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Interview - Federica Gialanze (Hybris)

Interview with Federica Gialanze from Hybris
by YngwieViking at 15 November 2013, 6:42 AM

One of the UK’s up-and-coming Thrash bands, HYBRIS, have just released their new album "Heavy Machinery" – a package full of thunderous Technical Thrash and NWOBHM melodies. Federica Gialanze is one of the strongwomen in HYBRIS, and as a female guitarist in a Thrash band, she talks to YngwieViking about her ambitions and influences as a guitarist and answers a very poignant question about misogyny in the scene and what it means to have girls in a band.

Hi Federica! First of all, congratulations! I think Heavy Machinery is a very interesting release and as a fan of Classic/Retro/Technical-Thrash Metal, it was for me a real blast. What will be your words to describe it?

I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s hard for me to describe it… I should probably give it a rest for a while and listen back to it with fresh ears! If anything, I could probably describe it through all the events and life experiences I had: from the very first riff I wrote to the day that I held the CD! There’s quite a lot of personal history involved and that’s what it represents for me.

Can you first tell us about yourself, your background as a musician, and your past or actual involvement in other bands? I want to know everything!

My first real band was actually a Punk Rock cover band. We were jamming tunes from the Misfits and the Ramones. I tried playing the Clash at some point but it was already too advanced for me. This was until I got into Metallica and Slayer and that changed pretty much everything! I could never afford guitar lessons so I had to learn by myself sitting in my room, after school, playing along to my favourite albums until I finally started coming up with riffs on my own! The first song I wrote was named after my very first guitar… they were equally shit hahaha.

As far as my band commitments go, the only ones worth mentioning are CENTURIONS GHOST and HYBRIS. I moved to London with my guitarist and best friend in 2001, convinced I would have formed an all-female metal band with all the material we had, but she returned home after 3 days because of panic attacks! So it took me a while to meet people and get some connections to actually form a band. Meanwhile a lot of the riffs that you heard on the album were being created until I joined CENTURIONS GHOST, which took up pretty much all of my time

Concerning your ex band Doom Metallers CENTURIONS GHOST, can we expect something or is the split definitive?

It’s hard for me to answer these questions because I’m the only one in CENTURIONS GHOST who would try to make it work one more time. I’d be interested to see what would come out if a reunion were to occur, but the guys are definitely not up for it (some are not even in the same country for that matter). When you try for many years and you still find yourself going through the same problems over and over again, you inevitably lose motivation, and with CENTURIONS GHOST it was like Groundhog’s Day, especially with the line-up changes. So I understand why for the guys it's a definite split. After all, they put up with this for much longer than I did. But who knows what goes through people's minds, maybe one day we’ll get together again and become a supergroup!

Now tell us why we had to wait five long years for your debut album - what happened ? Can you tell us more about the history around the building of the HYBRIS line up? Can you introduce the new line up to us?

Mainly it was due to not finding the right people. I went through many musicians who were either not taking it seriously enough or didn’t share the same vision. But looking back I’m glad it took this long because in the meantime we became better writers, better arrangers and I don’t know if Heavy Machinery would have sounded the way it does now, had it come out five years ago.

In my review for the album Heavy Machinery, I said that the album revealed an unique personality, a strong, one of a kind, Metal melting pot embellished by influences ranging from furious Thrash to NWOBHM. What are your feelings about this quote?

I would say it’s mostly accurate. Both Thrash and NWOBHM have always been close to my heart because I learnt to play guitar through them. HYBRIS was always meant to be a thrash band. I would be lying if I said that I was planning to impress people with something never heard before but at the same time we try to develop our ideas and challenge ourselves to create more involved melodies and structures and I hope that we established (or will establish, since we are a relatively new band) some sort of trademark with the way we sound. It’s great when you play a record you never heard, listen to a couple of riffs and recognize the artist! I would like to achieve that.

Do you think the technicality and complexity of some song structures or the soloing parts in Heavy Machinery can be a block for some listeners? Do you keep this aspect in mind while composing, or did you just get the inspiration flowing?

I like to keep a good balance. Besides, it was never meant to be a highly advanced type of music and I still don’t think it is but it’s a matter of perception. The techy element comes out of stuff I listen to which ranges from 70s Progressive Rock to bands like FORBIDDEN and CORONER. It just happens without me being conscious of it I guess.

We try to write songs that people can groove along to, but also try not to be predictable and boring. There will always be someone who finds our music irritating because of the complexity and other people who would end up disappointed because they expected more crazy shit going on! It depends what the audience’s influences are and you need to accept that you can’t please everyone. We jam riffs over and over until it feels right to us.

Where are you coming from as far as guitar influences are concerned?

It really depends. My favourite guitarists are not Metal guitarists except from maybe Chris Oliva who was a true inspiration. To name a few I guess John Sykes, Gary Moore, Jake E Lee, Michael Schenker, Tony Iommi, Audley Freed, Warren Haynes… I like different guitarists for different reasons and I guarantee that playing lead at the speed of light doesn’t hold any magic for me personally if the melodies are not there.

Do you think the HYBRIS specificity - a line up with two girls - is a blessing or a curse?

I don’t think it’s a curse at all, I think some people check us out simply out of curiosity because it’s an unusual set up for this kind of music, although nowadays is not so unusual anymore. When I first started playing there weren’t many girls at all…in fact I wanted this band to be all-female, inspired by ROCK GODDESS, ICE AGE etc but never found musicians. Now you go on YouTube and find super talented 13-year-old girls playing “Painkiller” on drums! It kind of makes me happy to see that. But to answer your question, I still have no idea if having two girls in the band helps or not. It barely got mentioned in the reviews we had so far and some people weren’t even aware!

What do you think of the supposed misogyny and the closed mindedness of the Metalhead crowd?

I think the hardest part for me is having to prove myself all the time. A lot of people assume that you suck because you are a girl before you even play. There are prejudices about female musicians and I agree that a lot of times girls do suck, but there are a lot of great exceptions out there! I remember being on tour once and someone who saw me carrying a guitar on stage asked me if I was the merch girl! I said “Of course!” and then the gig started… it was awesome!

As a band from London, how is the Metal scene in your city area or even in the whole country, as UK is considered the cradle of everything Metal?

I’m very proud of being in London, to be honest. I still think it's one of the best places to be in Europe. I didn’t move here expecting to find 1986 again so I didn’t get disappointed! What matters to me is the fact that people go to gigs, promoters put on shows and even the shittiest band gets decent exposure! In Italy, where I’m from, people don’t go to gigs anymore and the only way to do stuff and to get booked is if you play covers. If I wasn’t in the UK I’d probably live in Berlin or Stockholm.

Are there new underground British bands we have to reckon with in the next years?

You probably know more about it than I do!

Do you plan on touring in the rest of Europe?


What do you think of the state of the market in 2013? What is your opinion concerning digital downloading, both legal and illegal?

I never downloaded anything illegally and I think no musician should really do that. I buy merch at gigs and I enjoy the finished product, including the kick ass artwork! Nowadays everything is pretty much one click away. I can appreciate the fact that you can get hold of music very easily (and get exposure so easily as well) but I remember that long ride to my favourite record store when I was a kid and the sense of anticipation before buying a record from which you might have only heard one or two songs! Rushing home to listen to it and the pride of owning something that you waited for made you appreciate it a lot more. Kids nowadays don’t get to experience that…

Tell us what we have to expect from your side in the future to come?

Right now our priority is to book live shows, festivals and tours, and to find a good booking agent eventually. It takes a lot of patience and thankfully we have a manager who has plenty of that! We’re also writing material for a new album. We want to keep the ball rolling. Another thing I'd like to do, if given the time, is to demo material for another project, maybe slower. I miss playing heavy and slow!

What is the last album you purchased?

HOOKER - Rock and Roll

CD or old school vinyl?

Vinyl for sure, but predominantly I buy CDs at the moment because I have some storage issues which I hope will be sorted in the New Year!

Please let us know your Thrash Metal top five?

In no particular order:

CORONER: Mental Vortex
OVERKILL: Horrorscope
FLOTSAM & JETSAM: Doomsday for the Deceiver
WHIPLASH: Power and Pain

Please let us know your all-time top 10?

In no particular order:

MERCYFUL FATE: Don’t Break the Oath
THIN LIZZY: Black Rose
CAPTAIN BEYOND: Captain Beyond
SLAYER: Show No Mercy
COC: Blind
JUDAS PRIEST: Stained Class
CELTIC FROST: Into the Pandemonium
VOIVOD: The Outer Limits

Now it's time for the Chinese Portrait aka Le questionnaire de Bernard Pivot, which is inspired by Marcel Proust. This questionnaire is probably more familiar to English audiences as the one that journalist James Lipton asks at the end of the TV show "Inside the Actors Studio”.

What is your favorite word?


What is your least favorite word?


What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

Travels, Love, Hate, beauty, spring, autumn, outer space, mystery, wind, storms,
changes… bourbon!

What turns you off?

Being a wage slave.

What is your favorite curse word?


What sound or noise do you love? The noise of bubble wrap when it pops, and the sound of Mellotron.

What sound or noise do you hate?

Breaking polystyrene.

If not yourself , who would like to be?
Myself with more money.

What profession would you not like to undertake?

The executioner!

Who would like to see on a new bank note?

Ronnie James Dio.

If you were reincarnated as some other plant or animal, what would it be?

A wolf. However I don't believe in reincarnation and/or cosmic justice!

If God exists, what you like to hear him say at the gates of heaven?

I’d like to hear him say, “I’m not really God. God doesn’t exist and you were right all along.” But if I think I’m dead and see someone who resembles god I must be obviously very high.

Thank you for this interview and I wish you the best of luck with the new album and on the path ahead. Anything else you want to share with the fans and our readers?

Thanks very much! Well, just a big shout to everyone who has heard us and spread the word so far. We just can't wait to come over, play and meet you all!


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Edited 10 December 2022

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