Interview with Italian symphonic gothic band Poemisia, which garnered a Surprise of the Month label earlier this month
First of all, congratulations on your first LP! We enjoyed it very much; is there an overall theme to it?
Thank you very much! We really appreciate that you enjoyed our work. La danza degli Spiriti (which, by the way, literally means: the dance of the souls), is not a concept album so I can’t properly say that there is an overall theme to it. You know, this is our first work, and usually the first work of a band contains the ideas of the whole lifetime of each one of the members. There is an overall style instead. And we hope that this can come out from listening the LP.
Not being an opera (or Italian language) expert, I was longing to ask you this: What's Cruda Amarilli about?
Well, the song Cruda Amarilli (and so is the Prologue) is inspired from a madrigal of Claudio Monteverdi, an Italian musician and composer who lived between 1567 and 1643. It’s about the love affairs of Amarilli and Mirtillo, two characters of the poem “Pastor Fido” (author: Battista Guarini).
You're pretty new to the metal scene outside of Italy, so I'll ask because there isn't much info online: How did Poemisia come about? How did you all meet, and choose that name?

Poemisia were born in 2011 from an idea of Marco Monaco (guitar) and Tina Gagliotta (voice). We met up with the rest of the guys, like many bands actually do: on the internet. We’ve been pretty lucky, because once we completed our first line up, it never changed.

Finding a name for a band is always pretty hard...and guess what? So it has been for us! We knew from the start that we wanted a short and simple name, and one day, trying to mix together the words “poema” (poem) and “fresia” (freesia), we came up with the result!

How do you approach songwriting? Do you write your music as regular metal songs first, or right from the start as a combination of metal and opera?
We actually don’t have any rule in songwriting. Some of our songs come up during reharsal sessions just making some improvisation, other songs instead (for example, as Anemone), come up by studying, researching and working on a computer with just a midi keyboard and a guitar. Even if an idea starts with a metal riff, we know right from the start that we want to combine it with operatic drama. That’s us, and if it wouldn’t be this way, it simply wouldn’t be Poemisia.
One of my favorite tracks is Anemone because of Tina's and Sakis' vocal combination, which goes very well together. How did he come to guest on La Danza Degli Spiriti? At first thought it seems like a rather unlikely combination...

I’m really glad that you enjoyed Anemone, because it’s a song that we are very proud of, and it personally is my favourite. Before I answer your question I’d love to spend some words on what the song is about (sorry, but I have to, I just can’t help it ;-P ). First of all, it’s the only song on the LP that was totally written by Tina. It’s a love story between the flower anemone, which the legends says, was born by the blood of Christ under the Cross, and a Demon (which of course is Sakis). At the end of the story, the Holy Flower decides to follow the demon in the underworld, giving up forever its holy origins.

We met Sakis during the Agglutination Metal Fest 2012, where we had the honour to play among really big bands such as Rotting Christ, Rhapsody of Fire and Dark Tranquillity. In that occasion we met Sakis for the first time because he congratulated us for our show with the usual humilty that distinguishes him. Since then we always kept in touch and here we are.

Where does your operatic influence come from? As I mentioned in the review, some bands (we won't mention names) seem to just kind of tack it onto their music, but yours feels like you built your whole sound up around operatic vocals as a central part
Our operatic influences come mostly by Tina, which studies classical and opera singing. At the moment these operatic influences are reflected mostly in the vocals which are the central part around which we build a metal context. In the future we would like to bring these operatic influences also in the instrumental parts, always keeping our metal sound though, so to create a more peculiar style.
Do you have any specific influences that went into this album? Favorite bands you listen to?
Each one of us has a different background. For sure, searching our roots only in the Big bands of our genre (like Nightwish or Epica) is incorrect and very banal; and infortunately most people associate us with these bands, maybe just because we have an operatical voice. I actually can’t say if there are some bands that has strongly inspired our music. A the moment we have to mention Haggard for sure, that is a band that we love, but we have many other influences, not only in symphonic metal but also in other genres and not last in classical/operatic music. As you can see we are very open minded and we listen to music at 360°.
La Danza Degli Spiriti was introduced to me as symphonic power metal, which is often pretty uplifting music, but the album overall seems to have a much darker, often haunting sound to it. Was it intended to be this way or is it just me imagining things?
Absolutely not. You are not imagining things. We intentionally made our sound this way. We always try to read the darkness in a grotesque way. We think that the darkness and the death are elements which are part of life, and so we offer an ironic interpretation. This is the secret of Poemisia, and upon this we have built our music and our genre that we love to call: “grotesque/symphonic metal”. A style in which the darkness is seen in a light way so to exercise it’s meaning.
So now that your album is about to come out, what are your plans for the rest of this year and early 2014? Do you have any upcoming concert dates?
Well, for now we are working on the promotion of the LP. There will be a release concert that we are planning. Our next plans are for sure playing, touring etc. In the meantime we are coming up with some ideas for the second album, and if everything goes like it should go, in the near future, there will be some hot news...but for now I can’t say much more...
Thanks again for doing this interview! Is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers?
Thank you for your attention first of all. The album will be out on 31st october 2013 by Spider Rock Promotion on all digital platforms and we really hope you will appreciate it. Horns up, metal brothers and sisters; and always be yourselves, always have the strength to think with your own head no matter the trends and what the society wants you to do! This is what metal is all about!