is a honesty and straightforward person. Regard to the promotion, each of us has its own channels and manages them at best. It is a small but combative label, it was what we wanted.
Two years ago Bretus took part in split album with Black Capricorn, you offered the new song “The Haunter Of The Dark”. Can we suppose that it was a bridge from Lovecraftian horror (“The Shadow Over Innsmouth”) to horror cinematographic (“…From The Twilight Zone”)?
Sure. Old Horror movies and mystery stories are a source of great inspiration for us. Sometimes the two ways of making art have met together in a great way, but honestly, no one Lovecraft's stories never had a worthy representation on screen.
Bretus – The Oath Of Dagon
But Spanish “Dagon” movie is really creepy, didn’t you watch it?
I saw the movie and I must say that I really liked the first part. The setting brought to my mind the loose scenarios of Lovecraft’s novel. Until the Amphibian creatures appeared and entered the free imagination of the screenwriter... in my personal opinion some scenes are a little kitsch, but the real problem of Lovecraft's movies is that you should never enter any love story inside.
Ha-ha-ha! Bull’s eye! Love stories in Lovecraft’s writings are forbidden! However that I like the most in new album is your following in the same direction you took with the first album, you know – there’s nothing unnecessary and all Bretus features are on their places. More by token, how would you distinct these features?
It's a difficult answer. There is nothing studied in our way of writing. What we do is the result of our listening and sensations, for example today's music does not fit in our tastes. We chose from the beginning not to record drums with “click”, maybe this may be one of our features. Actually I can only say that we do not like sounds too clean and the metronome aha ha ah ...
I guess that these songs surpass your previous works in both production and song writing that turns to be murderously effective. I like “Innsmouth”, but you know – it has a bit of slime and dirty as everything that connected with those amphibian bastards. So… how do you value “…From The Twilight Zone” from your position?
Thank you very much. About the sound, what we really think is that "In onirica" compared to our last record, was more produced, if you understand what I mean. The sound you hear on the final mix of ...from the Twiligt Zone is the same that came from our amps, there was not a big mixing / mastering. On the other hand, about the writing, I do not think it changed a lot, certainly playing with the same line up for long time helped us, and a bit of more experience.
But I believe that you agree – “…Twilight Zone” is your strongest release up to date. Did you already feel it through feedback? By the way, how do local fans support you or do you get it mostly from your friends and relatives? How often do you feel recognition?
Feedback for this record was great. Both the reviews and the guys who wrote us showed themselves very excited about the new album. I do not say a lie if I say that for us this is the greatest recognition. In our area there are some guys who follow us, but I cannot say that we are part of a real scene. We do not really feel sorry for that, we are a bit misanthrope ah aha. A few years ago, we also managed the first Doom festival in our city, and the turnout was quite well. We like to think that we have planted some seed.
Azog on bass, Ghenes on guitars and bass, Striges on drums and Zagarus as vocalist. What make you keep to work together for almost 17 years?
It’s not easy, because you have to confront with the others personalities, opinions was not the same ever. To play is a way of expressing yourself, not a business affair. It's also important to stay well together, to travel the world if is possible, and to know so many interesting and stimulating people.
How did you work out that retro-styled sound for the album? It fits absolutely to the album’s concept, so I don’t even ask why did you choose it.
Aside from some keyboard parts, we always try to get the most realistic sound possible. Our first Ep was recorded on a 7/tracks recorder. We always thought about how the songs could play live, so we can eliminate the unnecessary stuff.
You have that old school vibe and nowadays a lot of bands try to copy “retro sound”, though Italian bands tend to avoid this trend. How do you like this trend in wider sense?
Personally I do not like trends. I think it's just that historic moment in which the great record labels decide when and what we have to listen to. That said, in the last few years many guys have joined the great train of heavy and acid sounds, so not all is bad. Better Doomers than Nothing!!! Who will survive?
The new album is based on horror movies’ plots and you chosen really ancient films. Why didn’t you take some more recognizable movies like those which inspired Electric Wizard and Reverend Bizarre?
No reason. It's just our way of rediscovering and at the same time to pay homage to small jewels that time could make you forget. We never look at what others do, maybe in some cases we could be influenced without knowing (I’m laughing...), but it's better to think with your head.
Bretus – Danza Macabra
By the way, do you know your country mates Arcana 13? I’m asking because their debut record “Danza Macabra” is also based on eight different horror movies…
We know the band, but the idea has not come to them. As you know, we had already made a concept album for Lovecraft, this time it was the turn of some of our favorite movies. If you looking to our biography, you will find that we have chosen from the very beginning to following a certain way of making movies, music etc etc
Didn’t you try to get in contact with them and organize common horror tour?
It would be great, but as I told you about organizing a tour (long or short) it is not very simple, the costs would be excessive for us. Never say never, but for the moment I do not think it's possible.
How do you see general peculiarity of Italian horror and giallo movies?
I also appreciate a lot of other non-Italian directors, but I think the Italian ones particularly (Fulci, Margheriti, Bava, Deodato, etc ...) know better how to showing the madness and perversion that lies within us. Although in Italy we have the headquarter of the Catholic Church, I must admit that we are a strange and unusual people.
How did you choose movies for the album? And why did you stop only on seven ? I would be happy to know that there are song or two left and you have plans to release something else soon.
The choice was made, as I have already said, according to our tastes, and by the year. Nothing about modern movies but we prefer old scripts. Aside from this , we find that the acting, actors and settings of old movies are very fascinating and of great inspiration. We first selected the movies for the record, and then we composed the music. I'm sorry Aleksey, but the seven tracks included were the only ones we composed. We are already working on some new ideas, news will coming soon.
Okay, what can you already reveal about your future plans?
There are no clear plans at the moment. We are waiting for the inspiration... We are still looking for a label that is interested in printing the vinyl version of ... from the “…Twilight Zone”. There are new ideas for songs. Of course we would like to get another 7"/ split with some other band we appreciate. We'll see!!!
Do you remember your first horror movie? What did catch you back then into it?
Someone said that in order to respect something you must first be intimidated. Maybe me… Now I'm too old and I do not remember well. My first horror movie may have been a nightmare as I slept ... as a kid I was really scared by the darkness and the noises aha ha ah ...
There are six songs on “…Twilight Zone” and one track without lyrics. Why is "Lizard Woman" instrumental track?
Certainly, “A Lizard in a woman’s skin” (English movie’s name) is most psychedelic than the other movies, so we decided better to make it as an instrumental track. Inside the song there is also an homage, which wants to be a tribute to one of the greatest Italian soundtracks composer. But I do not mean to say anything else, I leave you the taste of finding it.
Thanks for the answers Ghenes! How would you like to finish the interview?
We would like to thank all the guys who follow us for so many years and are always pushing us to do the best. See you around for a beer guys! Thank you so much Aleksey for your interest in our music and support. We also wanted to wish you good luck for the great initiative you had for Doom metal Lexicanum. Honored to be part of it. Take care!!!
We are all DOOMED))) Ghenes
Words Aleks Evdokimov and GHENES