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March 23, 2018

Interview Under Siege

Hi, Under Siege. Greetings from Sick and Destroy team. What are you up to these days?

Hi Guys! Thank you for this interview! As you might know, we recently released our debut album, so right now we are committed to promotion! Our priority at the moment is searching for live shows and reviews. At the same time we can’t help composing new material. It’s strongest than us and we are already working on several tracks. It won’t be long before we put on something new. It’s a great moment.

Would you please introduce your band to our readers who are not aware of your band and music?

Hail metal folks, all around the world! We are Under Siege, Scandinavian death metal made in Italy! But if you do not like genre-labels, let’s just say that we play death metal spiced up with bagpipes, orchestrations, epic choirs and battle drums. The kind of music you would like to ear going to war, before a charge. Anyhow: probably the best introduction would be listening to our album: that’s our “business card”.

Give us a little insight into the formation of the band. When and how did it happen?

The band formed in the summer of 2015 when the first songs were composed by Paolo Giuliani (Vocals) and Daniele Mosca (Guitars). They immediately recognized it as a promising project and soon Under Siege became a complete formation, when Gianluca Fiorentini (Guitars), Livio Calabresi (Bass) and Marzio Monticelli (Drums) joined the band. All of them were already actively involved in the local music scene.

At what age did you guys start playing instruments? Since when are you into metal music?

We all started pretty early. We picked up our instruments when we were barely 10 or 12 years old. The place we grow up in, Palestrina just outside Rome, has a long musical tradition and the cultural environment was very fertile. It was common for teenagers to play an instrument and form bands. We all embraced the “dark side” of heavy music soon. Metal was a refreshing new horizon: it offered more expressive possibilities as well as technical challenges. It also reflected and expressed emotions treated like taboo until then; it told unspoken stories; it revealed what was hidden before. Now we all give everything for granted, including artistic freedom of expression. At the time everything was new, promising, authentic… But now we are getting nostalgic.

Under Siege recently released self-titled album. Tell us something about it. Walk us through all the tracks lyrics and meaning.

Blàr Allt Nam Bànag (the battle of Bannockburn in ancient Gaelic) was the first track we wrote down. The bagpipe intro seemed the perfect opening for the album and for our live show as well. The song celebrates one of the most important victories of the Scottish army over the English. Epic and triumphant parts are counterbalanced by slower passages through which we wanted to recreate the dramatic tension of the battle. The second song “Warrior I am” In Warrior I Am is a true hymn to the battle, which mixes folk elements and a solid, heravy sound. Time for revenge push down on the gas pedal: fast and sharp Scandinavian metal, it declares the will of vengeance born inside the ones who saw their life destroyed. Beyond the Mountains: an atmospheric, Viking, obsessive track. It is meant to warn people from unknown perils hidden and waiting for the incautious. Along with Invaders, it represent the darkest side of the album: both songs roll brutally and violently, dedicated to death metal lovers. Sotto Assedio (the Italian words for “Under Siege) is another battle hymn: our musical banner, describing the siege we all face and the rebellion against what oppress us. It resembles the most classic heavy metal and it culminate in a powerful epic chorus. The bagpipe emerges again in One to Us. This song mixes the different influencess which already showed up in the album: folk, classic heavy, melodeath. A toast to be risen and sung out loud, for everyone standing before us and to the fallen brothers, waiting for us on the otherside. Finally, the album comes to its end with Bright star of Midnight. An acoustic ballad, with harps, winds, strings and clean voices. It is the most evocative song we wrote. It echoes Blind Guardian’s works and it is almost a bonus track. A lullaby, a prayer, a spark of peace after the war.

How has been the response so far by the listeners? Have you started working on new songs already?

Most foreign people were shocked because they didn’t expect Italian guys to play Scottish bagpipes or use ancient Gaelic for their lyrics! Ahah! But the feedback has been more than satisfying so far. The album has been self produced and self-published so we are twice as prideful of the results: far above our expectations. When the album pre-sale started, the first copy we sold has been purchased in Japan. We love to find out that people enjoy our music, especially in unexpected countries.

When and where did you play your first gig? How was the experience of going live for the first time?

Our first gig took place in our city, Palestrina. We opened for an Italian stoner band, Isaak. It was not the first time on a stage for any of us. We were exalted and ready to go berserk, maybe even a little bit too much. We were surrounded by friends and all we could think about was to give ‘em a great night. We did. In spite of some uncertainties we killed it. When the bagpipes started their tune every doubt was forgotten.

What, according to you, is the secret behind band’s success?

There’s no secret recipe or formula. The first essential ingredient must be the quality of your music. You must have something to say and a great, personal way to say it. Beside that, as things stand nowadays, it’s only a matter of visibility. In this digital age of accessibility, he competition is merciless so you’ll also need to struggle to emerge. You can offer the most mind-blowing product, and you could have the potential to be a new world-scale phenomenon…. But if you are invisible it will never happen. Never. End of the story. Play great music, and find a way to become visible (in case you find a really good one, please share it with us).

Ever had an epic fail moment during a gig?

Not really. Not a huge ones at least. Occasional errors and mistakes are part of the game somehow. During our very first live show our drummer lost his headphones in the middle of a drum fill. They were important because we actually play in sync with orchestral sequences. I remember our lead singer diving into that chaos of cymbals and toms trying to recover them, while wielding his bagpipe. The whole scene was pretty fun … and his curses were particularly colorful if you get what I mean.

If asked to differentiate Under Siege from other bands in your country, how would you like to respond to it?

Maybe something that characterize us is an authentic appetite for good music. Not just our music, all of it. That’s what enriches our writing process when we work on new tracks, it push us to try new ways to express our creativity without caring about fixed genres. We seek (we try at least) the perfect song, the perfect sound in every single track. Honestly we prepare tons of tracks and we discard dozens of them. It’s not something perceivable from the outside.. but in the end, when it comes to the final result, it is what really makes the difference.

Which bands/ artists do you draw your influences from? Which are your favorite local bands?

Influences from Amon Amarth, Ensiferum, and Turisas, just to name a few, are clearly recognizable in our music. We draw inspiration from different sources in the field of viking, folk, Scandinavian, death and even classic heavy metal. Speaking about the local musical scene, there are a lot of interesting realities and it’s hard to name them all. But we can assure you there’s a lot going on, hidden in the shadows of the Italian metal underground.

How do you guys manage jobs and gigs? Also how often do you guys gathering altogether just to fun?

You really touched a nerve. Balancing between our job and the band is hard and complicated. Especially if someone in your band has awful shifts at work, at night or very early in the morning: this is a reality for three of us. Family is another complex thing to handle when you try to keep an equilibrium in your life. In the end there’s not much to say: if you got passion and you really want it, you’ll find away to play, no matter what. No excuses, no shortcuts. Sometimes you need sacrifice something else: sleep hours, meals, a night out with your girlfriend etc. This is the reason why whenever we can arrange a couple of hours to meet we always have rehearsals. If we got more time we hang out together of course. But it usually happens only once a week. Still enough to have fun, feasting drinking and being loud in different ways!

Under Siege is very promising formation. Talking of your future, 5 years from now, where do you see yourself?

Five years from now we’ll still be writing new songs and tracks, hopefully better songs. We will still be playing around, hopefully on bigger stages and in front of more people. We will still be enjoying making music, having fun, getting drunk.

Well, that’s it. Thanks a lot for your time. Speak out to all your fans and supporters.

Thank you for your interview! To all the readers: we hope you enjoy our music and we look forward to see you at one of our shows sooner or later! Bottoms up and horns in the sky! Keep supporting metal! Cheers!