Day one of Metaldays (Tolmin, Slovenia) and I already had the opportunity to talk to Cristiano Trionfera. He plays the guitar in the uprising Italian band Fleshgod Apocalypse. This man was very friendly and had a calm aura around him – it was pleasant to interview him. Thank you Cristiano!
Are you excited to play here on Metaldays?
Absolutely. It’s our first time. It’s going to be much fun, I’m sure. The atmosphere is already great so. [Talking about the weather because the first rain at Metaldays was a fact, FYI] But I’m sure it’s going to be great. I hope it’s not going to rain all the time but at least it’s not going to be too warm.
The look of the band (clothing and decor) feels dramatic. At the beginning of Fleshgod Apocalypse, how did you guys want to profile yourselves?
We wanted to do something different. When we started it was like regular metal… usual. Then we thought to do something extra, something we can go somewhere with. We added some different types of music like death metal. Things can go great together. Something even like symphonic metal, why not? So that’s how it started. We didn’t have an exact idea to where we are now. We had a path for sure. We took it step by step and followed our own imagination. Also guided by other bands we love.
So which bands inspired you?
Dimmu Borgir for example. [Thinking] Obviously my mind goes black right now, there are too many of them, like Morbid Angel. Both sides – the symphonic and the death side – are quite important for us. Series or cinema is kinda important to us, ’cause nowadays you hear symphonic music used for movies. That can be the biggest thing for musicians nowadays. [Talking about series and the music] Like the last episode of Game Of Thrones was amazing. Watch it please and think about it. Music-wise it’s really good.
You are selling pasta and wine next to the merchandise. How did you come up with that?
‘Cause we are Italian and you know… Okay, it’s very much known that bands don’t really sell music that much as they used to. So bands are looking for other ways to please their fans and at the same time to support themselves. Other ways are obviously merchandise. For big bands, but even smaller bands. You offer different possibilities to your fanbase. Since we also believe we can support our territory, why don’t we put those things together? It’s something from where we are and where we live. That is how we came up with first the wine and then the pasta. It’s all produced a few kilometers from where we live.
You recently went on a tour with Carach Angren and Abigail Williams. What fun moment sticks with you?
The most fun moment was – I don’t think it was thé most fun one because my memory is terrible – but I do believe Los Angeles at the Whisky… (the famous Whisky A Go-Go, FYI) When we came in and heard it was sold out. But the actual show was amazing. People were falling over everywhere, it was really crazy. When we did our first headlining tour, we were shocked. It was so good.
You guys are often away from home. How do you fill in moments to enjoy when you’re not playing?
We try to have fun the best we can. It’s not fun being away for so long, my wife can tell you that. When you are home, you try to give everything you have to make it quality-time. Not being home means you are working, it’s amazing, but at the same time you are away from your family. It’s constantly good-bad-good-bad, but you try your best.
Many times I’ve heard that playing metal in Rome and other countries is a huge difference. Is it true that Italians are less open minded to metal than elsewhere?
Well this is the thing… It’s not Rome itself, it’s Italy in general. It’s also a geographic problem. The more you go south, the more difficult it would be for bands to play there on tour. It’s not only what people are like but also what the rest of the world can offer. If you go to Milan, it’s up North and more close to Switzerland. So it’s easier for bands to stop by and play in Milan and go back. The route to Rome is going to be harder. And under Rome almost nothing or nothing. Plus the mentality in Italy is quite ‘plate’: people will not easily show up at local shows. They go more outside for music they know. But bands are going to play somehow somewhere to promote themselves. So that’s how it gets difficult.
So strange.. If you are a local and there’s a band playing, why not go and see them?
No, no. It’s not that easy. They go more outside to see an international band. Well, not all the time but mostly. I’ve heard of it also in more Southern countries. For sure it’s the culture. The Church for example – churches are very strong in Italy – but it’s not much of a problem for that. At least in my experience. I was born and grew up in Rome, where the Church is and there were many problems playing metal or do shows.
About your make-up…
We always felt the need of a visual side during the shows. The show for us it about bringing music but… It’s getting more complex so the visuals are important. That is what we aim to give to the people. Like they are watching a story, like a book or in the opera. We try to add elements and here and there change things. Again, the opera culture is very important to us.
I’ve seen you play a few times and the energy in the audience is great.
It’s always so good when it’s like that, the energy brings us beyond to what we normally do. You have like a character on stage when you play and we know what to do to get it out. But if the crowd is really good, you go beyond that and make it live. That is why we do it basically.
If you are on stage, do you try to check out the audience or is that a difficult task?
I try to as much as I can. Some shows are better then others, for many reasons. Sometimes you can see the people but on big stages the downside it that they are further away from you. When you play in a small club, it’s different. You try to do as much you can for the crowd because that is the reason why we do it.
If you have any time left here, wich bands will you check out?
For sure I will check out Testament, Dark Funeral as well. For sure I will walk around and see what I will find. It’s always good to find new things you did not knew before.
Thank you for the talk!