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Paolo Ferrante (Secretpath)

Interview with Paolo Ferrante from Secretpath
by Azmo Lozmodial at 28 September 2013, 7:57 PM

Spreading a rather unique mixture of Black / Death Metal pouring with melodic features, the Italian SECRETPATH have been promoting their debut album, “Wanderer And The Choice”, via Art Gates Records. Azmo recently talked with Paolo Ferrante, the band’s vocalist, regarding the new album, its conception and more.

Greetings Paolo, thank you for your time for this interview for Metal Temple

Thank you for this opportunity to talk about our music, the thing we care the most.

Let’s start off with the debut album “Wanderer and the Choice”. What’s going on there musically and how will it differ from the Italian extreme metal scene?

“Wanderer and the Choice” is the results of many experiments we did in time, the main compositor is Pierluigi “Aries” Ammirata (our guitarist) for two reasons: he’s the one who makes the riffs on which is based every song we make; he’s the one who had the idea to create this particular approach. His idea was simple yet brilliant: there’s plenty of bands who do extreme metal music, they do it from many years and have thousands of fan all over the world; so we can copy them (and be remembered as “that band that sounds like X band”) or create something new, some will hate us, some will love us but, still, there will be no other band who can offer the same music as we do. From that principle we tried, over time, to create something new, so we took all the genres of metal (and also folk and operatic music) to melt them and create something new in which the borders within every genre can’t be seen clearly. So we wanted to do something new and also very versatile, we wanted to break the borders within different genres and so we can do a funeral doom part with slow alternate picking with deep growls and after an arpeggio with ballad-oriented vocals. That is not something like Cryptopsy sound, in which the cool thing is the sudden passage between grind metal and something very different and strange in order to “befuddle” the listener, it’s something different because we want the very different genres to merge and create something consistent, a song which described the changes of human mind with the changes of music genres… To explain: you can be happy, angry, afraid but still you’re the same person; that’s what we want to do with our music, it’s not just a collage of different music styles, is a new style with its personality, recognizable and distinctive.  I think that here in Italy there are so many bands who strictly follow the “metal genres” and don’t dare to do something else because it would be out of the genre they thought. Music genres were created by critics and pressmen only to describe the music, the bands didn’t care. At their time Death didn’t plan to do death metal: they created the music they wanted and after the press called it “death metal”. So I think that this may be considered as the main difference with the common Italian metal scene.

Please tell us about the album's recording process, and tell us about the main challenges that you've overcome while creating the album.

We did some nice diary video clips of the recording process, so that you can also see something from the recording, you can find them easily on YouTube. We recorded this album on our own and with the help of two guys who provided some recording equipment, some help with mixing and mastering… so the first challenge was to take the direction of our own work, to schedule and to make everything go as we planned… playing was the easiest thing! It was hard to imagine the songs when still the work was in progress, while Pierluigi had a clearer idea I was very pessimistic (as always!). Another curiosity is that Pierluigi recorded guitars at his home, all alone with his mac (he’s the hermit sort you know…), Francesco “Storm” Borrelli recorded the drums at his home with the help of the guys and their equipment, me and Domenico “Ninja Penguin” De Cicco recorded at the home of those guys. A funny thing I remember is that I recorded all the vocal mostly at the first take, while the “talking” part in “… And so I Return to the River” (our single that you can find on YouTube) was the most difficult to record, it took time to enter in the right mood and I found it difficult. Then Pierluigi gave me the book of The Lord of the Rings to inspire me, and everything went fine… almost!

Tell us more about the lyrics, and what have inspired you to write such lyrical themes?

The lyrics are written by many of us, I make many adjustments to make them fit with my vocal parts. All the lyrics deal about inner struggles, things that happen in the mind of the character we created, Wanderer, who can be “everyone”: with no gender, race, religion… he represents the listener. We want the listener to follow not only our music, but the lyrics which are strictly linked to our music. It becomes easy to understand the meaning of the music if you follow also our lyrics, you can understand why the music becomes more brutal or more melodic in that moment, you can follow the path of the Wanderer. The main themes are, as I said, inner struggles related to the mind, so fears, concerns, fights with ourselves, doubts, the album is a concept, in its way, because Wanderer follows his path thought each song to reach his objectives… we tend to be very loose with the lyrics because we want everyone to feel part of them, so we often describe feelings and you can interpret the way is nearer to your personal experience, that’s why the lyrics are mainly in first person, for example: there’s “I’ve Chosen” in which Wanderer finally makes his choice and so he feels reborn, understands everything that surrounds him, he becomes some kind of an “epic warrior”… but there are songs like “Still Darkness of the Abyss” in which Wanderer feels like he’s depressed, the abyss is his own mind that becomes a maze impossible to escape and so there are fear and depression. All the songs are linked and represent another step of Wanderer’s travel toward… well toward himself! We like philosophy though we don’t give “answers”, we only describe feelings and situations and it’s up to you to find your answers.

Can you describe the artwork of the album "Wanderer and the Choice" with your own words?

In the front cover you can see Wanderer facing a fork, he hasn’t made a choice yet, this is another example of what I said before: we don’t give answers. You can see the two roads of the fork: one leads to a spring landscape, the other to a land of desolation and decay: that can be the good and evil sides, they can represent the different sides of our mind (we can be happy or sad for example), or it can represent the variety of the record because there are graphical elements typical of heavy-power metal and other typical of death-black metal, there’s no answer neither to this! In the back we have a landscape leading to a structure that is something between a gothic cathedral and a madhouse, that is an anticipation of what we’re going to make with the next work. In the inside of the booklet there are some fantasy landscapes, we wanted all to appear like in a dream, and so within the booklet there are some strange landscapes and the band members are put in it… in some way it remembers me Alice in Wonderland!

The album "Wanderer and the Choice" hasn't featured any guest musicians; can you mention us some musicians that you wish they were featured in this record?

Well this is an hard question: we taught about having some other band members many months ago, another guitarist was out of question because Pierluigi needs all the space, keyboards could be fine and we experimented something in 2010 and the result seemed a symphonic black metal, the problem is that we didn’t like it for the sound because we wanted a more simple formation for the band. There was a time in which I dreamed about a female singer in the band, but that would limit my vocal parts and, considering that I want to do as many vocal techniques as possible, it would be a problem. So I think that, should I choose a guest, I should have chosen a female gothic-operatic vocalist for the songs in latin, “Nunc Sunt Flores” and “In Praecipiti Esse” to give them a more operatic touch, the female vocalist I like the most is - without any doubt - Liv Kristine, expecially in the first years, to have her as a guest vocalist would be tremendous!

Can you please tell us about the main bands that influenced the music of Secretpath?

Well, judging from our music, I could say that either we got influenced by all of them or by none of them! To be serious, every one of us has very different musical preferences and so we have different backgrounds but, together, we become as one and merge everything. So Pierluigi has a more blackened background, I’m more on the brutal, grind-gore side and gothic (yeah I know: I’m strange), Francesco is more on the death-core or thrash core or heavy metal, Domenico is oriented to rock, jazz, funky and early metal. So it’s very difficult to find some specific bands that had influenced us!

Please tell us about the upcoming tours of the band, and what bands do you guys wish to play with?

We have nothing on plan, so we hope to get some good offers for shows, but here in Italy is difficult to find shows even if you play for free as we often did. We would like to play with bands who like to melt different genres and have open mind to appreciate what we do. For example there are the Italians Fleshgod Apocalypse, the Greek Septic Flesh, the French Wormfood, and also all the nice bands from Art Gates Records!

If you decided in one of your concerts to play cover tracks, what tracks you would choose to play?

We talked about that and decided not to make covers of any band: we won’t ever be like the original band and there’s no point in doing something that someone else did much better than we could ever do.

There are a lot of people who're not familiar with the Italian extreme metal scene; can you recommend them some bands?

I think that the extreme metal scene in Italy is declining, the problem is that there are too many little bands (and that’s a good thing that there’s much interest in metal music) but very few of them manage to grow and become something of important in the worldwide metal scene; I think that’s because our Country makes things very difficult for all music players. Another reason is, I must admit, there’s poor interest from Italian people for metal music and so here’s the dilemma: some think that there isn’t much interest because there aren’t much events, some other think that - on the contrary - there aren’t many events because there isn’t much interest. There’s plenty of bands here that don’t get the attention they deserve because here the promotion and the events are very poor so, eventually, the bands break-up even if they’re nice. Just listen to bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse, Novembre, Ade, Cadaveria and many others. Italy has much to offer, we may not have all the promotion and the great stages, but the passion is the same or even greater: because if we still keep doing this, despite these difficulties, it’s because we really love metal music.

In the future plans of Secretpath, does the sound of the new materials will sound like the debut album or you plan to sound different?

Well, we will always sound “different” because even each song is different from the other, still the sound will be the same. So, we will preserve our identity, or way of creating metal music, doing something different… because doing forever the same thing can be very boring! We have specific ideas for the next album, it will have another concept: this time it won’t be about choices, paths… this time it will be about madness and nothing else. Wanderer will make his travel through all the different faces of madness and we will tell you other stories, in our original style, mixing madness with philosophy and feelings. So I think that the sound of the next album will be more similar to that of songs like “Still Darkness of the Abyss” and “The Dark Forest of my Insanity” whose main theme is madness in fact. Wanderer will go down an abyss of madness and will experience on his mind - along with the listener - every different kind of madness and insanity. Talking about that I must admit that there are three songs “ready” yet and all the lyrics I made are auto-biographic… my mind will be quite the source this time!

If you're planning to do a split album soon, what bands you would like to work with in this split?

We’re not planning to do a split, although we didn’t think about that… You caught me unprepared! So I can tell you that we’re not concentrating our efforts that way but, should come a nice occasion, we may agree. We participated to many compilations with our songs, all we want is to spread our music as much as possible; we are proud of our work and, most of all, we want to share it with people so they’ll appreciate it as much as we do.

2013 is a great album for the extreme metal scene, what are your best extreme metal albums of 2013 so far?

This time I will answer like I was Pierluigi, and I will tell you that probably the greatest extreme metal album is “13” by Black Sabbath, and if someone thinks they’re not extreme I could say that extreme is not how much you scream, how fast you go with the drum or the guitar… extreme is an attitude! Now that I finished imitating Pierluigi I will say my answer: I don’t know!

Anything else you would like to add?

Thank you for this interview and for the nice words you wrote about our album. Thanks to you, Metal-Temple and all the readers, that had the patience to read all my rubbish until here. If you want also to listen everything we talked about check out our website

Paolo, again thank you for this interview. Good luck with the new release and I wish you guys the best.


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