How did the idea of mixing extreme metal with doom/occult metal with horror themes come about? What role do visuals play in the band's music?
Low (Bass): In reality it is something that came to us quite naturally right away. Each one of us has very different backgrounds and plays and by actively participating it is normal that a mix of multiple genres comes out in which each of us can recognize ourselves and have a say about it. In all this the visual aspect is very important for us as it gives an immediate and impactful representation of what our songs are about, bringing the listener into our world.
Have any of the members of Damnation Gallery played in other bands before starting this one? How did you three meet and decide you were on the same page musically and lyrically?
Low: All of us have had previous experiences with multiple bands locally and beyond but this is by far the most important band we have played in.
When you were writing your first songs, how much preparation went into your live performances? Do you draw inspiration from horror movies or do you draw everything from your imagination?
Low: For a band like Damnation Gallery the live aspect is fundamental so right from the start the main focus was to get on stage and bring our show to the listener. To do this, we took inspiration from any input we could get, reworking it in our own way and trying to transpose it live both musically and visually according to our vision. When you first started playing out, how did your audiences respond to your stage presence? How quickly did you build a fan base and where did you perform the most?
Lord Edgard (Guitars): I remember with pleasure our very first concert: November 4, 2016. I confess that in that context I had some anxiety, but the response from the audience was exciting. In the months to come they continued to play in northern Italy, with an ever-increasing number of audiences and a following that grew surprisingly quickly.
Did you decide to release your debut EP “Transcendence Hymn” independently rather than through a label? Which of your songs were chosen for inclusion on the EP and what were they written about?
Lord Edgard: It was decided to collaborate with Masked Dead Records at the time, because we humbly thought it would take the support of a label to push the product. Initially, an additional piece was to be included with respect to the lineup we know, but it was still too germinal to proceed in this sense. All the songs focused on paranoia, nightmares and obsessions of the individual members and were the result of the raw instinct of a newly born band that was looking for its dimension.
Why did you decide to expand your lineup with new members before recording your debut full length “Black Stains”? How has the new lineup been working out so far?
Lord Edgard: The need emerged to have an extra guitarist, also because in this way our bassist Low could have dedicated himself more freely to the bass parts, being able to count the presence of an extra guitar that would have had the dual role of rhythm and soloist, weaving more complex textures and increasing the impact on stage. As for the drummer, relations broke down and a separation had to be carried out, thus leading to the entry of Coroner into the group. After a natural period of initial settlement, the relationship that has been established between us is absolutely optimal and the boys work hard every day to bring home an optimal result.
How did the band hook up with Leynir Booking and Productions to release “Black Stains”? How has the label treated the band as far as promoting it?
Lord Edgard: The meeting happened by pure chance as we were looking around for a gig for the record. So it was that we signed an agreement and proceeded with a contract. The promotion was effective and effective, with the overall satisfaction of all parties involved.
What songs are included on “Black Stains” and how is the album an improvement over your EP sound and production wise?
Lord Edgard: It was decided to take the songs of Transcendence Hymn in an obviously improved key and then include the rest of the playlist as you know it. Although the first ep was purposely produced in a more coarse way with the help of Regen Graves of Abysmal Grief, with Black Stains I began to take over the production of our albums. We relied on a studio to record bass, drums and vocals, while the guitars were recorded completely independently and I took care of the mixing and mastering. In terms of intelligibility and listenability, the step was certainly forward, but personally I think that if I went back I would do some things in a totally different way regarding the mixing and mastering. From those small inaccuracies I learned strategies that I use today in the jobs we do together.
How did you hear about the Necrodeath tribute album "The Cult of Necrodeath" which was released by Black Tears of Death Records and the Death SS tribute album "Terror Tales" released by Black Widow Records, and what made you decide to get involved with them?
Scarlet (Vocals): We have always been fans of both Necrodeath and Death SS, as well as having the great pleasure of having met them in person, having played at their opening and still having excellent relationships with them. For Black Widow and Black Tears it was natural to propose to participate in their respective tribute albums and for us it was natural to accept with great pleasure.
While promoting “Black Stains” in Italy you opened for many bands including Death SS, Pestilence, Necrodeath, Deathless Legacy, Mario "The Black" Di Donato, Nibiru, Bleeding Gods, Vanexa and Labyrinth. How much did this extensive touring help your fan base? Did you get along well with the bands you played with?
Scarlet: We were lucky enough to play with some of the bands and artists who have literally made the history of rock and especially of Italian metal; not only have we learned a lot and treasured every experience and story or advice, but we have also met exquisite, professional and easy-going people. We are still on excellent terms with some of them. Certainly each of these experiences has enriched and matured us artistically.
In 2020 you composed your second full length “Broken Time”, also released by Black Tears and featuring the single “The Unnamed”. Why was this song chosen as the single?
Scarlet: The Unnamed was chosen as a single mainly due to Steve Sylvester's participation and collaboration on vocals. However, it was among our top picks, both in terms of style and themes.
In 2021 Damnation Gallery released a promotional video for “The Unnamed”. What is this song about and how did you invent imagery to represent the lyrics in the clip? How much input did the band have in making the video?
Scarlet: The Unnamed deals with the theme of Damnatio Memoriae, a horrible punishment in use in Roman and medieval times which consisted not only in the death sentence of those who suffered it, but also in the cancellation of their entire existence. In an esoteric key, Damnatio Memoriae was seen as a new beginning, as the liberation from the material world and a rebirth in the spiritual one, with new awareness and powers with which the wrong suffered could be avenged. In our video we wanted to represent both aspects, both the historical and the esoteric, through the via crucis of a witch condemned to death and her revenge once killed and freed. We personally wrote the storyboard and took care of every aspect, scene, location and detail. I must say, we are very satisfied with the result, made possible also and above all by our director who really knew how to follow and make the most of what we had in mind.
What is Damnation Gallery planning for the future? Does this include further expanding your songwriting and improving your stage set? What are some of the ideas you’ve recently thought up?
Scarlet: We are currently recording our new album which will be released in November. There will be new scenes and new ideas that will accompany our live pieces that will represent their meaning, as well as certainly a renewed and carefully thought out scenography. For the future, I can say that we can't wait to get back on stage!