Saturday 15 September 2018

Aleks Evdokimov Interviews Melissa from La Morte Viene Dallo Spazio

This Italian psycho rock bands is young, effective and promising. Blending space rock, psychedelic and some kraut rock they reached their first big milestone – “Sky Over Giza” EP. This vivid, dreamy and cosmic material transfers listener to vast sonic dimensions where you easily could lose the way back to reality. However we have a guide for La Morte Viene Dallo Spazio realm, her name is Melissa.

Hi Melissa! How are you? What’s going on in La Morte Viene Dallo Spazio realm?

Hey there Alexey! Everything is fine with me, thanks, I hope the same with you.
In our dimension many things are happening and we are both glad and somehow surprised of the results we have achieved so far. This summer brought us to important venues and festivals in Italy and abroad, we got very positive feedback and our feeling as a newborn band is that everything is going really fast and we have to take advantage of all the occasions we are going through. The time is now.

The band was founded just about two years ago and till that time you had only single record ‘Fever’ and ‘Jam In Erba’, so how did you spend this period as the band?

The idea behind the birth of La Morte Viene Dallo Spazio arose in the mind of our guitarist Bazu three years ago. He composed “Fever” before the other members joined the project which actually wasn't supposed to be a band at the beginning, but an open ensemble involving every time different musicians on stage. No rehearsal was contemplated and the gigs were kind of jam sessions, nothing was previously decided, all was extemporaneous.

The very first concert took place in 2015 in Milan, along with the Chilean band Föllakzoid, and the only members of the current line-up involved in it were Bazu and the flutist Angelo. Our first release “Sky Over Giza” was recorded in studio last summer as an experiment, in a two-days jam session, without any preparation at all. La Morte Viene Dallo Spazio reached a stable line-up and became a proper band only at the beginning of the current year, embracing three more musicians already belonging to the Italian heavy-psych scene with other well-known bands. Among them, two ladies: me as singer and moog/theremin player, the bass player Claudia and the drummer Federico.

Theremin is quite a specific instrument, how did you learn to play it? And what was your first encounter with it?

Actually it's not a long time since I started to play theremin. The first time I saw this instrument I was a child. 'How can hands produce sounds through that white box without touching it? It has to be some kind of magic.' This is what I suddenly thought as I recall so far.

At that time, as a 7 years old child, I was starting playing piano. Learning how works theremin wasn't in my mind at all - it looked like a far too mysterious and complicate instrument and I didn't know anyone in person able to teach me play it. Much later, as soon as I got in touch with psychedelia and space rock, I decided it was time for me to face this charming instrument. All what I know about it I have learnt by myself and everyday I continue increasing my knowledge. If you have some kind of sensibility towards music, the instrument itself speaks to you and somehow reveals what to do. This is what happened between me and my theremin. Music is a proper magic – children often know far more than what adults do.

So your first bigger record ‘Sky Over Giza’ was released just few months ago, what were your intentions when you started the work over these tracks? What kind of sound did you want to gain?

The purpose behind “Sky Over Giza” was to challenge ourselves and see what we could be able to do. As already told, during the recording session we have played freely, without arranging anything previously. There wasn't any intention at all concerning the kind of sound to gain, actually before entering the studio we didn't have have any idea of what the songs would have looked like in the end, so everything that comes out from these tracks is merely the result of what was moving inside us in that period, both light and shadows, but shadows mostly, I must say. We are somehow proud that things went this way, otherwise our work wouldn't have turned out to be so unconventional.

Italian scene is known with few marks like prog rock, some horror movies-influenced doom bands and… and I don’t know… power metal? However you play in psychedelic rock vein mixing few more components to this sound. How do you see a role of local influences in your music?

La Morte Viene Dallo Spazio”, that means Death Comes From Space, is actually the title of a 50s Italian sci-fi film by Paolo Heusch, later released in English language with the different title “The Day The Sky Exploded”. This kind of choice, for such an important matter like the name of the band, already explains itself what our music is influenced by: the Italian older motion pictures and soundtracks mainly. We have always been fascinated by that world and the mystery it is wrapped in.

The project actually born with the aim to create a sort of b-movie's soundtrack. Also our way of composing, very instinctive like a flow of sounds, recalls what used to happen in Italy in the 70s composing b-movies soundtracks – the musicians who were committed to create those soundtracks often didn't play in the same band, but did meet each other for the first time in that occasion with the common purpose to give birth to something special.

La Morte Viene Dallo Spazio

How did you spend a ‘Sky Over Giza’ record session? Is it first serious studio work for the band’s members?

“Sky Over Giza” is the first serious studio work of La Morte Viene Dallo Spazio, but definitely not the first one for its members, playing in other bands already known in Europe with several albums released through the years, although we prefer to keep the identity of these other bands unknown - we would like people to focus on our music instead on who we are and where we come from.

As I have just explained, the recording session was very fast, the drummer was the one leading the game, he gave the input for moving towards a certain direction and all the rest you can listen to pop up as the natural consequence of that.

As I understand the lyrics is on second place for you, but the tracks’ titles are pretty interesting or, well, meaningful. What are stories behind ‘Sky Over Giza’, ‘Zombies Of The Stratosphere’ and ‘Sigu Tolo’?

Sky Over Giza” with its Egyptian melody gives a mental image of pyramids, ancient mysticism and strange happenings in the sky.

Sigu Tolo”, another name for the star Sirius, hints at a people named Dogon who live in west Africa and were supposedly visited by extraterrestrials 5,000 years ago and given astonishing astronomical information at that time.

Zombies Of The Stratosphere” tells the story of evil martians brought down in flames in their rocket ship after a furious stratosphere raygun battle. In these tracks the standard music structure doesn’t really apply, allowing in this way a confluence of sound, atmosphere and melody through a free-form journey with no defined destination or resolution in mind.

I see you’re into weird stuff actually! Do you believe in the things like Land of Mu, Atlantis and so on? I remember I read the story about Dogon tribe too, hah, but you know when you have full-time job and family you have no more time to gaze at the stars!

What a hard question to answer to, well done Alex! :-) What I can say is that we don't believe in any parallel reality but, as far as I know, planets are many, galaxies probably also, and the world we live in is only a little part of the universe – universe that will continue to exist with us or without us (probably even better in this last case).

The things we still don't know and the places human beings have not reached yet are so many, that it wouldn't be so weird to find out someday that there is something else beyond us. In the meantime what we definitely believe in is music and its power to create and destroy new worlds through fantastic journeys towards the borders of the unknown.

With what kind of bands do you usually play? Do you feel that La Morte Viene Dallo Spazio live shows are in-demand?

Since February, the turning point between the open gathering of players that the project was and the proper band that it currently is, we shared the stage with several bands, very different one from the other: first the danish psych-rock Mythic Sunship in Milan and the Italian acid-rock Giöbia in Germany, then Fu Manchu, Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity, Baroness, among the others, at Duna Jam - an open-air festival that takes place in astonishing beautiful spots into the wild nature - and finally the American blacksters The Wolves In The Throne Room at SoloMacello Fest. 

It has been weird passing in just a couple of days from the relaxing Duna Jam's white sand dunes to the black metal scenery of SoloMacello Fest, but this is also what we like most of our music: the ability to be transversal to many genres and to easily move through completely different sceneries.

In Milan, at Cox18, we have also had the chance to be hosted by La Società Psychedelica, an institution for what concerns the Italian and international psychedelic scene.

Things are going fast and according with the positive feedback we have been getting we are now ready to leave for a tour across Europe which will bring us from Italy to Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Netherlands.

Can you tell more about La Società Psychedelica? What’s this institution?

La Società Psychedelica is basically the summary of different attitudes.

It was born in 2006 in Milan, at the very beginning only on MySpace, by the idea of two well-known DJs, as a sort of moniker which allowed to collect several bands from all over the world with an open idea of psychedelia, from the classic Californian acid folk to the English psychedelia, more bounded to pop, to kraut rock, stoner and doom, sometimes influenced by ambient music going even towards black metal, and so on.

Nowadays the events organized by La Società Psychedelica are among the most important in Italy and southern Europe for what concerns psychedelic music and further.

What are your ambitions towards the band? How do you see your prospects from the point where you stand now?

We feel to be very close to the people while performing and after the shows, our public is widening continuously and this makes grow the confidence in our project inside us.
In six months we have managed to play on very important stages of
which many bands dream about all life long, we are thankful for the opportunities we got so far and we couldn't have taken more advantage of them than what we did. I guess soon we will be able to look back to the last shows as a springboard to something huger that will develop through the upcoming tour.

How did you manage to get on these big gigs? Do you work totally DIY way or do you have a kind of manager?

We don't have any manager at all. The closest person to a manager is me actually, that means I keep contacts with the venues where we perform, the reviewers and so on. Our “fortune”, as a project born from the confluence of musicians belonging to other bands well-known on the European scene, is that before starting La Morte Viene Dallo Spazio we already had many contacts collected through these years we have been playing around. This is the reason why it didn't take so many efforts to get involved in some amazing festivals. When the event planners already love what you do with your band, they are often curious to find out what can flow out from your brand new band.

The following shows we have set up are the result of some positive vibes we had spread during these first gigs - someone noticed us, asked us to play at their venue and this is exactly how we began to plan the upcoming tour.

Do local medias support the band?

If with medias you mean the radio or television, in Italy unfortunately we don't have any about underground music like ours. There are instead specialized magazines on this sector, some of these already have reviewed 'Sky Over Giza', some others will do that soon - like Rock Hard and Rumore, among the others - and we are very glad about this.

Do you already have plans for the next album?

Of course we do! As soon as we stopped jamming and the project reached a stable line-up, we entered the recording studio again. Now we already have enough material to work on the tracks which will be forming the next album - a more structured one this time - and we are ready for the second recording session to happen soon.

We are confident in the work we are doing, the previous extemporaneousness of our sound seems to be heading towards new horizons made of increasing efforts and complicity among us, so that the upcoming long playing will likely be a more representative product of what we are, not only a flow of dark energies but something really deeper.

I am not afraid to reveal that we have great news by our side, we are already looking forward to the next album presentation tour across Europe and, who knows, hopefully even further!

Good to hear it! Then I hope that soon we’ll hear more news from La Morte Viene Dallo Spazio! Good luck with that Melissa! So how would you like to sum up the band’s message today?

Someone once said that the universe is a pretty big place: if it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space. Then, you folks out there, get ready to be conquered from unconventional vibes... Death Comes From The Space – La Morte Viene Dallo Spazio

Words by Aleks Evdokimov