THE SHIVER - A NEW HORIZON - REALITY
A young-ish band from Italy, The Shiver, has recently issued an album called A New Horizon through Reality Entertainment which, while receiving praise from our own Sheila, did leave some reservation in the minds of the writer. That is why Ali “The Metallian” accepted the offer for an interview when the band’s publicist wondered about the possibility of speaking with the group’s singer Faith. - 18.01.2010
FAITH: Nice to meet you!
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Good evening.
FAITH: I read your review of our album and I was really happy that the reviewer liked our music, but I found some phrases funny...
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Faith, I want to get to the band and find out more about your story in a moment, but you comment that you had seen the Metallian review and found some phrases 'funny. What did you mean by that?
FAITH: I was reading the first lines and if I were a reader... and was not myself in the band... I would think about a major band, like a fake one, with a manager behind it just like one of the MTV bands and this is funny - in a positive way - because I can assure you here it's all real. We, me and Finch, are working hard to build this project and it's so hard to go on, but we're here, fighting to spread our music around.
In the same line of the review it was written that we didn’t want the people to know we're Italian and that is funny too. We are not really proud about our Italian background or Italian music or music philosophy as here it's all about pop. There is no space here for new bands or for the rock music. As you can see Lacuna Coil had to go abroad to work and they are great musicians, here or there! So, we're not proud about the music world here, but we never meant to hide our nationality.
Anyway, It would be a pleasure for me if a listener would think that I am American or English as if my pronunciation is not so bad
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: I understand, but you have to admit that your biography and disc omit your country of origin, which 'smells' of an attempt to mask the country of origin.
FAITH: Right! Well, the album is recorded in Italy with Italian musicians and the bio... its true, maybe we could add something like "all started in Rome,” but we feel like we're working to spread our music abroad and not only here in Italy. That's why I’ve always sung in English and during our gigs abroad we can see that people appreciate a lot our songs there.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Is it a good guess that your real names are not Finch and Faith? If so, why did you pick those anglicized names?
FAITH: Well, Finch the drum player has always been Finch since I met him. He's named after the guy in the film American Pie, which had great success here! It seems like a college thing.
My real name is Federica and everyone calls me Fede. which is the Italian for 'Faith.' Additionally, I 've always admired Faith & Devotion from Depeche Mode and Faith, The Cure's Album so it has a lot of meanings! But most importantly we have Faith in our actions and in what we can build.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: What is Finch's civilian name?
FAITH: It is Francesco.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Is the band really the two of you or is there more to it than that i.e. is everyone else sessioning?
FAITH: The Shiver is only me and Finch, but we have session players for the recording sessions and for the live gigs. In the beginning we were four guys, but we were always changing the line-up. It seems as if when you ask a band-mate to play every week and regard the band as a serious project with a tour and everything he just gets afraid and gives up! By the way, 'in the beginning' is six years ago.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Our society is characterized by a lack of commitment. 'Friends' we don't know on Facebook, 'connections' we do not recognize on MySpace, everyone cheating on their friend or spouse, et cetra. So why should this be any different?
FAITH: Mmm what do you mean by "commitment"?
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Serious relationships. People who join bands for a week, people who are our 'friends' but will never be there for you, marriage vows that are ignored like humanity on the battlefield.
FAITH: Yeah, you're right, but this is music, it should be art and, I thought that if we're building a project we go till the end. But I'm an idealist
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Let's go back to the band's formation. You said it's been six years. The band’s biography puts the founding date at 2005. Can you reconcile?
FAITH: The Shiver has been playing since 2005, but the same project had another name before so I am always wrong when considering it from the beginning.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: What was the name initially and why was it changed?
FAITH: The name was The Evil's Flowers and it was me and three other guys. Finch joined later when I had to change the drum player and after a few months the other two guys gave up so we decided to change the name. The old name sounded really bad. The Shiver makes more sense and it's easier to remember.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Did The Evil's Flowers release anything?
FAITH: No. Our first demo was Shade's Changing. It came after we won a local competition that was like a 'battle of the bands' and the first prize was recording an album. It was so cool for us, almost incredible, but now we can admit that the studio was awful and the technical stuff, well, terrible! It was a man that set up some PCs in his garage and recorded things. We needed that Demo to start the journey though.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Funny. Let's talk about your new CD. When was it recorded and how was it financed? Was there a label budget?
FAITH: No. we worked for one year and a half to earn the money to record it and it was so expensive for us, but the quality is very high so it's cool. I started to write the songs in the summer of 2008. We entered the studio last year, no, between December 2008 and January 2009 so two months. We found the producer who is a great man and a musician and we found a guitar player and we rented all the instruments in Florence. We spent something like 12,500 Euros to cover all the costs including the accommodation in the studio. Fuck, I am still having nightmares about all the money. We found the label later. Initially, no one wanted to bet on a new band.
For the next album we want to ask the labels to share the costs with us as we really want a major label quality album and therefore it will be really expensive. It seems like everything has a really high cost in the music world and doing all by ourselves was really tough.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: So which label is handling things in Europe now and how did you find Reality Entertainment down in the US of A?
FAITH: The European Label is Dreamcell11 that is a sub-label of Aural Music, a fine independent label that works with underground bands and mostly metal. I already know many of the artists so I was really happy to sign with them. We uploaded the new album on the Internet and send the files to labels around the world to find out if there was anyone interested and we found Reality. Mr. Croyle, the boss, was really interested and we decided to sign with him. It is hard to find a serious label nowadays most of them are just trying to steal your money. Reality has already released the album on Internet. It's everywhere, it's great. Additionally, there is a promoter that's helping us in the USA so next step is a tour in the US. We're still working on it, but I cant wait.
Aural Music has yet to release the physical CD. We're waiting... maybe in March!
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: So, the only CD version is through Reality Entertainment in the US?
FAITH: No, the European CD will be released soon. These are bureaucratic times.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: How do you know the people at Aural Music?
FAITH: We worked with our agency and manager to propose the CD to them. My manager was already in touch with the boss of Aural and he agreed to release The Shiver.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Let's talk about the album. What is A New Horizon?
FAITH: It's our new beginning. It gives an idea of our style. For now it's only a wave, an influence that you can sense behind every song, but on the new album we will present a new feature. We didn’t want to dare too much for this first big release. It’s a big release for us because the debut album, Inside, was not so good. It was too deep into the gothic channel and now we want to do more.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: In that case, how would you describe your musical style?
FAITH: Our foundation is the distorted guitar riffs, then add open and melodic refrains, synthesizers and electronic arrangements and very melodic voices. That's us. In our new work the electronic stuff will get bigger and the voice will be more experimental.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Are you moving away from a more prevalent gothic sound?
FAITH: Yes, that is what we want. I’ve grown up musically with the gothic background and the darkwave/postpunk/'80s ambient style. Then I had metal influences and with a female voice I started to play gothic music, but now we're looking more to the rock and synth rock experience. The musical world is changing and to do something you have to say new things. We're trying to meld some genres and add our personal features like voice and synth and the melodic scales that I use. Young bands have to experiment. I don’t know if that’s the correct word really. It’s the only way to evolve the music.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: How relevant do you see yourself to heavy metal fans now or in the future?
FAITH: I always see old-school metal fans at our gigs and they love the harder songs and I love to see them head banging. But metal is always closed-minded with its guitars. They don’t like new styles. They just want Metallica... or beautiful women - possibly half-nude! I want to go on in my own way and it will be great if they continue to follow us. I hope to open some minds, but its possible that we're going to lose some old-school metal fans. Still, I am sure that there are many shades in metal and if you keep a guitar screaming they'll remain interested. Be sure that we will always keep hard guitar riffing in the new songs.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Isn't beautiful half-nude women a feature of pop music? OK, I'll take back the 'beautiful' part.
FAITH: Aaaahhh... OK. It’s true but many metal fans are really... anti-feminist. They think a woman has to stay at home and cook.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: There can be no anti-feminism without women who co-operate. If no woman stays at home to cook or if no woman gets half-nude, as you put it, there will be no place for these types you described. Is that a fair comment?
FAITH: Yes. It’s really... real! I have met many stupid girls that make me the most anti-feminist person sometime. Anyway, I don’t like this difference between men and women. We are just persons and individual entities and souls.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: On another slant, how much of an Evanescence influence do you reckon you have?
FAITH: Yes, many people tell me about this, but trust me when I say that I only know their hit songs and singles. I have never heard a whole album. I like the voice, which is technically almost perfect, but its like too practised, worked. The singer’s talent is great. They brought this new genre called commercial gothic to light and so thanks to them.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Can I ask you how you have obtained international touring opportunities without a label support?
FAITH: What can I say? Thanks to the Internet. We want to make it in any way possible and me and Finch are always searching for new contacts on the internet. Thank goodness it's useful. We use email, phone calls and we found good agencies and promoters. As I said, we don’t have someone working for us. We like to do the hard job and send a thousand e-mails to find new fans, friends sometimes and co-workers. If it's possible I would like to thank all the great people that help us. Of course, sometimes we find shit people that are just pretending to help us, but by now we are able to recognize this stupid people and tell them to fuck off before they stole our money.
For example, on the last tour we were working with a UK agency and two months before the tour this man, Mike, started to not answer my e-mails. I contacted another promoter and worked with him to find gigs because we wanted to go on tour and we would not skip a thing like that for a stupid man. After some time passed many other bands told me that this Mike had disappeared. An important thing is that we love to know and collaborate with other bands.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: What was the name of this agency?
FAITH: The name was... damn I cant remember wait... OK I remember, but I don’t know if you can publish it”¦ it was Elite tour booking. I am for the philosophy that one should join forces and play together.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Let's move in a different direction, namely your lyrics. Is there any messages or point-of-view embedded in them?
FAITH: I am trying to improve my lyrics. On this album I have some visionary stories like on In Obscurity or Feel Tomorrow's Light. I have The Fragile Sound that is like our manifesto. Can I use this word? I have written songs about human relationships like Empty People Empty Words and No Longer Here, which is more intimate. So I am trying to give more sense to them. Before it was just a matter of finding words to express the music’s emotions. Now it's 'let them live with their own energy' and music will help the meaning. It's always a part of how much you can communicate to the listener and how many emotions will he or she feel while listening.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: What is In Obscurity about?
FAITH: It tells the story of a creature that lives alone under the ground. There was an '80s film, a horror trash, with a story like that. This creature lives there alone and its terribly bad, but then he met someone that is near to him like someone to fight for a girl to give his heart to and he knew he'll never be alone. It would be great for a video. We're shooting for The Fragile Sound instead. Love can save anyone.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: So are you financing a video?
FAITH: Yes, we just need the time to earn the budget! We already talked with a young director who is like a little genius. We want a professional video to send it to TV stations. Will they show it? That is the big question.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Do you have any interest in politics?
FAITH: I have my ideas but I've never gotten involved. Are you guys abroad laughing at our stupid prime minister? It would be right! He's a thief. He's bringing Italy down. The most depressing thing is that Italians voted for him. It’s true. I don’t know why. Beyond his embarrassing personal behaviour, he's implicated with the mafia and he's making laws for his own interest. For example he's involved in many many legal difficulties and he made a law that says the government chief cannot be accused! Italian finances are collapsing and he's making the rich money, while the medium people and workers cannot eat.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Maybe he thinks he's the prime minister of Afghanistan?
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: He says the other 30% are plotting against him. He may have persecution complex.
FAITH: If I dare to tell people that the prime minister is really a thief they will answer that it is not true. Many people believe him. It is like brainwashed everyone. He also cut all the financing for arts. Italy is becoming a place for stupid people that watch Big Brother, wears clothes in the same way and follow only fashion trends. It is really bad.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Of course, he cut the arts’ financing... something has to pay for the tax cuts of the rich.
FAITH: Yeah, exactly. There is no meritocracy.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: I am laughing at the Italians and a lack of fashion comment. What's next? Americans and no hamburgers?
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: On a different topic, why do Italians ride scooters so much
FAITH: Because it's useful! You have to understand that in our cities the streets are not large at all and sometimes the traffic breaks down and you can’t even move. With a scooter it's more simple because you can go through a smaller space.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Good explanation and while I am on a roll, why do men keep whistling at women as they walk or drive by? Is it because Italian men are candid and honest?
FAITH: No clues at aaaallll. Italian men are terrible liars! I don’t know why they do that really. Italian men are known for being good lovers and having many many women and I can say it is not so true.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Have you watched Divorce Italian Style?
FAITH: Uhm no. Maybe in Italian it has a different name.
FAITH: Which actors play in it?
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Marcello Mastrianni.
FAITH: Ah! That one! So old. That was the great cinema. I think I have seen it a lot of time ago. Great actors. Now our cinema is not so High, but there are still some great directors. People are just confused with the mess of 'telenovelas.'
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Do you eat Polenta?
FAITH: Polenta?? Yeah, but it's not a typical dish for Central Italy where I am from. It's from the north, but it's great. How do you know about it? Have you ever eaten it? Whenever you want to have a historical trip in Roma just drop me a line, OK? I'll show you some great places. And Florence, too, is Fantastic! We recorded our debut album in a studio in the Centre of Florence during Christmastime and it was amazing..
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Before we go there is time for a commercial break. Why should our readers look into The Shiver and buy your album?
FAITH: Because we're a new reality, a sincere band made on our own terms, trying to propose its own style and our songs are beautiful... I hope. I hope that there is a reason that when we play live the venues are always full of people and many of them buy our stuff.
We've got two news items. First, we are recording an Acoustic EP with five songs. We've played many acoustic shows and it's working well. The sound is cool and people like it. We're still thinking about the title. We're also shooting a new official video for the song The Fragile Sound. It will be simple and elegant. We hope to announce new tours in Europe and US soon. Be patient guys.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Thanks for your time and the news.
FAITH: Of course. I thank you for your time and professionalism. Many compliments to your website. Bye.
The Shiver’s official website is at www.theshiver.net. The Italians also maintain a page at www.myspace.com/theshiverband.
If you enjoyed this, read The Gathering