Saturday 7 March 2020

An Interview With VOID OF SLEEP

Italian Psych Sludge/Doom/Stoner Collective - Void Of Sleep - first impressed myself back in 2013 with their debut album - Tales Between Reality And Madness - with it's mix of Stoner Metal, Doom Metal, Sludge Metal and it's clever use of Psych Rock and Classic Hard Rock. 

Their 2015 offering - New World Order - was a bleaker affair but still managed to impress me with Void Of Sleep trademark Doom/Sludge Metal grooves.

Fast forward 5 years later are back with a new line-up for their upcoming new album - Metaphora. 

It's been a long time since I last interviewed the band. I thought this would be good chance to talk with Void Of Sleep to discuss their formation, the evolution of their music and what to expect from their upcoming new album.

I caught up with Gale (Guitars/Chorus) and Burdo (Vocals/Guitars) from Void Of Sleep

Read on for more info....

Hi guys. Thanks for doing this interview. It’s been a long time since we last spoken. Good to have you guys back. How are things with you today.

Gale: Hi Steve! You’re right, it's been a long time since we last spoke, it took as a long time because we couldn't find the right people for the new line-up. It was worth the wait though because now we are very happy with the new line-up, the new material and how Metaphora came out.

Burdo: Hi and thank you, we’re glad to have this opportunity to talk to you. We are all doing very well actually, lots of things on the go: first of all, the new album Metaphora which will come out March 27th and the release show the same day, we’ve also planned a video for one of the new songs, taking care of the promotional side along with our label Aural Music and in the meantime we’re obviously rehearsing the new and the old songs that we’re thinking of including in the live shows.
For people not in the know, Can you give a brief history of how the band came together.

Gale: We formed in the spring of 2010, in 2011 we recorded our first demo, in 2012 the first full-length, Tales Between Reality and Madness which was released for Aural Music in January 2013, in 2014 while we were on tour with Nero di Marte all our gear was robbed so, to recover some money we made a 7 inch split with them.

In 2015 our second album New World Order was released, also for Aural Music. We played a hundred concerts between 2012 and 2017, mainly in Italy but also two European mini Tours. In 2017 Paso, our bass player, left the band, so we were practically on hiatus until 2019 when Andrea and Momo joined the band.

In 2019 we worked hard on writing, arranging and recording Metaphora, with many ideas that we Burdo, Allo and I had developed, but with the fundamental contribution of the new arrivals.

Did you all know each other before joining Void Of Sleep.

Gale: Andrea and I have been playing together since 99, first in Conspiracy A.D. until 2008, then since 2010 with Void of Sleep. We met Burdo at one of our first concerts in '99, so I would say that the 3 of us have known each other for quite some time. We met Andrea, the new bassist, around 2007 when he came to see Conspiracy at our rehearsal-room.

Our relationship was consolidated since we played together with Nero di Marte (Andrea plays also and still in N.d.M.), he also replaced Paso in a Festival in 2016, so he was the first person we thought of when we were looking for a new bass player but actually he joined the band only in January 2019. We met Momo in 2017, when we played together with Postvorta (his other band).

We are here to talk about your excellent new album – Metaphora. What can people expect from this album.

Burdo: To be honest, I really don’t know how the people will feel about it, but I can say that we are really proud with Metaphora. It’s an album of extremes; extremely melancholic but extremely brutal when the song merits it. There are some very good riffs and time signatures in it, but we also took a lot of care of the arrangements and harmonies, most of the songs are quite long, proggy and sludgy, but we’ve also explored several new atmospheres and solutions here! I actually think that’s our most eclectic album to date!
My own feelings is that the album feels more in tone with your 2013 debut album Tales Between Reality And Madness which I loved. Plus it has elements of your 2015 album – New World Order. Is that a fair assumption to make.

Burdo: Well, that’s a fair assumption. To me this record is quite different from the others for several reasons: the synths and keyboards which we didn’t have in our previous albums, our former bass player and producer Paso is no longer in the band, so our approach has changed, Andrea and Mohammed joined the band etc etc...but in some way I agree with you, because I think Metaphora comes more from the riffs than its predecessor New World Order and more in the way of Tales Between Reality and Madness.

Gale: I don't think Metaphora sounds more like TBRAM than NWO, I think Metaphora is the natural evolution of our sound, which is a very eclectic album, both musically and vocally, the reasons have just been explained very well by Burdo.

What is Metaphora about. As it’s quite trippy and surreal in places.

Burdo: The lyrical concept for the album is basically about the contradictions of our so called evolved society, the rekindled fear and hatred, social relations and civility in crisis, apathy and marginalization, I just laid down the lyrics trying to explain how I feel about it, and I think that everyone can find his own metaphor by reading the lyrics.

Did you do anything differently when recording this album compared to your previous albums.

Gale: As we’ve mentioned earlier, our previous bass player was also our producer and the owner of Studio 73, where we recorded our first two albums. Metaphora is the first album recorded in another studio, with another producer, so clearly, the connection was different, then I think the sound is different too, but that is also influenced by the normal path of a band.

We are very satisfied with the work done at Domination Studio by Simone Bertozzi and Simone Mularoni, the sound is fantastic and it is exactly what we were looking for.

Burdo: Oh yes, we came through a lot of changes this time, new studio, new lineup and an additional instrument which we never had in the previous recordings, it was a bit tricky and challenging but to me it was also the best studio experience to date.

This time we teamed up with the guys in Domination Studio and the things flowed really well and spontaneously.

What influenced you all when recording this album. As it has a lot of different ideas and themes running throughout the album.

Burdo: We just tried to turn all our feelings in music as I already said. We started composing this album after a forced break because we were without a bass player, the “skeletons” of 4 of the seven songs in the album were written and composed as a trio, we came through anger and frustrations and I think this influenced the music as much as the lyrics.

What comes first when writing new music. Music or Lyrics.

Gale: We always write the music first, then Burdo write the lyrics and maybe we can change something to fit the vocals well.

Aural Music are releasing the new album like they have done with your previous albums. It’s quite rare for an underground band like yourselves to stay with the same label for so long. Most bands switch labels quite often. Why have you stayed with the label for so long.

Gale: Aural is a great label, Emiliano is an amazing person, professional and honest. He has been running the label since ‘99 and has always done a great job, discovering important bands and always managing to stand out as a quality label. He has always believed in us supporting us from the beginning, I don;'t see any reason.

Have you had offers from any other labels who wanted to sign you.

Gale: Some labels have shown interest in our work but none have made us real concrete proposals. It also has to be said, that we have not looked for other labels because as I said in the previous question, we are satisfied with Aural’s work.

Will you be touring heavily or doing frequent gigs to promote the new album.

Gale: Our desire would be to play as much as possible but unfortunately it’s difficult, there are commitments with our day jobs, commitments with other bands and the venues situation that has worsened a lot in recent years, at least here in Italy.

However, we have a release show in our hometown on the 27th of March (the day that the album is released) and another 3/4 concerts in April, here in Italy that we will reveal soon and we’re working to add some other gigs for this summer/spring. We are also starting to think about a European tour this autumn.

Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans currently out there

Gale: Nothing in particular, I would just like to tell those who listen to our music to give it some time. These days it's all disposable and we don';t give the time necessary for the music to be assimilated, ours is very layered music, with many nuances, I would like those who approach it to do it with patience and concentration. Also I hope that those who appreciate it will buy the albums and come to concerts to support us.

Thanks for doing this interview. All the best with your new album. It’s a stunning album.

Gale: Thanks a lot Steve, you’ve always been a big fan of VoS and we really appreciate your passion. Take care.

Words by Steve Howe and VOID OF SLEEP

Thanks to Curtis at Dewar PR for arranging this interview and for VOID OF SLEEP for doing the interview. 

Metaphora is available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Aural Music from March 27th 2020.