OvO - Interview
Italian OvO is one of the most freaky, twisted and extraordinary music duos ever. Thus, my dear readers, focus on a while and enter Bruno Dorella's world. This extremely articulate and talkative guy has committed to answer all our questions, even those quite distant from the music and his band...
Hi there! I was looking for any past interviews with you, made by Polish journalist; found nothing. Does it mean I'm the first ever?
We've been interviewed by a couple of Polish punk zines before. Punks always come first.
How did you meet each other? Music was the main reason, or the result?
We've been a couple for 11 years. We were together and it was natural to start playing and touring together. Now we're not a couple anymore, but we're still best friends and we love to play together.
What does the music mean to both of you, in general?
It's a disease and an addiction. It's a big part of our lives.
Who is responsible for music side of OvO?
We started as an improv band, but today our music is all composed, and I would say we're both equally responsible.
Your brand new album "Cor Cordium" was dedicated to the figure of Percy Shelley. What in particular has fascinated you in this English poet? Any specific works or perhaps his biography in its entirety?
Actually, what really matters is what's written on his grave: Cor Cordium, "Heart of Hearts". If you know Shelley's poetry and biography, and you know how he died (shipwreck, and he couldn't swim), and you know where he's buried (Cimitero degli Inglesi in Rome), it all makes sense and it opens a lot of possibilities to imagination and interpretation. If you don't know all these things, it's more abstract, but it still has a lot of potential meanings.
Artwork setting of "Cor Cordium" is based on theme of the wounded heart. Do you belive that love and suffering always need to go together (never come alone)?
They come together or alone. But they come, and don't leave prisoners. The artwork comes from a vision that Stefania had in Sweden. She often sees images into clouds or even into white paper. That time, she watched a cloud and she saw a woman exploding, and a siren with a wounded heart in her hands. In that period, Stefania's heart was wounded, too. The siren with a heart in her hands somehow fit with Shelley's death on a shipwreck, and with what's written on his grave. That was the beginning of the artwork concept for this album.
"Cor Cordium" brings an educational value in a way. Have you ever thought on this issue? Did you get any response from people who become concern in Shelley's works?
Not yet, cause the album just came out. But, as I said before, it's not a concept about Shelley, but about such a writing on the grave of a person like Shelley.
Musically "Cor Cordium" is a flirtation with black metal, industrial, even folk music ("Marie", for example). OvO remains very eclectic creation. Did you plan to play such music (no doubt that it sounds strange and bizzare to many people) from the very beginning? Was it totally intended?
We listen to a lot of different music styles, and I guess we'll never play a standard one. Whenever we play something it can sound more like sludge, noise, doom, black, stoner, rock and roll, but I think I'm not too arrogant if I say that there's nothing else like OvO. And I don't even think we're so strange and bizarre, but I guess my perception is a bit distorted...
I find in your music something I would call... an excitement of noise. Polish band Thaw told me recently that what they want to gain with their music is to shout down the loud ambience of present-day world. How is it as regards OvO? Is your music a manner for getting over growing frustration, motion of life, all-embracing clamor of media and stuff?
People need to wake up. They need to react, they're becoming passive and resigned. Our message is to get out there, live, feel, do, BE! Don't look for the safety of a standard message! Look for something that pushes you to think, feel and react.
How long did you work on material for "Cor Cordium"? How did you compose every single track, as improvs? You know, when I'm listening to it I feel like while working on it you went into a trans, with all these odd sounds and twisted themes... Am I right?
You are pretty right. Some songs (Nosferatu, In Ogni Caso Nessun Rimorso) were composed previously, but most of the album was composed a little bit before recording it, and some parts were composed or improvised in studio. Stefania often trances during the recordings...
How was recording session?
We went to a studio where they usually record classical or jazz music, and soundtracks too. It's in a pretty small town in Tuscany, we parked our van and forgot about it during the whole recording period, we could just walk from the studio to the little food store, then back to the studio, then to the flat, just to sleep. This way we've been just focused on the recording, no distractions. Also, the sound engineer, Ivan Rossi, is highly professional, cause he works for Italian pop bands (I'm talking about bands that play horrible music with very high budgets, selling millions of copies). But he listens to OvO and such weird stuff, so he works for us too (for a lower price, of course!). He brought his experience to our chaotic approach. For example, we always started early in the morning, and we had to be done for dinner everyday. This was a rule. At the beginning it was weird not to work at night, but then we felt we were more focused, we didn't get lost in useless experiments, and laziness was forbidden. We recorded what needed to be recorded, nothing more, nothing less. It was great to work so professionally.
As far as I know, your music interests are very wide. Stefania listens especially to classic music and your music fascinations are, let's say, unlimited. True or false?
We're both pretty much unlimited. Stefania hates reggae, though. And she mostly listens to classical, doom, grind or rockabilly. Lately I mostly listen to african music, ancient music and extreme electronics.
What are the main sources of your music inspiration?
The history of heavy metal and noise, with the influence of all the rest.
Your extraordinary and original music is consequently followed by fairly controversial image. Who's behind the idea of your look?
Stefania takes care of the band's look. She strongly thinks that when you go on stage you're not yourself anymore, you become someone or something else. It has to do with rituals, too.
We're interested in the ritual part of the performance. I know it sounds a bit pagan-hippy, but when we get on stage and the show starts we're really in a different dimension, we strongly feel that we're doing something magic, or anyway something that has a strong spiritual and physical influence on us. At the end of the show I go among the audience and I simbolically cross the ones that are closer to the stage. It's a way to thank them and to include them in our ritual. Stefania is really interested in ancient paganism from an anarchist and queer point of view (especially the female one from Southern Europe, partially in opposition to the black metal re-discovery of the Northern one, and all the racist ambiguities that came out of it), and I'm very interested in history of religions (from a non-religious point of view).
Are you (or were you) an active member of any other projects, before or apart from OvO?
Stefania was in a female band called ALLUN, it's not clear if they're still active? And she plays solo as 'ALOS, the first female anarcho-pagan queer-doom project, I think. I play with an instrumental band called RONIN, we play music for movies or inspired by soundtracks, and with a duo called BACHI DA PIETRA (in Italian). I also run a label called BAR LA MUERTE, and Stefania is also a visual artist.
What exactly does she do?
She draws, sews, paints, she takes care of all the OvO artworks (some of them in collaboration with other artists, as Cor Cordium), she exhibits, too, even if she doesn't like the arty scene very much. She's also a performer. In fact her band Allun was also a performances group.
You travel a lot. What is more important to you ? travelling itself or playing the music? What land would you like to visit the most (for the first time or once again)? And where would you never came back again?
Travelling and playing music are equally important for us. We'd like to start getting out of the Europe ? North America loop, even if we already played some countries in Asia and Central America, but not as much as we'd like. We would go anywhere, we want to go anywhere. There are no countries where I wouldn't go back to, but definitely a lot of clubs that I don't wanna see again...
What club was the worst ever? CRK?
Trust me, we've seen a lot worse than that. I think the worse ever has been Plovdiv (Bulgaria), Pescara (Italy) and Orlando (Florida). I can't remember the names of the clubs though...
How did you enter into contact with SupernaturalCat? Who found whom?
It's funny, we needed a new label after Load, and they needed a new band after Lento left. We both thought of each other. We asked them, and they said they were going to ask us... Perfect astral combination!
Are you satisfied with this collaboration? It seems that SC & Malleus team do their best for you and "Cor Cordium" promotion.
It's really wonderful, we really needed something like this, working together step by step.
Vinyl version of the record looks totally outstanding. What do you think about vinyls in general and their currently growing popularity?
I never stopped buying, listening and enjoying music on vinyl. I still use cassettes, too. Every format has a specific personality (even cd and mp3).
What interesting stuff have you bought lately? Mp3 with personality, can't be...?
Every format has its own way to be good. Cd is a bit "cold", but very handy. Vinyl is a great object, but you can't enjoy all the frequencies. Cassettes are wild and great, but they die after some a few years. Mp3's are low quality of course, but you can put a lot of music in an iPod or in a pc, without having it physically. You may like it or not, but it's definitely a revolutionary way to enjoy music. My latest best buys have been the new Earth and Nitro Mahalia, just mentioning the rock ones.
You played a show in Poland last year, how do you recall your visit in Wroclaw? How was the audience?
We played 4 shows and the one in Wroclaw was the least attended one. But we were totally unknown in the country. Hopefully it'll be better next time! But the shows in Warsaw, Lubeck, Novi Targ were good.
You're from Italy. What is your opinion on political situation in your country? I mean all this Berlusconi madness? This guy is the main subject, as regards Italian news, in Polish media. Do you care or politics is something totally out of your world?
Man, I always fear this question. That guy is pushing Italy to the biggest recession. Not only a financial one, but mostly a cultural one. It'll need years before this madness will change. It's disgusting. But we don't have to take him as an excuse. He's not the only problem. The real problem is that he became an example for a lot of people that are exactly like him. Selfish people who don't care about the others, and consider money as the only value in their lives.
Once I had an opportunity to talk with Massimo of Zu. Few years ago he run a project called Black Engine and they released an album titled 'Ku Klux Klowns'. This title was not random, reffered to racism problem in Italy. Is it a serious issue there, in your opinion?
There is a racism problem everywhere, and it's quite absurd that we still have to talk about racism in 2011. But as long as there will be some, we have to do our best to fight it.
Final word belongs to you...
Eastern European journalists make the best questions, I really love it! Some of your questions were hard for me to answer, they were challenging, an this is what we need, this is what people need. Using our brains, surprising each other. Most of the bands complain cause they get the same questions on every interview. Well, they should get more interviews like this!
Thanks & cheers & good luck!
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