First, explain the history of Banshee to the readers...
Well, our band was born in the cold winter of February of 1997 by an insane idea of Francesco (guitar) and Luca (voice). Then Mario joined to play the 2nd guitar. These three elements form Banshee. We came from Salerno (in the south of Italy), the city of other metal bands such as Third, Heimdall, Lathebra and From Depths. Soon some songs were composed following our sense of emotional music: we expressed what sadness, rage and melancholy suggested to our minds. After some troubles to find a steady line up, we called as a session Daniele (ex God of Sadness) to play the bass guitar and Rosario (Lathebra's actual drummer) to play drums. So, between November and December 98, we came to our first work, that was even our first experience in a studio set. Actually , after several positive reviews in some metal magazines, we received a lot of demand for "Growing into..." and compliments by some that have just listened to it. Actually we are composing new songs, even if it is still too early for a second demo.
Your demo, 'Growing into the Rotten Garden,' is very promising. Could you tell us about this release in your own words.
I have few other words about our "Growing into the Rotten Garden." The rotten garden mentioned in the title is a metaphor of the society we live in, ever ready to dissipate our energy, force and joy of life, imposing a way of life that tries to make us a poor and motionless toy in its powerful hands. This is our little fuckin' voice in the mud of a false liberty, in which everyone pretends to be happy, telling lies even to their consciences.
Enlighten the reader on some of the topics which Banshee's lyrics involve. They seem to be very bitter...
Personally I can tell you just a few words about the lyrics, because they are morbid thoughts of Luca's mind, and so his secret... I can tell you only that they are often visions and reflections of the reality surrounding us every day: empty people that walk as zombies, places in which now there is only a false living. All the rage against this, the pain and suffering caused is expressed in Luca's lyrics and in Francesco's and my music. However, they do not talk about Satanist or pagan themes.
Tell us of the current plans and happenings of the band? New release in progress? Label interest?
Well, we are still waiting for a serious contract with a label; meanwhile we will be on a metal CD compilation for Whiplash prod., "Into the Underground IV," that is an important presence in the Italian underground. We are actually involved in a little series of live sets, some dates with Third, another young band coming from Salerno.
Looking back on your life, what would you say was the greatest defining moment ?
Hmm..., well I can't say it firmly... I think that every second and little decision or non-decision has a capital importance on our lives. So I can say "as a poet," the moment between my first breath and the last eye closing...
What would you say, personally, you are fated to do in this life, besides die- of course?
I'm condemned by my will to fail in everything I do and to succumb to my lack of capacity to make a reality of what is in my thoughts... Death is only a possible end.
The world is once again at a period of great unrest and uncertainty. Would you say the future will grow darker, or do you see hope for a brighter age any time soon?
Very often I foresee what the future might be: man is blinded by the power of his intellect and by his skill to be like a god. If man will not learn that he is the only one responsible for his destiny, and will continue to think that everything is permitted to him with no bad consequences, I see a sad future for our species...
Your thoughts on the topic of apocalypse? Can you see it in mankind's future
I don't believe in the biblical apocalypse... However I don't think about this because during the "Judgement Day" I'll probably just spread dust over the land by the wind of the Troops of Doom... Apart from all the rhetoric, I think that a natural disaster will put an end to our history, as every species.
With all of this turbulence we've mentioned, one's life could quickly and unexpectedly end at any given moment. With this awareness, how do you envision death? Is there a particular way you'd like to exit this world?
I don't fear death, it is a natural, common and inevitable thing, a part of a greater unity. However, she makes me sad for after death I could not be able to do those things that makes life a real treasure: enjoy time with friends, to love and listen to music, to travel to see different places and cultures, to love your partner and yourself. After death I think that there is not one of these things because they are all linked to our material way of life: all will be gone with the hit of her scythe, this is because my death makes me sad. I would like to know, why people are so obsessed by death... One day you will meet Her face to face, and will understand Her. Until that moment you can only make suppositions.
If there is one thing you would miss, hypothetically, once you are dead-regarding being alive, what would it be? And the opposite, what would be an aspect of life you'd be glad was over?
Hmm..... I would be glad for the end of pain deriving by my lack of a strong will against some ideas and projects for the future.
Tell us about some of the things you enjoy doing on an average day in your life?
I live different periods of my life in which I alternate days and weeks as a slave of accidie. My favourite activities in my free time are reading, writing poetry and stories, listening to and playing music, and seeing a lot of cult films at cinema and at home. I study Economics here in Salerno, but study is my "ultra secondary" job... I like places such as woods, mountains, castles, the sea of autumn-winter. These are places in which I try to take the necessary energy and relax in everyday life, far from boring people.
History is soaked in the blood of millions, millions who died for cause and country, greed and stupidity, the list goes on and on. Do you yourself believe in violence to achieve an end? After all, it is proven human nature, and goes on in every country of this world as we speak.
I don't believe in physical or moral violence as a system of power because it makes only fear and unrest in men and his social statement. I hope that men will be able to reach a government in which everyone can do quite everything he wants, in respect of his intellect and the other citizens. However, to think about a non-violent man is absurd, because man is naturally violent as his life instinct. Violence can't be erased, but only limited.
What are your thoughts on religion? Do you have a personal belief?
Hmm..... It is hard for me to be short in this answer...I think that all that reduces freedom of action of human beings is BAD. I think in this way about all religions. Every dogma is the negation of the criticism and of free thought every man would have and so I refuse them. Religion is only an instrument of power against the poor masses that want a sense about the afterlife. Religion is not a revelation of the supernatural, but only a human creation to allude himself and to find a false tranquillity. Personally I think that all things in the universe are a manifestation of One being, that is the "Deus ex machina", the first origin of all. We and all nature are a part, a manifestation of this "god". He needs no cult or believers that lick his ass for salvation: there's no salvation, there's no hell, no sin. The only sin is to put a limit to what man can do.
If you could know the answer to one question, what would the question be?
What is the way to know the answers to all possible and impossible questions...?
And to end this with a few music oriented questions... tell us your thoughts on the music scene today, both internationally and from your shores?
The situation of the musical scene in your country is rather obscure to me... I know a lot of great bands, especially thrash and death, but I am ignorant to the underground for lack of information... In Europe actually I can tell you that power metal is unfortunately ruling... There are too many bad clones of Helloween, Manowar, Blind Guardian (great!!!) that follow the trend, making it very boring music. There is then the trend of ex-black metal bands that now play a cold ambient dark music often with no emotions or that make weak music with A LOT of keyboards; or pathetic "melodic Swedish death" that ridicule what was made by Entombed or At the Gates. All these trends are due to a bad policy of majors, new labels and magazines that impose the kind of music that must be liked and listened to... Here in Italy there is a great metal audience, good bands but a great lack of professionalism by organizations for musical manifestations.
What can we expect for the future of Banshee, and how may interested readers obtain your work(s)?
Actually we have sent about 70 demos by March; we have contacted several magazines for reviews (but a few answered...). We are composing new songs following the path of "Victims", so we're experimenting with new solutions. There is a stronger death influence, but it is still too early for a new work.
Lastly, your final comments and words of wisdom?
I want to thank you for your compliments and for the time you conceded to me in reading my answers and listening to my demo. I'm very tired at the end of this long and great interview.