Whiskey-Soda: Hey Guys, thank you for spending some time for our readers, answering some of the questions I prepared. Of course I want to talk about your new album „Cobra Verde“ – and I really like the stuff. It’s not the typical clichee Death-Metal-Stuff, and that’s one thing I like the most about it.
Enrico: (Claps hands very slowly)
WS: (Laughs) – Well it’s okay. You can give me a hug later.
WS: I’m just being honest. Because especially in Death-Metal there are sooo many Clichee-Bands. As a journalist I get all this music – I get flooded by some hundreds of Promotion-Mails of Underground-Black-Metal-Bands. I’m always like : „Okay, Satan and Pentagrams again, Demons and Blood.“ It’s so boring and I don’t really understand it. Because I think if you want to stand out you HAVE to stand out. But you won’t if you do the same stuff everybody else does. And that’s both about the music and the topics.
Enrico: Well, we had a plan for this. The plan was to concentrate on the songs. Let’s just go ten or fifteen years back, when there was no Italian Death Metal Scene. There were like two or three people that were able to play a Blastbeat. That was the time when to be fast was more than enough. There was not so many competition. Hour of Penance for example, which I founded, were the cool ones because we were the fast ones. Today, can you tell me who doesn’t need to be fast in order to be a Death Metal Band? There are just a few. Mainly Immolation. And there’s Immolation, Immolation and Immolation again. So here’s the thing: When I started Hideous Divinity I knew it was not gonna be about speed and brutality. Because we’re surrounded by it. Super-speed, super-brutality. Super cool, polished, blasted productions. We wanted something different. So we just thought: Let’s release the accelerator and concentrate on the songs, their structure. What do I like, what do I enjoy? And then the music just came out in some situations. In some other situations it was so difficult to find that final hook, because that’s what it is all about. We’re in the hook-business. Every song has to have something that helps you remember it. I get very depressed when people say: Ah, yeah, your new album. But in the end, all the songs are the same. On the other hand I get very excited when someone says that each and every song is different. That’s what I wanted!
WS: You have to do this. There’s so many bands. This afternoon I was driving home with the train and I was listening to the new Obituary album. These guys were some of the hardest guys around 25 years ago. And while I was listening to it I thought by myself: It’s a nice Thrash Metal album. But Death Metal? That’s when I realised once more that everything got harder and more extreme. It’s what you just said. Everybody was going faster, harder and more extreme. And because of that, you have to do something different in order to stand out. And if you’re not in one of the Big Bands with a certain name and history, you have to.
Enrico: I love to do Death Metal. But I don’t have that strong personality. So I started to do something original. The last really Band in our Genre that really does original music is Ulcerate. But they reached that after a long process on their own. My process is different. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we’re just trying to make is sharp. Sharper and sharper. And then, everytime we write something and we arrange something, there’s a lot around of what’s cool those days. For example, our previous album was highly influenced by polish Metal Bands and „Majesty And Decay“ by Immolation. I remember that so well because it was around 2010 and 2011. For this one, I wrote some of the songs I like the most and they were influenced by Ulcerate and the latest Carcass Album for example. So we’re talking about people that really raised the mark to do something different. How can you stand out, you ask? Well, listen to them! When I do, I try to understand what they have in their minds. What is it, that makes them so unique?
WS: You’re analyzing their music?
Enrico: Yes, I do. It’s like studying them. There are so many bands that I drop down after five minutes. They’re very good, they’re very technical but they say nothing to me. Like Portal for example. The ones playing with this really dark masks, play this very, very noisy kind of Death Metal.
Stefano: Their music is really disturbing.
Enrico: Or another Band called Emptiness or Today Is The Day. So there are Bands out their doing really different stuff. What is it that makes me „Whoaaa!“? What is it, that’s so fresh and also perverted in one way? Or the last Gorguts album, „Colored Sands“?
WS: So let’s go on with some more pointed questions. Let’s go into the new album. We already talked about it in an overview perspective. What’s different on the new album compared to your first? What do you consider important in particular or what are you proud of?
Enrico: It’s hard to say because I spend so much time on doing „Cobra Verde“. On each and every song. Writing it, and discussing it with Giulio and also with Stefano, our bass player. One thing I really like about Hideous Divinity in General is the bass presecence. You can always hear the bass which is something that a lot of people like, because it’s not so usual. There was this crazy guy who compared us to Nile, which is a sacrileg to me because noone can compare to certain bands, not even us. He was like: Yeah you are similar to Nile, and even better, because in your music the bass can be heard. That’s one thing I also like about us. We spend a lot of time on production. We spent a lot of time at 16th Cellar Studios with Stefano Morabito. When you’re asking me how the Italian Death Metal Scene came to life – I tell you it was because of him. He made the sound. And he made a sound out of his own experiences. He’s at the same time a sound engineer and a producer. (He also plays Guitar in the italian Metal Band Eyeconoclast) He tells the bands in many situations what to do. He pushes them a lot. He pushes drummers to accel, he pushes singers to sing this way or that way. He has a lot of influence. I really like the songs of that album. We’ve been through a selection and the songs that came out were so complete. It was so special for me to bring these riffs to the other guys. I like that fact that somehow each and every song is different. I like the hooks. There’s a lot of influence of what I like right now. Like the song ‚Cobra Verde‘. You have the arpeggio parts, then you have the very pushy parts and then you have the sort of samba like time, which has to do with the whole concept. There’s a moment when this picture of the whole album comes together in your mind. That’s the moment when you say: Okay. That’s it! Even if each song is different there’s a common soul from the beginning to the end. Once we found that soul, I started to believe that the album is ready. They were nagging me like crazy. We went to studio for five months and they kept asking me: Where’s the album? Not there yet! Enrico made a fantastic job with the lyrics but he wanted to give the best singing possible. So he spent months to try all the vocal patterns. He was very, very strict with me. So I had the pressure of all the other guys: Where is the album? And I kept saying: We’re almost there. Give me some more time. When I got the cover artwork I was sure, that it was complete!
WS: You just mentioned the Lyrics. Who’s in charge? You or your singer, who’s name is also Enrico?
Enrico: Most of the lyrics are written by me. But on this album, Enrico helped me a lot. Especially because of the vocal patterns. He did for example an amazing job with song where he shares singing with Dallas Toler-Wade of Nile, ‚The Alonest Of The Alone‘. He conceived a Death Metal Song with two different voices, doing some kind of a Death Metal Duet. There are so many bands that just go for the guest vocalist because of the Name. But when it comes to Enrico and Dallas, Enrico had a plan. He wanted to do something with Dallas voice really sticking out. He knows what he’s doing because he’a phonetician. He’s a doctor working with vocal chords. He’s teaching extreme singing – he’s helping people to sing without hurting themselves. That’s really cool and important. But in the Death Metal Environment it’s sometimes like: Hahaha, look at this Wannabe-Professor. How can anyone be teaching attitude?
Stefano: There were all these people on Facebook throwing shit on him because he teaches Death Metal singing and told certain people they are not able to do it: I’m singing Death Metal since ever, what are you gonna tell me? You can’t teach Death Metal! But have to teach people to do it properly, otherwise they’re gonna hurt themselves! And he’s a pro at that!
WS: When it comes to Lyrics or Album Topics in General, you chose to go for Concept Albums, both inspired by films. Why did you choose to use this lyrical approach in general?
Enrico: Cinema is the ultimate art of the past and the present century. Everyone is making lyrics about anti-christian stuff or gory stuff, Zombies and all of that. It has become so boring. We don’t we go for movies which deliver cool concepts? But we’re not gonna do a album about Transformers, Pacific Rim or Twilight. I’ve always been a fan of Werner Herzog, the german director. He made some very epic, physical movies with underground attitude. Does it get more Death Metal like this? Epic, physical and underground? And I also like Klaus Kinski a lot. He’s always on my mind and I used to take quotes from him back in the day when I was making music with Hour of Penance. „Cobra Verde“ delivered that concept of some kind of extreme and tribal. The history of slavery is something extreme but it belongs to the human history. Our music is mostly about: What is the scariest thing to write music about? It’s the human. And the cinema just brings that to us. Why go for zombies, when human beings and their behaviour much more frightening?
WS: Can you give our readers an overview how you work adapting a film into an Metal-Album ? Are there certain steps that are essential ? Is it to get the feeling around the movie that inspires you?
Enrico: Well, it’s kind of both. Some scenes in the movie are just made for a certain sound or song. ‚Sinister and Demented‘ is the story of the King of Dahomey. The madness around him. His life is the Projection of a Dream of a Madman. It was so easy to make a song only about that. The whole feeling is about the history of Slavery. There’s no step for step, no single chapters or characters taken from the movie, if it’s that what you mean. It was the same with the message rising from „They Live!“ Only the end of „Cobra Verde“ is the same like in the movie because it’s about the death of Manoel Da Silva, the death of the protagonist.
WS: So you take certain scenes or topics that speak to you and that gives you kind of a raw strucutre to do everything. Is it like that?
Enrico: Yeah. It starts with ‚In My Land I Was A Snake‘, which is a song that introduces the main character. Then you have ‚The Sombre Empire‘, that is about the landscape, the Dahomey area. Then you have all the other chapters, but not in a particular order. At the end you have ‚Adjinakou‘, which is about the Death of the main character. Death in the true sense of the word. Solitude.
WS: It appears special to me to do a cover Song on a Concept album? What’s the story behind the ‚The Last And Only Son‘ by Ripping Corpse ? Do you feel it really belongs to the whole topic of the album ?
Enrico: Good question! Because it doesn’t fit. But I wanted to do that cover. So that’s it!
Stefano: It took him a year to chose the right song to cover. He said: I wanna chose a song and I sort of wanna rewrite it. Just keeping the feeling of the song, but connect it with my own ideas. We didn’t like the idea.
Enrico: My only chance was to bring them a demo of my version. Because otherwise they would’ve refused it. So I gave them a demo of my version, and I also gave it to Shaune Kelley, who is today in Dim Mak. I asked him for permission and he was like: Sure, go for it. To me, he was a very influential guitarrist and I was really asking for his permission. Can I use a song of yours? And everyone asked me: Why are you doing a Cover of a Demo Song of an unknown band? Why would it fit the concept? And I said: Well, it’s about forgotten heroes and Ripping Corpse are forgotten heroes as well, at least for me. So that’s the similarity.
WS: I was just wondering what the idea behind that was. Because sometimes one song does kill the whole feeling of the album. I don’t feel that in this case, although it’s obvious that it’s not a Hideous Divinity song.
Enrico: I think Ripping Corpse – when it comes to the music – they fit extremely well. They were a band from the Nineties that was already building the sound of bands that would follow, like Hate Eternal for example, which are a very big influence on my music. The idea was to make a cover, changing some of the structures with todays modern sound. It came out so well that it almost sounded like a Hate Eternal song. The song was written in 1992 and when Enrico sang the lyrics for the first time we had a lot of fun. He made an exact imitation of the original singers voice – which has a very Hardcore style. I told him: You’ve got a perfect impersonation – but it’s not gonna work like that. We wanted it our way. But I don’t think the song will work live. I just wanted to have it on the album.
Giulio: It’s different of course – but it’s Hideous Divinity anyway.
WS: We already talked a little bit about Hideous Divinity general style. You don’t go for the gory or satantic stuff. I asked myself if you just find it boring – as you told me before – or if you also don’t want to transport a certain type of ideology that’s behind some of the bands that have this certain direction.
Enrico: Of course everyone is entitled to their own religion and beliefs. I just do this for music – first of all. Second of all: I would say that it’s quite easy to explore something only to be the extreme guy. I never was that kind of believer – not even back when I had long hair.
WS: So no rabbits to rip heads off tonight?
Enrico: No. Even if I did – noone would believe me. Because it’s not me. I still go to concerts with white shirts and flip-flops.
Giulio: We’re sick and tired of attitude. We don’t want to act like metal-rock-guys. We just want to be ourselves.
WS: No grim faces at all?
Giulio: No. We’re really nice guys. We like cats and cooking.
Enrico: (Takes a electric screwdriver and drills it several times with dumb face). Let’s go for Exhumed. (laughs) No, let’s be serious. I lived in Norway for two years. I went to the same pub like all the Norwegian Black Metal Stars.
WS: Nice guys?
Enrico: No, it’s not that they’re nice guys. They’re sad people. Drinking their beer and they became their own characters, probably because they have quite sad and boring lives. And they do it because a country like Norway allows them to do that. But would they behave the same way in Iran or Russia? If I would really believe into that stuff, I should be ready in terms of consistency. To act the same way no matter where you are. I should be ready to do that on the Red Square in front of Putin. Cannibal Corpse just got arrested in Russia. I should be ready to do that everywhere I those were my beliefs. But Norway? Come on! I would believe a Black Metal Band from Bangladesh. They will really know how to talk abpout disgraceful stuff. But Norway? This terrible country where everybody has got a job?
WS: The first thing where your audience notices that you’re not into that gory stuff is the album cover, which is extraordinary. What’s the story behind the cover-artwork of „Cobra Verde“?
Enrico: He’s a polish guy living in Scotland and I like his art because he does a lot of contemporary american art. Something really far away from Death Metal. A lot of his art reminded me of a Polish Artist I know at least Giulio and I enjoy a lot. His name is Beschinsky. That gave me kind of a feeling. Then I was asking him if he was ready to do something for a Death Metal Band playing no Death Metal. He agreed and came up with this concept and we added a lot of details. Nowadays everyone can get nice artwork. There’s this guy from Sweden, Pär Olofsson. This guy makes amazing art, he’s like the Michelangelo of Death Metal. But they cost a shitload of money – I can say it again – shitload of money. Second of all I thought maybe when we find something that is different and it doesn’t give you the immediate feeling of a Death Metal Album maybe it would come out good in a cover, and T-Shirts, of course. Because after all we’re also in the business of selling CD’s and T-Shirts. And it became great!
WS: So there were no restrictions or ideas? You just told him what the album was about and he came up with his own ideas?
Enrico: He worked in the best way since day one. He said: Before I write or draw anything, before we get to a deal, I’m gonna watch the movie and study it and come out with an idea. He came out with the idea of the main face and the monkeys and the snakes and all other concept you can find on the album. And he just made a first draft, from that point he wanted to be paid of course. But I still keep all the sketches I got from him because it’s so cool to see how it evolved from day one to day 21. So as soon as I saw his ideas I told him to go for it!
WS: Yeah. It’s special and stands out for a Death Metal Album – because you ask yourself What it’s all about when you see the cover.
Enirco: Exactly! You get curious. Who’s that guy? What’s the story behind that face? Why is his face painted black? Because he’s a black man? No! He’s a white man who gets his face painted because if the stays like a white demon no one is able to kill him. So they gonna paint him before and then they kill him because then they will be allowed to do by their gods.
WS: We talked about Black Metal just a few minutes ago. Let’s go 180 degrees into the other direction. Because I just had to pleasure to interview a Christian Death Metal band a while ago. They do a good job with their music and their lyrics are profound and I asked myself if you know any christian Metal Bands or what you think about this subculture in general?
Enrico: I give you a short answer so that Giulio can answer as well. When it comes to me, I have no problems with the teachings of Jesus Christ. After all, what I really disagree is the role of the church. Because in my opinion that is where all the shit starts.
Giulio: In my opinion you can talk about whatever you like as long as you don’t do it as a missionary. If you wanna talk about your religion, God, Jesus Christ, the cross – it’s cool. But don’t teach me anything! Because this is not what I do as well. I don’t teach you.
WS: You don’t want to be evangelized.
Giulio: Exactly. I’m an atheist. I don’t convert you to atheism, I just don’t want it the other way around.
Enrico: It’s the same with all the Pagan People.
Giulio: Yeah, the pagan guys. Wear you axe around your neck if you like to – but don’t force me to do the same.
WS: Thank you for your time and keep on making such awesome music….