Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Interview with Pierluigi Piras of Warpit by Dave Wolff

Interview with Pierluigi Piras of Warpit by Dave Wolff

Andrea of The Triad Records informed me your self-titled debut EP combines classic metal and thrash with traditional music from Sardinia, a region of Italy. Does this come from your familiarity with Italian culture? What characteristics of Sardinian music do you draw upon?
Pierluigi Piras (guitar): I could say that more than traditional Sardinian music, I draw inspiration from our culture and history! That’s far apart from Italian history, because Sardinia as an island has its own history way more ancient than that of the Italian people. A multi-millennial history in fact. In the song “Parabellum” I talk about a battle that took place in 1274 BC in Qaddes in which our Shardana warriors (an old Sardinian tribe) flanked the troops of Pharaoh Ramses II! In this song you hear a rather ancient, primeval instrument called the “launeddas” which has very deep and ancient roots in our region. Let's say I’m deeply inspired by the warrior culture of my Sardinian ancestors!!

Tell the readers how the band formed and what each member contributes musically.
Warpit is a personal idea, grown about twenty years ago. I've always thought about exporting and disclosing our history and culture, and what better way than using metal to do it? I contacted Manolo Frau (bass) a few years ago and explained to him the project. The four pieces were already arranged by me and when I finally found the last two members Antonio Roxx (vocals) and Giacomo Macis (drums), we tuned the songs in a very short time and were ready to record the EP. So Warpit was born!!!

As far as you know, is incorporating your research into metal something that hasn’t been done before? Since the release of your EP, have listeners responded favorably?
As far as I know, others have done the same. Just think of the amount of bands naming Celtic cults, Viking stories or Norse gods. Or simply, as Iron Maiden did at the time, Alexander the Great! Up to now I’ve had very positive feedback from local and foreign listeners. Even listeners overseas appreciated the idea of bringing our origins to the fore. One of the most common comments is: "finally someone who talks about new topics which are unknown to most"!!!

What background do you have in Sardinian culture and history? How deep did you have to dig to obtain information?
Apart from being born on this wonderful island, I had to research thoroughly, reading several books and consulting articles about this topic! I’m in contact with historic experts, artisans or history enthusiasts who surprise me every time with new discoveries and details!!
Since the Italian domination, Sardinian culture has been buried and opposed; even the Sardinian language has been banned. Please note Sardinian is a language of its own, unlike other regional dialects spoken in the rest of Italy. So if you wish to study Sardinian history the only way is to study and research on your own. That’s what I and my bandmates do.
All the members of the band are Sardinian, and passionate about everything related to our history and origins!!

How hard was it to find books and articles? Which of them were most informative to you when you found them?
I can say it was not easy al all to find material or even reliable sources! Unfortunately, the history of Sardinia is so ancient it’s lost in the mists of time because of two main elements: the Nuragic Period sits between 1800 and 300 B.C. and the Nuragic culture left no written testimony.
The first fundamental knowledge come from the study of the work of the main Sardinian Historians of this century, such as Giovanni Lilliu and Massimo Pittau. They both the university chair in Cagliari and Sassari.
I had to search the web thoroughly, research paper texts and literary sources as much as I could. It took a lot of work to reach the right compromise between creativity and historical reality. In addition to historical facts, we draw from legends and folktales. So the source can be anywhere, from the most important museums where you can find plenty of information about the tens of Sardinian tribes, village festivals and celebrations and the carnivals where I found a lot of other enthusiasts like us with who exchange knowledge.

What articles and books were recommended by the historians you contacted? Are any of them published writers or educators?
Now I’m in contact with Andrea Loddo. He doesn't have a chair at the university but he is an archaeo-experimental technician, and an expert in Bronze Age artisan techniques and materials. He's a filmmaker of some movies about the Nuragic people, and his film “Roots of Bronze, the Land of the Sardinians” was released in cinemas! He is also the manufacturer of all the bronze, leather and various items that were used to make the movie. He is a great source of inspiration for me and my Warpit brothers.

What is the length of time you have studied Sardinian history, independently with the historians you contacted? What is the length of time your bandmates have studied?
My father passed down to me the passion for Nuragic culture and our history. I can therefore say the curiosity for discovery has always been in my DNA! My Warpit brothers started studying in depth as soon as the musical project started!

In what year was “Roots of Bronze, the Land of the Sardinians” released in theaters and how was it received after it came out? Is it possible to view this film online now?
“Roots of Bronze” came out in theaters just now. I think it will be published with English subtitles for the summer!

What efforts did Andrea Loddo make to ensure that the items in his movie appeared authentic?
Andrea has practically studied all the archaeological finds existing in the various museums around the island and throughout Italy, and has conducted various research with historians and sector experts!

How much of Sardinian culture and history do you represent on your debut EP? You mentioned the subject matter of “Parabellum”; what are the other songs about?
The whole album is deeply steeped in Nuragic history. “Tears”, despite being an instrumental intro, represents the tears of the priestess which I imagined are shed because her land will be set on fire by the war that will soon break out. “Monster”, on the other hand, refers to a mythological creature called the “s’Erchitu”. A man was cursed after a terrible crime, that during the moonlight nights he became a huge white ox with big horns made of steel. In those nights he walks in the village with a crew of demons. He who heard the ox, bellowing three times would die in less than a year.
“Dark Shadows” tells the nightmares of a Nuragic priest who during his sleep perceives an entity without really knowing whether it’s a good or demonic entity! The inspiration for this piece came to me from a small bronze figure (a typical manufacture of the Bronze Age) found at the end of the 1800s here in my town, dating back to 1500 BC. Approximately it represented a priest. Aristotele himself wrote about the Nuragic priests and the cult of incubation or “therapeutic sleep” at the tombs of the giants present in large numbers here in Sardinia!

In “Parabellum”, is the battle of Qaddes in 1274 BC presented as a first person narrative or as a historical narrative? Tell the readers about the battle and how much of it is reflected in the lyrics?
The narration in the song is in the first person, as if we were the warriors who fought it! It's something we feel we owe to our ancestors!!! The battle of Qaddes saw two different sides on the field, on one side the Egyptian forces led by Ramesses II and on the other the Hittites, known in the ancient world for the use of war chariots in battle!!! At some Egyptian sites it is still possible to see depictions of warriors with horned helmets and heavy lozenge swords, typical of Shardana warriors! Warpit's lyrics 100% reflect this battle as well as all the facets of the warrior culture of my Nuragic people!!!

Who is the priestess depicted in “Tears” and what war is about to begin? Does this idea originate with the band or is it based on a folk legend?
The priestess represented in “Tears” is based on a bronze found in an archaeological site in the north of the island; her clothing similar to that of a tribal chief suggests that the Nuragic matriarchal society was very devoted to these figures. Linked to the cult of the mother goddess, the pose with open arms as if to give protection, I imagined that the imminent departure towards the Egyptian coasts (and the thought that not all the warriors will return home) caused the tears of this very as important as it is mysterious!

Where did you obtain information about the “s’erchitu” and the legend associated with it? What accounts have you read about this legend?
As for the legend of “s’erchitu”, ours is a very rural, agricultural and pastoral culture, these types of stories and legends are lost in the mists of time! It is still told today in many countries, from father to son!!! However, it is possible to find several articles that talk about Sardinian popular legends, furthermore from this point of view we have a fairly extensive bibliography!!!

Are the majority of articles about Sardinian legends found on the Internet or on sites such as YouTube? If so, which of them would you recommend most frequently?
There are plenty of books about the topic. Also you can find a lot of material on amatorial web pages. You can even find some videos on the National Geographic channel about the Shardanan people. The topic is so large that you need a rather large amount of time to gather enough information.

When it comes to the transmission of legends, are they told and retold through written accounts? To your knowledge, are these topics discussed on television stations such as the History Channel?
Coming to legends and myths, unfortunately, there are very few official books, because we are talking about very ancient history (1800 BC) and the Nuragic people didn’t have a written language.
Some traditional legends have been well preserved, and have been kept alive during the centuries by folk festivals and carnivals, other have been rediscovered in the recent years. A lot has been handed down from father to son, and kept alive by groups of admirers. Also, we find traces and clues about our Nuragic civilization in the writings of classic age writers, such Aristoteles, the ancient Egyptians, and all the ancient civilizations that have been in touch with the ancient Sardinian tribes.
On the internet you can find a History Channel video that talks about the correlation between Egypt and the Shardana people, for example.

What videos on the National Geographic channel and the History Channel offer the most worthwhile information about the Shardanan people?
National Geographic mentions Sardinia and the Nuragic people several times, and spoke on several occasions about the “peoples of the sea” and the still unsolved mysteries about the warriors who sailed the seas 4000 years ago! As regards to the History Channel however, there is a very interesting documentary that can be found online entitled “Forbidden Archaeology”! I think it offers a lot of food for thought because it calls into question several arguments about the history that we were taught at school about the origins of Mediterranean civilizations!!!

Where do you expect to take the band musically and lyrically? Is there new material you’re working on or planning to release this year?
I talked about the Battle of Qaddes, the Shardana warriors and the Nuragic priest. The next projects are to close the circle and talk more about the tribe that inhabited my land almost 4000 years ago!!! We’ve been working on the full album for several months already! Surely the first step for this year will be to record a new single with an attached video!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for this very interesting interview! You gave me the opportunity to explain and make our warrior origins better understood as a band and above all as members of the Shardana people!!! Greetings to you and all your readers!!! Stay metal, stay Warrior... stay Nuragic!!!

-Dave Wolff

No comments:

Post a Comment