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Interview - Mike (Stigmhate)

Interview with Mike from Stigmhate
by Marcos "Big Daddy" Garcia at 04 October 2014, 5:46 PM

Italian Black Metal’s Scene is extremely strong. Names as HANDFUL OF HATE, MALFEITOR and NEFARIUM show that bands from this country have a proper way of music, a characteristic sound that, when we all hear, the feeling is that we are hearing a band from Italy. And this is the case of veteran band STIGMHATE, for their fourth album, “Zodacare Od Zodameranu”, is a powerful and excellent blow of fast, aggressive and harsh music, but always with good taste and great arrangements.

So we have the opportunity to interview the band on the figure of Mike, guitarist and founding member of the band, to know more about their history, their present and how the future is going to be to this excellent band.

First of all, we thank you a lot, Mike, for the opportunity. And let’s start with this one: STIGMHATE is active for 16 year, on this battle since 1998. How do you feel about leading a band for so long, having four albums? And what can you say about all difficulties and trials for all these years? And how this fusion that forms STIGMHATE’s name came to you?

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to promote our new album.

Honestly I always feel like when I started this journey. I am full of passion and full of energy, at the beginning it was all new to me from all points of view, now I have more experience and everything goes smoothly. The problems are on the agenda, line-up changes, discussions, but that's part of all that concerns you when you play in a band, then the sacrifice, this leads you to some problems in your private life, but I always tried to separate these two things, sometimes I can and sometimes not.

The name was decided as far back as 97, these are two words that have meaning as different contexts, the first is a word used in a religious context the second in a more general context, I liked the concept fused in these words that is the "sign of hatred (stigmata - sign; hate - hate).

“Zodacare Od Zodameranu” is out now, your fourth album. How was the composing process behind the songs, and how many time you took between the creation and the recording? Oh, by the way: what the album’s name means, and what is the concept behind it in the songs?

For this new record, the approach was very different than the previous "the sun collapse". Marco and I have written in about two months all the songs ourselves without limits. We recorded what we liked and then we listened to if it would work. The composition phase we completed in August and in September we were already in the studio for the recordings. So as you can see we were very instinctive in composing everything. I decided in this way because since the previous album, I realized that we lost too much time to study everything in detail and I think you may lose that freshness and figure out where to go to change but just for a song that sounds so that I like.

Since “The Sun Collapse”, Marco took the duties as vocalist. And now it’s his second time recording vocals. Can we assume that he evolved since “The Sun Collapse” until now? And how did the idea of having him on vocals come to you at first?

Definitely the vocals of Marco in this new album is much higher than the previous album. The sun collapse was its first album sung and played, he had never recorded the lead vocals.

However, on this new album, we studied the parts together and also what kind of voice could be good, I honestly think he has given 110 percent.

We tried new solutions to sing, but it all came out great.

Well, I opted to sing Marco in 2009 when we had some problems with our old singer. I knew that Marco was already singing in the Sin of Redemption and asked him what he thought of this choice, as always, he did not pull back

Always a warrior. Hahaha!. It was definitely a good choice.

On “Zodacare Od Zodameranu”, we can see that Shyaithan from Singapore’s IMPIETY and Nachtgarm from German’s KING FEAR appear as special guests. How you had the idea of having both of them on the album? And weren’t that so difficult?

At the beginning when I had composed the songs with Marco, I had no intention of having guests on the album, as I was still working on the production and understanding how the songs could play in general.

Then talking to Marco about various things etc., we were curious to ask but why we do not sing a guest on a few songs? I had already thought of someone but then with the hard work I had also forgotten, then I told to Marco what do you think of Shyaithan and Nachtgarm, I proposed these two names because I liked their vocal style and also because we had the songs that could be sung by them for their tone of voice.

I wrote to both of them and after a few days they accepted our proposal, and thank them for what they have given a twist to the album but also for helping me throughout the work of the production. People very humble and professional. Great friends.

Still speaking about “Zodacare Od Zodameranu”, how do you compare it with “The Sun Collapse” and the other STIGMHATE albums? Can we assume that you had some evolution between them? But of course, we can feel the band’s identity intact always.

I usually do not make comparisons with previous records, because they were written at different times in my life and also having a different experience.

Definitely starting from "Human Incapacity" we made a very clear evolution with "The Sun Collapse" working a lot on composition and what we wanted at the time. I think Zodacare always keeps our style, we needed to develop also to all our influences that until now we had not developed. Zodacare was written by a completely different method, first thing Zodacare is instinctive, direct, we gave importance to everything that we liked at that time, we went over all the styles that the genre requires, we wanted to give even more personality to the our band and our music.

And on “Zodacare Od Zodameranu”, we have a bonus track on “Abraxas”. But what was the idea behind putting a bonus track on the CD? The question is due, nowadays, there’s a tendency to put bonus tracks on vinyl edition…

The answer is very simple, the reasons are related to the music business. It is true today, there are many releases where you can find bonus track at the end of the album. But I think it's due to a running time problem of the album because if you buy a mp3 online, you must have a precise  running time otherwise the cost of the album bought on line is less. Then to raise the price, it hides the gain by entering bonus track.

The new album was released through Bakerteam Records, but we hope you’ll have a stronger distribution throughout the world. Is there some true on that? If yes, what are the confirmed countries that will have distribution or release for “Zodacare Od Zodameranu”? And I hope the album will be distributed on Brazil, where I live!!!

Zodacare Od zodameranu was released by Bakerteam Records, they have a strong distribution throughout Europe, the United States and also in Japan working with licensing agreements.

To the South America, the album will be available in the Brazilian market soon, so you can find it, I hope that many people will support us listening to the record and maybe buying it.

Speaking in Brazil, the album’s cover and artwork was done by Marcelo Vasco, the Brazilian graphic designer that worked previously with bands like BORKNAGAR, OBITUARY, BELPHEGOR, CHROME DIVISION, VADER, and many others. Are you fully satisfied with work? And how was your contact with him for such a fine artwork?

I can say I am very satisfied with the work done by Marcelo, he is a great artist, I have exhibited my ideas and he has developed all in a superb way. When I saw for the first time, the cover of the album I was petrified. I knew him by name because as you have mentioned has worked with well-known metal bands, also when I wrote to him for information he was immediately very friendly and during the work has established a collaboration and friendship.

A feature that we always see is that Italian Black Metal bands have a characteristic of sound that I, personally, call “Italian Black Metal”. This is due when we hear bands as STIGMHATE, MALFEITOR, HANDFUL OF HATE and many others, there’s something on the music that we can say “this band is from Italy”. And, no, I’m not saying that you or those bands are clones, far away from that, but has a national identity. How do you feel about this idea? And how is the Italian Black Metal scene? Hope that you’re united and strong.

I think so, we have our own identity as a country, the bands that you mentioned as well as other bands that do not play black metal mainly have given in the past many influences that come out now.

Handful of hate are my dear friends,

I will admit that their first album influenced me at the time when it came out, because it sounded very different from the Scandinavian black metal, the album had that sound fresh and new, I listened to that album for years , the guitar lines were so harmonized that immediately caught my ears. I believe that many Italian black metal bands did not have the success they deserved, or that they deserve, I could not tell why maybe it's a problem of nationality, lack confidence in the Italian band. Today I see that the scene is very saturated here in Italy, I have much respect for those bands who have a professional attitude, there are many I see the results, unfortunately for the rest of the scene as we are not very close, there are envy, there are issues related also the problem of the concerts. In Italy the decent club where you can play are few. I think missing a mindset that can introduce correctly the Italian bands abroad, also we do not have a lot of labels that support a decent Italian bands, unfortunately it is sad to say that if you want to do something serious you always have to invest yourself and you have to beat to get your own image nobody supports you and nobody helps you. All are likely to listen to foreign bands only and do not give the deserved support to Italian band which produce great album, in my opinion much higher than the band more famous. Now I do not want to generalize, because there are people, professionals and even listeners who support the scene but they are few for the actual value of Italy's extreme metal.

Well, the album is release since June 22nd, and we hope some gigs for supporting the album are about to come. Can you speak of your plans for shows promoting the album? Oh, of course: if some promoters want STIGMHATE for shows, how they can contact you?

Our plan is to play to promote our new album.

We have many dates set and other to be confirmed.

We aim to play as much as possible throughout 2015, and we'd do it in brazil, it would be a great experience. For any proposal, organizers and promoters can contact us directly through our facebook profile. or via e-mail that you can always easily find in our facebook profile.

Mike, I thank you for the interview. Please, leave your message for your fans and readers from Metal Temple.

I want to thank you for your support and for being present in your magazine. I hope to meet you soon maybe on the road in Brazil. And I salute all my friends and our supporters. Thank you very much.


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