Hanna Tsepesh: Hello Gian and Steve! Welcome back Steve and Welcome to THE GATES OF METAL Gian! Thanks so much for accepting this second interview. First of all, how are you 2? Long time since we spoke Steve…
Steve: Too long...It’s only been a year and a half or so but seems like forever. Things are great here in the Ashent camp just one big happy Metal family.
Gian: Hi Hanna, it’s always a pleasure to talk with you!
Hanna Tsepesh: thank you Gian and you are totally right Steve, seems like forever! Our readers already know Steve. So, I would like to make some questions for you Gian: What are your favorite bands? You have any musician that you admire the most?
Gian: To be honest I listen to a lot of different music genres, mostly extreme metal, but in my mp3 player you can find a playlist with songs of Miles Davis and Nile, it depends by my mood. There are a lot of bands and musicians that I admire: a very important figure for my music evolution is Devin Towsend with all his projects, or bands like Opeth or Pain of Salvation. Out of the metal circle I could quote all the progressive bands of the 70' and of course the classic period of Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Dream Theater, Death...
Hanna Tsepesh: When you start to play bass? Why you pick this instrument?
Gian: I decided to play bass when I was 14: it happened that I listened to some Faith no More's albums. It was the first time that also in my old cheap cd player I was able to hear the sound of the bass and its impact. Since that moment I started to listen to the great bass players of the past and bands like Cynic or Atheist where this instrument gained totally a new level of importance. In my opinion the bass is a perfect balance between the guitar, that is the instrument that every metal-kid wants to play, and the instinct of the drum.
Hanna Tsepesh: what is your opinion about Steve work so far?
Gian: Steve is a great singer and a brother, and when he became the Ashent's singer I realized that finally the band found the right balance. Working with him is very easy, because he is a very technical singer but also very open-minded in the vocal approach: he likes to combine growl parts or other kinds of solutions with his arrangements. Composing music with him is very exciting and every new song we write is better than before.
Hanna Tsepesh: Since we spoke your label was Lucretia Records but now you have Lion Music (Finnish label). How it all happened and how is the feeling to have this label? You feel any change between this label and the previous one?
Gian: Mr. Mattsson listened to an advanced copy of “Deconstructive” and he proposed us to sign a deal with Lion Music. Very easy! To be in the Lion's circle is a trademark of quality for every progressive band, and if you look at the Lion's roster you can find only great bands. Mr. Mattsson and all the other guys at Lion Music are very professional people that know very well how to do their job. So, we soon understood that Lion Music was the best solution and we accepted their proposal. Lucretia Records was the first label that trusted in Ashent, but with Lion Music we can do the next step having a bigger exposition and knowledge so that more people can now listen to our music.
Steve: We are so excited to be on the Lion Music roster. For awhile now they have been known to be one of the premier labels for progressive music. I think I can say for the band that we are truly humbled to be part of such a great label.
Hanna Tsepesh: Let’s talk about the new album “Deconstructive”. In my honest opinion I found this album more mature than the last one! For me the voice is much better, we see that you guys worked very hard in this album, right? The lyrics are very cool and the sound improved a lot from the last one! I really don’t have anything bad to say… I also want to ask for our readers know more about “Deconstructive” album, what is the lyrics theme and for you guys what is the big different between this album and the last one?
Gian: I agree with you. “Deconstructive” is more mature than our debut “Flaws of Elation”. “Flaws of Elation” was a sort of summery of the band’s first years and it was the child of different line-ups . “Deconstructive” instead is the result of a solid line-up, musicians that know each other well with the awareness of their capabilities. It's written in our DNA to improve everyday our song-writing’s abilities. This is not a great period for the music business, so we feel free to do everything we want without constrictions or limits of any kind, and it's great that people love the result of this way of working . Steve and Onofrio wrote the lyrics with the collaboration of Davide that wrote the lyrics of “Starlinked Innerness” and some lines in other songs. “Deconstructive” is not a concept album, but there is a guide line that link the subjects in every song. It deals with loss and all its perspectives and it is a long journey based on the necessity to analyze the break-even points and the cross-roads that life offers to us and the way we rebuild our self-awareness from the ashes of our uncertainties or defeats, until the realization and the understanding of the meaning of ourselves.
Steve: The lyrics of “Deconstructive” all deal with loss in one form or another. For example “Imperfect” talks about the loss of a relationship and “Sinking Beneath” is about losing yourself through the struggles and pressures of life. Vocally the big difference between this album and “Flaws of Elation” is that we wrote these songs together. On “Flaws” a large majority of the songs were written before I joined the band so for the most part I sang those songs the way they were originally written. On “Deconstructive” Onofrio and I sat down and hashed out the best melody lines for the songs so a lot more of my singing style came out.
Hanna Tsepesh: Can you guys tell to us little bit about the studio process: Did you have all done when you enter in studio? It is true that the album as produced by you Gian and your brother (Onofrio)? It was difficult process?
Gian: Yes, we produced the album with the collaboration of Luigi Stefanini. We wanted “Deconstructive “ to sound “Ashent” not only in the music approach but also in the sound, and the only way to do something that you have in your head consists on doing it by yourself ! “Deconstructive” has a very modern and huge sound, for example the guitar sound is the result of the work that we did in 3 different studios: our personal studio, the Spectre Sound Studio in Canada and the New Sin Studio in Italy, where we recorded all the other instruments and finished the production of the album. Obviously the album was completely ready before we started the recording session, cause we usually do a lot of pre-productions. The final sound is the result of a very meticulous mixing and mastering session.
Steve: When you don’t have a big budget for recording you have to have your home work done. We did a ton of pre production work in our home studios so when it came time to go into New Sin Studios we were ready.
Hanna Tsepesh: The cover album is very cool to! Who is the person behind this work? Did you think he capture well the theme of the album?
Steve: It’s sick right?!?!?! I only know him as Mario Sanchez Nevado but he couldn’t have made anything better to convey our music. I am totally blown away by the fine details in the artwork.
Gian: Yes, the artist that created the artwork for “Deconstructive” is Mario Sanchez Nevado (www.aegis-strife.net ) , a young Spanish guy that have done an amazing work! The cover is awesome, but all the booklet is outstanding, in every page there is a different image inspired by the music and the lyrics of the album. Also for the graphic and the visual side of “Decontructive” we didn't want compromises.
Hanna Tsepesh: Yeah, the cover art is really fantastic! ! How has the response been to the album by the media and fans?
Gian: Until now the feedback from the criticism and our fan is great! The album is out since the 20th of March, and we have already a lot of great reviews. To be honest also for “Flaws of Elation” we had a very good response from the critics, but with the promotion of our new label a lot of new people can now listen to our music. We're receiving a lot of visits on our MySpace page and our player is working as never before. We're having a great feedback also from radio stations around the world, and Ashent's songs are in their playlists close to the music of important bands; this is amazing for a young band, encouraging us to do our best.
Steve: So far so good. We have got tons of really good reviews and I believe that the album is selling very well so that is a good indication that the fans are eating it up.
Hanna Tsepesh: What are your favorite music’s in this album and why?
Gian: I love each song for a different reason, but if I have to decide maybe my choice could be “Spectral Vanity”, a very aggressive track with a strange mood, “Imperfect” that always fascinates me as it has been written by another band, or maybe some experimental songs like “Star-linked Innerness” or “How could it feel like this?”
Steve: I really like our first single off the album “Imperfect”. I wrote it about a couple of friends of mine so it is close to my heart in that respect but I LOVE the opening riff with the dual lead guitars it just sets this cool mood for me.
Hanna Tsepesh: For you two what is the success secret for Ashent?
Gian: We're musicians that focus all their energies on the songwriting process; this is the most important thing, our priority and probably our secret. We want to write refined songs that people can sing and listened a lot of times, finding every time something new or feeling a new vibe.
Steve: We are a family! We equally respect one another not only musically but as friends. I wouldn’t travel 5000+ miles each way if it was anyway else. We are also hungry to better ourselves not only as musicians but as songwriters. We never lean on the latest songwriting tricks, we stay true to ourselves 100% Ashent.
Hanna Tsepesh: What are the plains for the future? You guys are thinking about a European tour or something? You guys don’t going to forget Portugal in your tour, right? (Laughs)
Gian: Believe me, to play a show in Portugal is a goal for me. Now, we're trying to organize a European tour for the second half of this year, and we'll try to play in more countries possible.
Steve: Right now we have a few tour dates with our labelmates Astra and I believe that we are planning a wider-scale tour for the fall. We’ll maybe come to Portugal so you’ll better be out to see us.
Hanna Tsepesh: (laughs) Of course i will go! One little curiosity, you guys have any other bands? Some projects in mind…
Gian: In the past years I did some tours, supporting different bands as live player or collaborating in some studio projects, but Ashent is my only band where I'm one of the founder members. All the music I want to create, it will be created with my band.
Steve: Back home I play in a modern rock cover band to keep my voice strong and chops up but we are really too busy with Ashent to commit to any other projects.
Hanna Tsepesh: Any message that you guys want to send for your fans out there?
Gian: We're encouraged by your passion for our music, and this pushes us to do our best. Continue to support Ashent, and come to see us on stage during the next gigs.
Steve: Please buy our album, go on forums and spread the word about Ashent.
Hanna Tsepesh: Thanks so much for your answers and time! THE GATES OF METAL wishes for the entire band a big success with your new album and we hope to see Ashent very soon in here…
Steve: It was great talking with you Hanna and hopefully we will see you in the fall.
Gian: Thank you Hanna, and thanks to THE GATES OF METAL. You guys supported us since the beginning!
Hanna Tsepesh: You guys are very welcome! i will always support your band! All the best and thank you Steve and Gian for your words and support!
By: Hanna Tsepesh
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Publicada por THE GATES OF METAL Webzine