The Italian legendary band DOMINE return to Athens for Into Battle Festival.
Guitarist and mastermind Enrico Paoli, answers our questions, regarding their 4 decades long career, as long as comments on the past and future music scene.
Don't miss the chance to enjoy them live!
Rockoverdose: First of all how do we find you at the moment? You know Greeks always ask about you and never forget you despite the years passing by. What have you been up to lately?
DOMINE: The band is active, alive and well. We don’t play many gigs but we played a few gigs in Italy during summer and in May we played at the Courts Of Chaos Festival in France. We have been demoing a new song too, an 11 minutes epic. A longtime friend built a studio in Piombino, where me and Riccardo spent our childhood, formed the band and recorded our first demos, and we have done some recordings there, like back in the 80s. Actually, we are working on new songs for years and we are checking if there’s any chance to make an album there. Still not sure but let’s see what the Lords of Chaos will bring.
RockOverdose: We’re seeing you on Into Battle Festival again after 2017, which are your memories from that specific appearance?
DOMINE:Great memories! Of Course, when we play in Greece it’s ALWAYS great! We always had a great time with our Greek friends. I have great memories of the Into Battle gigs as the audience is very much into our songs, especially the ones of the first 2 albums. The Kittaro club is pretty cool too, old school Metal club but I must say we have always enjoyed the gigs in Greece in general. You guys kind of adopted Domine from the very beginning.
RockOverdose: I guess it’s something frequently asked and I’m sorry about it, but what has happened the last 16 years and we don’t have an album from you? Is “Ancient Spirit Rising” the last ever Domine album or should we wait for something new in the future?
DOMINE: No no , don’t be sorry, it’s great people keep asking. Nothing dramatic. What happened is time is passing and we are not kids anymore. We all have families, most of us have children and day jobs. Parents go, kids arrive, you know… that’s life.
We had some good activities as a band but things started to change after 2008. The music scene has changed totally, and we have accepted the fact that we play because we love to play together and because there are still some fans out there who want to listen to our songs. That’s all. We are the same 5 guys since 1999, we are real friends. So we want to make a new album, it’s long time due, but we don’t have a commitment to do it because we are not feeding our families with our music activity. Even big bands do not release albums anymore and we are not Iron Maiden.
I’m actually OK that people still ask about a new album. It will come but I don’t know when. As I told before, we did some recordings, just to try to see what’s coming out, let’s just see. But let me tell you: in another level of the Multiverse, Domine has released 20 albums and are bigger than Metallica! Ahahahahahaha!
RockOverdose: Domine was a pivotal band in the Italian scene and the first album “Champion Eternal” came out in an era that all familiar sounding albums were amazing. Did you feel it was the right time to release it in 1997, or was it postponed by factors we’re not familiar with?
DOMINE: I don’t know if it was the right time but that’s when things came together, after years of very underground activity. We recorded our first demo in 1986 but in those days it was really difficult to release an Heavy Metal album in Italy.
Second part of the 90s was a good moment for music in general as people were buying CDs so even the underground bands had the chance to record an album, spend some production money and actually have some interest and some results. That’s when we decided to put some money together and record the album, it was a combination of many factors which finally aligned. Also, we had some line-up changes, and we got the right guys in, especially when Morby entered the band, that changed everything.
Also, me and Riccardo moved back to Florence, where we were born, and even if it’s not a big city there was a bigger scene. But there was no big masterplan or something, things just got better for everybody, as in fact there were many releases by Italian bands, even on big international labels.
RockOverdose: 2023 marks your 40th anniversary as a band. Did you believe you would still be around with people craving for new material and having touched people’s hearts deeply enough? How would you sum up all these 40 years in a few words?
DOMINE: WOW! That’s a question. When I started to play, I dreamed I could do an album and maybe play on a big stage like at the Monsters Of Rock Festival…we did that and a lot more, and I’m happy about it. But at the same time, I realized the job of the professional musician is not easy at all, and if we talk about Heavy Metal…well, that’s even more difficult!
I’m still amazed that people like what we do, they could listen to much bigger and famous bands. I’m really grateful to everybody who supported and still support the band, as nothing is guaranteed. Some fans say we are underestimated and we never got what we deserve, but the truth is the musician job is difficult for everybody. I’m quite happy with what we got, we played with Maiden, Priest, Manowar and many other bands I love, we released an album on Metal Blade and all were released in Japan, Brazil etc..
We have toured Europe, played Wacken and big outdoor festival in Italy. Right now, we play because we love to play together as friends, we rehearse every week. So it could be worse.
RockOverdose: Elric was always there in your covers. Do you believe it’s important for a band to be attached to something specific to define it? Iron Maiden had Eddie, Megadeth had Vic Rattlehead, you had Elric, was he an important part to connect you with your fans apart from the lyrics?
DOMINE: Well, first of all I don’t own the Elric character and we were not the first band to use him in covers and lyrics. Hawkwind, Blue Oyster Cult and Cirith Ungol did great things with the character. The song “Black Blade” by B.O.C. is absolutely fantastic, and the Micheal Whelan art-works Cirith Ungol used are top!
I’m just a big Michael Moorcock fan and love the Elric books like many other readers, and those books were inspiring, so I just went with it. Everything we have done as a band didn’t have a plan, we never had big labels or producers or marketing managers to work for us. Maiden and Megadeth are big bands who have a huge and successful activity, we are just a small underground Metal band.
But I love when people come and say they have discovered the Elric books because of our albums, it’s the connection to fans you talk about, as we are often fans of the same music, books, movies, a kind of Metal sub-culture. And it’s a bit like spreading what you love, like when you discover a great band or a movie and you tell your friends.
I believe Moorcock should have more he got, so I see a connection there too. But some times the cult-stuff is better than the mainstream, except for Queen, those guys were the very best, I wish I could play with a light show like the one they had in 1978, but maybe Morby would not look too good in A Freddie Mercury costume! Ahahahahaha!
RockOverdose: How do you see the evolution of the Italian scene in general? We had great bands coming from your country on all genres. Do you think you all owe something to Death SS by being the oldest ones? Also the extreme bands emerging from Italy are amazing, do you follow the scene, or do you prefer to stick to older ones?
DOMINE: Well, you should not mention that name… It is cursed, you know…Ahahahah! I don’t really feel like I own something to other Italian bands, as the scene was always difficult during the 80s. We really had to do everything by ourselves. No YouTube tutorial in those ancient times. Vanadium was the first band which released a proper Heavy Metal album and showed it could be done in Italy too. We shared our rehearsing room with Dark Quarterer for years, and they were around since the 70s and they waited for many years to make an album. Also Sabotage showed there was a great singer in Italy too…
But it is true that His Satanic Majesty from the unnamable band you said did actually helped us. He was the one who called Morby to ask him to join Domine and he sings backing vocals in our first album. But me and Mimmo, drummer in first two albums, helped him with demos in those years. If you PC explodes now, you know who to blame.
The actual Italian scene is very different. There are some young bands which are working with new tools, like YouTube videos and streaming services. Some of them are great but there are not that many classic Metal bands.
RockOverdose: A lot of changes have taken place in the music industry. A button solves many problems, streaming services emerge daily, merch has become the main source of income. Do you miss the more romantic days of the past, or do you believe changes are always for the better?
DOMINE: I miss the old days. I’m a record collector, so I love CDs and vinyl. Streaming is OK to discover new bands but if I like an album, I buy the CD. This is a long discussion and it comes down to age and past experiences. My daughter is 13 and she can listen to all the albums I have in the house, but when she stays in her room, she logs to Spotify on her laptop even if she could just blast music with my old JBL speakers! It’s a different world, but honestly, I don’t really like the way technology is used by the masses now.
Everything seems to go one way for everybody, no choices, no personality. In music, now you have access to stream every album you want but most of the people plays the same songs by the same artists, like listening to a radio. But now you could choose, so why don’t look for new bands? It is like you have everything but you have nothing, if you know what I mean.
We are dictated by algorithms. But I see young bands who are now doing albums just to have videoclips on YouTube and files on Spotify etc.. and they are doing well, with millions of plays…so…what do I know?
RockOverdose: You haven’t done much gigs in your career but an important part of them is in Greece. What do you believe kept this bond so strong from the beginning and how does it feel to play in a second home while being away from your country? What should we expect this time from you?
DOMINE: Greece and Germany are now strongholds of classic Heavy Metal. We used to sell a lot of demos to Greek fans in the 80’s, one by one, by mail. There had always been an Heavy Metal community in Greece which supported Domine and it’s always great to come to play in Athens, Thessaloniki and Cyprus. Why? I don’t know. It’s probably because we share the same taste in classic Metal and, as I said before, in books, movies etc..Classic, ancient culture? Maybe.
We always enjoy to come to Greece as we have friends and it’s great to come to familiar places. For our next gig in Athens we are obviously rehearsing some old songs, as you guys love them. I’m sure we will have a great time, as Morby say, when we play we play together with the audience. We share the same passion, which is a word that sums up everything we have done during all these years. Passion is the only reason why we are still playing.
RockOverdose: Thank you so much for your time and for all the joys you offered us in the past. The last words belong to you regarding the band, the fans and of course, a little more Greece if you please. Forza Italia!
DOMINE:What can I say…Thank you for the interview and thanks to all the Greek fans out there. I can’t wait to bring the Black Sword to Athens once more time!