Sunday, February 5, 2017

Interview with Fabio Bava of LECTERN by Dave Wolff

Interview with Fabio Bava of LECTERN

Lectern’s inspiration was United States death metal, particularly bands from Tampa, Florida. What about Tampa death metal appealed to you?
Florida death metal always led the movement. Basically it was an emanation of thrash metal, which in the first half of the 90's was part dead and part full of Botox to hide the wrinkles for lack of new ideas. Many bands lost interest in playing aggressive metal. This is the reason death metal, which existed in the 80's with only a few bands, founds its way with a new, brutal style. I guess it is useless to mention Metallica were without an exact future after their fifth record. 

Lectern has been part of the Italian underground since 1999. How many obstacles did you come across and why did the band weather them for so long?
Stubbornness was the only way and the only belief! The limitations and stupidity of a huge part of the scene that was unskilled and not serious musicians were serious problems. Sometimes we suffered the lack of structures, experts and venues. Stupid competition between bands also ruined Italian outfits for more than a decade.

Were you and Lectern fans of thrash before death metal emerged? As grindcore partly influenced death metal, did you like any grindcore bands?
We were fanatics of Slayer, Possessed, Celtic Frost, Venom, Kreator, Destruction and Sodom! For grind, it was early Napalm Death, Assuck, Terrorizer, Brutal Truth, Carcass and Agathocles. For hardcore it was Biohazard and punk it was the Misfits!

Going back to Metallica for a moment, they did manage to build a healthy recording career and their last few albums have been lauded as a return to their roots. What are your thoughts on this?
A copy and paste of riffs with their shortcuts and full of wrinkles faces, out from what they created and believed in? No! I will blast them until the end of the world! Why they didn't continue to be the great band they were? After 1991 Metallica were fucking nothing, what people named as the black album was the end of that band! They were the four horsemen, my heroes of thrash! In the scene, thrash bands that kick ass exist now, as they forget to do since the last great song they recorded, The Struggle Within which closed the black album! What they did after, was better published under another name! They feel no shame!

When the band started was there any influence from black metal that lasted to this day? What do you think of the genre from the 80s and 90s?
Immortal, Enslaved, Hades, Old Funeral, Dimmu Borgir, Gorgoroth, Emperor, and Mayhem really embodied the true essence, as I was also impressed by early Burzum, Thorns and Ulver who signed an epoch for European extreme metal, also under new the forms of the future. But those who really fucked my brain were the Swedish black metal bands, faster than Norwegians and one above all Marduk for me, is the best black metal band in this fucking world! Also others like Bathory, Throne Of Ahaz and Setherial of the first two records, were awesome motherfuckers! Another name I cannot stay without is Venom! For myself, black metal must be raw, without symphonic shit!

How much of the rawness of black metal has been incorporated into Lectern’s sound?
In part, but more of blackened death metal bands like Unholy Ghost, Pessimist or Diabolic. We carry on the wrath of death metal, no time to look at black metal!

How did you hear of Florida death metal? What bands from Tampa were you listening to and how did you relate to them?
It was still a time when people bought records, magazines had great importance and the audience created a sort of indoor culture. In those years Metal Hammer wrote many specials about death metal, grindcore and thrash. So everything about Slayer, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Obituary, Sepultura and Death was very influential for the press. This was how we got in touch with the scene, also by snail mail, flyers and throughout the underground circle.

Is Metal Hammer a publication you read frequently for information about the genre elsewhere in the world?
Rock Hard and Classix Metal are my favourites, with foreign press like Terrorizer. In Italy Metal Hammer ceased to be a magazine, and is only a website.

How many U.S. bands did you hear of through tape trading, mail order distros and flyer spreading? Did you place orders overseas to purchase an album or frequent local record stores?
At that time, I usually went to record stores in the town I lived. I also remember many friends of mine who were in touch with Chris Reifert of Autopsy, the guys from Dismember and others, especially of the Swedish death metal scene. Everything about the underground you mentioned, was stuff that people usually brought to shops, to the gigs or like the flyers which were used to be attached with letters in the envelopes.

Which record stores did you visit most often? Did they carry gear from the scenes in Sweden and the U.S.? What overseas distros were you familiar with?
Underground distros are important to keep the underground alive! All the cult bands, mainly undiscovered and unknown, are always in their stores! As for the shops, they could order for you from the market, just think of Ebay and similar sites.

Did Italy have many independent fanzines to help bands get exposure in other countries in those days? Which of them were most prominent and how long was it active?
Headfucker was the best, but it split up many years ago. Headfucker was also a record label from the first half to the end of the Nineties. It was specialized with brutal death metal, and many believed it was the best in the field. It was hard to find, they were strict, and the layout was cool for the time. It was not a Xeroxed zine, but a professional printed magazine.

Lectern has lyrics with a Satanic theme. What do Satanic lyrics mean to the band, and how are your lyrics penned so they stand out from other bands?
The main thing, is to use theological themes, with a real evaluation and knowledge of the Biblical and Christian matter. We don't wanna be ridiculous. When I write lyrics, I am really focused on them, as I can change the titles until I feel that is finally okay! That's the way through!

How often have you had to change song titles until you were finally satisfied?
Ten or a dozen times if necessary!

How soon did Lectern release their debut full length Bisbetical? Was it an important part of your development? Were you involved in other bands when Bisbetical was released?
It was 1999 when I was involved in other bands. It was an important debut for the songwriting and for the sound. Very brutal death metal, Cannibal Corpse oriented, with a touch of the first Deicide album. I was in Perfidy Biblical and Corpsefucking Art, and many more from that period.

How many albums did you record with Perfidy Biblical and Corpsefucking Art while you were involved with them?
Just one song with Corpsefucking Art and five records with Perfidy Biblical. There will be more in the future!

Why was there a long delay between the release of Bisbetical and the release of your second full length Salvific Of Perhaps Lambent?
To find two guitarists and a drummer was really difficult in those years, especially in a very short time to rehearse, play live and go to a recording studio to track new songs. So there was a hole between 1999 and 2008.

What was Lectern’s lineup when you reformed in 2008? In the two years before your second full length Salvific Of Perhaps Lambent was released, how hard did you work on the material?
The line-ups on the two records are completely different. The four of us used to rehearse together, and we arranged the ensemble from the guitarists’ riffs. We tested the songs live, and we recorded in two different studios. 

There was another delay between 2010 and 2014 when your self-titled third album came out. In this time did you form another lineup and compose material for this recording?
I met Enrico in 2012 and he had some new riffs. He went to Kick Recording Studio, tracking all of them with the drums for a demo. I still had all the lyrics. In 2013 Pietro and Marco joined Lectern as second guitar player and drummer. 

When your release Lectern came out in 2014, how much of an improvement was it from your previous two albums?
It seemed to be quite technical, like Golgothanean and Libidinal Tabernacles. After the release of Lectern, we maintained the previous three tracks in Fratricidal Concelebration. The final songs we arranged were more complicated to play, for example Labial Of Inveigher and Genuflect For Baptismal Transubstantiation. Their style was so varied, a mix of old blackened school and technical brutal death metal. The sound was tiny and clean in the guitars but the critics appreciated them.

Your bio says many different musicians were involved in the making of Fratricidal Concelebration. Who are the people who helped the band and how did you hook up with them?
I worked with a lot of musicians. I hired them through Facebook for Pietro, who consequently spoke to me about Marco being our drummer. Enrico is a longtime friend, I personally knew him since 2005 and got in touch with him in 2012 for playing together in Lectern. He left at the end of 2014 for job reasons, and moved out from where we used to live.

Did your 2016 full length Precept Of Delator expand on the technical improvements of Fratricidal Concelebration?
I don't think so, I can't tell you that Precept Of Delator is a technical death metal album. Perhaps some passages in Fratricidal Concelebration were astonishing but that's all in my opinion. Remember that we tracked our last new album in three, as Gabriele Cruz entered Lectern only a couple of months after we mastered at The Outer Sound Studios. There is a great attention, for example, that we need at least one guitar solo in every of our songs, just not to lose the heavy metal aspect. Instrumental passages are not a signal of technical death metal at all!

How long did it take Gabriele Cruz to learn the material on Precept Of Delator after he joined the band? What does he contribute to the band musically? How about the rest of the current lineup?
He took a couple of months, but many longer as he had to learn as well some riffs. Gabriele is not writing any song at the moment, as we wait to consider his riffs too.

Who mastered the final recordings at The Outer Sound Studios with the band? Would you and the band rather record at a professional studio or record at your own recording studio?
Giuseppe Orlando was behind the desk, assisted by Alfonso Corace. No home recording, just professional studios always!

How would you rate the equipment and recording materials at Outer Sound? Have you or would you recommend the studio to bands you are friends with?
Superb! It is an excellent studio, with a professional engineer like Giuseppe and his pal, Alfono. There are also great musicians and metalheads, so there's no better place to consider for tracking! I recommend absolutely, to reach The Outer Sound Studios.

Do you have any promotional videos filmed to help support Precept Of Delator? Tell the readers about the making of the video or videos.
The title track clip has been issued before the end of the last year, with Palpation Of Sacramentarian just before Christmas, two overall. We have others filmed, just to be released yet

Have the lyrics you write for the band improved as much as the band’s technical capabilities? Which of Lectern’s songs are the finest examples of your lyrics?
I never thought that my lyrics could ever enhance like the band's skill! My words are gonna be complicated in their meaning, especially the titles of our next songs. For the riffs maybe, but I don't think so.

Does the band preview their albums on social media, or are they strictly available on physical CDs?
Both, as we don't disdain cassettes, tapes or vinyls!

Is the band touring or playing local shows to promote the new album? Have you ever performed outside Italy while you’ve been active?
We focus on these both sides, as we prefer to play outside our country!

Does Lectern have any material to appear on another full length in the future? How soon do you expect to start working on it?
We are arranging the new songs, we have ready half of the new record. We will record and release it in 2018!

How will the new album be a step ahead for the band, and how do you intend to promote it when it is released to the public?
There are some tempo clicks we never played, I think in the first song we have arranged for the new studio album. Also parts of the breaks, licks and leads are different than the others we made. The method has changed to propose new arrangements, but we only have half the new record!

Bisbetical (1999)
Salvific Of Perhaps Lambent (2010)
Lectern (2014)
Fratricidal Concelebration (2015)
Precept Of Delator (2016) 

Fabio Bava: vocals, bass
Pietro Sabato: guitar
Gabriele Cruz: guitar
Marco Valentine: drums


-Dave Wolff

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