Ufomammut - Interview
I guess you could describe their latest album as "Continuance of Different Variations". Similar to previous albums, yet so much different. Heavy yet light. Urlo of Ufomammut lets us in on their plans for the future, explains what caused the past. Questions - courtesy of Kubiccy.
I must start with congratulations! You must hear it probably from everyone but ”Idolum” is really great material. Bands often say that their brand new album is the best ever. Does it concern you as well?
Thanks a lot. It's a nice album, the best one is yet to come tough. It's another step. We're still looking for the best album.
Basically all ”Idolum” reviews which I have read were very enthusiastic. I guess that thanks to this album you stand a fair chance to spread your wings and become more famous than you are today. ”Idolum” is your first release which was mentioned or reviewed through popular ”music” media (like zines, websites and so on). How do you evaluate all this few months after release?
We don't care too much about what we could call ”success”. Otherwise we'd play pop music or hip hop. Basically, we always try to do what we like for ourselves first. And it's good that now many people seem to have our tastes. I hope ”Idolum” will open some doors for the Ufomammut spreading.
Every next record of Ufomammut starts more or less in the same place where the previous material was ended. And – at the same time – every new material recorded by you brings some new elements. ”Idolum” follows that rule. It’s still a typical Ufomammut, but the whole material sounds different than the ”Lucifer Songs”. What do you think of this?
We don't like to play always the same album, we always try to search for new ways. Like You said, we start from the last note of our last album to start a new one. ”Godlike Snake” was more spacey, ”Snailking” was more into the sound of the earth, ”Lucifer Song” was meditative, like an ocean. ”Idolum” is the fire. It seems we've used all of the four elements. We've got to find something else for the future...
One of the most noticeable changes in your latest material is the ”Ammonia” track. Female vocalizations of Rose Kemp is undoubtedly a very interesting novelty in your music. How has this co-operation started? Are you going to keep working together in the future? I’ve heard about your possible collaboration at your solo project called Farwest Zombee? Is it true?
We met Rose some years ago, we played in Bristol and she was there. We didn't know about her talent and about her incredible voice. We kept in contact later and we asked her if she was interested in playing in the project of Farwest Zombee. She was going to come to Italy. Then we started this great collaboration. And we hope we'll do more in the future. She's amazing and we love her. Her new record is incredible. A real masterpiece. When we heard ”Ammonia” with her vocals for the first time we cannot believe how marvelous she is.
By the way, could you tell us something more about this project? When can we expect the album of Farwest Zombie? Are you going to spread it through Supernatural Cat?
Farwest Zombee is a project I've created some times ago. It started like a solo project and then it has involved Poia and our friends from Lento Lorenzer and Fede. We're working on it, it's a more synth, ambient evil crap. I think it'll be out later this year, maybe beginning of 2010. I think it'll be out via Supernatural Cat. For sure, it's our home :-)
”Idolum” means a phantom or an appearance but also a fallacy. Is there any concrete concept behind this title, perhaps related to graphic works of the album?
First came the music. Then its developing revealed the general meaning of the record: the music suggested something hidden and invisible, but massive and present at the same time. At the end the title too came out: ”Idolum” is a strange record, it's a totally heavy work, but it's also really soft, dreamy.
The title track ”Stardog” makes me think of the Dog Star (Sirius) which is the most brilliant star on the sky. The constellation in the booklet also seems the Constellation Big Dog with the Sirius located in the middle of it. Am I right?
You're right about the booklet and the constellation, but Stardog is dedicated to Laika, the dog in space. She was thrown by mankind towards the infinite.
And what about the rest of the pictures placed on the cover? I have a feeling that I’ve seen similar scenes somewhere already...
All the images in the cover art represent the title of the songs. You can see the Elephantom, in the cosmic void, the destroyer eye, the utero (hermeat), the stigmas...
Despite all these cosmic scenes in the booklet, ”Idolum” contains a lot less cosmic samples than your previous materials. These characteristic elements were particularly typical for your music on first two records. What is the reason for this change?
We did the songs in about a couple of months and we recorded the record in 2 weekends. There are a lot of samples and synths. They're deep into the music, more mixed and ”buried”.
Why have you decided to call yourselves Ufomammut? Who was the author of this name? At first it may seem strange or funny, but in my opinion it’s really unique and accurately fits to your original music style – its heaviness and cosmic atmosphere.
It's an old story. Poia gave this name to me, long time ago. It was perfect then to explain who we are. Ufo and Mammoth, future and past, lightness and heaviness all together.
In your tracks placed on the first album (”Satan” or ”Snake” for example) I hear remote echoes of industrial music, something like Godflesh I think. Next on ”Snailking” (in the track ”Lacrimosa”), there is this specific atmosphere so typical for Ministry. Was this kind of music any inspiration for you?
I like Godflesh and Ministry, but they're not inspiration for me. Industrial music is cool and yes, I think in some way we could have something of it in our records. Probably it'd be the structure of our songs.
So, what kind of music (and bands) inspires you as a musician?
I've got many bands inspiring me, from Sex Pistols to Pink Floyd, from Sleep to God Machine, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pantera... too many to remember. I think The Beatles are music, though.
What kind of music do you listen to? What records did you buy lately?
My favourite band is The Beatles. They did everything. Then I love Pink Floyd. Apart from these two bands I listen to a lot of different things, from Sleep to Converge, Kylesa to Devendra Banhart, Superjoint Ritual to Alela Diane...
In next few weeks you and Lento will play a gig in Poland (Wroclaw) within the framework of Asymetry. Frankly I can’t wait for it! What can we expect on that day? Do you like play live? I hope you’ll care about the merch.
We're very happy and curious to be in Poland. It'll be a great experience for us. Looking forward to it! Spread the voice :-)
Your records are consequently released behind the facade of your own label -Supernatural Cat. But the first two Ufomammut albums were released somewhere else. Did these experiences with other labels caused your decision to take it up on your own and have total control on the whole band activity, including the release matters? Supernatural belongs to all of you?
If we could go back in time we'd probably try to make everything by ourselves. It's been a mistake to sign contracts with other labels. They did nothing apart selling and making money for themselves and our name didn't grow that much. Thanks to our own label (well, it's the label of Malleus that means Poia, Lu and me) we did a lot. That's why we'll come to Poland too:-)
On the other hand, acting through Supernatural Cat means that you condemn yourselves to stay in the niche. Have you ever thought about co-operation with such labels like Rise Above or Southern Lord? It seems that these ”brands” can provide much better promotion. Their promo ability seems to be better than yours.
I don't know. I think we're growing a lot as a label. We do ONLY what we like, we don't think about money or getting rich... we only try to produce great quality bands. Lento are cool, Morkobot are one of the best bands on this planet, Ufomammut is OK, and now we've got another band (Incoming Cerebral Overdrive) that is amazing. We've been a label for only 4 years, we'll grow. Little by little, record by record.
Could you tell something more about the Incoming Cerebral Overdrive?
They're the new band in the Supernatural Cat roster. Tehir upcoming album „controverso” is amazing, it's a real bomb. They're able to mix different influences in a very personal way, hardcore with seventies italian progressive, Goblin with Botch. Listen to believe: www.myspace.com/incomingcerebraloverdrive
It’s not easy to get your first two materials. Frankly, it’s quite difficult. I have the complete CD collection of course, but ”Snailking” cost me quite a lot of cash. Have you ever thought about any Ufomammut re-releases through Supernatural?
Can you see? The first two records came out from apparently bigger labels... But we're going to reprint ”Snailking” on vinyl. For May. We'll bring it to Poland too.
Supernatural Cat assembles only four bands. I guess that first of all you care about the quality not quantity. And what is more - all bands of Supernatural Cat come from Italy. Is this intended?
Actually, now they're 5, with ICO. For now, all the bands are from Italy: but the main priority is, like you said, quality. So bands from all over the world and beyond are welcome.
Supernatural Cat is not only a label. This is a part of some kind of music and art complex called Malleus Rock Art Lab, where you bring your artistic visions to life in many ways. You are designers of album covers, posters creators, etc. Tell us something more about this undertaking?
Poia and me, with Lu are Malleus. We're a poster art collective. We produce handmade silkscreens for concerts, gigs and events. Moreover, we create cd covers and illustrations. Then we run a record label called Supernatural Cat. We release only the records we like. We do a first numbered and limited edition series, with handprinted covers and so on, then a more ”usual” cd version. Well, I think the best thing should be to take a look at our websites: www.malleusdelic.com and www.supernaturalcat.com I'm not that good with descriptions :-)
Your works at Malleus website are really impressive. I’m not an expert but I see in there influences of Alfons Mucha artworks for example. Whose works were the most inspiring for you?
We love Mucha. We're Art nouveau in some way. Dark Nouveau is a better description then someone used once... We've got a lot of influences coming from all arts, it'd be really a boring thing to write about...
No, not at all! Keep talking.
It's really difficult to distinguish something peculiar in the ocean of inspiration facts. Maybe the main influence is to be ourselves, to find our voice and our way. Every art field give me different influences. Old underground movies full of blood, painters, musicians, poster artists, writers, people I don't even know, everything is important for creating what we do. I think we have a lot of influeces but not only from the big masters. Sometimes ideas come out from looking at the stupidest photo or an image we find by chance.
There is a trend in poster art called Polish Poster Art. And ”the Polish poster school” means the group of a few world famous Polish artists like Ian Lenica, Franciszek Starowieyski or Ian Mlodozeniec. Perhaps do you know their works?
Polish posters are amazing. We've spent days looking at a website with polish posters. Some of them were totally amazing, incredible.
You’re also responsible for the graphic frame of all your albums. The Ufomammut booklets are very ascetic and specific in comparison with the majority of your works at the Malleus website. Perhaps with the exception of ”Idolum”. Why is that?
We put a different vision on Ufomammut. It's our band, we know exactly what we want for giving a visible shape to the music we play.
What came first – the Malleus or Ufomammut?
They're 2 different things, they're one into the other, not on different levels
The Ufomammut band, the Supernatural Cat label and the Malleus Lab are three related artistic moves. In what role do you feel the most comfortable – as the musician, graphic artist or the publisher?
I cannot live without music. Ufomammut, Malleus and Supernatural Cat are simply 3 faces of music.
What are your music plans in the nearest future?
Play a lot and work on Farwest Zombee, a new Ufomammut and some other projects I've got in mind. Explore more.
Can you disclose any details of these ”other projects”?
They're just ideas for now, just keep an eye on our websites:-) Thanks!
Boxed Set (2019)
XV: Magickal Mastery Live
Oro: Opus Alter
Oro: Opus Primum
Supernaturals Record One
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