Interview with Rhino

Interview with Rhino

- in Written interviews

What inspired your new album “Human Farm,” and how does it show Rhino’s growth?
Human Farm has a core element, but it doesn’t revolve exclusively only around it, we would say that it is more of a very personal and intimate album that mostly talks about our personal experiences and the absurd world around us.
We feel that it is, by far, our most complete and mature release yet, thanks to a meticulous process of songwriting, but also the arrangements and the sounds are exactly as we envisioned them.

How has the Italian stoner rock scene changed, and what makes it unique?
There is of course an Italian stoner rock scene, but it is very niche at this point and never developed to “trendy”, staying pretty underground, with (even very notable) exceptions here and there of course. This characteristic of the Italian stoner rock panorama has its pros and cons of course, but we are ok with it to be honest, especially because there are many valid bands populating it, each one with their own characteristics and interesting influences. Surely we never get bored over here!

What themes in “Human Farm” reflect Rhino’s journey and maturity?
Surely the record name, the title track and the artwork in particular converge into the same concept, that is the main (but not the only) of the album, that we try to summarize like this: In the last few years we noticed, more than ever, the tendency of a homologated society, we live in the extreme, and often inhuman, conditions of exasperated globalization and capitalism that are fertile soil for brainless humans, without morals nor critical thinking. It’s like a big factory operated by this sole entity of a demigod that produces faceless human beings, doomed to be slaughtered right after their purpose is done. We got a great inspiration from George Orwell’s Animal Farm as one may notice, that is now more than ever a book that we really suggest reading!

How does Catania’s culture influence your music’s themes and style?
We believe in a duality of the people who inhabit Catania and it’s surroundings. We got an active volcano at the doorstep, as well as the Mediterranean Sea on the other side. Surely our land is marvelous, but it is also complex to understand. Surely we developed a greater sensibility about natural phenomena, and coexisting between the Etna’s fire and the waves of the sea inspired our music as well as our personality. You can definitely notice that in Human Farm we go from soothing and psychedelic landscapes to impetuous and massive fuzzed out riffs. That’s what you get when you play music under the influence of fire and sea.

What new boundaries does “Human Farm” explore, staying true to Rhino’s sound?
Compared to the previous album, Human Farm got more psychedelic atmospheres. Most notably we worked much more on arrangements and songwriting, taking advantage from a more meticulous approach compared to the past. We definitely took our time to shape the compositions as we really wanted and to make the sound very much RHINO!

How do you collaborate on songwriting, shaping Rhino’s sound?
We try to work on songs as one and we try to make our expression as much choral as possible. The ideas, that can be a riff or a phrase, come from one of us and then everyone contribute to develop it to a full piece of the song. We like to work together and we want each song to fully represent each one of the five of us.

What role do visuals play in enhancing “Human Farm”?
We always envisioned Human Farm as an album to play on your room, sat back and relaxed, better on a sofa with some friends, beers and your favorite way to zone out, or maybe while driving a long trip to nowhere, but nonetheless we wanted to associate the right visual representation to our music. The cover art is what we see in Human Farm, the title-track, which we discussed in the previous lines. You can also notice some discarded brain in a crate. The factory of course eradicate minds from their homunculus, but those brains are developing fungus on them, maybe one day their spore of thoughts will be spread all around the factory, then the world, who knows…

What production techniques define the sound of “Human Farm”?
Fuzzes to 11 and hot tubes! Our production techniques are pretty straight forward, even though we upgraded significantly our arsenal during the years and today it’s maniacally good since we are the ultimate gear nerds to be honest. Beside getting the most exquisite pieces of gear we can our production is curated by the wizard hands of Carlo Longo of Nuevarte Studio, our long time collaborator and friend. The result was astonishing, at least to our ears, so we couldn’t be more happy than this!

What are your thoughts on independent labels supporting bands like Rhino?
We definitely support the underground and DIY labels, that, in our humble opinions, are the lifeblood of every music scene. Many great new and young bands couldn’t reach the audience they deserve without them or couldn’t afford a complete physical copies production and promotion. Of course the good stuff get noticed at some points anyway, but underground/small/independent/DIY labels do a great job in letting people know new music and artists (or at least the most of them).
Needless to say we are so grateful to Gero and Argonauta Records and the passion behind everything on this label. It’s the second release of our supported by Argonauta Records, so this says it all. If you’re into stoner/psych/post-metal and surroundings go knock at Gero’s door, he recognize immediately the good stuff 😉

Are there surprising influences in “Human Farm”?
As many of you may have noticed our influences come from the 90s desert stoner rock scene but also from the 90s grunge: these genres have a great impact on our songwriting and to our way of perceive music in general.
Talking about the non-musical influences, as every other musicians, come from the reality around us, that sometimes can be bent in very interesting ways.

How do you see Rhino’s sound evolving?
As already said we are gear-heads and, even though our foundations stayed the same through the years, we are always on the prowl for new sounds and equipments. We try constantly to improve the sounds quality and, at least at the moment, we are completely satisfied about our sound. We already know that in the near future we will, as always, fall in love with a new fuzz, or amp or whatever piece of gear and we will upgrade our sonic landscape even more!
That’s not only for the sake of being gear nerds, but we really take inspiration from our gear and we find new way to express through it. The peculiar arrangements of Human Farm are definitely also inspired by our gear and we are thankful to our machines of wood and metal for this.

Any interesting stories from recording “Human Farm”?
Too many really, we could write an entire book about anecdotes regarding the making of Human Farm, especially considering it took several years. We already said that we are really close friends, basically a family and we see each other a lot also outside the rehearsal room? Long time friends like us do one thing a lot for sure when together: having lot of fun! We had tons of fun and laughed so much while making this record, there were ups and downs for sure, but mostly lot of fun for us!

What makes Rhino stand out in the stoner rock genre?
This is something we prefer our listener to say! But if we really need to point out what characterizes us we could say the duality of psychedelic landscapes with furious mountains of fuzz driven riffs. We are proud of our sonic signature, and that’s something we believe doesn’t go unnoticed.

Plans for the future?
We are working on gigs all around Italy and beyond to promote Human Farm, so expect us to be on the road soon, hope you all can catch us in your town! If so come by and let’s have a beer together!

Thank you so much Antichrist Magazine for hosting us, it was a pleasure to discuss Human Farm and stuff. See you and behold the fuzz!

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