Hi Giulia! Into Darkness has gone through several lineup changes over the years. How has this affected the band’s sound and style? Do you feel that each iteration of the band has had its own unique sound?
Hi Stanley! First, many thanks to you and the whole Antichrist zine staff for this occasion. This means a lot to us. I don’t think the lineup changes affected the band’s sound or songwriting in any way. Of course, good ideas from the people you play with should be always valued, but if you’re well focused into what you really want to do, songwriting, lyrics, themes and visuals will be coherent with yourself and what you’re working on.
You mention in your bio that Into Darkness was originally formed with no serious purposes beside having fun. How has the band’s approach to writing and performing music changed since then?
Well, we started to play to have fun, but it wasn’t really a joke. I already played in a band before Into Darkness, but I really wanted to play Death Metal cause it has always been my daily bread since I was a young girl. I also tried to raise an all-female band – like Mythic and Derketa! – but I immediately realised it couldn’t be a good idea. Well, after we (me and Norr, ex-guitar) ended the first tracks and as AnguiciouS (ex-drummer) joined the band, it was clear we would enter the studios to record a demo. Since that moment, when the first line-up was complete and the music started to take shape, I was that much involved into the band that I remember my only thoughts were to prepare the best promos I could, to find that riff you will never forget, to write to this or to that fanzine for a review, to plan our first gig … and to be honest, today is more or less the same! And I am lucky to be with people that really care about music, love music and make their best for the band.
Your latest release, the Cassini-Huygens EP, was recorded with a new lineup borrowed from Extirpation and Thulsa Doom. How did you find these new members, and how did their contributions shape the EP?
They’re all longtime friends of mine. I knew them since we were nothing more than kids ! Especially with Santo, the drummer, we know each other since we were 12 or 13! He was living in Rome at that time, later he moved to Milano for work. Eros (guitar) and Darak (bass) are running Extirpation since we were 15 or something similar, at that time I was playing in Sign of Evil, a band inspired by Venom, early Bulldozer, Motorhead, with their current guitarist behind the drums. We played once together in Padua, and it was common to see each other at gigs. To be short, me and Eros joined a Santo’s project called Araphel, an epic black metal act in the vein of the old 90’s Greek bands. Some months later, I started to play with another guy behind the drums – Silvio – writing new stuff for Into Darkness, and in a few months Eros was in. I was waiting for the right moment for Darak to join the band at the bass and backing vocals, we often talked about that. I was not satisfied 100% by the drummer, but I have to say he is a person that I deeply respect, he’s a friend. He used to play in an old band from Italy called Ras Algethi, one of the first black/doom acts in Italy back in the 90’s. But our vision of music didn’t match, so I reputed wise to put an end to this collaboration. Santo joined the band, and Darak too.
The thing I like the most with the new line-up is that even if the guys accept that this band depends on me – songwriting, lyrics, concepts, visuals – they’re able to give me new great inputs when we work on the riffing, or give an explained preference when I have a doubt on something. We all come from different backgrounds in music, or better, in the music we listen to. And not only! We all have always played in a band seriously, even if in an underground contest. I really admire everyone of them for their attitude to music, and I deeply love them as friends.
How important is it for you to maintain relationships with the people you work with in the music industry?
I think that that kind of relationship should be kept alive, always. If someone is gonna release your work, this means that he likes it. This is one of the main reason for which most of the Into Darkness stuff was released through Unholy Domain Records, and I want to thank for the awesome job, now and in the past years. But not only! Bands we played with, people that has always supported Into Darkness, fanzines, webzines … and the same from us, of course. But not for givin’ something back: what we all have in common is an unconditional love for music, and we all feel that we’re going in the same direction. That’s the true meaning of the Underground spirit! I am still in touch with people that I knew through the band for years, and even if we wrote to each other once a year, it’s the same emotion of receiving that mail for the first time.
Into Darkness has played at various festivals and shows over the years, including Killtown. What has been your favorite live performance to date, and why?
The last one for sure. We had rehearsal once or twice a week to enter the studios and then to play live, so we were fully charged for that show. I never said that about an Into Darkness performance, but we were awesome. It was a two day festival owned by Terror From Hell Records that took place near Milano, on 10 and 11 March of this year. It was truly underground. Big names such as Death Strike and Necrodeath played there, and old ones more underground like Nihili Locus… the cult doom metal band Black Oath, Cemetary Fog’s last show and Asphodelus … well, two days I’ll never forget. It was a jump in the past!
How do you typically come up with ideas for riffs and lyrics, and how do you flesh them out into full songs?
New riffs usually come to my mind during the day, at work. During the travel to go work I always listen to music, of course. I don’t know if I get inspired by something I’ve been listening to in particular, but it is quite common I keep on thinking about very cool riffs during the day – and of course, I’m lucky if I remember at least the half when I get back home. Then, when I go home, I just play and record them on my phone, especially if it is something I fear not remembering, and later, when I have more time to dedicate to that, I build up the song. But there are some riffs that I keep on thinking about for days, weeks, someones even for years. This one is the case of “Crossing the Asteroid Belt” from the last EP “Cassini- Huygens”. I am not joking if I say I had those riffs in my mind for five years more or less.
Your music often explores dark and bleak themes. How do you personally approach these themes in your music, and what draws you to them as a songwriter?
I am – we are! – led only by the passion for music, so I only care that what I hear from the amplifier is cool enough to be something I would listen to. To be honest, I don’t give relevance to lyrics until songs aren’t ready… then I start writing lyrics!
From your point of view, what can the study of the universe and its vastness teach us about the nature of our existence and the meaning of life?
I choose to not take a part in this topic. When I was younger, I often asked myself similar questions, and I can assure you that if I were 18 more or less my answer would have been really different. Just knowing that human kind is a drop in the ocean should make us think, but I’m not saying that a unique point of view could be the right one. I faced this topic so much times in my life that now I just appreciate any single moment that captures me in this chaotic existence. It’s always like breathing for the first time. I feel very small to tell you “in my opinion …”, so let’s do it in another way: if you try to look at yourself a bit less than you usually do, and to take a look around you, maybe you’ll find that meaning of life you were searching for!
Is there a purpose or design to the cosmos, or is it simply a chaotic and random system? What is our place in it?
I don’t have an opinion about that. I believe in facts, so I’m sitting here to enjoy the show!
In the face of natural disasters and catastrophes, how do we reconcile the fragility and vulnerability of human life with the seeming indifference of the universe?
There’s nothing to do about that. Good intentions will remain just good intentions, unless they’ll start to be facts. We’re a drop in the ocean. The Earth has been doomed by the human race, the only hope is that the next human race – according to our acts during our existence – won’t be able to drive spaceships easily as we drive cars now.
What is the role of mystery and the unknown in our lives? Is it something to be feared or embraced, and how does it affect our perception of the world around us?
In my life, mystery and unknown have not that role. I don’t fear anything mysterious and “bigger” than human being. I fear not to waking up on time, spending more money than I want, to see a spider on the floor. That kind of “unknown” as I am personally interpreting it, attracts and fascinates me, and for that kind of unknown I am talking about the Universe of course. I never played many video games in my life, but I was really into one called Elite: Dangerous. A sort of space flight simulator but really complex. Anyway, you cannot imagine how many times I desired to live on my own ship and travel by hyper jump through stellar systems…
Into Darkness has been active since 2011, but has gone through various periods of inactivity due to lineup changes and other factors. How do you stay motivated to keep making music during these periods, and what keeps you going as an artist?
Passion for music itself first, and then because I think my music is good in the end, as everyone that use to have a band thinks, I guess. Or because, as Pentacle says, for I am… the chaos, the dawn… of destruction!!! UGH!!!
How do you balance creative control with collaboration and input from other band members?
I write everything, lyrics and music, but I need inputs and approval from the guys. They know me very well. Unless there are things that I really want to be played in a certain way, I am open to good suggestions. And I need good suggestions!!! It’s really hard for me to let other people to introduce something in Into Darkness. But I’m working on myself… to have fresh, new, valid riffs and ideas everytime we rehearse. But I have to accept that I cannot do all by myself, or I’d call session musicians to play!
The band name, Into Darkness, suggests a certain mood and atmosphere. How important is creating a specific atmosphere in your music, and how do you achieve it?
It is important for sure. The name of the band has a good compromise between Death Metal/Doom Death Metal that is my daily bread and the themes behind the band. It comes from Winter’s “Into Darkness”. But you know, Universe is a really dark place… Talking about music, my only purpose is to be inspired by my favourites death metal bands – dutch bands for the most – and that is the only thing I care about. Lyrics come later. I don’t know really how atmosphere come then, matching music and lyrics, but with the last EP “Cassini – Huygens” I am convinced you’ll enjoy an awesome trip … did you like the NASA sound extracts?
Your music has been well-received by the underground scene. How do you feel about the current state of the underground metal scene, and where do you see it going in the future?
Once again, I don’t have an opinion about that. I use to collect records – only Cds – and only a little part of them are very recent records. It’s just because I don’t have enough money or enough time to dedicate to everything. I only keep on doing as I have always did: listening to good music, buying records, going to gigs, keep on playing, and sharing this passion with people like me. I don’t know where we’re going… but we will be there!
You played guitars with a band that asked you to leave a few days before the recording of a full-length album. How did you handle that situation, and what did you learn from it?
I don’t know how you know about Enoch, but yes, they asked me to leave before the new full length recording. The fact is that I REALLY wanted to record the album, I worked hard for more or less 8 years with Enoch, and we never entered the studios. I had nothing personal with them, but I was quite frustrated for the things going that slow and I told to the guys I wanted to quit after the recordings. They were upset, and made me choose if I wanted to stay and enter the studios or if I wanted to leave and don’t record anything. I made the right choice in the end, cause I was more focused on the new Into Darkness stuff. What did I learn? That one should have to do with people that share your same vision of music, with more or less your same ability in playing, and to be clear about intentions since the beginning, without fear of hurting anyone. It’s music, it’s passion, it’s not a joke!
What are your plans for the future of Into Darkness? Any upcoming releases or shows that you can tell us about? Thank you!
We’re currently working on new stuff, so expect a new release in less than one year from now! Then, there are some upcoming gigs: the next one is here in Italy, with our partners in crime from Spain Apparition, and mighty death metal masters PENTACLE from the Netherlands!
Thank you Stanley for your time and this opportunity, and thanks to everyone that supports us, in a way or another.
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