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Interviews: Straight To Pain

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Metalcore/Melodic Death Metal/Groove Metal band Straight To Pain from Italy. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

Stefano: The name came from Simone. There were other names that we considered, but… we went with this. If I recall correctly there was a lot of discussion, we were teenagers… in fact maybe “Straight to Pain” still reflects a certain malaise, a certain inner conflict that’s always with us.

Simone: It summed up best what we wanted to play back then, and… it just sounded cool at the time! But I agree with Ste that it still represents us the most.

2.Why did you want to play this genre?

Ste: We didn’t always play this genre. When Simo asked me to form up an original band he wanted something like Hatebreed, or close to hardcore metal… but I think that only our very first three songs ever sounded like Hatebreed! Ever since the first line-up, each of us always had different influences and there was no desire or obligation to stick to a particular genre. We wrote very freely, maybe because we were much more reckless (ahaha!). Then came Parkway Drive and metalcore… we’ve always had roots there, because in my opinion this genre, though often criticised, has had the merit of merging together various other genres, death metal, nu metal, black metal, all the way to prog, so we’ve never managed to identify ourselves with only one genre. Even now.

Simone: I’d define our sound a sort of continuous search and evolution, since the very first note we played as a band. Sure you can hear where our roots are, but we’ve always felt very free when composing. 

Marco: Every major shift in the band’s style since then just… happened, without the specific desire to go a certain direction. It’s just the way we grew as individual musicians, as friends, and the way the tastes of the various members mashed together and influenced each other. 

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Marco: I didn’t know anyone before joining, though I later found out that I had seen Stefano perform with his other band before ever meeting him, and that I have some mutual friends with Andrea. As for the others, Simone and Stefano go a long way back, and Simone and Thomas are cousins. We’ve since grown into an “extended family” of sorts, even our girlfriends and wives often hang out together outside of band activities.

Simone: I only knew Stefano, because we had another band in which we played punk. 

Ste: There were four of us at first, along the way we split up with bassist Emi, then with second bassist Riccardo, then Marco came on bass, then we split with Nico so Marco switched over to guitar, then Andrea and Thomas came along… it’s been quite a mess.

4. Each band member’s favourite band?

Ste: This topic has always divided us members, but it’s part of what’s so fun about Straight to Pain! The only taste that we 100% share is that we’re all metalheads. Each of us has his tastes, in and out of metal, and they rarely coincide. Marco, for example, is into classical music and some weird Japanese stuff. I could say my favourite band is: STRAIGHT TO PAIN! Joking aside, I fluctuate a lot, it depends on the period: Protest the Hero, DVSR, Limp Bizkit, Born of Osiris, Fear Factory, DevilDriver, Korn, Audioslave…

Marco: For me, definitely Blind Guardian. They prove that you can make music that is both complex and easy to listen, heavy but also melodic. The more I listen to them throughout my musical formation (and they were my gateway into metal, too!), the more I find genius, and the more their ever-changing style inspires me. Right behind them it’s Galneryus and Avantasia. Oh, and Hokago Tea Time! (hahaha)

Simone: I can’t say I have a favourite band, mainly because I don’t only listen to metal but also to hardcore and rap. Two bands that have always accompanied me throughout my musical course were Parkway Drive and DevilDriver. As for what I’m listening to right now, $uicideboy$.

Thomas: Pantera, no doubt about it.

Andrea: I’m more into the very heavy stuff, I’d say my favourite bands are Slayer and Cannibal Corpse.  

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

Ste: Here, too, there is no single answer, and our mood influences a lot what we write… personally, I always strive to write my parts in order for them to sound fun, to have them give me a feel of “Fuck yeah, what awesome stuff I’m playing!”. To be honest, whenever I propose a groove to the band and try to give an idea of what I expect from the song, the rest of the band always brings it in completely different direction hah!

Simone: My main inspirations, as a singer, are the dark side of the human being and, especially in our latest work “Cycles”, the possibility of a relationship between life on Earth and extraterrestrial life. I’ve always been a fan of that stuff.

6. Where was your last gig?

Marco: A small club called “Positive Music” in Vigone, near Turin, January 2020. It was lots of fun, there was room for only a small number of people but they were so into it that it felt so exciting playing for them. We had other gigs planned but, alas, the pandemic struck so everything got frozen. 

7. Where would you like to act?

Marco: There’s so many places I’d like to perform in… from the Alcatraz club in Milan to the walls of Lucca, both places that hold a piece of my heart. But if I had to pick one dream location, that would be Japan. Anywhere is good, really, but the fact that we’re all full-time workers with families and commitments severely limits our realistic reach. 

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

Ste: With as many people as possible!

Marco: Sticking to our genre, my personal dream would be to open for Jinjer or Arch Enemy. But I’d also love to do something with a couple of bands with whom we’re friends, like Last Rites, Kaliage, or Lost Symphony Orchestra, the other band I’m a member of. I’ve also always dreamt of recording with a real orchestra, but I’m afraid Straight to Pain’s music isn’t too fit for that. For now (*smug face*).

Simone: I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of collaborating with the rap scene.

9. Whom not?

Marco: We’re open to anything, really! I personally hate trap and hip-pop, much to Simone’s disappointment, but even I wouldn’t shut the door to an experiment in that direction, who knows, maybe something exciting will come from it!

10. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?

Marco: Ahaha, my crippling stage fright has been a huge problem for me ever since my elementary school plays! I’m the least indicated person to give tips to anybody about that. The way I deal with it is, I take some valerian in the morning and stick to a series of “rituals” that help me calm down, like drinking tea, cleaning my guitar, singing a certain song and going through a warm-up routine. That doesn’t stop me from being insufferably anxious, though, and I often end up testing my bandmates’ patience (sorry guys!). What helps me force my way through is the insane amount of fun I have once I am onstage and finally “get in the mood”; I remember why I love playing music in the first place, and it all melts away.

Ste: When I was 14 I used to be very stiff and focused on stage, and I lacked that “slyness” that comes with experience. I learned that if you screw up and make a mistake on stage, but do so with a smile, very few actually notice. 

Simone: Luckily I always manage to only take in the positive sides of a performance. All I feel is maximum excitement!

11. What bands have inspired you the most? 

Marco: My personal playstyle is mostly inspired by Syu, Andre Olbrich, Adrian Smith and my father. As a band… well, each of us brings their own, but I’d say our main inspirations are Arch Enemy, Protest the Hero, Parkway Drive, DevilDriver, maybe some Jinjer and Animals As Leaders.

Ste: Difficult question, I’d have to go all the way back from middle school until today… Limp Bizkit, Fear Factory, Lamb of God, Eminem, D12, Busta Rhymes… Protest the hero, Trivium… too many to name.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for? 

Ste: We have fans?

Simone: Once a fan asked me when we’d be performing again in his area. The thing is, I was with my wife at an Arch Enemy concert! I know I’m handsome, but it was such a joy to be recognised for my band while I was in a different context (hahaha).

13. What do you think of your fans?

Ste: We have fans?

Simone: As an underground band, I’m always happy of the response we get when playing in front of an audience that we have yet to win over.

Marco: They make me feel like all the shit we go through as an underground band, all the sweat, all the disappointment, all the dedication, is worth it after all.

14. What do you think of our site?

Marco: It’s sleek and easy to navigate, and a great initiative! I look forward to discovering so much new music there! I appreciate the fact that you embed from Bandcamp, which is a great platform for artists to release their music independently without giving up too much of the revenue.

15. Something to add?

Ste: Thank you for giving us this pace, we hope to be soon able to come together and write new stuff when this pandemy will be over. Of course we invite everybody to give a listen to our music and to our latest album CYCLES! You can find our music on Bandcamp, YouTube, Spotify, and just about everywhere on the web. And do come tell us what you think on our Facebook page or on Instagram (@STRAIGHT_TO_PAINofficial) or on our personal profiles (my Instagram is @ste16ra). Finally a big thank you to Dani from Hellbones Records for supporting us and to everyone who in any way gave us a token of appreciation!

Simone: Thank you for the great compilation you’re creating. There’s a lot of amazing bands in there, and most importantly the cause is praiseworthy and it hits me close to home. My personal Instagram is ghostmvker_cult, I also have a solo project coming out soon. Always support underground bands and initiatives such as this! Big up.

Marco: I love being part of a fundraising compilation for the conservation of wildlife and forests, it’s a theme that’s very dear to me since I live in the countryside. I think we need, as a species, to completely rethink our economical system from the ground up in order to preserve an environment in which it be possible for humans to survive, even if we have to set aside our traditional concepts of “market freedom” to do it, but every single piece of personal effort to this end helps.

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