[Interview] Exclusive interview with Ufomammut

Dear readers, we are pleased to offer you in this article an interview with an Italian band with a Heavy sound steeped in Psychedelia. We welcome Ufomammut.

Hello, how are you?

Levre:Hello to all the readers of Progressive Rock Journal, and thank you for having us for this interview.
We’re doing well, thank you. We’re in a very intense period leading up to the release of our new album, and we’re gearing up for the new tour, so we have a lot to do in these weeks, and we can’t wait to get back on the road.

Poia: “Hello!

Urlo:Everything is fine, working hard on the upcoming release of HIDDEN, preparing for the tour with all the ins and outs of the situation:-) Looking forward to be on tour!

What is the meaning of your band name Ufomammut?

Poia:Ufomammut is a compound noun that is a brief description of our music: “U.F.O.” and “mammut”, the italian/latin word for mammoth.

You offer a heavy sound peramemeated with Psychedelia and more, where does your passion for these musical genres come from?

Levre:Personally, my love for music has been with me since I was very young. I discovered heavy music around the age of 6 or 7, partly thanks to my older brother who was listening to a lot of music at the time and had started playing the guitar. It took a few years to start listening to rock bands that had a more psychedelic genre, such as Pink Floyd, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, and Grateful Dead, to name a few. I believe that the combination of all these musical influences has led to developing an ear more attuned to these genres, which then easily influences composition in the Ufomammut project.

Poia:The music of many artists and bands I love has always been displaying those two main sides, even if they were not made explicit: I’m speaking about the biggest names of the history of rock of the sixties and the seventies. Then, later, with the reinassance of rock in the nineties we had the chance to listen directly to a new, more modern elaboration of this classic attitude. So when we began our journey with Ufomammut we were “under the influence” of those bands, like The Melvins, Sleep, Kyuss, Monster Magnet, Motorpsycho and also less known bands like Snail, 35007, The God Machine or
Nightstick. Then of course more music has reached our ears during the next years, but Ufomammut in the meantime was already playing, and the roots were established.

Urlo:Throughout my musical journey, I’ve made it a point to explore different genres of music and adapt it to my own style. Over the years, playing psychedelic and heavy music has become an integral part of who I am. I have a distinct conception of what it means for music to be “heavy.” To me, it’s about infusing a sense of darkness or malevolence into the sound and the creation of a song. However, achieving heaviness doesn’t always require a massive sound. Similarly, when it comes to psychedelia, I find beauty in simplicity. For me, it’s about perceiving sound in its most elemental form.

Your new album ‘Hidden,’ will be released in May. How would you describe this work?

Levre:Hidden is the result of hours and hours of musical compositions in the rehearsal room. This album is composed by tracks that I, Poia, and Urlo had partially composed almost 8 years ago when we decided to start a new side project. This was during the years when I began following the band as a backliner and merchandiser. These tracks never saw the light as the side project eventually fizzled out. However, we decided to revisit the compositions because, first of all, we believed they had great energy and merit, and secondly, we felt it would be a real waste not to release them. And so, our album is born, which will be our tenth and will be released in the band’s 25th year of activity.

Urlo:Hidden emerged from the sonic foundation laid during a collaborative project between Poia, Levre, and myself, which initially began during our last period of Ufomammut with Vita. Following the release of “Fenice,” the album that marked our musical rebirth, we felt compelled to pay homage to the origins of this new trio by revisiting the tracks we had initially begun to craft.

This is your tenth studio album, how has your sound evolved over the years?

Poia:The evolution of a band’s sound is something natural. Everytime is fun and satisfactory to explore new musical lands and adjust the focus. Thanks to the people we’ve worked with in the studio sessions , we experimented and learnednew techniques and “tricks”. We took a big leap when we decided to play and record drums bass and guitars all together in the same room, trying to emulate the “live” feeling, and adding voice parts and synths once the main song structure was defined and solid.

Urlo:The addition of Levre to our lineup brought about significant changes in our approach to music. His presence behind the drums opened up a world of new possibilities and freedoms that we had never before explored. For me personally, Levre’s inclusion allowed me to delve deeper into my bass playing, experimenting with more intricate parts.
Additionally, I took the opportunity to modify my approach to singing, infusing the songs with greater presence and power in various sections.

Both the instrumental and vocal parts are intense and incisive, what themes do the lyrics deal with?

Urlo:Unlike our previous albums, “HIDDEN” doesn’t adhere to a unifying theme that connects each song. Instead, every track on this album tells its own story, blending seamlessly into a continuous flow of sound. What unites these diverse tracks is the album’s title: “HIDDEN”. It represents our journey of introspection, the search for what already exists within us but often remains unseen. It’s about bringing to light something that resides deep within us, waiting to be expressed.

Long tracks and notable instrumental sections, how does the creative process of your music take place?

Levre:Every Ufomammut track is composed together in the rehearsal room, and I believe this is the secret that makes it enjoyable every time we get together to create new music. Usually, each track starts from a guitar riff, bass riff, or a drum groove, and from there, we build a jam. Then, we try to solidify the parts. One crucial thing is that we record every rehearsal (setting up microphones in the rehearsal room) so that the next time, we don’t forget the parts. Moreover, we can listen back to ourselves at home, allowing us to think and reflect on new parts or possible modifications.

Urlo:Yes, it’s a “listening” process.
Once the skeleton of the tracks are done, we work on lyrics and synths.
The process goes on till the recording sessions, when it happens we change some parts…

Many of your fans and our readers wonder if there will be a chance to hear your music live. Do you have any plans to do so in the near future?

Levre:Absolutely! On May 15th, we’ll kick off a nearly month-long European tour that will visit many countries, including the UK where we haven’t played for many years. We’ll be performing at Desertfest London. We’ll be presenting our new album “Hidden” and celebrating our 25 years of activity. Following the tour, we’ll play at some summer festivals, including Naass Pamouss in France, Rockstadt Extreme Festival in Romania, Brutal Assault in the Czech Republic, Summer Is Dying Loud in Poland, and several other festivals that we’ll announce soon.

How do you think the way of gigging has changed since the 90s? What has changed for you?

Poia:It depends on the genre. I think that in the rock scene, especially in the underground, there’s still a sort of guiding thread that connects the modern live attitude to the old school one. But new media have appeared in the meantime, and images of concerts are dripping everywhere. Everybody has his own personal movie camera, and there’s a dispersion of attention and memory on many levels. If you go to a concert today you’ll see people listening to a concert through a mobile screen (and sometimes the people on stage filming the crowd). The distance between artists and fans are reduced by social media. I think we’ve lost the myth of music, the legend that hide the man. It makes everything more ephemeral and precaurious. It could be a great theme to discuss for many hours!

Urlo:Yes, it’s true.
Nothing is real today… it seems like lots of people live inside a phone and think life is just a “like” or whatever.
The same in music, everything has become faster and ephemeral, also the contact between the “artist” and the ‘fans’.

What advice would you give to young artists approaching music in a genre like yours?

Levre:I believe the best way to approach music is to listen to a lot of it, from any genre. I’ve always been convinced that musical influences, whatever they may be, contribute to personal cultural growth. Another piece of advice I can give is to study, but above all, to play a lot. Try to see your bandmates in the rehearsal room as much as possible and play, experiment, and don’t be afraid to go outside the box.

Poia:Our genre is the result of our listenings and our personal history. So the main advice, beside any genre is to understand how to channel the mixture of music of the artists and bands we love and figure out a distinctive, unique and personal style.

Italy has always been a country rich in quality artists, how do you see today’s music scene in our country?

Levre:It’s true, Italy has always offered many quality artists and music, even in the past. However, I believe we need to make a distinction about which type of music scene we are talking about. In Italy, Pop, Reggaeton influence, Hip Hop, and Trap have become the dominant genres on the radio, and artists in these genres are the ones filling up arenas and stadiums the most. But this is certainly not a new development; the world has been moving in this direction for years. Personally, I see an increase in quality in concert productions in this regard, which is also a positive thing. Regarding rock, unfortunately, I notice a bit of a counter-trend. Some scenes have diminished quite a bit, in my opinion, probably due to a lack of collectivity or the desire to grow a particular movement. But I don’t want to generalize because there are smaller realities that believe very much in what they do and are carrying forward a local underground scene despite everything. Additionally, the lack of venues or clubs to play in has certainly had an impact, and unfortunately, Covid has contributed to the closure of many even historic venues.

Do you have other passions or artistic activities outside music?

Levre:Even though music and playing are my greatest passion, I also enjoy sport, especially going to watch basketball games. But I’m also into art-house cinema, reading, art, and especially food and eating well. Whenever I book a trip, I’m almost more interested in the culinary culture of the place I’m going to than anything else.

Poia:I am part of the rock art collective Malleus, together with Urlo and Lu. So drawing, since I was a child, has always been my passion and from 2002 is also my main job. I can say this is the other side of music.

Urlo:Drawing and create.

I thank Ufomammut for the interview, wishing them all the best for the release of their new album and the continuation of their artistic career.

Poia:Thanks for your kind words and thanks for inviting us on Progressive Rock Journal!

Levre:Thank you for sharing this interesting interview with us! We can’t wait for you to listen to our new album “Hidden,” which will be released on May 15th. It will surely be an exciting musical experience for all Progressive Rock Journal readers.

Urlo: “Thanks a lot!”

Find US Pre-Orders/Pre-Saves at Neurot Recordings HERE

EU Pre-Orders at Supernatural Cat HERE

/ Guitars
Urlo / Bass, Vocals, Effects, Synths
Levre / Drums
Ciccio / Soundlord

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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