Italy's progressive metal band Pathosray have recently released the much anticipated follow-up to their critically acclaimed self-titled debut. Sea of Tranquility staff writer Murat Batmaz hooked up with the band's two key members: drummer Ivan Moni Bidin and bassist Fabio D'Amore to talk about the new album, Sunless Skies, their plans for the future, their thoughts on the Italian prog scene and other prog metal bands.
SoT: Hello Fabio and Ivan, congratulations on your new CD Sunless Skies.
Thanks a lot from the whole band, we're really proud to be back on Sea of Tranquillity!
SoT: How was the album composed? Tell us a little about the creative process.
We started rehearsing 4 of the songs included on Sunless Skies in spring 2008, and after we had cleared our ideas, we decided to record a pre-production of the album in the following summer, before leaving for the US for ProgPower festival. We were really satisfied with the first 4 songs recorded, but we didn't have time enough to create the rest of the songs, so we recorded a brief and fast pre production of the remaining songs, before starting the album recordings. Around November 2008 we finally entered the studio for the real sessions and in some months we obtained all the tracks, ready to be sent to Sweden for the mixing and mastering sessions. We were lucky to be in a position of working on the studio we handle (Artesonika Studio), and we took all the time necessary to take care of arrangements and edit all the projects.
SoT: Compared to your debut, how would you say the new album differs from it?
First of all, this is a darker album, much more "easy-listening", cause we preferred to concetrate on the "song shape" side, instead of losing time with technical and long parts. The debut was a sort of "best of" the whole band's career, and all the songs were written in different periods and with different line-ups. "Sunless Skies" was properly thought from the whole band and all the compositions arrive from the latest period, after Alessio's entrance.
SoT: Tell us a little about the songs on Sunless Skies.
We think you can find different styles and colours inside the new album. The opening song, "Crown of Thorns," is an in-your-face song, where you can immediately hear the new direction the band wanted to follow. "Behind the Shadows," "Aurora" and "Sons of the Sunless Sky" use our typical trademark, where you can find really heavy/aggressive riffs in contrast with huge melodic moments. "In Your Arms" is considered a ballad, but for us has got a really dark taste behind. "Quantic Enigma" is maybe our more progressive/experimental song, where we had fun melting different atmospheres and styles, from the modernism of arpeggiators to the Hammond in a 70's riff, ending with a disco-dance part. "The Coldest Lullaby" is the easiest song of the album, but we're really satisfied with the atmosphere you can hear crossing on the vocal lines, also thanks to the great voice of Klaaire (Syrayde). "Poltergeist" is the grand finale of the album, where you can find nothing but all the album atmospheres and all our personal influences. The bonus track of this European release is "For the Last Time", an acoustic song really simple, with a lot of 70's influences and with a vintage taste.
SoT: Are you pleased with the production on the new CD? How did the recording and mixing go?
We're extremely satisfied about both the recordings and mixing/mastering process! Everything has gone in the right direction, and the result is exactly what we wanted to.
SoT: You had Johan Ornborg to mix and Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia) to master the CD? How did you hook up with them?
Fascination Street Studio in Sweden is producing some of our favourite bands in the market, and their productions were just what we were looking for "Sunless Skies". We contacted the guys after the pre production last summer, and we came up with a deal to mix and master the album in February 2009. As previously mentioned, the result was great and we think we will keep working with this team in the future!
SoT: Ivan, you have written most of the tunes on the new album. What was your songwriting vision and how much of it has been able to realize?
Ivan: I wrote those tunes when I was alone and in peace, for example when driving or before sleeping. I usually think about the songs during those moments, and as soon as I can, I reach our studio and record some samples, which I eventually give the other members to rehears all together. Then, each member gives his own inspiration and background, in order to obtain the best shape possible.
SoT: Do you consider Pathosray a full-on progressive metal band or power prog as some people call it?
None of them, being serious (laughs). We can consider Pathosray as a melodic metal band, with some various influences, as progressive, classical music and so on. But we don't like to give our music a specific label.
SoT: What are some of the progressive metal bands Pathosray members dig most?
We're big fans of Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Symphony X, Evergrey, Orphaned Land, Angra, Pain of Salvation...
SoT: Pathosray differs quite a bit from most other Italian prog bands. Are you guys fond of the prog scene in Italy?
Thanks a lot for your compliment. We do not regret our roots, but we're trying to sound a bit more "international." The real prog scene we do love is the one from the 70's. like PFM, Le Orme, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Area and many more.
SoT: What other Italian prog bands do you guys like?
We've seen DGM live in concert, and they are good, it's a sin Titta Tani left the band...
SoT: What is your opinion on the following bands?
Ivan: They were one of my favourite bands till Scenes from a Memory, which I consider a masterpiece. After that, I think they lost some inspiration, and I didn't want to follow them as before...
Fabio: they're my all time favourite band. Thanks to them, I've started listening and playing progressive and metal.
Ivan: I have to be honest, I don't know them a lot to judge them...
Fabio: One of my favourite bands of course, in this moment I think they're the masters of this kind of music. I was lucky to see them live in Florence 2 years ago...
Ivan: In this moment, they're my favourite band. They're the unique metal band with I don't get bored (being personally more involved into progressive rock music...), cause of the genius of M.Akerfeldt (a big inspiration for me) and they're also great musicians!
Fabio: Also another great band, and one of my favourites - tons of inspiration for me and my way of playing!
Ivan: I respect a lot they're cool way of composition, I think they're genius!
Fabio: I love them as much as I love Opeth, and I think they deserve all the success they're having lately.
Ivan: They were my favourite band, thnx to 2 albums in particular, like Path of Dreams and Chimica. Now I'm lucky, cause I can be their drummer!!
SoT: Will you be touring on Sunless Skies? Any dates yet?
Yes, we've got bunch of gigs around our area, and we're also trying to organize something all around our country, and Europe! ProgPower Scandinavia 2009 is the purpose of the new season.
SoT: You have changed labels from Sensory to Frontiers Records. Would you like to talk about that?
We're really happy to be part of Frontiers bands. At the time of Sunless Skies recordings they offered us a chance we couldn't refuse. We think Pathosray will take a lot of advantages of that, and we could reach a lot of markets we couldn't arrive before.
SoT: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
If you're listening to our new album, please give it a lot of listens, cause it hides lots of particulars that could reveal as enjoying surprises! Stay tuned and visit our webpages : www.pathosray.com and our myspace page www.myspace.com/pathosray. Thnx again for this possibility!