We made an interwiew with Gianni  Caldararo, the singer of Vestfalia's Peace, the band that has been  the 2017 revelation of the italian scene, despite their beginnings root back in the '90s with some demo tapes and a  cover of "Scythe & Spade" on "Beyond the Horizon", a compilation tribute to And Also The Trees, but Gianni will explain everything better than me.

Despite your debut cd has been published in 2017  the band's story roots back in the '90; can you tell us something of that far away beginning?

Well, the story is about four friends who shared a passion for music since their childhood. We know each other since we were children and we had been living our lives in a tiny village in the centre-south of Italy before moving towards great industrial italian cities, in our 20s. We started playing at a very young age the music we liked, like goth and new wave from The Cure to Joy Division.

What pushed you to reform the band in 2015?

As I said before, we currently live in four different cities, between Turin and Rome and we rarely met during the last ten years. We used to meet at our native village, in the countryside, only in special occasions such as Christmas or in the summer holidays. We spoke about a possible gig in a local club in 2012 (due to a friend who pushed us to meet and play again a reunion gig) and we did it in december of that year. We felt that it was the right moment to begin playing again more music and to record a whole album with new and old songs.

Time changes us and our lives; do you think that it has changed also your approach to music?

Sometimes I look back at my life and I can see it flowing like in an oil painting or like in an old 50s italian film set in the countryside. This is my first approach to music: remembering memories and put them into melodies that can call back stories from the past. It hasn't change very much and I always try to be honest with myself and mix things I liked when I was younger with my last listenings from the present: so, I think my approach to music hasn't really changed that much. I'm only aware that there is so much new music in the present and that it would be stupid to ignore it.

Is it hard to keep on playing having replaced in different towns?

It's not easy because of the time of our lives before the distance itself. Today you can easily take a train and meet somehow, even if you are very distant from each other. During the year, for example, we use to meet and make rehersals in Florence, that is an equidistant point from where we live, but actually, time is our worst enemy.

Do you think that your origins in a small southern italian town have influenced somehow your music and the subjects of the lyrics?

The fact that we came from an unknown part of Italy (even for italians) is something that many people can't understand. Our whole region is only 300.000 inhabitants, like a district in Rome or Milan and our little town is only 800. When we came back home for holidays it seems almost like we've travelled through ages. The air that we breath, the simplicity of the people and the marvellous view of the surroundings has always filled our spirit with inspiration.

The nostalgia for your birth town seems to come back also in some of your tracks.

I'm glad you noticed it. It's not a nostalgia for the place in itself but for the simple life we used to have until we lived all together. I remember nostalgically when I could close the door of my home and meet with each other. We didn't need a smartphone, skype or any other technological stuff to talk and laugh together. This could sound nostalgic, but maybe it's true: I am very nostalgic.

Why do you chose Vesfalia's Peace as band's name?

This is an odd story. At school, I used to take notes in italian and english while studying History and sometimes there were weird names coming out from my personal copybook. We had another name at the time and it was “Carestia” (Famine in english) but it was really heavy to carry on with, so one day we decided to change it with a temporary one in order to find the final name. We picked it up from my history copybook and we never changed it (even if it's not correct grammatically, but we decided to leave it as it was).

What are your inspirations when you compose a new track?

Books, dreams and the places I've visited are great source of inspiration.
In music, I try not to sound like anyone I like: it could be strange but that's how it is. I try to be Gianni while singing even if I'd like to be Scott Walker or Charles Aznavour, but they are way better than me, so why I should try to imitate them?

There is a track that has a particular meaning for you?

There are two songs, “The Peasant” and “Wet Ferns Shine” that really touch me. Those songs were composed in 2003 and I have good memories of that period in my life. Something was still magical and pristine.

There are feelings or visions that you'd like that the public would have thanks to your music?

I really hope so. But it's something only listeners can feel.

If you should make a balance after almost one year from the issue of "Loneliness" what would you say?

“Loneliness” has been released in March 2017 and nowadays I can't really understand if people had listened and liked it or not. I found mixed opinions about it and I'd like to receive more feedbacks about it.

For you is important to play live?

The live gig is something any band should experience. Recording  is still a mechanical process and the songs can sound a bit artefact because of the overdubs you can add to the tracks while mixing. It's only on stage that you can understand if all the work you made is working. 

What do you feel in front of an audience?

I personally try my best to perform without singing out of tune or hit the wrong note while playing. I feel that this may compromise a bit the fact that I should be more relaxed and maybe let myself go with the audience. 

Do you have any plans for the future?

At the moment we're going to play some live show in Europe and we hope to start recording new songs as soon as possible. As I said before, time is our worst enemy and to make thing well means to take a lot of time for making. We have a bunch of new songs and we hope to record them on the same session and not individually. And, most important, we'd like to find a stronger musical dimension in terms of resulting fresh and new at the same time.

Gianni, I know that you have also another project called "La pietra lunare"; do you want to tell us also something about this?

La Pietra Lunare (The Moonstone in english) is a side-project born after the split with Vestfalia's Peace, in 2006. Duccio and I decided to record an album inspired by italian literature and italian music (the name is taken from a novel by the italian writer Tommaso Landolfi). So we had surrounded ourselves with many classical musicians and we recorded the first full length album between 2009 and 2014, working at the distance. It has been influenced by a lot of songwriters and folk music and the result is a kind of neoclassical / folk music with dark attitude. The record has been printed in 2015 by Lichterklang and it has been reprinted in April 2017 by SPQR label.

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On the last Friday of the year, the Turkish dark wave, post-punk, goth band She Past Away gave another live performance for the Greek audience. This was their third time in Athens, playing once again at club Death Disco. Their popularity in Greece is growing every year, resulting to it being a sold out gig. Another reason for them being so well known in Greece is that their 2 albums "Belirdi Gece" and "Narin Yalnızlık" have been released by the Greek label Fabrika records.
The support act chosen was the relative new band Ghostland. Although they have been active, playing live since 2015, they still have not released any material. They have recorded material for an album and from what we learnt they are in the process of putting the final touches. Hopefully in the New Year will have something released by this promising band. As a four piece (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards), Ghostland took to the stage and presented a 45 minute set. In that time they presented many of their own songs, giving us a first taste of what to expect by them in a future release. One could say oldschool post punk, goth rock. A nice rhythm section with brooding bass and drum machine topped with atmospheric vocals and guitar. They also played two covers, The Cure’s "The Hanging Garden" and The Sisters Of Mercy’s "Heartland".

Next up on stage after a small break, the curtain opened for the much anticipated She Past Away, since the venue was well packed to full capacity. Frontman Volkan Caner (vacals, guitar) and Doruk Öztürkcan (keyboards, percussion) took their positions on stage and launched into their set playing a variety of songs from their two up to now albums. Most notable, were the favorites "Kasvetli Kutlama", "Sanri" and "Katarsis" just to name a few. Its remarkable how this band has made a name for its self being the first act of its kind to breakthrough their homeland Turkey. Considering that they sing in their native language. Possibly this and the fact that they make great music is what made it possible. They have managed by sounding like something between The Sisters Of Mercy and The Cure to create their own distinctive sound. The crowd was very responsive, dancing and cheering all through their set. Especially at the end where they cheered them on to play another three songs at the encore, showing their thirst for more.

The next day She Past Away played with the Greek act and labelmates Selofan in the town of Thessaloniki.

Review by Nick Drivas

Photos by Marilia Photopoulou (She Past Away), Nick Drivas (Ghostland).
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