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Interview with The Shell Collector

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Last Updated on 01:46 AM by Nikos Nakos

The Shell Collector is a two-piece band, they play experimental rock/prog and they recently released their first full-length album, titled “Medusa”. Answering the questions is Enrico Tiberi, responsible for songwriting, vocals and many more things.

 

– First of all congratulations on your amazing first full-length album! I was blown away by it and I hadn’t heard anything by The Shell Collector before. Could you tell us a few things about the band and your previous releases?

Thank you very much for the appreciation and for the space in your webzine! The Shell Collector took form a couple of years ago, when I locked up myself in my studio for quite a long time. I composed like 24 songs, which went into “2 is the beginning of an army”, our first EP and “Medusa”, our latest album. We’ve released a mini also, called “Rain Songs”, containing 2 songs that I love particularly, one being the cover of the famous The Who song “Love, Reign O’er Me”. I was lucky enough to find a very talented bass player, Manuel Coccia (check out his other band “KmfromMYills”, and we play together in “Resurrecturis” also, that’s extreme metal/hc) with whom going on stage is so fun and easy!

 

– What about “Medusa”? What feedback have you been getting so far and are you satisfied with the final result?

Magazines and webzines seem to like it a lot, and that’s a good surprise to me. Of course it could be better, but we are quite satisfied at how things are proceeding. It is our first full-length and I’m proud of my newborn child, I really hope that we’ll have more opportunities to get good promotion and coverage. We “murdered” CD as a format and we chose vinyl either mp3, and I think it’s been a lucky choice. I have to thank the very talented artists who are helping us on our path, I’m talking about Francesco Farneselli who’s drawn the artwork for “Medusa” and about Ronnie Blake who’s drawn the inner booklet for “2 Is The Beginning Of An Army”.

 

– How was the recording process and how long have you been working on these songs?

Recording process was actually huge. It’s been me playing all instruments except drums in my own studio, then mixing it and mastering by myself. I’ve been completely absorbed by it and still am, I’ve put into it every small emotion I was feeling at the time. In the meanwhile I had the occasion to encounter some great artists and musicians, for example senior mixing engineer Tchad Blake. The experience of study with him gave a great boost to the sense of liberty of my artistic process. The production took about a year, but I have songs for 6 more albums already, hahah! Not joking!

 

– You released “Medusa” through Tuna Records. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having your own label and releasing your material through it? Would you ever sign to a bigger label?

Well, most evident advantage is the freedom and the total control over any step of promotion and production. Obviously all this freedom means that you have to be committed in every little detail of it and you have to gain resources alone. We are the smallest label you can imagine, but fortunately we have good collaborators (talking especially about the guys at Skratch The Surface in the UK). I would sign to a bigger label if a good deal comes at hand. Things are going pretty well but I’m always looking at the next step.

 

– What are your musical and lyrical influences?

At the time when I was composing Medusa I was mostly listening to Alice In Chains, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Telefon Tel Aviv, The Cure. Lyrics-wise I think the most influencing might be The Cure pornography/disintegration and Pink Floyd albums and perhaps Orwell’s books… Never really thought about it. I think that most of the inspiration comes from the craze that you can see in everyone everyday. From the people who paint their cage, those who will close their eyes to escape from life, those who choose to brave themselves, those who rule the world and from those who wanna burn it. We coexist with enough insanity to write an endless number of albums.

 

– You present a combination of a wide variety of musical styles from psychedelic rock to electronica, yet you manage to create a unique dark atmosphere throughout the album. How did you successfully combine all those different genres into your own personal sound? Did it come naturally or through experimenting and hard work?

I think that having a personal sound becomes almost natural when you are artistically honest to the world and to yourself. My aim has never been imitation and plus I almost daily exercise writing new songs to push me not to become too lazy with songwriting, and my mood and all that I’m listening will eventually have a big influence on what happens in the songs. I may want to throw in some clear tributes to my favorite bands sometimes though to create some intertextuality, and that’s because – also in life – smartness turns me on. And I want people who listen to our music to be turned on! On “A Thunderstorm Is Coming” (on “Rain Songs”) for example, the lyrics contain 2 quotations from 2 different Dire Straits songs. Can you spot them?

 

– Name a few of your favorite albums regardless of genre.

Whoa too many… I think that some among the most important might be
Led Zeppelin – II
Dire Straits – Alchemy
Meshuggah – Nothing
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Miss Machine
Mogwai – Mr. Beast
Pink Floyd – Atom Earth Mother
Telefon Tel Aviv – Map Of What Is Effortless
Aphex Twin – I Care Because You Do
The Cure – Disintegration
The Beatles -The Magical Mistery Tour
The Prodigy – The Fat Of The Land
Tame Impala – Lonerism
A Perfect Circle – Mer De Noms
Radiohead – Kid A

 

– Do you think there is an audience for experimental music in today’s world or do most rock fans resort to easier, more predictable music?

That’s a big question man! I must say I don’t strive too much in metaphysic matters… That’s what we like doing now and we hope that more and more people will like what’s our thing. I think that people may relate to any genre of music as long as they are curious and rock is curiosity’s child. Predictable music is as sexy as a McDonald’s meal to me. I can’t really deny that this world is really fucked up anyway, seeing the amount of McDonald’s around but hey here we are to all of you curious folks out there!

 

– One of my favorite songs on this record was “What It Is”, a straightforward message given through some great and kind of weird music. Can we expect more of this wonderful and bleak (in a good way) craziness in the future? What are your future plans in general?

Thank you very much for the compliments. That’s one of the first songs that I’ve composed for “Medusa” and I still remember it coming through from beginning to end in one breath. It took like less than 2 hours to have it all done, and it was hectic. When it was finished it was very soundtrack-ish to me and then I had Daniele Strappato from Design (check it out, cool band that I’m producing at the moment) sing on it and that was the icing on the cake. The new stuff that’s been/being composed has a very crazy attitude. I write a lot and when I hear back the results the day after, I kinda feel disconcerted at how bleak it is indeed. Sometimes it’s a happy sounding melody with dreadful words bursting in psychedelic obscure moments and coming back to sunny upbeat music, sometimes it’s loopy riffing and weird electronic atmospheres… I don’t know what strange animals dwell inside of me but they give great inspiration!

– Are you planning a tour? Would Greece be a part of it?

Yes we are! In the next months we are going to announce some European dates on our facebook page. I’m looking forward to touring and coming to Greece of course! So far we’ve had very genuine and good response from some greek webzines/radios, I want to thank R1 Radio, Octava radio and Lust radio, you guys at Metal Invader and Metal Temple for the support. Plus I love Greek art, I want to be touring there so bad for sightseeing also!

 

– Thank you very much for your time! I wish you every success in the future and you can close the interview with a message to Greek fans or anything you like.

Thank you very much again for your support, I hope to see you soon in Greece during a tour! To close it I would just say to anyone who’s reading, regarding both music and life… Let’s just be ourselves, let’s be brave! Cheers.

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