Interview with The Headless Ghost

Interview with The Headless Ghost

- in Written interviews

Hi! What inspired The Headless Ghost to pay tribute to Mercyful Fate and King Diamond?
ALBE: ciao! I couldn’t tell you how we thought about Mercyful Fate and King Diamond. In addition, obviously, to the fact that for both me and Aurelio they were an inexhaustible source of emotions and inspiration for our training as guitarists. Maybe we thought of a band that is still too little honored? I don’t know… it’s those ideas that come between friends, that spark that lights up and immediately manages to involve whoever is listening to you. Surely the idea of playing music influenced by the 80s, with many guitar solos and epic and dark parts was what immediately made us agree.

How did the ‘King of Pain’ character and album narrative develop?
AURELIO: the composition process took place between December 2020 and January 2021 during the second lockdown, I was stuck with my band and forced home I started composing a piece (‘King Of Pain’) then , Alberto listening to the song was inspired by writing the whole story of the record.
ALBE: yes. My story inspired Aurelio a lot in creating riffs, but we have the same background and so it was a continuous inspiration. Let’s say that I mixed (perhaps unconsciously) several stories in my mind. First of all I thought of Freddy Krueger, then I had these constant images that came to me from the book ‘American Psycho’. In short, I wanted the character to be a sadistic and evil man, but with a story behind him, a story that created empathy with the listener. We could all be the ‘King Of Pain’… actually… we all are.

What’s the backstory of Aurelio and Alberto collaboration?
ALBE: I met Aurelio thanks to Alessandro Del Vecchio, who was producing the Lionsoul album. We were at a concert where Alessandro was performing with other friends like Fabio Lione, Morby (of Domine band) and Mike Terrana. Backstage, Aurelio and I found many points in common, the first of which was always laughing! We stayed in touch for years without ever talking about doing something together, also because at that time I was mainly a music journalist. Then… one day…

Did lineup challenges impact the album’s creation?
SIMONE: when Alberto called me, he was so inspiring that I knew from the start I wanted to change the progression of the timetable. I was so committed into the process that I recorded my bassline the whole album in a couple of weeks… of course after Omar speed of light-hardworkingjob was done!

Any standout moments from recording sessions?
SIMONE: for the bass line I just want to celebrate my marriage in heaven with our sound engineer Mattia Stancioiu, capable of squeeze out of my lines every drop of a roaring thunder sound, without losing my natural way of styleplay. It’s impressive how technology impacts our music today.

How did each band member shape the album’s sound?
OMAR: each member of the band was able to give their contribution without being too intrusive with their own musical influences, each of us in the band has quite clear musical coordinates, we tried to make everything come together for the good of the general sound. I think we succeeded.

What themes/messages do you hope listeners connect with?
ALBE: the messages are many. In the concept I talk about the negative influence that social media and the abuse of the internet are bringing to the world. They create a detachment… it’s all filtered through a monitor. Even the most terrible things seem like video games. The theme I most want to bring up is that of empathy between people. Of course… for a record called ‘King Of Pain’ it seems strange!

How important is storytelling in your music?
SIMONE: I have good feelings about the music flow and riff creation if i’m inspired by a concept like this. Not only for a mere rhytmic beat following, but also to imbue all tunes and lines as my bass could sing its emotions out. Of course organically with others.

Were there non-musical influences on the album?
ALBE: I’ll give you a list: A Nightmare On Elm Streets, Friday The 13th, American Psycho, The Others, The Shining and a real event that affected my family and changed them forever.

Emotionally, what was the journey crafting the dark themes?
ALBE: when I wrote the concept I was only thinking of a scary story. Only then, with the growth of the narrative and the structure of the emotions, I realized that it could become something truly profound. We start from anger, from violence, and arrive at redemption and catharsis. The image that was created in my mind, of this redeemed father embracing his daughter’s spirit, brought me to tears.

Explain the significance of the album title.
ALBE: the title was chosen by me in a few seconds. I was looking for something epic, dark and cinematic. Only later did I realize that it is mentioned in the lyrics of ‘Evil’ by Mercyful Fate. Evidently their music is so rooted in me that in a subliminal way they themselves suggested it to me!

How does The Headless Ghost stand out among concept albums?
ALBE: the concept we conceived is very different from other horror stories. It talks about real things, the loss of a loved one, how a man deals with bereavement, the moral implications that feelings such as anger and the desire for revenge impact on a person. It’s not just a ghost story but the story of many of us. This is really scary.

How do visuals enhance your music’s storytelling?
ALBE: I have always been a visionary. During the day my mind works incessantly in a flow that mixes images, feelings and sounds. I am a dreamer. The album’s artwork, for example, was born well before many songs, precisely to influence the pieces that would be written.

Plans for live performances/tours?
AURELIO: the project was born initially to be a studio album and a joint venture of musicians of the Italian heavy scene, but we do not exclude some live releases given the excellent acclaim found after the release of the album.

How does the album contribute to today’s metal scene?
SIMONE: we want to celebrate our roots in the ’80 era, mixing all of this with nowadays feelings. We are confident that a good horror story can be attractive on his pureness without fear of touching delicate arguments like psychosys and stuff like that. We don’t want to be politically correct, we just want to spread out in a natural flow our killer riffs and tempos, our darkness inside and joy of power-ish tunes when it comes easy. That could stand out amongst everyone else.

Balancing musical roots with sound evolution?
AURELIO: we like to compose a classic heavy metal that evokes the spirit of a typical band in activity’ during the 80s, but trying to have a modern production (not in the sense of sounds or tuning droppate ) but in the quality of the recording .

Future plans for “The Headless Ghost” project? Thank you for your time!
ALBE: the second single will be released soon, it will be cool because it will be made like a cartoon by a very good Italian artist who we will hear a lot about in the future. A third video clip will surely follow. We are now looking for a booking agency that can organize concerts for us that can ensure good visibility and optimal conditions to bring our music live. In all of this, we are already writing the second album which I can tell you, it will be an even more incredible concept! Thank you for the wonderful questions and for the attention you have given to our band! Ciao!

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