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The Strigas - Interview

Interview with: Fabio Ficarella
Conducted by: Ines

The Strigas may be newcomers to the suomi metal influenced rock scene, but they are definitely not newbies. The band, consisting of young, promising and talented musicians was formed and 2010 and recently released its debut A Poisoned Kiss To Reality. Truly devoted to music and art in general, the vocalist and main song-writer of the band, Fabio, kindly answered some questions regarding the band. As the star of The Strigas has just risen, you will definitely see that name shine on the rock sky in the future. Devoted to a certain music style, young, full of ideas, with integrity and aiming for perfectionism The Strigas cannot go wrong.

Ines: Hello Fabio. First of all, congratulations on your debut! But let’s just get started at the beginning.  As The Strigas is a fairly new band, formed less than 4 years ago, could you share the story about the band formation with us?
: The Strigas was initially born from an idea of me and our bass player Liboria. We decided to start a new band, with which we wanted to express ourselves in a music genre dear to us: gothic rock. After recording a first "home-made EP", we began searching for musicians. The formation was complete - as you see it today - after various line-up changes with Andrea, Ettore and Francesco "Nitro", who joined The Strigas soon after our previous drummer Raffaele Matteucci recorded A Poisoned Kiss To Reality. We come from different hometowns, but we consider our band coming from Barletta, a town in the south Italy, because The Strigas was formed there and because it’s the town, which has supported us and keeps supporting us, despite the fact gothic rock is not a "popular" genre in our territory.
Ines:  Where does the name The Strigas come from? Does it have a special meaning?
Fabio: I like to think that we did not choose our name, but the name that chose us. There is a strange story about it. A boy we met by chance in a music shop called us "Strigas". The term "Striga" refers to many figures of European Romantic-Gothic culture, such as "Stryges" -vampires in the novel "Le Château des Carpathes" by Jules Verne, or the "Strigoi", or even the word "Strega" which in the Italian language means "witch". It may seem a little weird, but that's us.
Ines: Do you know why he called you that in the first place?
Fabio: Well, we actually do not know why he called us that. We guess because we wear "all-black-all-day"! Probably because the dark/gothic scene is not popular in our region.
Ines: Well, that’s an interesting story. You said before that gothic rock is close to you, so what bands would you say influenced the sound of The Strigas the most?
Fabio: Mainly the whole "Finnish Gothic Scene”, mainly HIM's love metal, Entwine's gothic rock and or even Sentenced's suicide metal. And also some US branded hard rock and metal. We tried to experiment and create something different, adding more electronics and sound effects to create a genuine “The Strigas sound”, but we consider ourselves a Goth rock band, influenced by a “Finnish sound”.
Ines: Your debut entitled A Poisoned Kiss To Reality came out just recently. Tell us a bit more about the album; what was your main idea behind it and who did the song writing and composing?
Fabio: We planned a precise direction of composing for this album. I prefer to express myself in music rather than directly in words, so I recorded some "musical and lyrical sketches" of the songs, which I brought to our studio. I of course wanted to complete them with the ideas of other band members, by correcting them or expanding some themes. Talking about lyrics, I wrote them myself. We wanted to express what we don't accept about ourselves or what surrounds us. In A Poisoned Kiss To Reality you'll meet some darker sides which deeply characterize me, but not just me. It also shows features of others, it expresses the condition of every human being in this world. I really do not like to talk too much about "love". Even the songs which seem romantic, they lack "love". But, of course, everyone is free to recognize their own interpretation.
Ines: And how are you satisfied with the reviews and overall acceptance of the album?
Fabio: We're aware that our music style is located in a weird position, because it's too sweet for pure metal heads or too strong for pop listeners. So we didn't expect a great acceptance at all, we just wanted to do what we wanted to do. We were gladly surprised discovering that different reviewers liked our album and that many people all over the world joined our social network profiles contacting us and communicating with us. We were also very surprised when we discovered some radios in USA, Spain, France, Italy and Netherlands aired some tracks from A Poisoned Kiss To Reality.  Rock TV, the most important rock themed TV channel in Italy, even chose our "Falling Down" video clip as “Best Video of The Week”, playing it in the first week of March. We just play our music, trying to share something with people, so it's definitely great for us to discover that different people support what we do.

Ines: I’m really glad that this is all going great for you. Usually a next step for the band after a release is a tour; what about The Strigas? Any upcoming shows planned to promote the album?
Fabio: Yes, we are planning it. But we will keep a veil of mystery before everything is official. Therefore we invite all of you to connect with our band profiles on Facebook ( and Reverbnation ( for all the news and updates regarding the upcoming shows.
Ines: Speaking of live shows: how many did you do in the past already and how did the audience response to you?
Fabio: We had many live shows, especially in 2011 and 2012, with venues all over Italy. We had the fortune to share the stage with bands like Sacrum, Ektomorf, Trick Or Treat, Adimiron, Rezophonic or with artists like Steven Hewitt and Mario Riso. That gave us the possibility to play our songs in front of different crowds before recording our first full length album in studio. And that was just great, when there's a direct live response from people listening to us play. We enjoy interacting with different profiles of our listeners so much!
Ines: What would you say you enjoy the most: the process of creating music, recording sessions or doing live shows?
Fabio: I can't say which I prefer the most. It's like a trip, starting in the deepest part of ourselves and finally ending on stage. The creative part is the most "romantic". I find myself writing music and lyrics at 3.00-4:00 A.M. or recording samples on my cell phone recorder in the weirdest moments and places, finishing the process in our studio by adding, transforming or even trashing everything. Recording sessions are the hardest, yet the most fun parts. To work with Giuseppe Dentamaro (or "Ninja" as we call him) is very challenging, because he is extremely precise at work, but at the same time totally crazy! You don't know what happens in Golem Dungeon Studios until you're in: random madness inside. Live shows are the terminus of every "trip", but the magic of music make this a never-ending journey. So, yes, I'm totally incapable to say which of those my favourite is.
Ines: If you could pick three bands for your band to tour with, which would you choose?
Fabio: If I had been asked this question some years ago, I would have said HIM, Charon and Sentenced without any doubt. But time has passed and Charon and Senteced are gone. Now I would choose Entwine, Lacuna Coil and HIM, because I totally love their older works and even though, all of them have changed their "attitude", I rely on their future.
Ines: I would definitely attend that show! You mentioned Sentenced and HIM before already, as an influence of The Strigas music and now again as bands you would like to tour with. Both of these bands also have one thing in common: incredible vocalists. You have also shown some really impressing work on the vocals, so tell us, who would you say your influences are vocal-wise?
Fabio: It was a really hard work on the vocals, when we recorded the album. There are some parts of songs in which I recorded about 5 to 6 harmonic vocals and, in some cases, part of them were "killed" because they were too much. We actually recorded one more song, entitled "Unspoken", which was not included in A Poisoned Kiss To Reality .That track was recorded by only vocals, beatbox and choirs. It was an experiment, but we may release the song some time in the future. Talking about vocal influences, since the beginning, I try to sing in my own style, with my own defects and characteristics, trying to be myself in every moment. Singers like Ville Valo, J.P. Leppaluoto and Ville Laihiala are totally great and I believe I was definitely influenced by them. But since I was a kid, I've listened and sung songs of almost every music genre and listening to singers like Sting, Labrie, Chad Kroeger, Myles Kennedy and even Stevie Wonder, played a great role in my vocal growth.
Ines: How long have you been singing? When did you first realize you're such a talented singer and how did your path as vocalists evolve to the point where you are now?
Fabio: I definitely don't feel like I'm a talented one. Music, singing and art in general is what I love the most and I, simply put, must do them. I personally need to do them, because it’s what makes me feel alive. It's like a drug, without which I feel I could die. I have been singing since I was a little kid. I joined my first band when I was 13, playing guitars and singing backing vocals. Then I joined a gospel choir for a brief time and formed my first rock band when I was 16. I trained with a vocal coach for some time and then I tried to deepen vocal techniques by myself, right until now. My first show? Me, singing "The Final Countdown" by Europe in front of my relatives, when I was 3 or 4 years old. Seems Scandinavian rock was my destiny, haha!
Ines: Ok, so we covered you as a vocalist and I’m intrigued about other members. Could you give us a few details about them and their music history up until The Strigas were born?
Fabio: Yes, of course! Liboria and I have been playing together since our previous band and we have almost the same music background. Ettore is basically a “classic rock lover” and is totally addicted to Bruce Springsteen. He previously played in a hard rock band here in Barletta. Andrea and Nitro used to play together in a post grunge band. Their ways parted though, but later on they were re-joined together in The Strigas. They respectively are the "nihilistic soul" and the "hard-core soul" of the band. I'm very proud to have each one of them as companion in this never-ending path. We're more like a family than bandmates.
Ines: You come from such different music backgrounds, so how did it come that you somehow settled for the suomi metal influenced style? Was your style something you discussed or did it occur naturally?
Fabio: I basically started The Strigas with the idea to play a suomi metal influenced genre; because I already had some of the songs written before The Strigas was even formed. When Andrea, Ettore and Nitro joined the band, I explained my vision to them, what I wanted to express with this project and in which way. I asked them to put their persona, their heart and their mind on it, because I wanted The Strigas to become “our project” and not just "my song writing project with addendum musicians". Soon after that starting moment, everything's rolled naturally!
Ines: As you put a lot of ideas and energy into your band, I guess you feel very personal about your songs. If you could choose your favourite track from A Poisoned Kiss To Reality which would you choose and why?
Fabio: I feel totally incapable to say which my favourite is. Each one of them was written in different times with different feelings; they are all fragments of the same picture. For example "Sometimes" was written when I was 16 and it was the only song that I carried out from my previous band. "Sweet Bitterness" is about my personal beliefs, while, "No Tomorrow" is about the social status in which me and a majority of other people live here in Italy. However, there are songs we prefer to play in live shows.
Ines: And which would those songs be?
Fabio:  For the full set we prefer to play the most “energetic" songs, like "Sorrow Queen", "Sweet Bitterness" and "No Tomorrow" for example. For the acoustic sets our favourites are the calm and quiet ones, like "Sometimes" or "Falling Down".
Ines: Do you think you could say to which of your songs the audience live responses the most?
Fabio: It depends on the audience: metal heads always prefer "Sweet Bitterness" among the others, while rockers prefer songs like "The Box" or "No Tomorrow". We met many people along the way and we're very glad to know that there isn't a "best song" among all the tracks.
Ines: That a good sign, because it shows you have variety and different people with various musical likings will respond to your music. I would be among the "rockers" then, because "The Box" is one of my favourites from the album, I guess. So, Fabio, if you look into the future, where do you see The Strigas in 5, 10 or 15 years? What are your goals and dreams?
Fabio: I see myself in a tour-bus, directed to an unknown town, with a pen and a paper in my hands, writing something about a girl who interviewed me some years ago. I have no delusions of grandeur. Life and future will lead us all and I want to discover it, step by step, all by myself.
Ines: That’s just lovely. I hope you do that. But if you look at the nearer future, anything more clear? Any new material in the process?
Fabio: As the production of A Poisoned Kiss To Reality lasted for about 2 years, we got our time to write some new material that we'll hopefully complete during this year. I believe that nothing can be planned, so we'll keep on writing songs that maybe we'll trash in some months. It all depends on life and experiences; we want to express who we are with music and lyrics, not with a marketing strategy. If these new songs won't represent ourselves at the best, we will throw them away without any regrets.
Ines: Thank you so much for having this conversation with me and wishing The Strigas much success in the future and of course, to perhaps see you play live again. For the end, what would you like to tell to our readers?
Fabio: First of all I want to say a big “thank you” to Terra Relicta and especially you, for offering us this opportunity. I want to say another big “thank you” to everyone who follows us and/or shows appreciation to our band: every little step we make it's all because of you. Keep Spreading The Poison!

The Strigas links: Facebook, Reverbnation