NOVEMBRE: “It’s such a crap to be labeled as one of the many”
There are just too many good interviews with NOVEMBRE’s leader Carmelo so when you are thinking about original questions to him you more or less come to a dead end. Yet I know I should have dug deeper but it could have become just too deep for me. Still, I hope that this interview with Carmelo will broaden the view on NOVEMBRE and what’s around it.
Hello, Carmelo. First of all, let me say that we are really glad to have NOVEMBRE here, in Lithuania. It’s going to be your first time in our country but maybe you already have some knowledge about our land?
I’m glad too, thanks! I sure know the historic basics. I remember I saw a documentary about Lithuania where they explained how much you guys are bonded to nature and the ancient pagan roots, the links between man and nature. If I’m not wrong they spoke about people secretly gathering for praying, during the Communist era, and things like that. Really admirable and really breathtaking sceneries!
And what about the Lithuanian metal scene. Do you know any bands from here?
I know some but I can’t recall their names now.
You will come to Vilnius a day before your show. Are you going to spare some time to see the capital of Lithuania? Maybe Lithuanian fans will have a chance to meet you at some bar and have a chat with you?
Absolutely yes. We’re eager to visit Vilnius. And maybe we can catch some guys around town.
Speaking about upcoming show in Vilnius – what kind of setlist are you preparing for us, guys? Is it going to be mostly “The Blue” material or will you share some old songs with the listeners as well?
We’re going to promote our new album “The Blue” but there will certainly be some room left for the older stuff. That’s for sure. Mostly songs from “Classica”, “Novembrine Waltz” and “Materia”.
You started as a death metal band CATACOMB and got quite warm responses from death metal fans with your first demos. However, very soon you changed the name and started to create darker, deeper and more emotional music. Do you recall how you realized that death metal was not your music and what were the inspirations for this change?
You know, back then there was a HUGE overcrowding of the scene. Bands were popping up from nowhere in thousands and most of them were just clones of the clones. I remember we told ourselves we would never let anyone say things like we were the Nth death metal band. It’s such a crap to be labeled as “one of the many”. We’ve always admired bands like VOIVOD for being so original, so… Anyway, we’ve actually been out of the trends since the very beginning. You can easily hear some real non-trendy shit even in our first demo tape. Unfortunately, its bad sound shaded its musical qualities. We never thought we could keep that “so death metal” name (which wasn’t even chosen from us but from a guy who left the band soon after) and soon after we decided to change the name.
You’re the main composer of songs, right? How do the other guys contribute to the songwriting? Do you have problems with conveying your personal ideas about the songs to the rest of the band?
Not really. We work as a team. Max (the other guitar player) makes lots of music too and the union of our forces makes the rest.
The next question is a bit personal. Most of NOVEMBRE songs pierce the listener with sadness and melancholy. Where does that sadness come from? Are you a sad person or it’s just a part of you that comes out in the music?
I think I’m just like many many others. Maybe, the only difference is that I’m more in touch with the innermost parts of myself. In history, the best music has always come from pain. So turning all those painful feelings into music is such a relief for me. It’s like losing weight if you know what I mean :).
There’s a dispute about the genre of the music you play. Some of the fans attach doom metal label to your music, especially earlier records, while others say you’ve never been a doom metal band. How would you describe the music you create yourself? What genre would fit NOVEMBRE perfectly?
It’s quite an old issue indeed! You know, the way human mind is able to twist and recreate music is just astonishing. Yesterday I found out that one of the riffs from our 1993 EP is an elaboration of an Italian pop song from 1981. I realized that 15 years later… Do you now what I mean? The EP is from 1993, and it was back when, according to everyone, we were playing pure death/doom metal… So, man, pure doom does not exist. Pure death metal does not exist. Every musician plays an elaboration of sounds he’s heard since day one.
Let‘s talk a bit about Italy. Italian music scene is mostly known for good pop and disco performers. On the contrary, Italian metal is not very famous worldwide. So could you describe your country’s metal scene? What are you proud of in Italian metal and what are the negative aspects of it?
Well, lately things have a changed a bit, didn’t they? LACUNA COIL became real best sellers and then there are all those power metal bands which I’ve heard are doing really well. So even if these bands don’t play my favorite music, Italy is doing fine lately.
A couple of years ago I would have said that the Italian scene was quite a childish fighting ground but today this thing has been overcome. People become more professional.
What Italian bands, beside NOVEMBRE, of course, would you recommend Lithuanian fans to pay attention to?
There are many upcoming bands worth being mentioned: KLIMT1918, THE FORESHADOWING, ROOM WITH A VIEW, OBLIVIO, ENDECLINE. Then there are the historical extreme bands, like NECRODEATH, SCHIZO, MONDOCANE, SINOATH.
What could you say about Italian metal fans. You’ve been touring outside Italy, so maybe you could compare your country’s fans with the rest?
Well, there’s not a big difference. The northern Italian guys tend to stay colder, maybe because they’re used to concerts, while the southern people go crazy in no time. Actually, I saw this kind of difference everywhere. While touring in Germany, you could have a calm crowd one day, and a wild one the next day. Who knows why it is in this way!
NOVEMBRE music is quite melodic. Thus, we might assume that your music could be appreciated by the people that are not too much into metal. So maybe you have some attention or feedback from Italian mainstream music fans as well as performers?
Not at all. I mean, we have fans from even different kind of listeners, but no mainstream involvement shit.
It’s something we’re not interested in and getting up there is a mafia-like thing. So we stay clean of that.
Most of interviewers like to ask about the things the artist likes about his music, songs, etc. However, I would like to ask you what things you regret or are ashamed of in NOVEMBRE career?
A family question :). Your brother Giuseppe plays drums in NOVEMBRE. How are you getting along in the band? Are there any older-younger brother fights?
There used to be things like that about 10-15 years ago. Today we have quite a professional attitude towards the band, so there’s no space for family craze :).
What did your parents say, when you both turned to metal. Are they proud of you or maybe they’re bitching about your choice and preferred you both as some office clerks?
None of the both. They don’t know anything about music and they are not interested in any of that :).
Well, I guess, this is about it. Your last words to Lithuanian fans.
Ok guys, let’s hope to meet you all in Vilnius and to spend a very deep night together!
Thanks, Carmelo, for your time and thoughts. Waiting for your show in Vilnius!