How did the band come together and decide on the name Ciminero?
For Valentina it has always been a dream to sing in a band, especially after listening to Seremonia, Mansion, Jex Thoth, Blood Ceremony and so on. Back during summer / autumn of 2018, Valentina and Ciminero´s old bassist put announcements online, on the local Finnish music forum Muusikoiden.net, and that’s how the other band members were found.
The name was decided one evening when brainstorming for potential names. There are so many bands in the world: we wanted a unique name, something that doesn’t exist! Ciminero is a portmanteau of Italian words “cimitero” (cemetery) and “nero” (black). Everyone seemed ok with this choice, plus the best part is that when you look for Ciminero online, there is no other band or thing with this name.
Can you tell us about the creative process behind your new album, Shadows Digging the Grave?
We made our first album “Subterranean Awakening” very fast, it was recorded only 5 months after first rehearsals. But we weren’t definitely running out of ideas at that point, the situation was quite the opposite actually. So we just continued to work on new ideas which had more time to develop into richer arrangements compared to the first release. We also changed the line-up, so Shadows Digging the Grave has the impact of the old members and ideas plus execution of the new members.
What themes and ideas inspired the music and lyrics on Shadows Digging the Grave?
The world is our playground 🙂 We get inspiration from live shows, other forms of art, human psyche and the spiritual world. Paavo summed it up well by saying “Life in general is very inspirational”. For the lyrics, Valentina takes inspiration from feelings, psychology, traumas of people and from the spiritual / occult world.
How has the band’s Italian mysticism and Finnish heaviness influenced your sound and approach to music?
It is fun to mix two very different realities and cultures, such as the warm south Mediterranean and the cold Finland up north. Some inspiration in our music can remind of Italy with the beautiful melodies and lyrics in Italian. Finnish influences are also very strong, with heavier sounds and surely melancholic touches to them. It doesn’t hurt that it sounds catchy as well!
What are some of your biggest musical influences, both within and outside of the doom and occult rock genres?
We all have quite different preferences when it comes to music in general, but bands like Blood Ceremony, Black Sabbath, Melvins, Kyuss and Cathedral have been mentioned earlier as genre influences. Otherwise everything from death metal to rap can be inspiring for writing our own music.
How do you incorporate tarot symbolism into your music and lyrics?
Valentina: I really enjoy storytelling with tarots. You can say two/three words, meaning one card and there is a whole world behind it, with a very long description. You can also twist some words, give new names and just write your way around the meanings and cards. Then it is the duty of the listener / lyric reader to decipher the message. 😛
What role does the occult play in your music and aesthetic?
It surely is a big inspiration, for example from other artists, be it music or visual art. Our aesthetic, like our music, is not so strict to genres or trying to follow the code and look like others or sound like others. However, it feels that nowadays aesthetics and social media presence and its look seem more important than the music itself, sadly. To us, music and creativity and being your own self is more important than following a code.
How does the practice of occultism intersect with art, music, and other forms of creative expression, and what does this say about the relationship between the spiritual and the material world?
Valentina: Music and visual arts are a perfect way to creatively showcase occultism. To a certain grade, one must know oneself very well to “escape” from the doctrines we were raised into and social and religious standards of our nowadays society. It is not just about being rebellious, but also knowing what is coming after what we choose not to accept. The person then has the power to believe in the spiritual world and include it in the material world. Can they coexist, and how do they coexist in the person’s life? Some people are born to create, some people learn to create, and some people enjoy the various forms of art and occultism. To us, the more the person is true to their own beliefs, the easier it is to create something meaningful and the receiver can find itself in a certain art more than another.
In what ways does the exploration of occult themes in art and music challenge our understanding of reality and the limitations of human perception, and what philosophical implications does this have for our understanding of consciousness and the nature of existence?
Valentina: The most important part of this is that it makes people think and feel. Sometimes I get to realise, above all when I travel or see documentaries, that people are being raised / brainwashed to think or act a certain way, even for the smallest things. Or sometimes, they just don´t know better, because of lack of resources, education and society. It seems that other things do not exist. Or just people do not know of the existence of other things. Even if we are always evolving as a smart humankind, not everyone wants or can understand more of what is in front of them. So, in short, occultism is also understanding other points of view and being open minded, questioning your life and your roots (which does not mean hate them or deny them), just being aware that other ways of living exist, you can be a better self outside social/cultural rules and there is space, dimensions, forms of life, nature, spirituality (which does not include any brainwash). Art and music can help people see more, if they want. The person however has to be conscious enough to accept to see more.
How do you use your music as a means of exploring human psychology and emotions?
Valentina: When it’s dark 20 hours a day in wintery Finland there isn’t much you can do than start wondering 🙂 jokes aside, I think it is important to really know yourself, good sides and bad sides. We all have traumas in different forms and it is interesting to understand human psychology and behaviours. Even when you see pain and bad behaviour in others, you can be empathetic and figure out the person even more: we can understand why people react in a certain way, seeing how they behave when something happens, especially during a triggering episode. The aim of the lyrics is anyway a positive one, with an invitation to heal, which is not only better to you but also to others around you and the whole of humanity. Healing is first of all knowledge.
What is your favourite track on Shadows Digging the Grave, and why?
Pointing out one song as our favourite doesn’t feel like an essential thing, we really love all of them. However, “Inner Child” is probably the most meaningful one since it’s the first song that we made with the current line-up. Also lyrically, the song touches many people and is indeed a positive hymn.
What’s next for Ciminero?
There’s few gigs booked for the future, and we are trying to arrange more of them. We have also already recorded something that might be released, and the third album is also already in the writing process. It’s probably the worst cliché for ending an interview, but: Stay tuned!
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