Hello and welcome to Metal Invader! Nice to have you with us. I hope life’s treating you good. So, would you please give us a small bio of the band?
Hello! There’s not a precise reason behind the creation of Raspail, simply a group of long time friends that one day, several years ago, has started to think about playing music together. Everything started as a divertissement at the beginning, we would have liked to play old school death/doom metal, a sort of homage to our common musical roots, without any intention of doing anything more. But with the time, everything turned in something more professional. Musically speaking, there has been a process of transformation. We are now definitively pretty far from our initial intentions.
As far as I know, all of you are connected to other bands as well. What was the reason behind forming a band like Raspail? Was it something sudden, an urge to create something new or was this formation planned to bloom for a long time?
Well, yes it’s true. We are or we were all connected to other bands. We don’t’ know how longthe path of Raspail will be in this world, but surely is not a side project. Probably we felt the urge to express ourselves through this musical medium, we went back to our roots to re-discover ourselves. This hybrid form of “death doom metal” allows us to express all a series of feeling and emotions, that others musical expression don’t.
While searching the internet for you, I read somewhere that your driving force was “the old rural landscape all around Rome, cherished by the Romantic poets, with its imposing ruins covered in ivy and climbing, under the black vault of the night sky”. I’ve stayed in Rome many times and truly love your city. How does its landscape serve as influence? What are the mechanics behind it?
It is something not easy to explain. First of all we aren’t talking actually about the landscapes all around the modern Rome, or its cityscape, we are referring to something that disappears, cherished by the romantic poets some centuries ago. And then, this idea of Rome is innate in ourselves. Only if you are born and raised here you can probably fully understand. And also, as I said, nothing survives of “that” Rome – maybe some little areas hidden within the tissue of the modern city.
The mixing of classic – in a way – Black and Death Metal forms with shogaze and ambience isn’t something common in a broad sense. Why did you choose to serve such a genre hybrid? Is the fact that this genre isn’t addressed to large numbers of listeners something that ‘bothers’ you or determines you to actually make this music accessible to a wider crowd?
I don’t think that our intention was to reach a larger crowd of listeners, on the contrary, in my opinion, the idea of mix together different genres, apparently far, like death/doom with shoegaze and postrock, led us to a play a hybrid music, pretty difficult to be classified. A lot of metal fans didn’t understand, and surely “post rock/shoegaze” listeners aren’t exactly ready for the rough heaviness of our music. Anyway: there is not a precise plan behind this musical path. We only followed our hearts.
Maybe my review of “Dirge” has reached your eyes, but nonetheless, what I gained was a load of mixed and perplexed feelings. On one hand, your music dwells in catastrophic and melancholic themes, yet there’s a certain kind of renaissance and a light of rebirth, should you perceive “Dirge” as a musical journey from the abyss to the stars. Thanks for that. How would you describe your own creation? Is it as dark and as luminous simultaneously, like I see it?
Well, I think that – as usual talking about music – every single listener could have a different experience listening to the same album, and different reactions. Everyone could describe the music and its meaning in a different way. Now, let me say that personally I quite agree with you. “Dirge” isn’t completely obscure. Now the problem is to understand the nature of this light. But yes, surely my lyrics don’t talk about suicide, desperation and total obscurity. And even the music. There is a lot of melody. From this point of view the song “We should not grieve” is a good example of this all. The song is basically the second half of “One more step to the void”: in this first song everything is claustrophobic and oppressive, but WSNG instead is a sort of deliverance from this oppression, and it ends with a super dramatic and intense finale, which seals a hope of rebirth.
Are your lyrical themes based on personal thoughts and experiences? What’s the message Raspail are trying to convey through “Dirge”?
Well, talking about the lyrics of “Dirge” I cannot say they are based on my personal experience and thoughts, but more on my personal interests. There is not a message behind, absolutely not, it is not a concept album. Maybe it is better say to that the lyrics are strictly connected to a precise imaginary, and we tried to transmit to each listener a series of images and feelings linked to it. This imaginary sinks its roots into the ancestral European culture: the texts, despite different each other, are filled of symbols that, I’m sure, will sound familiar to everyone. I found inspiration into the anthropological studies of the European folkloric tradition; into romantic poetry and art; ancient latin verses; into the lonely image of the old roman countryside etc.
I’ve always been a devotee to Aleister Crowley’s way of thinking and books, so finding out excerpts from “Hymn To Pan” made me cherish you more. I’d really like you to state in a few words how you got familiar with the whole mythos of Aleister Crowley and what made you feel that much connected to him to the point of using his excerpts into your musical creation.
Oh well.Actually I cannot define myself a devotee to Aleister Crowley’s way of thinking. Surely, I’m attracted and interesting by everything is related to the ancient European and Oriental traditions about magic, philosophy and supernatural. Crowley is one of the most interesting interpreter of this world, and also he perfectly represent its time. In this particular case, I’ve felt that his Hymn to Pan (just few words, actually), so rich in images and symbols, would have been a perfect conclusion to the lyrics of the song “ Ver Sacrum” (sacred spring), that is infact dedicated to this lost magical world.
I got “Dirge” to adorn my album collection and I have to say it’s an exceptional release. Who handled the format of the release and the art depicted? Truly stunning.
First of all thank you very much; we are glad that you appreciate it. Well we worked together with the guys of the label and the artist who realized the illustrations. We choose the French artist “Business for Satan” who designed the fantastic cover art (the bridge in the background is an old roman bridge, still existing here in Rome, that is called Ponte Nomentano, beautifully recreated by this young artist). He is also responsible for the grotesque skull of the back cover and our logo. The booklet layout was, instead, created by one us, Israfil.
Are there any plans of touring? Have you planned any ‘attacks’ in Europe? If so, is Greece included or will it be?
No precise plan at the moment. Maybe in 2018. We’ll probably wait, to have a second album out, and surely yes, Greece would be a beautiful place to play.
Where do you see yourselves in 10 years from now? What’s the main goal of Raspail?
Who knows? Our main goal is to keep in production of good music, that could satisfy ourselves, first of all, and the listeners then.