I’ll make this introduction short, because what can I write… one word is enough and it is PROFANAL!!!!!!!!!! Fuck yeah, along with Horrid and Undead Creep, another masters of true and classic obscure death metal from Italia! I liked this band ever since I‘ve listened to their split 7”EP with Funeral Whore and that impression has only been extended after I have been shredded by “Black Chaos” CD. Ears bleed… fuck… OK, Kristian Cucchiara (guitarist) answered my questions!
I guess we can say that Profanal is not really so new death metal band, as you’ve formed it already back in 2005. Tell me, how did you all get together and what pushed you to form Profanal? This kind of playing wasn’t popular back then as much as it is popular today, but I understand that right from the start you’ve aimed to play obscure and morbid, Swedish influenced death metal?
Profanal was born during a drunken night in our town in 2005, when Alessandro (guitar), Rosy (vocals) and me (guitar) decided, just for fun, to create a band called Profanal. In fact, at the beginning we were not too earnest but finally, after many rehearsals with some musicians, Daniele (bass) and Nicco (drums) joined the band and in 2007 our first demo was ready. At this time the influences were various because in the past I played in a Thrash Metal band and Nicco too. Alessandro played in a Heavy Metal band and Daniele in a brutal band. Rosy sang growl in the past, but she didn’t have a real band. So, the first song was like an experiment 'cause we didn’t know what kind of music would be resulted! We only wanted to play in a raw way, obscure and loud; Old school Death Metal sound satisfied all of us. We never have said: “Tomorrow we will play “Swedish” death metal!”. Things came out naturally.
I cannot say anything about both demos, which Profanal has released, so I’m quite curious about them, “Rotten Bodies” especially. What can you tell me about both demos? I’m guessing none of them is available anymore?
The first demo, was called “Demo 2007”, it was a self-release, not a professional demo, just to spread the name "PROFANAL" in the underground music scene. I don’t know exactly how many copies we made, because we mastered at home the copies each time we needed. The sound of this work is old school Death Metal for sure, maybe too simply and unripe, but it was the reflection of us at that time, cause we were searching the right sound!
“Rotten Bodies” was the demo of 2009. The sound was more developed; the songs defined our old school death metal sound, more personal than the first demo. Some songs of this work like “Rotten Bodies” or “Putrescent Adoration” are still played in our shows! We made 100 copies on professional CD and then Unholy Domain, an Italian label, made another 100 copies in pro-tape. Gorification Musix, French label, made another tape version too. Demos are no longer available, maybe some distros or through E-bay have this stuff. Some people still ask for them, so we are proud of these morbid works! Personally I would like that one day they will re-published on vinyl.
“Rotten Bodies” was released on tape by Unholy Domain Records. Is this something important to you, to have a traditionally released demo, in classic cassette format? I mean, until recently there were not so many cassette demos released, only very few (I remember getting tape demos from bands like Kaamos, Necrovation, Crucifire, about 10 years ago and after that mainly CDr or even mp3 demos!!)… but each cassette feels like something special now, so how do you feel about having your demo on this most archaic music format?
We play music that sounds as twenty years ago, so the tape format is perfect because in that years it was the usual way to listen it. I think that the sound is cool in classic cassette 'cause more bass and little noise in the background create the right old school atmosphere! Metal was born on tape and vinyl and I think that it will die in this way! Nowadays some people still look for vinyl or tape because for them is the only way to listen music. You know how many guys ask to us: “when the vinyl will be out?”, “what about the tape?”, they don’t want the CD!
I guess it is good then, although how many of them ask that only because it’s considered as being cool and true if you have cassette… how many of them really like this stuff and always have?
Anyway, moving forward… “Rotten Bodies” demo was followed by two split 7”EP. I actually own both and I must say that I really like these two releases, but “Two Morbid Ways to Die” is my favourite one. How did you get in touch with Funeral Whore and Obscure Infinity to release these EPs? I think you’ve played with both bands several times live, so I guess there’s kind of strong comradeship between you all? If so, what are your feelings regarding the last releases of both acts?
We have known these bands on the web, through myspace. At the beginning we traded demos. Then we exchanged gigs between Italy and Germany and so the friendship was born! With Funeral Whore was the same, a great European alliance! haha... So, when we decided to do a 7” split we asked to these bands to ratify our friendship!
On “Two Morbid Ways to Die” the band recorded a cover version of Nirvana2002’s classic tune “Mourning”. Any other covers planned for the future? I think I’ve seen you playing Grave cover somewhere on youtube… Is there an Italian band (Necrodeath or Bulldozer maybe??), which you would like to honour, recording a cover for possible tribute album – if of course you like something like tribute albums and would say yes, if someone asked you about participating in such tribute CD…
We always play a cover in our shows. About Grave we played "Turning Black" and then “You’ll Never See…”. Now we play “Spawn of flesh” by God Macabre, an underground cult song. We're not interested at the moment about tribute stuff for an Italian cult band.
You’ve also recorded a low budget video for “Conquering Cemeteries”… Ha, I wonder what is the purpose of such videos, other than putting something on youtube and maybe having fun when recording it?
No, we made it just for fun. Roy of Funeral Whore offered to us the chance to make this videoclip, he has a great passion for video stuff (I call him “the Director”! hehe). It was cool, can you imagine five Italians guys after some days in Amsterdam (totally smoked) walking in a obscure Dutch cemetery? It was so funny. Video was totally free, Roy recorded for us as an act of friendship, otherwise we wouldn't make a videoclip.
Your debut album is titled “Black Chaos”… I must say that I am very impressed by the production of it, having in mind that it was recorded by the band. Tell me something about the recording process of “Black Chaos”. Why haven’t you decided to use a professional studio and how happy are you with the final effect?
It wasn’t the first time that we made a “homemade” record, all of our works are recorded this way. The professional studios are too expensive. Maybe it’s not the best but surely it’s the most cheap and relaxing way. In my opinion mastering is more important 'cause it can change a lot the sound. That’s reason why we sent our recording to Damien Herring and in fact the result is totally changed. We are happy about the sound of the album. Raw, dirty, without fake drums…. Death metal!
Just wanted to ask about it… that you’ve cooperated with Damian Herring for the mixing and mastering of the split EP songs and now also for the debut album. This guy has done a killer job for your band, but also for some other bands like Father Befouled, Undead Creep, not to mention his amazing band Horrendous (their “The Chills” LP surely belongs to my favourite death metal albums of the recent years). How have you found him and started to cooperate together? How did it (cooperation) look like, considering that he’s living in USA and you’re from Italy?
It was when Dark Descent Records, asked if we wanted to work with Damien Herring to modify a little bit the tracks in the final master of 7" split "United in Death". We have accepted and the final result was amazing! This is the reason why we choose Damien for "Black Chaos". He knows Death Metal sound and he immediately understood what we were looking for. The cooperation was easy through e-mail and internet. .
I like the fact that Profanal first released two demos, then some EPs and only now you’ve released an album. This is so rare nowadays to see bands doing everything in this order, so respect! You know, nowadays everybody’s rushing themselves, bands wanna release an album as quickly as possible, even without the one demo… and that results in many mediocre releases, with quality, which is not worth being on CD or LP. Did you, as the band, really wanted to do everything in this order or it just came out purely accidentally?
Yes, you're right! We always thought that releasing demos is good to spread the name of the band in the music scene. Make an album too much soon, can be a risk because nobody knows you! We have released the album five years after our first demo and the people were impatient. This is cool!
“Black Chaos”… What sort of message would this title and the lyrical content of the album depict in general?
Lyrics talk about death, oppression, obscurity - classic Death Metal lyrics! Rosy used to write the lyrics. Some are more personal, dark feelings that she felt, others are more aggressive inspired by horror movies and books. The title "Black Chaos" is taken from the track "Black Chaos Horde" and can describe a violent and dark instinct inside everyone. We thought that this name was perfect to describe our sound, simply and grim.
In many opinions music like death metal should only deal with such lyrical themes as death, gore, horror, evil and Satanism (or antireligious matters). Would you agree with that or you also tolerate those social themes in the lyrics of death metal bands? I mean bands like say Death, Dying Fetus or Gorefest have been releasing albums with such social lyrics for instance…
We are not interested to talk about political and social arguments. Everyone has his own way of thinking in his private life. About Profanal, as you written, we talk about classic topics as death and horror stuff. We are not explicit about religion but it's pretty clear that we are anti-clerical.
From the other hand, do you think people still care about the lyrics, do they read them at all? I wonder about it, as so often they are happy having soulless mp3 files, even without the artwork, so something like lyrics may be completely meaningless to them… But personally I often like to read the texts, only another problem is that so often the metal lyrics are full of bullshit…
A lot of lyrics are bullshit and very trivial, but at the same time writing is not so easy and everyone have a different perception of things. Artwork and lyrics are very important 'cause they help to understand better an album to create the right atmosphere that the music wants to communicate. People that listen only mp3 stuff are assholes!
I must say that I really like the bands, which develop some historical or mythological themes in their lyrics. Often it is more interesting to read something like this, for example about IIWW, than another useless satanic crap… What do you think? Would you imagine Profanal to write about the Ancient Rome for instance or the name of the band puts you in narrower box, so you just must concentrate on… well, profanations hehe?
I don't think so... We like history but we will never write on Ancient Rome as a concept! I think that it's not easy to write this kind of lyrics in smart and great way. The risk is to appear a little trivial...
Would you say that Profanal has its own style, within this old school death metal genre? I’m asking this, because obviously you’re clearly influenced by the classic Swedish death metal scene, but to some – like myself – originality has never really been a key factor why I like this band and their music or why not… So, what you say – do you try to be original and different, or you just want to play what you like and feel passion for? And if so, how would you recommend Profanal to those, who have never heard your band before? Why would they have to pick up “Black Chaos” from the flood of similar old school death metal releases?
We are not interested to experiment anything! We feel that Death Metal old school is the right way for us. Profanal play Death Metal in the "old” way, take it or leave it! We don't make business with our music, we play just for passion! Of course it's important to try to find new solutions, for example in the sound, to create a personal style. I think that in "Black Chaos", and especially in “Rotten bodies”, the sound of guitar is "Swedish" for sure, but more obscure, that reminds me the "Finnish" sound. I believe that we have a personal way to play this kind of Death Metal; it's different from other bands with "Swedish" sounds, for example Undead Creep or Graveyard from Spain.
Surely it is less melodic and more obscure, I agree. One of my favourite songs from the CD is “The Bright Light of Death”. Definitely, I love the riffing in it and that strong melodic accent, right from the classic Swedish death metal records. How did it happen a song like that have been created and why did it end up to be an instrumental?
When I start to write a song I don't know what will be its end. The first part was born like an overture. I tried some solutions but we have thought that it was perfect without the voice. I love this song of course and I'm glad that you appreciate it because it's the reflection of one part of me, inspired by bands like Paradise Lost or Katatonia. We decided to put it in the end because we didn’t want to break the fury of the album.
Recently more and more old bands come back from the grave, to play some shows or to record new music. We’re expecting new Carcass LP this year for instance and I just learned that bands like Ceremonial Oath and many more are also coming back. What do you think about all this madness? I stay very skeptic about most of those come backs, although I don’t deny that new LPs from Desultory, Asphyx, Interment, to mention these few, have crushed me badly. Definitely I love those works! But I also respect Bolt Thrower, for not putting out new album, as they just say that they feel it may be impossible yet to make a better LP than “Those Once Loyal”… respect!
...now this is the time of revival. In the past, extreme Metal was hard to find. There were only fanzines, not so easy to find them. Now, with internet, it's more easy to know this kind of Metal and a lot of bands try to ride this "new" wave making a reunion. Some bands do this in genuine way and others only to make a business cause they don't have Death Metal mentality anymore.
Apart from Profanal and Undead Creep, as well as Horrid, is there anything interesting going on in the Italy, speaking of death metal? Oh, I must say that I also like Hour of Penance quite a lot, their last CD is killer.
In Italy, there are a lot of good bands that play Death metal in the right way! And I can say it because we have shared the stage with these bands and we know them! So I can suggest to listening bands like Necro (that play a Death Metal like Autopsy, Carcass, Impetigo), Blood of Seklusion (last album is awesome) and Hateful (with a sound like Morbid Angel), Slowly Suffering (listen to the demo “Condamned to Suffering”, a masterpiece!), Sickening (that play Death in a Brutal way) and then Voids of Vomit, Imposer, Blasphemous Noise Torment, Blasphemophagher and Eroded.
I’ve seen that some of you play in band called Kaula. What is this band like?
Kaula is a side project of Pietro Riparbelli (http://www.pt-r.com/), an artist and musician that play noise/drone and dark ambient. He lives here and one day he offered us to make a Black Metal album with experimental parts of Pietro. The album was released by Doomentia Records, last year. It was a good experience for us. I have never played Black Metal before, especially in this way ... I suggest to listen it! It’s a very particular work and mystical.
Would you mind saying something about the nearest plans of Profanal? Are you going to play some gigs now, promote the album somehow, or maybe you’ll get another EP or something else soon? Please let me know. I also wonder if the vinyl version of “Black Chaos” is going to crush the analogue players??
The album will be promoted with gigs. We have already played in Prato, Parma end Rome. In a few weeks, it will be announced a mini-tour in Europe, that will touch Germany, Holland, Belgium and France. We are working on the last details. Then we will be in Italy again on April the 13th in Bologna for Into the Void Festival. We are writing new killer songs and the next projects maybe it will be a 7" single or a split, we don't know yet... Vinyl version of "Black Chaos" will be out soon by Iron Tyrant Records.
How do you actually imagine the next full length release from Profanal? I’m asking this, cause back 20 years ago quite many death metal bands, after one or two albums, completely changed their styles… I can mention many such bands, for instance Xysma, Convulse, Amorphis, Disgrace (all from Finland), Tiamat, Wombbath, Entombed (from Sweden) and from other countries bands like Paradise Lost, Gorefest… I wonder if the same will happen now, with so many new old styled death metal bands. Why, do you think, they all have been changing their music back then? What was the reason for that? Lack of motivation to play classic death metal, feeling bored with this or maybe they all just lost their passion from the youth? Did you like for instance all that death’n’roll, which Convulse, Xysma, Entombed, etc have developed?
People that played Death Metal in a teen age sometimes changed their taste in the years after. Others want to earn money and they try to live playing more popular music. It's a choice in life. The next Profanal album will be Death Metal as ever, 100% no compromises! I like that when someone think about Profanal band, he thinks exclusively Death Metal!! .
OK, let’s finish here. I hope you’ve enjoyed my questions and I also hope to hear more killer tunes from Profanal soon!!!!!!!! Take care!
Thanks for the interview Martin. Death Metal motherfuckers can find us on Facebook, Myspace, Youtube or see you all in the graveyard!
We’ll see you there, I’m sure, I just must remember to take my shovel, so we can dig out some nice fresh corpse and have a feast! Or will the corpse have a feast on us…? Who can say? Take care!