segunda-feira, 27 de julho de 2020

Interview: Secret Rule - "We Just Continue to Make Music, as We Have Always Done".

Secret Rule was founded in Italy, in 2013, and makes modern Metal, mixing heavy and melodic riffs, incursions of symphonic and electronic elements, combined with Angela Di Vicenzo's vocals, have built a strong musical identity.  (Versão em português)

The band also has a well elaborated planning, which allows it to release practically one album per year, despite all the difficulties of the current market, and earlier this year released "Against", via Pride & Joy Music.

The world pandemic, in which the area of ​​concerts and entertainment was greatly affected, changed a little and postponed some plans. But Secret Rule did not stop, and in this time of isolation and quarantine, they continued to plan and publicize their work, including even releasing another album! "Quarantine Sessions - The Other Side of Us", with versions of songs by artists that the members like.

We have talked with Angela Di Vicenzo, who told us a little more about the new albums, the way the band works, taking care of various details in addition to composition and production, such as, promotional photos, social media, booking and etc., also commented on the music market, and of course, how was this pandemic period in Italy, a country that was hit hard, and measures such as a Lock Down were necessary. Check it out below:

RtM: Talking about the most recent work, "Against", with each album the band shows news, what are the main changes in against for the others? I personally felt that more weight was put into the songs, keyboards are also more present.
Angela Di Vicenzo: Hi Carlos, yes, "Against" is the natural evolution of our sound. Surely, it's a bit more heavy and aggressive and there are more industrial sounds on this one. The real news is that we took care of the whole production of this CD by ourselves. We thought, wrote, recorded, mixed, and mastered everything by ourselves. We created the graphics, prepared the photos, every little detail was handled by us. It was a great challenge, but now we are fully satisfied with it.

RtM: The first single was "Purgatory", which also won a video. Comment more about this song and why you chose it for the first single?
Angela: We wanted something different. Often in recent years, people to describe our sound put us near symphonic metal. We found it a bit limiting, surely there are a lot of symphonic atmospheres in our music, but not only those. The riffing is more aggressive and totally different from symphonic bands, we use a lot of electronic loops and industrial sounds...these are not exactly what you find in symphonic music.  So, Purgatory was the right song to mark that something had changed. This message was mostly for other people, not for us...because we just continue to make music as we have always done.

"Today, a band before being a band must be an expert social media manager, an expert music manager, an expert promoter, and a booker then you can be a musician."
RtM: Two of my favorites are "Against" and "Deep Solitude", which has beautiful melodies and a catchy chorus. I would like you to tell us a little more about them and the inspiration for the lyrics.
Angela: Against is one of my favorite ones too. The new album started from that song and concept, in fact, it's also the album title. I suffer this world, this society. I can't understand how it’s possible to see so much violence, racism and injustice, and how everything is always guided by money and power. Getting back to the matter of the manipulation of society, everything is filtered through all media forms and worse still through the social networks. So this song is my scream inviting people to be stronger so they can face this life every day and fight for freedom.

Deep Solitude is about the difficulty we have in understanding our feelings. Because of this, we often end up hurting the people we love most. We're complicated. So often we fall into our solitude, misunderstood, unable to form and maintain relationships, but our silence is the loudest scream we have to ask for attention.

RtM: The label Change seems to have opened new doors, the band having a better treatment, several videos, releasing albums regularly, we even had a special limited edition of "Against". I would like you to comment on this and the viability of the bands to continue launching new albums, because they do not always get a return when they self-finance, or do not have adequate support from a label.
Angela: Today, if you wanna be a musician you have to come from a  rich family! (laughs)
This is the reality of things. Everything we do, we do by ourselves. As I said to you, we take care of everything and we pay for everything. Labels today, they offer very little help for distribution, nothing else.

For example, promotion on the webzines and magazines is not so important these days, because in most situations, the writers are very young people who work for free or for little money, without a musical background, without a musical culture, and your album ends up being reviewed by guys who are eighteen and who in a good number of cases listen to a different musical genre from what you play. Fortunately, there are also professional writers but it has become hard for them too to work.

Today, a band before being a band must be an expert social media manager, an expert music manager, an expert promoter, and a booker then you can be a musician. The World is going in this direction and those who are not prepared for this, will have a hard life.

We make one album per year because we want to do it. With or without a label. In the past few years we found a good person in the owner of Pride & Joy Music, she's one of the few correct people in this music market, surely it's very important...but with only this, you can't survive in this World. It’s not enough.

So, we plan our activity year after year...we know exactly what we'll do in the next 12 months. This is our secret. Planning, scheduling, working hard every day, every hour. 

 " (The Song) 'Purgatory' marks that something had changed... This message was mostly for other people, not for us...because we just continue to make music as we have always done."
RtM: You have released recently the album "Quarantine Sessions – The Other Side of Us", with versions of songs by artists that you like. Tell us a little about how the idea came about and how the recording process went.
Angela: During the quarantine, we planned to release a couple of videos of cover songs. When we released the Ozzy cover ("Gets me through") and Placebo's "The bitter end", we received a lot of requests from our fans who asked us to release a whole album of cover songs. So, we thought we would only if we were able to do it in two weeks...before the Quarantine ended otherwise it wouldn't have made sense.  

So, we chose the other songs and started immediately working on production...and in two weeks we were ready to release the album. It was self-produced and self-released. About the production, it was easy enough for us, because every one of us has their own studio and at the end of the sessions...Andy mixed and mastered it. So, everything was really fun.

RtM: And from this album, which songs did you like to do the most and why?
Angela: It's difficult to choose because all songs are so different. Surely I like "Not Afraid" because I like its energy and it has been a challenge for me to sing it. I'm not a rapper! LOL I love "Back to Black" because I love that song so much!

"I think I'm Paranoid" is so energic and rock, like "The Bitter End" too! "The Swan Song" because I love Sharon's voice and I had fun in singing that song with a different approach in respect to the original version. But at the end, I like all the songs!

"When we released Ozzy and Placebo covers, we received a lot of requests from our fans who asked us to release a whole album of cover songs."
RtM: Well, it's impossible not to ask how do you feel to have to go through this war climate there in Italy. Tell us a little about how these days have been and the routine there?
Angela: It's not a war climate, there is a lot of silence instead. Everyone is living their life locked in at home, with their family, spending their time with all those things they didn't have time to do during their ordinary life. I did the same. I'm spending more time with my cats Posi& Nega, I started to cook a lot of different cakes, and I worked much more on Secret Rule. 

I don't know if this virus was created or if it really was an accident, neither explanation is difficult for me to believe. But this has been another great challenge humanity has been called to face. There have been stupid people (I have seen people spit on other people to terrify people by threatening infection and those who didn't want to follow all rules) but also a lot of solidarity and surely, I want to see the positive side of the pandemic, the one which has moved people to take care of themselves. At this moment we're getting back to normality and we hope to return completely to normality for good.

RtM: And what have you been doing to pass the time, to maintain physical and mental sanity?
AngelaI feel good at home. I watched movies, I played with my cats and I worked with Secret Rule on new strategies. We're always in a hurry so we took advantage of all this time to plan the next steps to the best of our abilities. I started to exercise every day to keep in shape and I feel much better!

RtM: And how do you see the situation of bands and musicians in general now with this stop, without doing shows. And I think there is still no prospect of a return in the coming months.
Angela: Surely it's a difficult moment. For us, it's difficult because we miss the stage and the contact with our fans. The exchange of energy is the best side of being musicians. We had to postpone our tours and we hope we'll be able to do them in September and December. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, I saw a lot of bands expressing their money difficulties but after a while, all bands started streaming concerts and found other ways to connect with their fans. The chance to find another way to express oneself has also proved an art form, be it streaming concerts, online activities, inventing a new job, etc). As in any market and any company, a band has to accept the business risk and find other ways to survive. I think it's normal.

 "For us, it's difficult because we miss the stage and the contact with our fans."
RtM: Have you been watching many movies and series during the quarantine? Which do you recommend?
Angela: I fell in love with "La casa de Papel" of course and "Vis a Vis" that I've been watching all during the pandemic. I liked a lot the actress "Najwa Nimri" present in both the series. Then I watched "Glitch", but I think it's only for certain people. Anyway, I liked it. So if you haven’t seen "Vis a Vis", you should start with that :)

RtM: Ha ha ha!ok, i saw just some episodes, but i promise i will watch. Did you watch the movie "Rocket Man"? A really cool moment is when Wilson  sayds to young Elton John that "  You gotta kill the person you were born to be in order to become the person you want to be." what do you think about? What has the music changed about you?
Angela: Wow! That’s so true! When I started to sing, around age fifteen, I remember that I was soooo shy. Before going on stage, I had to run to the toilet…sometimes I also vomited beforehand. On stage, I was almost blocked. But I wanted to be different because I loved singing so much. So, day after day, I had to kill my "limits" and force myself to beat my shyness, my fears. When I looked at great singers like Cristina Scabbia or Sharon Den Adel, I remained so enchanted by their naturalness and spontaneity. It has been a long process and I always keep working on myself.

RtM: Thanks for the interview, always a pleasure to talk to you. Take care and hopefully soon we will overcome this pandemic and good things will come after all this.
Angela: Thank you Carlos, it's the same for me. Thank you for this space and to all the readers who support us.

Interview by: Carlos Garcia

Pride & Joy Music

Listen to "Against" on Spotify
Listen to "Quarantine Sessions" on Spotify




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