I interviewed you for Autoeroticasphyxium zine in early 2017, when you were promoting your 2016 full length Precept Of Delator. How much success did it received since its release?
Precept Of Delator was the album with more success, I am sure of that! There were lots of reviews, good responses and requests. Everyone was impressed by the quality of the songs, which was high, brutal and sometimes technical. Before we played a show in France not so long ago, a guy told us it was our best so far.
Lectern’s latest full length Deheadment For Betrayal was released this past April. In what ways does it represent the latest step in the band’s evolution since you released Bisbetical back in 1999?
I think it’s a weird record! Intricate, with the riffs’ entanglement which sounds impressive. Sometimes these songs quite astonish me! We passed more than four months in the studio, the sessions were fragmented and not continual I have to say. Deheadment For Betrayal varies in all its tracks. There is also a technique we never had before in such amounts. Perturb In Lamb Thronal and Dogmatician Of Predicator are full of awkward passages, especially for the guitars and the drums. After more than twenty years, there is no way that Deheadment For Betrayal and Bisbetical could be compared. On Bisbetical we were a raw and tough band, but we want to take back such effrontery on our next album.
There are some musicians who try too hard to be “open minded”, and much of the time it comes across as contrived and false. Has it been important for Lectern to learn, progress and grow naturally, on their own terms, rather than trying to force it?
Being original, different or following fashion is something that never interested me. From 1992, with grunge, the real music was destroyed by the establishment for being something I call non-metal. That shit killed the scene, so I don’t want to partake in this benchmark! It’s a choice! You can choose for change, new solutions, I choose to be myself. Lectern is a death metal band; you cannot imagine anything different! With every album, we try to do something different, but it must be death metal, always! So in my opinion, it’s harder being death metal and changing something here and there, than it is to change completely. Everyone makes his choices, and I don’t care what others do! Do you remember Rob Halford after quitting Judas Priest? He did Fight, Two, Halford and Judas Priest again. This is the proof, it’s better to do the same things, it’s safer than the changes themselves!
Twenty years is a long time to be in a death metal band. In that time you must have seen many bands come and go in Italy, and many others stay for the long haul. How has the scene over there held up over the years?
Antropofagus was and is still here, they have a lot of success, also Natron. There are still many death metal bands; there is a certain culture of it in our country. Also a band like Fleshgod Apocalypse is having a massive impact on the audience, so it was easy for Nuclear Blast to notice how important they are. I think they can finally have what Nocturnus have only brushed!
How much variety and new ground do you see in underground metal today? Where does Lectern fit into this, if at all?
Heavy metal today is not the same, it seems to be but it’s not! Even Iron Maiden has new elements in their music, not like Killers anymore! Music stands the test of time. Nowadays we have new sounds due to new procedures and hardware for recording, new instruments. The approach is different. In part it’s cool and could help, but if I were a simple customer, I would be bewildered! As one from the old school, I still buy records, merchandise, metal magazines and tickets for concerts. It’s still normal, but I don’t care about normality! I don’t follow usual patterns, I don’t really care.
How many stores are near you where vinyl albums, magazines and concert tickets can be purchased? How much has online ordering had an effect on local stores?
Not so much. You can buy your records online now. It’s the same for gear. People can easily stay at home doing a lot of things at the same time. You can purchase your stuff online, so what’s better than roaming with a long list in search of this and that? Now we are full of online mails, when some time ago you had to go in stores in search of your things!
Do more or fewer venues exist near you these days? Are more local acts on international acts performing at those venues?
Yes, but there are not audiences. We play out a lot with a massive campaign from our label. Also venues are interested in big bands or those who play covers. If venues are empty during certain gigs, it is not with free entrance or low fare tickets that you can solve the problem. People seem to be more interested in merchandise than the records. It is very hard to find a label nowadays, because sales are not as before. There is a not specific answer to that.
Has there been more independent zine activity in the past year. Name a few local zines you would recommend to the readers.
Headfucker was undoubtedly the best! It was professional, a real magazine, with a lot of pages and inserts, posters, reviews, news, interviews and much more. It was completely in black and white. Headfucker merchandise was terrific too. Remember it was also a record company that released the first album from the mighty Natron.
Describe the songs on Bisbetical that you think showed the most potential for growth.
Decollation Of All Apostles and Font Of Discord. The sound was impressive and brutal. The overall compositions were quite great!
How much of a process was it for the band to develop through all of their releases, from Bisbetical to Deheadment For Betrayal? Cite as many of your albums as you wish.
Improving as band and as musicians, I think. We wrote more than fifty songs in twenty years, so you can imagine how many progress we made. Lectern will head into the fourth studio to record soon, and for me Precept Of Delator and Fratricidal Concelebration confirm we are an interesting band. Deheadment For Betrayal was a challenge we won in my opinion, but I don’t know if we will never have another album like that. Our death metal is old school, without external elements that could upset the tested formula. When we play live, from all the reviews I read, we have proof we are doing something special. The feedback we received has been good!
What new equipment did Lectern have to work with recording the new album? In what ways did it improve your sound?
I think the difference is slight, as we will return to The Outer Sound Studios for the next record. We had the possibility to record with Pro Tools, which has been one of the best programs to record with for some years now! The difference is in our songs: who performs them, last generation gears and the producer! We have all of that!
Who at The Outer Sound Studios do you usually work with? Will you be recording the next album with Pro Tools?
Giuseppe is the owner, we will certainly record at his studio using the same programs, like Pro Tools and so on, also for our next record. There was also Alfonso, his colleague! We missed him too much for his great efforts, but he is working elsewhere right now!
Are any new compositions being written for the next album? What conceptual themes, if any, is the band devising for it?
Something’s on the way, we have some new songs which are already written. As for the lyrics, I think it’s gonna be something close to a concept about blasphemy. Also some artwork is ready. More than half of the songs are ready. Let me say I chose the right words and titles! It’s gonna be upsetting!
Who is designing the artwork for the album? In what ways does the artwork reflect on the songs written and composed for it? Is the new album going to be released independently, or will it have label and distro support?
We called up Andreas Marschall for Deheadment For Betrayal, as we were looking for someone important into the scene in terms of artwork. And he is! The visual side has its impact you know, but we had to change the first idea, because we discarded the illustration made by another artist for the cover. I don’t know who will release it. It’s too early so far.
Will the band tour or play shows to support the next album? If so, where are you planning to appear?
I just get in touch with our promoter. We have something in store, but as the new album is not available, we cannot set things. We will have a show with Avulsed in October, then we will see what happens.
Any final acknowledgments you want to make to wrap up the interview?
Behead all the followers of God!
Salvific Of Perhaps Lambent (2010)
Fratricidal Concelebration (2015)
Precept Of Delator (2016)
Deheadment For Betrayal (2018)
Fabio Bava: vocals, bass
Pietro Sabato: guitar
Gabriele Cruz: guitar
Marco Valentine: drums