Interview conducted July 14 2017
Interview published July 26 2017
"We really respect our own artistic flow and we
don't want to stop that."
As the opportunity was in reach,
Metal Covenant managed to make an appointment with vocalist and guitarist
Tommaso Riccardi of Italian symphonic death
metallers Fleshgod Apocalypse when they recently made an appearance at
Gefle Metal Festival on the band's first ever visit to Sweden.
Tobbe: You know, a lot of Italian bands
have symphonic parts in their music, just like you have. So, why is that?
Tommaso: I think it's really connected to our
heritage. And, you know, we're not the only ones, because also, like,
Germany and other parts of Europe have a long history in classical music.
But probably the mix between that kind of heritage and being very hot-blooded
makes it happen, you know. We've been, like, the big power metal current
during the mid 90's and there was a lot of symphonic stuff there and
we really liked the idea of combining all this kind of heritage with
So besides that, what does Fleshgod Apocalypse do to separate yourselves
from all the other bands?
Tommaso: I think we never thought about having,
you know, the need of separating ourselves from others. I guess we just
started trying to be ourselves as much as possible since the beginning.
We found our formula and we do our thing. It started off with, obviously
like everything else, just trying to, like "OK. We want to mix
this classical heritage with death metal.".
We've been always big fans of the old school
American death metal. And then it slowly became something else and now
it looks like that's Fleshgod Apocalypse and we keep doing it.
Tobbe: Previously, or on the first couple
of records, you were more a regular death metal band, but you're more,
like, bombastic or grandiose nowadays. So why did you actually change
the style a little bit?
Tommaso: You know, the crazy thing is that if
you listen to Oracles , for example, the very first album, we
still didn't have full orchestrations during the whole songs. We had,
like, intros and outros, but you can still already find that seed into
that, because harmonic progressions, melodies and the guitars were already
set into the classical side. There was a lot of neo-classical and classical
progressions in there.
And then it came pretty natural to think "Why
don't we put an actual orchestra and classical instruments in there?".
And then it started, like, developing in that direction and it looks
like this kind of idea came out even more with King  in particular.
we've been doing a lot of improvements and working with Jens Bogren
has been a pleasure. And also improving and learning from previous experiences,
into arranging and composing, brought this level in which it is not
anymore just death metal with symphonic elements, but it became also
something else with a lot of variety. I guess it's just our natural
Tobbe: And then you have added more female
Tommaso: Everything came from, you know, introducing
more and more actual classical elements. So it started off with Francesco
[Ferrini] touring with us, and not only recording, and having a piano
on stage. And then next step was, you know, obvious, to have a soprano
in there, so. I hope that next step would be having a string quartet
maybe. At least for some shows we have that in our mind, you know. But
everything is towards feeding that kind of imagery.
Tobbe: So have you started writing stuff
for a coming record yet?
Tommaso: We are on it. We have ideas. There's
things coming up, you know. We don't rush it. We'll see what happens.
But fortunately there's a lot of ideas coming up still.
Tobbe: So you're not really sure about which
direction you will head into the future with?
Tommaso: You know, expect the unexpected. That's
what I can say, you know.
Tobbe: Have you talked to the record company
on which direction you will try to develop further?
Tommaso: You know, the good thing about our relationship
with Nuclear Blast is that we've built up a very good relationship in
terms of trust. So we are very intimate in the writing process, so we
actually literally keep it for ourselves until a certain moment and
they really trust us.
just let us do our job and, I mean, we let them do their job, and that's
a very good thing because then when we go to the promotional side we
plan things together. So we do a lot of planning about the promotion
before, but on the musical side we just give them things, you know,
from time to time when we are getting closer to the recordings.
Tobbe: If you keep on developing your music
further in the direction that you're going in now, will it be hard to
keep your original fans then?
Tommaso: I know, but still, if you can catch
the music deeply, you can totally hear that our roots are always there.
And in the meantime we never want to think too much in a commercial
way. We really respect our own artistic flow and we don't want to stop
that. 'Cause I think that when you start thinking about "OK, but
I have to do this because I have to obtain this.", then you get
lost. You know, the best thing you can do is just grow the way it's
natural to grow.
Tobbe: So what inspires to grow nowadays
Tommaso: The world itself, you know. Life, music
itself. We listen to a lot of stuff. We never settle on one genre. And
I think that's a very good thing, because, again, you know, if you let
yourself be inspired by existence, then things just go.
Tobbe: What do you think will be most important
for the band then in the coming years? Like for the next couple of records.
Tommaso: I really, really think that the most
important thing is that we don't stop ourselves from being human. If
we can do that, things can happen.
Is it very important to have fun also?
Tommaso: Yeah, absolutely. At the beginning
of the internet era, if you were among the first bands to use that,
you had sort of an advantage. But now, everything is flooded again,
'cause everybody is there. So what makes the difference again, like
it was in the 60's and the 70's, is the performance, the music that
So now you can really, really see the difference
between a band that goes on stage without hunger and a band that goes
on stage with that hunger. I think we are really hungry still and that's
something that people can catch. I personally concentrate a lot on my
life, on being myself more and more. If you can be yourself, then things
are gonna happen.
Tobbe: Out of an economic aspect. Is there
really a chance to make a living out of your music?
Tommaso: Yes, yes. Maybe it's not the time anymore
in which you can get rich on music. But you can make a living out of
music and that's the only important thing, because we just want to be
able to survive and do what we like. But you can do it. That, I can