We are very honored to present you the interview that Carmelo Orlando, the leader from the doom/death metal masters Novembre from Italy, gave to Rock Overdose and to Konstantinos Sotirelis. Carmelo talked about the band's latest album, "URSA", their upcoming shows in Greece and many more!
Rock Overdose: Hi and welcome to Rock Overdose from Greece! How it's going on the band's side?
Carmelo: Well, it’s really great and exciting because we are having a couple of summer festivals here in Italy and one of them just went down really great with Dark Tranquility and we’re happy because we’re getting better on stage, the band is more confident and the reaction of the crowd was amazing.
Rock Overdose: A few months ago, you released your latest, seventh, album, which is called “Ursa”. How do you feel about this release? What does “Ursa” mean and why did you choose this as the title of the album?
Carmelo: Ursa means Union of the Republic of Socialist Animals and it’s a title for the French version of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, or at least it was supposed to be the title, because it was an idea of Orwell and actually, the editors decided to not choose that one, because they didn’t want it to resemble something from Stalin. I loved the idea, because it has an animalist and political concept, which is what people are interested in these last 10 years. I think it was perfect and it sounds nice and it’s also about consolation and many things and fits perfect with the mood of my lyrics.
Rock Overdose: How did the fans and the press react? Are you satisfied?
Carmelo: Absolutely. The album received great reviews, the average was 8/10 and the fans were so happy about the album, because after 8 years of silence, you do not know what to expect from a band and some of them were worried that we would “wimp out” if you know what I mean. And we didn’t. We stayed true to our style and our kind of music. So, everyone seems to be happy and we’re happy, definitely!
Rock Overdose: How did the cooperation with Anders Nyström from Katatonia occur?
Carmelo: We are friends with Anders and Jonas for a very long time, since the demo tape times of 91 and 92. We’ve been touring together in the past and we are kindred spirits in the music with a scent of the same scene and all. We love each other’s music. So I asked Anders if he wanted to be a guest in one of our songs. He was more than happy and I can never thank him enough for taking some of his time to do that, because back then he was recording the album that they released so he was busy as hell. It was great that he took the time and the result was incredible.
Rock Overdose: You stated that this album got you closer to “maturity” and lyrically, you explored new shores. Can you explain what do you mean with the maturity that you got closer to and what lyrical themes you explored?
Carmelo: What I meant with “maturity” is that with this album I could focus more on the structure of the songs. I could see the songs much better because I finally was able to record all the songs by myself. Because, in the past I wasn’t a friend of technology. So I would write the songs all by memory and I would go to my bandmates and they would help me out with a computer and plug in the effects and I would lose track of the songs after a while. And in the end, the song slipped out of my hand. And this didn’t happen today and now I’m self-sufficient, so I can take care of the songs day and night, whenever I have some spare time. So, if there is a weak point on the song, I can fix it by myself and I don’t need people to do that for me. That gives me sobriety and I can get rid of the useless parts, so the songs are more consistent. About the lyrics, this is the first time I wrote lyrics with a little political satire in it. In the past, I was writing poetry, basically. About myself, about life, about feelings, etc. So this is a new shore for me. New territory. And I like where this is going!
Rock Overdose: The band lost a longstanding member, Giuseppe Orlando. How did his departure affect the band?
Carmelo: It was of course a loss, artistically, but the band goes on. We found a great replacement. There’s no big difference. Of course, every drummer has his own style, but the song matters.
Rock Overdose: The last album before “Ursa”, was “The Blue”, which was released on 2007. Nine years without a full length. What difficulties did the band have to overcome?
Carmelo: So, as you said, it was 9 years and they passed without us noticing. Sometimes 2 years became 4 and 4 became 9 and you didn’t know it. Sometime, I decided it was time to come back. Of course, many things happen in such a long time. The scene is changed and nothing is the same. But, in the end, when new songs come up you cannot stop them. You really have to put them out. And that happened.
Rock Overdose: Do you believe that these difficulties made Novembre stronger than ever?
Carmelo: Yes, I do. As I said before, things are different. Paper magazines don’t exist anymore. We are in a new era. But we still survived and that made us stronger. Because I didn’t think we would survive the change. Sometimes I thought that the time to quit had come. But in the end, I decided that music had the priority over everything. So, we decided to go on.
Rock Overdose: You are visiting Greece on September, among other great bands. So, what should we expect to see?
Carmelo: First off, you’ll see a 1-hour set and it’s going to be divided equally between new and old songs. And the guys that I’m with are great musicians, so I don’t have to think about anything. And that gives me self-confidence on stage that leaves me free to focus on my singing. And I think it’s going to be a great show and I can’t wait to visit Greece.
Rock Overdose: Do you like playing live shows in Greece and if yes, why?
Carmelo: Greece is the Motherland of one of the best branches of death metal. I grew up listening to the first albums of Rotting Christ, Septicflesh, Varathron, Nightfall and I cannot wait to play in your country. I’ve been told the people there are crazy, there are a lot of metalheads, and I’m told it’s one of the most beautiful countries on earth.
Rock Overdose: Your music is extremely emotional, depressive, dark, atmospheric and makes your mind travel while you listen to your songs. How do you manage to achieve that?
Carmelo: I don’t know. It must be in my DNA. In 1991, when Paradise Lost came up with Gothic, everything changed. The scene has never been the same. They wrote melodies and harmonies into death metal which is something I am crazy about and still try to play something like that to this day. Music is a great deposit box. Because I can throw all the sadness and all the pressure in this box and get it out of me. And I communicate with other people using music as a language. And I’m so grateful I have music in my life.
Rock Overdose: Where does this depression and this darkness come from?
Carmelo: Well, I think we all have our history, our darkness. And I decided to concretize it through music
Rock Overdose: How do you see the future of Novembre? What should we expect from the band in the near future?
Carmelo: So, I think we are going to record some new songs in a mini-CD and perhaps a new album after that. We are in our most creative part of our lives and this is what I think we are going to do: touring and recording new songs.
Rock Overdose: Thank you very much for this interview. It was a great honor for me. Close with a message to the Greek fans.
Carmelo: Wow! Thank you for this interview and I cannot wait to see you guys! Cheers!
For Rock Overdose,
Interview: Sotirelis Konstantinos
Transcription: John Pitsakis