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The Unity's Gainbattista Manenti:"… I also believe that sometimes one’s freedom is the end of someone else’s freedom…we are fucking humans, maybe we’re just trouble makers…"

Interview with Gianbattista Manenti & Henjo Richter from The Unity
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 07 April 2020, 10:40 PM

We don’t need the tyrants, we don't need the Covid-19 pandemic, we need our freedom, to get back out there in the starts. Perhaps after all this is over, we will rethink some of the choices made up until now and take a different course of action that would even better our lives than earlier, prior to pandemic. The Unity, the powerful supergroup of extra great musicians, have a plan to keep up the moral with superb Hard Rock / Heavy Metal. Their third album, "Pride" is already out and there is a reason to be proud. Steinmetal had a talk with vocalist Gainbattista Manenti and guitarist Henjo Richter about how everything went through with the album and how the band made another step in their musical progress.

Hello guys, it is an utmost pleasure of mine to have you both for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine. How have you been? I can only assume that this period of time is quite an excitement for you due to the upcoming release of “Pride”?

Gianba: First of all: Thank you for having us!! Here everything is fine and, yes, as you said I’m totally excited for the release of our third album together! I’m really curious about reactions!

Henjo: Absolutely! It´s always exciting to release a new album. The reviews have been fantastic so far, so we´re really happy!

You have been quite the busy bees, putting out release after release in a short margin of time, with barely leaving too much to time for a wide scale support, or perhaps a little breather every now and then. How do you manage it? Is there a feeling of covering for loss time for some of you folks in the band?

Gianba: I believe that the only reason why we are “the busy bees” is just because since we started we really enjoyed everything that happened to us. All the critics and reactions, tours and festivals were really cool so far, so we felt excited since the very beginning :-) And when you’re excited, you just don’t want to stop.

Henjo: And we´re not twenty anymore, hahaha…we don´t have 15 years to establish the band in the world wide metal scene. Usually it takes so long…

With “Pride” on the rise, did you have a chance to play some of the songs live, introducing the tunes to your audience?

Gianba: Well, of course :-) We already started to play “We don’t need them here” during our tour with Rhapsody of Fire…Reactions were really good and we had such a good time playing that song live!! It’s our first single from “Pride”, and to be honest i totally love the energy of that song!

Henjo: Yes, we played "We don´t need them here“ before the album came out. As Gianba said, the reactions were fantastic. Unfortunately, our tour with Freedom Call was canceled due to the Corona-crisis. So, "We don´t need them here“ is the only track we´ve played live so far.

Though each song on “Pride” can speak for itself, as it is not a concept we are talking about here, what is the pride that you are talking about? Is it the inner pride of the band in its own success rate or rather a sort of pride of the scarce positive things in our lives, especially with all the negativity and hatred that the world has been poisoning itself with?

Gianba: Well, honestly the idea behind “Pride” was born when we were searching for a title so hard, but then, suddenly, the day after a cool show, Michael suggested the idea of “Pride”…”just” because everything was so cool, we still had good vibes, we were happy but mostly PROUD of what we did together, so far. So, you know… And personally, I think that nowadays, a little bit of “Pride” is not so bad ;-)

Gianba, it is stated that the record is apolitical, yet there is a mention of the record’s loathing of the tyranny going on in the world, reminding of the past, but also looking in on the present and future. If we don’t need them here as you say, what do still people choose to live under them and not going up against them? Where do you see this situation going forward into the future?

Gianba: There are so many sad situations all around the globe; hard to say what the future will be… Just look what is happening during these days with this terrible Corona Virus. I mean: socially and economically we won’t be ever the same, and who knows what this will lead. Same for those entire critical social situations, where people chose to live “under them”…maybe in same cases they do it because of ignorance and poorness, other cases because it’s really a reign of terror and the people really cannot make a stand because they are “stopped” since the very beginning of the riot…

I don’t know, I would love that every single human being would be able to live and “keep on rocking in a free world”, but I also believe that sometimes one’s freedom is the end of someone else’s freedom…we are fucking humans, maybe we’re just trouble makers…

Other than tyranny and the need for freedom, on what other aspects of life does “Pride” relate to? Is there anything else that influenced you from your personal experience?

Gianba: Of course :-) Songs, often, for me are something you’re not able to say in the everyday life, caught by the “agenda of the modern-age” so, when you open your heart to write lyrics you can speak about your dreams, your feelings, or describe something that did hurt you, or vice versa… It is everyday life’s thoughts, at the end. :-)

Henjo, in terms of music, The Unity indeed remained constant to its vibrant style of mixing Heavy Metal with Hard Rock. With “Pride” feeling more of the same, how do you find the band’s musical development? Do you feel that you fired from all cylinders with “Pride”?

Henjo: I think we did! We always give our best but at the same time we always want to get better in what we´re doing. We also don´t want to repeat ourselves without losing our path! I can say that the reviews for “Pride” are even better than the fantastic reactions to “Rise”, which shows that we´re on a good way.

What can you tell about the diverse riff writing for the songs? What kind of influence landed on you while putting those riffs into work within the songs?

Henjo: We have five songwriters in The Unity. This is pure luxury! The songwriting is split to almost each band member, so each band member can really concentrate on his work. But the songwriting process is not always the same: sometimes someone comes with a song that is finished and perfect from beginning to end, so no need to continue working on it. Sometimes someone only has an idea for a guitar riff or a vocal line and shares his idea with the other guys.

Do you feel that “Pride” on its own, musically, is sort of an answer for the barely existent records nowadays of Hard N’ Heavy, therefore quite unique in light of the market shifting towards technical and modern Metal aspects?

Henjo: I´m not sure. I think there are many good bands with good records out there – also in the Hard Rock genre…What makes us so unique is probably the fact that you can´t say that we´re playing Hard Rock or Metal or whatever because we have such a great variety in our songs and we love that!

What can you tell about the songwriting process of “Pride”? In light of the success of the previous records, I guess there were no real changes in how you guys lay down the arrangements and touches to the songs right, a formula that works will remain as such?

Henjo: As I said we don´t have a specific formula. Everything is allowed if it works. But this is how we worked on every record so far. There was no need to change our way of writing a record.

Henjo, with “Pride” being a hit oriented record, displaying a fair share of catchiness, were there thoughts on going a little artistic with a special kind of tune, or tunes, displaying additional musical abilities that the lineup has to offer?

Henjo: No, absolutely not. It is all about the music and the songs not about our individual abilities. Everyone in the band is in the business for so long that we don´t have the longings to show what we have to offer on our instrument. If a song needs some cool stuff – okay! But if not, we don´t have to show what we can just to satisfy our egos. We´re too old for that, hahaha

While “We Don’t Need Them Here” is one of the top tunes, there is the mellow “Angel Of Dawn”, providing a modern sense of Metal and Rock fusion with embracing melodies. Do you find this tune as a step further in The Unity’s formed legacy?

Henjo: It´s surely something we haven´t had so far! But we like that. The most important thing is always to keep our style. So, we´re constantly asking ourselves is this or that working in the bands context? The good thing is that it happens not that often anymore because everybody in the band knows what the band needs. If we have the feeling that a song or just an idea could confuse our fans we rather skip it.

Here is a tough one for you guys, what is the track that you believe is the one that makes you cling to it tight, the one that you wish to play nearly every time you are rehearsing and also the one that makes you think? Please elaborate on your picks.

Gianba: mmmh…well, maybe “We Don't Need Them Anymore” for each case eheh…

Henjo: I´d like to play the whole album…I know this is not the answer you wanted to hear but it´s true.

A general one for you both. Time is closing in on everyone eventually, and slowly the term Metal gods of the early generate is near dissolve. With Ozzy Osbourne retiring, perhaps Iron Maiden and Judas Priest next in line, what is left for us going forward in time? Is this term Metal gods still relevant? Who do you find as the next in line promises to fill in such big shoes?

Gianba: Well…first of all I believe that unfortunately these are no more times for Big Shoes. I try to explain better: when those Metal Gods were born there was an empty universe: they invented our Music, they are the reason and inspiration why we are here, they are not only big shoes…And of course back in the day, there was less commercial-side for that and more lust for Music.
I strongly believe that no one will wear those legendary shoes. But there are immense and super-cool bands like Foo Fighters or Muse that still let the world-wide Rock and Roll breathing.

Henjo: Hard to say to be honest. The whole industry changed and I´m not sure if there is any band that can ever get as big as Maiden or Priest. But I hope. I know that bands like Sabaton and Powerwolf are pretty huge these days…

What is next in line for the band in 2020? What do you capture as a major challenge going ahead?

Gianba: The major challenge going ahead, today, is resisting in this unbelievable social-economical European crisis that had just begun for the virus, stand up again and then try to Rock harder than ever! We are planning gigs that take place already in August; I hope we can do them!

Henjo, a little out of question, with the strong focus on The Unity, is there any further down the road with Gamma Ray? Anything planned or are you waiting also for the end of the Helloween reunion tour in order to get things clicking?

Henjo: Unfortunately, I can´t tell you any news today. I guess we have to wait and see how long Helloween will be touring…but I guess it will be long.

Guys, I wish to thank you for the interview. It was more than a pleasure, you got yourself a fan, and also my father joins in as he has been digesting your early records for some time now. Cheers.

Gianba: I thank YOU! And I’m really happy that you and your father like our stuff. Thank you again for having us! Hope to talk you soon and a big “Ciao” to all of you who stood with us till the end of this nice interview :-) Peace&Rock

Henjo: Yes, thank you! Hope to see you on the road again soon!!!


 



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