Common sense has never been applicable to Italy's Ufomammut. Riding the lines between doom metal, psychedelia, prog, and experimentalism, the Italian trio's approach has taken some interesting turns of late with the single track release Eve and the dual disk effort Oro (Oro: Opus Primum and Oro: Opus Alter). Now the band expands their gospel to include Hecate, their latest effort due on March 30th via Neurot Recordings. Preorder yours.
We spoke to the trio of Poia, Vita and Urlo on the new album, influences from Italy and beyond, and the searing new track "Plouton" streaming below for the first time.
NOISEY: After a record centered around Eve and a double album about gold, now comes Ecate. What is the concept behind it?
Poia: Ecate is named after the pre ellenic goddess Hecate, a controversial symbolic ancient feminine figure that crossed different mythologies since the dawn of civilisation through the centuries.
Urlo: If you go back to our records, You'll find they're all linked by the idea of rebellion and knowledge. All our albums are in some way dedicated to negative characters that have been turned this way by centuries of ignorance…
As we heard in "Temple", which seems to be a break away from your previous songs, the vocals now are more pronounced. Is that going to be a characteristic of Ecate? What other differences can we expect from this new album compared to the other records?
Poia: We tried to be more focused on the growth of the songs, balancing our increased heaviness with a different approach to psychedelia. We worked on sound and layering effects more than the past, with the purpose of being closer to the idea of what Ufomammut should sound like, avoiding the unnecessary and trying to be more brief and direct.
Vita: Ecate is heavier than our previews records and a bit more complicated. Its also a bit more metal.
Urlo: Ecate is a different album from the previous ones, as Vita says, it's more complicated and the structures create a lot of paths going to different realms of sound we've explored in a new way. As for the vocals, I worked a lot on them for this record, happy You noticed that.
Your records seem to have a very well defined concept, lyrically and musically. Is there perfectionism and work, with a lot of attention to the details? Or do you prefer to take things with lightness and see how things go?
Vita: We always pay a lot of attention to the sound. It happens quite often that we change some beats or riffs during recording sessions.
Urlo: Since the beginning, the sound has been totally important for us. We've meet a few guys on the road that has helped us a lot in this process.
Poia: We take care of every aspect of Ufomammut. We are surely perfectionist…but in our way. We don't want to be aseptic, or precisely scientific…We leave a lot of untold things, and empty spaces for possible changes or improvisation, uncontrolled feedbacks and white noise.
Urlo: We're the most messy perfectionist I know, but surely we're very focused on what we want to obtain as final result. We like to create our music in a way that it can be considered finished once the record has been done, but at the same time open to variations once we'll bring it live.
Seems like there is a lot of improvisation in your jams. Is that correct?
Vita: Jamming is the secret. We can compose songs only when we are all together in our rehearsal room. We jam and when some good riffs or drum beats come out we start to work on them. Usually nothing is planned.
Poia: Of course rehearsing is fundamental in the composition process, of building an idea around a skeleton riff… and it's also very important to record our rehearsal. So we can understand if something that seemed cool to play is also cool to listen to. For Ecate we realized a pre-production record before "entering" the studio, adding vocal lines and synths.
Urlo: There's always an impro part where we build the skeletons of the songs and then another one where we think about vocals and synths and how to put the songs together, understanding the length, what parts are good and what not and so on.
What's interesting in Italian rock today?
Vita: In Italy there are some bands but there is not a really strong scene. Even though we have had good rock bands, especially from 70s, there is still not a real rock culture. Most of the people here listen to that pop music garbage or shitty Italian music.
Poia: We personally know some good, interesting and original bands here in italy…like The Secret, Ovo, Lento, Zu, Morkobot, I.C.O…and many more: I am talking about the underground, not organized movement of people who like to spread the real musical attitude.
Urlo: We had good bands in the past and we still have them, you just need to dig beneath the surface to reach the underground: the Secret, Zolle, Lento, Zu, Ovo, ICO, Morkobot, Runi and many more will come out.
Cover art is a major thing for Ufomammut, as evidenced by the care that you have put into your releases. What are some important cover art pieces?
Poia: All Ufomammut artworks are designed as graphic concepts…I love to draw and I like illustrated covers like for istance In the Court of the Crimson King or Hawkwind's In Search Of Space. But, personally, if I have to choose, I love the photographic work of Storm Thorgerson. My favorite cover art ever is the one he realized for Pink Floyd's Atom Earth Mother.
Urlo: Poia and me, together with Lu (the one behind the visuals of Ufomammut) are Malleus, an artistic collective mainly working on poster art. We started the band and the art at the same time, they grew together and we've always taken care of the visual side of Ufomammut. You can see more of what we do on our site.
As for the record covers, I love Meddle by Pink Floyd. And many more, of course.
UFOMAMMUT Ecate European Tour Dates:
4/04/2015 e20 Underground – Montecchio Maggiore IT
4/10/2015 Bloom – Mezzago IT
4/18/2015 Impetus festival – Delemont CH
4/19/2015 Glazart – Paris FR w/ Conan
4/21/2015 Forum – Bielefeld DE w/Conan
4/22/2015 Schlachthof - Wiesbaden DE w/ Conan
4/23/2015 Feierwerk – Munich DE w/ Conan
4/24/2015 Desertfest – Berlin DE w/ Conan
4/25/2015 AB – Brussels BE w/ Conan
4/26/2015 Desertfest – London UK w/ Conan
4/28/2015 Vortex – Siegen DE w/ Conan
4/29/2015 Kellerclub – Stuttgart DE
4/30/2015 Weekender Club – Innsbruck AT
UFOMAMMUT North America Spring 2015 w/ Usnea:
5/13/2015 Reggie's – Chicago, IL
5/14/2015 Now That's Class – Cleveland, OH
5/15/2015 Bug Jar – Rochester, NY
5/16/2015 Mod Club – Toronto, ON
5/17/2015 Le Ritz – Montreal, QC
5/19/2015 Saint Vitus Bar – Brooklyn, NY
5/20/2015 Johnny Brenda's – Philadelphia, PA
5/21/2015 Maryland Death Fest – Baltimore, MD [no Usnea]
5/22/2015 King's – Raleigh, NC
5/23/2015 Drunken Unicorn – Atlanta, GA
5/25/2015 Siberia – New Orleans, LA
5/26/2015 Walter's – Houston, TX
5/27/2015 Red 7 – Austin, TX
5/29/2015 Sister – Albuquerque, NM
5/30/2015 Flycatcher – Tucson, AZ
5/31/2015 Complex – Los Angeles, CA
6/02/2015 Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA
6/03/2015 Elbo Room – San Francisco, CA
6/04/2015 Press Club – Sacramento, CA
6/05/2015 WOW Hall – Eugene, OR [no Usnea]
6/06/2015 Rotture – Portland, OR
6/07/2015 Chop Suey – Seattle, WA
6/08/2015 Neurolux – Boise, ID
6/09/2015 Bar Deluxe – Salt Lake City, UT
6/10/2015 Hi-Dive – Denver, CO
6/12/2015 Turf Club – St Paul, MN
6/13/2015 Metal Grill – Milwaukee, WI