What was the inspiration behind transitioning from Italian to English lyrics in your music? And what are the main differences between “Metempsychosis” and your previous album, “Tutti i Colori del Buio”?
Our first record was definitely a “coming of age” album in which we tried to blend some sound modalities typical of the politically engaged Italian progressive scene of the 70s with a personal approach between alternative rock, grunge and doom metal.
This way, Italian language allowed us to work on the text as a very poetic, very deep and lyrical part of the songs but at the same time without synthesis, often redundant and didactic. With the elaboration of the new material for “Metempsychosis” – which is also a concept as well as our first “Tutti i Colori del Buio” – we have instead tried to dry, to synthesize our message and leave even more space to the instrumental component and the free interpretation by the listener, without providing specific linguistic points of reference. Now, for us English is not only more musical but also undoubtedly more cryptical and fascinating.
Can you give us some insights into the creative process behind “Metempsychosis”? What was the approach to songwriting for the tracks on “Metempsychosis”?
Like the word itself and the philosophical concept it carries on, from the Orphic cults and the Upaniṣads to modern philosophy, “Metempsychosis” is understood as the transmigration of the soul, especially its reincarnation after death. The term comes from ancient Greek philosophy, and has been re-contextualized by modern philosophers such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Kurt Gödel and Nietzsche. We understood it in a less ascetic, more human way and in a more “sonical” view. Because unintentionally we worked on the arrangements in a similar way, on the circularity and fusion of each musical element into the next one.
I (Antonio: voice, guitar and bass) brought to the rehearsal room a series of long and more or less structured demos, from there we started arranging songs following some of the sound cells that convinced us the most, discarding parts and rearranging others that instead seemed more appropriate for us. In a continuous process of exchange, enrichment of parts and subtraction of others, favoring the proposition of each instrument from time to time to see where it takes us. This is the reason for the title “Metempsychosis”, in its strict sense of transferring meaning from one to the other. Each of us had the feeling of being in complete harmony with the other, a sort of even telepathic ability to transform the sound without having to explain and bend it from time to time to the characteristics of each of us, just with our instruments.
How would you describe the overall sound and style of “Metempsychosis”?
The new songs have lost a lot of the traditional song-form which was rather structured in “Tutti i Colori del Buio”.
“Metempsychosis” is a journey made up of six long stages and an interlude. We like to think of it as the sound counterpart of a visual and imaginative journey into the psychic space. From a strictly musical point of view we have looked a lot at certain harmonic juxtaposition typical of Free Jazz, or of the broader and more experimental Krautrock, and electronic Kosmische Muzik layers, always trying to avoid the classic verse-chorus structures. We really like the result, this record is a very important piece of our sound research. There are many “different” elements compared to traditional rock but which are typical of the ‘progressive’ language. We have inserted various anomalous musical instruments such as the koto, a Japanese zither with a very particular timbre and which we have used to obtain a certain type of polyphony on “Samat”, then the mellotron on “Kteis”, the organ on “Laguna” and the acoustic piano that is the protagonist for the entire title track, as well as the wave drum in several drum section.
We like the idea of experimenting at 360 degrees without precluding anything in terms of research or musical genres.
Could you walk us through the recording process of “Metempsychosis”?
We were lucky enough to be able to record the new album at Bloom Recording Studios, a crazy beautiful place where huge names in Italian music have recorded such as ‘The Maestro’ Ennio Morricone, Zucchero Fornaciari, Alan Parsons, Nicola Piovani and Negrita, to name a few. Under the aegis of Fabrizio Ludovici and with the technical assistance of Francesco Delogu and Giuseppe Orlando we set up the recordings of all the songs in a multi-track “live recording”, managing each single instrument in different rooms but performing all the songs live and all together, being able to see and hear each other from different sound rooms. It was an incredible experience, we managed to capture the “sacred fire” of the live performance and our interplay as a trio, which is a fundamental part of our sound, without compromising anything on the recording quality and the final sound result. The Bloom (nomen omen) is a beautiful studio that has allowed us to reach our full potential.
How do you balance experimentalism with accessibility in your music?
We have never really thought about accessibility, just as experimentalism is not premeditated. We are lucky, we have had a perfect understanding and to this day we have never had to accept compromises for our music. We play what we are in total freedom of expression and composition. If this can be “experimental” for some or “accessible” for others, so much the better, for us it is simply very natural. We’ve been always for good driving, cinematic, long form music.
How does psychedelic and krautrock music influence your sound?
Very, very much actually. I personally grew up with the music of composers like Klaus Schulze, Edgar Froese, Conrad Schnitzler, and then the experimental stuff of bands like Tangerine Dream, Neu!, Faust, Amon Duul II, Can and Ashra Tempel. Pierpaolo (guitar) and Giorgio (drums) played together in high school in a cover band of the first experimental Pink Floyd. So our union was natural, just as common listening allowed us to immediately speak a single musical language. NAUTHA feels and resonates a lot from these first youthful listenings, it is our great treasure of kaleidoscopic sounds, and from that imprinting we are now certain that we have created something personal and different, essentially ours.
Musically we want to create a magnifying glass towards sonic spaces untethered from the traditional rock song form, which allow us to explore sounds and sensations instead of easy structures and choruses.
What are some of the key themes or concepts that you explore in your music?
The absolute mastery of the psyche over the body, and the affections over material reality. Life, experiences, memories, and hopes. Condensed in the notes and lyrics we always try to talk about ourselves and the world around us. This is the strongest inspiration. Artistic creation seems to us to be the maximum expression of mankind and the three of us would be truly different if we didn’t have our own instruments and the ideas that come from them. Through this different lens that is Music as an approach and representation of the things of the world, we would like the listener to make his own image of our songs, get a sensation, an emotional state, and therefore a thought. In a certain way, our inspiration is Music itself and the images that we can derive from it and give to others.
How does your live performance compare to your recorded material?
It’s incredible looking back on it today but the last concert was in Rome in January 2020, at the Alvarado (a historic place that has always hosted us with pleasure and that reminds us of a small roman ‘Cavern Club’). We had other gigs planned in the following months but the disaster of the pandemic and lockdown years blocked everything. It was an experience that tested us as a collective and as a band but we knew how to make the most by taking advantage of it and preparing all the new material which then merged into the new album “Metempsychosis”. It reflects a lot of the sense of restlessness, the profound transformation, and a “year zero vibe” that this historical period has now marked for everyone. “Metempsychosis” is a complex album full of sonic facets. We would like to get back on track in a great way, so we are taking some extra time to prepare a new live set with the addition of a new live member in the band that gives us support and helps us to perform the songs at their full sonic potential. We’ll be back on stage with some surprises.
Who are some of your main musical influences?
From the beginning, we have had an understanding and a very strong bond both as musicians and as friends in life, and in NAUTHA we have been able to totally pour out the passion for a certain type of progressive rock/metal and psychedelia that has its roots in the 70s (King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Peter Gabriel’s Genesis) but there is no doubt that today we are interested in the more sensual, dark and also lyrical aspect of these genres. Bands like Opeth, Devin Townsend, Mastodon, Enslaved, Katatonia, and Motorpsycho, but also the esoteric mysticism of bands like Tool and A Perfect Circle. In our free time, however, we also have different stories and tastes. When I don’t play NAUTHA I’m a big fan of black metal and death metal and extreme music in general. Giorgio listens to a lot of new ‘contemporary classic’ electronic and ambient music, and Pierpaolo is a huge fan of the 90s grunge scene. All elements and tastes that we share with each other. Basically, we always try to flow our listening into ideas for something that is musically organic for us and “resounds” with our passions.
What are your thoughts on the future evolution of the music industry? What was the experience like of working with Argonauta Records?
We are rather disillusioned on the subject, the word itself “industry” implies that has already become a shitshow for most of the time. As an independent band, we produced the first album with complete autonomy, from the recording to the graphics. We also managed to create a vinyl edition through crowdfunding. If it hadn’t been for the fans and friends who have supported us from the beginning, we certainly wouldn’t be here today for this interview. We would like to thank once again all those who have contributed and supported us warmly. It is clear that artistic expression in music cannot be separated from a minimum of feedback from the outside, a participating audience that shares ideas and passions with us. We are lucky and devoted to the people who follow us. We personally took care of the promotion of the album through social channels and the sale of physical copies during live shows and through our Bandcamp page. Now the support of an independent label such as Argonauta Records, undoubtedly allows us to get in touch with other musical realities and for the new album “Metempsychosis” the possibility of having a greater distribution, reaching more people. Basically everything was safe and sound from the beginning with Gero from our label, a very deep connection of common intents. Labels like Argonauta Records are the unique realities that allow music to flourish freely without strong commercial constraints. If it seems obvious to say it is indeed extremely important, so we thank them again and again.
To what extent do visual art elements such as album cover art and music videos play a role in your overall aesthetic?
The visual and aesthetic counterpart is a very important aspect of our sound, without a doubt. For the artwork we have chosen some incredible photos shot by Pierpaolo, taken in very significant locations for him and his girlfriend who are both great astrophotography enthusiasts. They submitted us a series of beautiful shots that lent themselves particularly well to our construction of a psychic and at the same time cosmic, total, universal and unknown world. Instead, all the band photos were taken by Bianca, my girlfriend, to whom we owe the splendid backing vocals that appear in several songs and add an ethereal touch to the arrangement of the voices in “Metempsychosis”. She is also a photographer and shot the videoclip of “Cerbero” (our first single) as well as the forthcoming second video “Kata Kumbas”, to be released in the next few weeks.
We are a small-big “family” of creatives and we like to take care of everything down to the smallest detail.
What can fans anticipate from Nautha in the coming years?
We are already working on new songs for the third album but first we need to bring “Metempsychosis” live around, possibly in Italy and then who knows, abroad. We are happy to be able to experience this new set trying to involve more people in our musical world. It is a beautiful journey that we want to take collectively.
Thanks, and stay psych!
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