[Interview] Exclusive interview with G.O.L.E.M.

In this article, we are pleased to present to you an interview with an Italian band that offers Prog sounds contaminated by Heavy traits whose debut album “Gravitational Objects of Light, Energy and Mysticism” was released on March 4th 2022. We welcome G.O.L.E.M.

Hi, how are you?

Apollo: Hi and thanks for this opportunity. We’re all good and really excited for the release of our first album!

The genre you propose is Progressive Rock with different contaminations and 70s reminiscences, where does your passion for these sounds come from?

Apollo: It’s a long story. My father was a drummer in the early seventies and I’ve inherited part of his record collection and musical passion, this was the first step. Then I was in the line up of Wicked Minds for almost ten years and Lucio Calegari, the guitar player and founder member, passed on to me a lot of his knowledge on the early and underground prog. I’ve been in love with this kind of music from the very first time I’ve heard it. Bands like Frumpy, Birth Control, Aardvark, Writing On The Wall, Affinity, Murphy Blend, Orange Peel, Waterloo, Still Life, Julian Jay Savarin and many many others have been my everyday listening for years. And I’m still totally in love with them today.

Marco: For me, it was literally the childhood crush I could have felt towards a schoolmate. Actually, Prog was my girlfriend in my teenage.
I must have been, say, 11 or 12, when my father placed a vinyl called “Foxtrot” on the turntable. My very first reaction to that long, strange piece of music on side B was of sincere boredom. Well, it really lasted just a few days, then my progrocker life began and it’s still running, down the widest road imaginable, made of tons of different musical styles, from Caravan, Gong, Strawbs, Hatfield And the North, Van Der Graaf Generator and many more.

Marco Z: The first memory I have of my passion for these sounds is an old “Made In Japan” cassette which I found at home, and which I used to play every night in an old walkman I stole from my aunt’s drawer, along with some Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull records. My father has a big vinyl collection and he used to record cassettes from vinyls in order to play them in the car stereo. As you can imagine it was a real joy for a child to find a small treasure like that!
Then growing up I started collecting records on my own and thanks to that and to some friends (Paolo and Francesco are included!) I came across the prog bands I like the most such as Rush, Camel, Nektar, and the whole Italian prog underground scene, but even more recent bands.

Your debut album “Gravitational Objects of Light, Energy and Mysticism” was released on March 4th 2022, how would you describe this work?

Apollo: I have had this album in my mind for years and I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. We built up the band four years ago and entered the rehearsal room with the clear idea of writing the songs for our first album. We spent two years on this, searching for our personal sound (no guitar and two keyboards made the trick), writing and refining the tracks, digging deep in our souls to find the right words. We really tried to do our best in every aspect. The result is “Gravitational Object of Light, Energy and Mysticism”. An album full of what we love the most, with a clear tie to the past and a a look strongly headed to the present

Marco V: Recording the vocals on this album during the first lockdown, locked in my flat, was a real journey into mysticism and power. This is how I would describe this if you ask me, mystical and powerful. I’m very grateful to my band mates for inviting me aboard the GOLEM.

Marco Z: As a bass player it’s like being in a Luna Park to have no guitars to fight with! Joking apart, I always wanted to have a band like G.O.L.E.M. and our debut album, the way it was assembled, the musical directions we try to explore in this one make me really proud of what we have done. Furthermore I even had the chance to make a contribution with some lyrics and tunes in two songs and it was really a pleasure to work on those with Paolo.

Long-lasting tracks and sophisticated musical plots as well as lyrics, what are the themes of the album?

Apollo: First of all we wanted to give shape to our passion for a specific kind of music. We wanted to express ourselves in a form that was the most beautiful we could imagine. And this came naturally after we started playing together. When the music was ready we started working on the lyrics and we tried to find the right words to talk about some complex themes like emigration (people escaping from wars and poverty), consumerism, ecology, modern world we could say (I’m referring to “The Man From The Emerald Mine” and “Marble Eyes”). On the other side we tried to develop a more esoterical and poetical line, concerning deep human desire, love and passion, psychedelic trips across the universe, creepy shades inside everyone’s mind and so on. This is expressed in songs like “Devil’s Gold”, “Five Obsidian Suns”, “The Logan Stone” and “Gravitational Objects of Light, Energy and Mysticism”. Generally speaking, we tried to transmit a message in every lyric, without making it too explicit, too clear. So we invented images and stories that could convey a deeper meaning, hidden behind the surface.

Your music is full of tempo changes and keyboard textures, how is the composition of the songs done?

Apollo: I’ve written the greatest part of the music. I don’t have a specific method and I hardly write in front of the instrument. Usually I go out and start walking and suddenly ideas appear into my mind. I record them in the middle of the road on a portable recorder and then, when I’m back home, I try to arrange them on the instrument. Then I bring the idea to the band and together we find the right arrangement. Usually this forms the first cell of a song. Then I try to find a development, writing further parts that could expand and enlarge the song and then I bring these new parts back to the rehearsal room, and so on until we find the right balance between every part. The keyboard textures, the sound research, is done together with the writing. We have a clear idea of what our sound should be (and luckily we also have a quite impressive array of vintage instruments at our disposal) so this is quite an easy part of the job.

Marco Z: As I was mentioning before I had the chance to write some parts of the songs (Devil’s Gold and Five Obsidian Suns) together with Paolo.
Regarding Devil’s Gold, it was one of those tracks born entirely in the rehearsal room and it was quite easy to write. We wanted to write something more direct, that could have that Hard Prog direction we love and He came with that aggressive Hammond riff. We started playing it and then I added the main lead part after the verses. Lyrically I took inspiration from a northern legend narrated on a wine label of a small winery I had the pleasure to visit during a wedding party (and you know that everything’s good if it comes from wine!), and it deals with temptations and lust.
For Five Obsidian Suns it was different because it begins with the result of some “psychedelic jams” we had during rehearsal, but for the rest of the song Paolo already had the music for the verses. One day I was reading something about the myth of creation in Aztec culture and I immediately thought it could be a great theme for the song. I explained it to Paolo and we wrote the lyrics together, imagining this sort of mirror coming from a distant time and forgotten in a corner of a mysterious house and an initiation rite, and that’s it!

Many of your fans and readers are wondering if there will be a chance to hear your music live, do you have any plans for that?

Apollo: Yes definitely! We will have the release party of the album on April the 8th in a wonderful venue called Athena Live Club (Ponte Dell’Olio – PC – Italy), then we will perform at the Hot Mod Festival on Trasimeno Lake on June 24th. And we’re organizing more gigs in northern Italy for the next months, you can be updated following our Instagram and Facebook profiles (@gravitationalgolem).

Yours is a very interesting debut album full of ideas, are you already planning any future record releases?

Apollo: Yes, we’re already working on the second album. We have decided that the acronym G.O.L.E.M. will change from “Gravitational Objects of Light, Energy and Mysticism” into “Gathering Of the Legendary Elephant Monsters” which will be the title of the new album. We’ve already written the first track (which is the title track) and we’re really excited about it. It’s a 13 minute song that summarizes all we have learned playing together. We’re getting more and more aware of our potential and writing is becoming easier and more imaginative, we’re really looking forward to seeing where this second album will bring us.

Marco: I was served the first dinner and now, finally, I’m having the chance to get in the kitchen together with the rest of the band. Paolo (a great cook indeed :D) and I have given this new title track some hardcore lyrical content, you will not be disappointed!

The music market has changed a lot in recent years, how difficult is it to establish yourself with a more sought-after musical genre like yours?

Apollo: Yes, it became really hard to get noticed, every day thousands of (good) records are released and it’s really hard to get a spot on. We were aware of this and we always followed an easy rule: do what you like and don’t worry about the rest. If you play with heart and passion, if you believe in your music, if you think you’re doing the right thing and you’re happy with it, then the results will follow. It may take time but that’s the only way I know.

What advice would you give to a young band approaching the modern music scene by offering Progressive sounds?

Apollo: Personally, I would suggest to listen to as many bands as possible. Starting with the early ones (end of the Sixties, early Seventies), because they primarily influenced who came after them. And then moving to the present time. And then, when all this material is swallowed, try to imagine your personal way to it. The more influences you have, the more you can bring into your music. So the advice could be summarized in “take inspiration from what you like the most but never imitate anyone”.

As usual, I leave the last question free, to allow you to talk about any topic of your choice not touched on in the previous questions.

Apollo: First of all, many many thanks for this nice talk. We didn’t expect to have such good responses from the album (we hoped for it, of course, but you can never tell!), we’re receiving comments and orders from all over the world these days and this really overjoys us. It took some time to have this album out but it was definitely worth it.

Thanks to G.O.L.E.M. for the pleasant interview, wishing them the best for the continuation of their musical career.
Thanks also to the friends of Black Widow records, always careful to discover and enhance quality artists.

G.O.L.E.M. |Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Instagram|YouTube Channel|

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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