One of my favorite bands out of Italy, Sawthis is a thrash/groove metal band from Teramo, Italy. They have been around since 2000 and have opened for such high profile bands as Deicide, Vader, Sepultura, Children of Bodom, etc. They have a fan campaign out now to get their fourth album out. If you have not checked them out, you should. This is a band you should definitely support. We are hoping to see them in the states soon! You can find out more at:
Hi Gaetano! How are you?
Hi Susan. I’m fine thanks for asking.
You are the bass player, and have been since 2005. What did you do before Sawthis?
Yes, I’m with Sawthis since 2005 and this has been my first experience as bassist. Before Sawthis I was the singer/guitarist of a band called Deforge, we played death/thrash metal. We released just three demos and on the second one Michele, the drummer of Sawthis, played with me.
How did you come to be in the band?
I’ve been a fan of the band since the beginning. I grew up with the guys of the band (I was with them during the first time into the rehearse room). Just after the end of the recording of the first album “Fusion” the band had some problem with the bassist. At the same time Deforge broke up, so they asked me if I wanted to play bass with Sawthis. I accepted immediately.
You are in the process of working on a new album. How far are you in the process?
The work on a new album of Sawthis is very huge. The main compositor is our drummer Michele and he’s a real maniac of perfection. We can spend many hours on a choice of a single note of a riff… sometimes our minds are blowing… The composition of this new work is almost done, we can’t wait to finish it. I was really satisfied of the last album “Youniverse” and I thought it was a bit hard to write a better album, but we did it! I love the new songs!
Is there anything you can reveal about the theme of the album at this point?
The promotion of “Youniverse” has been long and we spent a lot of time on tour. The tour life is hard sometimes and it’s possible to fight a lot inside the band, especially for misunderstandings…. We thought a lot about that and we decided that the misunderstandings would been the main theme of the new album.
Your campaign for support on this album is one of the most creative I’ve ever seen. Who in the band is the creative force behind this?
Thanks, I’m glad you liked. The main composer about music stuff is our drummer Michele, but behind all the video stuff there’s me. I always loved everything about movies, videoclips and stuff like that and I have just made this passion available to the band.
About the campaign we tried to be not so serious, I think it make the video more pleasant.
How did you come up with the “products” that people can get for donations?
The first part of the perks are about the album and this is pretty normal. But for the rest of perks we wanted to be as original as possible, so we thought about the beer via skype, the handwritten postcard and the song write just for you.
I’m figuring out my situation here…I think having a song written for me would be awesome. Do you have any takers for this purchase yet?
We we decided to offer this perk and we accepted the challenge. To write a song is always a long process, but we’ve been excited by that and this is a great motivation. Yes, we sold a song, it has been great for us. Michele started to write immediately!
This is old news, but I was reading about the legal action for the name change from Sothis to Sawthis. How frustrating it must have been to have the name first, but another band who came into the game much later with the same name, secured the legal rights. How were you guys informed of this and how did you deal with it?
To think about that is always hard for us. It was 2008 and we were going through a difficult period, our old singer left us, and after some personal problems, we were writing the album Egod tring to adapt the style to Alessandro’s voice. One morning I got a phone call from Michele and he said to me “we got physical mail from one of the most important law firms of Italy… they say we have to change the name!”
It was a very sad day…. We already knew about the black metal band Sothis, but there are so many bands around the world with the same name, we never thought too much about that, even because to have the worldwide exclusive for a name is very very expensive…. but maybe they were very rich, I don’t know…. For sure all this situation has been very frustrating (especially because Sothis are no longer active now….). Anyway, after some days of study and talking with the counter-party, our lawyer told us that they are too strong and we could just change our name… At that point we decided to save the sound of our old name choosing Sawthis.
As of this date, you have not toured the United States yet. Do you see that as a possibility any time soon?
Of course Yes! It’s one of our targets for the promotion of this new album. To play there would be awesome for us. It’s a bit more difficult to manage than a european tour, but we’ll do it for sure!
Youniverse, your third album, released in 2013, is a concept album that is based around multiple personality disorder. Each song on the album represents a different mentally-ill personality. How did you come up with this idea?
The whole concept of “Youniverse” is from our singer Alessandro. Everything started when he read about the story of Billy Milligan, a man with a multiple personality disorder, one of the first cases of this disorder studied. Alessandro has been really fascinated by this and he created a world of personalities inside a single man, the starring of “Youniverse”
Was there a lot of research done for this, or was it personal experience with anyone?
After the discovery of the story of Billy Milligan, Alessandro started personal research about the disturb of multiple personalities. He tried some techniques to remember the dreams of the whole night and he read “The Crowded Room,” one of the most important book about this.
Why a concept album, and would you consider doing another concept album?
Actually at the beginning we didn’t decided to write a concept, but after some songs, we understood that to write a concept album was possible.
How did partnering with Rob Cavestany from Death Angel on the track “The Disturbed” on Youniverse come about?
It has been pretty simple, our ex guitarist Janos is friend of him (he has been on tour with Death Angel a couple of times) so we just asked him and he accepted.
When you write, what is the process? Do you come at it together or individually?
Before individually and after together. Usually Michele begins to write and send us his work and ideas, but he’s not a guitarist, so we work on that, writing riffs, voice, and bass lines. Then we play the end result, evaluating if it’s good or not. When we decide that a song could be right, it’s time to complete the song, and this process could be very long ‘cause we try to take care about every particular detail (and because Michele is a maniac of perfection.)
Are all members active participants?
Yes, but the main part of work is from Michele, Adriano and, when the music is written, Alessandro that write all the lyrics.
How tight knit is the music community in Italy?
Here in Italy we have a metal music scene made of a lot of good bands and a lot of people that love music. A good potential, but the thing doesn’t go so well. We have a lack of decent venues and promoters, so to play here is not easy. This is one of reason why we prefer to play outside of Italy….
Are you still signed with Bakerteam Records for this new album?
Nope. We’re looking for a new label, for sure a better one.
Today, bands often release singles and videos prior to the album. How important is that in today’s complicated music industry?
To be very active inside the music industry…releasing singles, videos, and albums is very important, but to release something without a good promotion could be useless. I think, if you don’t have a deal with a big label, it’s better to have less releases with good timing than a big number that can’t reach the target.
Of the five videos you’ve released, do you have a favorite?
Except for the video of “Beyond the Bound” I’m the author of all our videos, so it’s difficult for me to choose one…it’s like to choose between your sons!
How important is Youtube in getting your music out with low to no radio play?
Very important. We always try to keep all our pages connected between them, and the possibility that YouTube offers, to see the band, maybe not just in a videoclip but also on stage or during the recording sessions, it’s very important to make the people feel close to the life of the band.
There has been a fair amount of band lineup changes in Sawthis in the last 16 years. The newest members are your guitar players, Marco Di Carlo and Janos Murri, both joining in 2011. Do you see this current line up as lasting?
Actually after the release of “Youniverse” we had a weird situation about our line-up. Adriano, with Michele the founder of the band, asked us a pause to be with his family then Marco joined us. When the time of the new album is arrived, Adriano began writing very good material. At the same time Janos literally disappeared (sometimes things like that happen….) so we asked Adriano to be a stable member of the band again and he accepted. I don’t know if this line-up will be until the end but I hope so.
You and Michele Melchiorre are the longest term members in Sawthis. What do you attribute to your longitude with the band?
We strongly believe in our music! We always work a lot on the quality of our music (in studio and on stage), trying to keep our personality, and we’re determined to go forward because we know that our music is outside the trend of the moment. This makes our road more difficult, but we can’t stop…we always do our best.
It seems in the metal genre, almost all songs are between 3-4 minutes, 9-12 tracks, and 30-45 minutes in length. Why do you think this is when radio play is less common now?
Actually I don’t know…. About our songs, we don’t choose the duration of a song before, the lenghth is a consequence of music. Usually our songs are dynamics and full of impact ‘cause we want to reach the syntesis of the music, then our compositions are between 3-4 minutes.
Besides the bands that you have toured with, who are you most wishing to join on tour?
There are a lot of bands…. I think to be on tour with Soilwork would be absolutely awesome for us. Our music is inspired a lot by them and I’m sure the crowd will appreciate our music. Furthermore I’m a big fan of them!
Of the places you toured in Europe, were any especially great? Was there any place in Europe you missed this time around that you hope to hit next tour?
We met a lot of great people all around Europe, so it’s difficult to choose one that is especially great. We had a lot of fun in Poland for sure. We played in almost all of Europe, but we missed Sweden and Norway. I really hope to play there as soon as possible.
Touring with Vader and Deicide had to be a dream come true. Did you learn anything from those long-term touring bands?
Yes, being on tour with very experienced bands is very useful. For sure the main thing that we learned is to work, work, and again work.
Any stories worth telling?
To be on tour is absolutely great, we love it so much. Meet a lot of different people, play on so many different stages, know different habits, it’s very exciting. Every tour has many moments to remember… it’s difficult to choose one. It’s awesome for me to discover how normal and kind people are that wrote the story of the music. For example to talk about Montepulciano D’Abruzzo (a great wine from our region in Italy) with Andreas Kisser in a bar in Helsinki or to see Glen Benton play foosball like a kid, or after a show in the middle of Russia, to find Peter from Vader, backstage, singing our songs…
Any you can’t tell?
eheehheeh there are many of them….. one of the most absurd was in Riga (Latvia). We had some shows with Children of Bodom and we spent a day off in this wonderful city. We met some fans of Sawthis and they were our guide around the city. During the travel from our hotel we discovered the wild side of our guitarist Marco: he jumped out of the taxi and he started to run away. We totally lost him in the middle of a city that we didn’t know, with few people that spoke English… After around one hour, Alessandro found him in a corner, ringing the bell of a house trying to talk with someone inside (using an absolutely unknown language). He brought him back to our room and we relaxed after this fear. Big mistake! Just few minutes and Marco disappeared again! It was around 4.00 A.M., and we started to look around to find him. We travelled many miles in every direction to find him… for hours, but nothing. At 8:00 A.M. in the morning we were out of energy (and hopeless)…one of the girls that were with us even called the hospital and the morgue! We had to leave for Tallinn in Estonia (around 8 hours travel) for the show that night that we couldn’t miss! We were totally dazed and confused! Just minutes before the deadline to leave Riga, Marco appeared. He didn’t remember anything about the whole night… just that he woke up in a car in a parking lot.
Being in such a hard working band…do you still find time to be a fan of music?
Of course yes. I can’t live without music. I try to have time for music everyday. I like to discover bands that I didn’t know before. It’s very hard to be updated, as there are too many releases each week. To listen to an unexpected great album is one of the most intense emotion for me. However to listen some good old album is very relaxing for me!
Who are you currently listening to?
Something old, something new. It’s always a good mix. I’m just listening the new album of Testament and the black metal project of Phil Anselmo called Scour, which was a big surprise for me. They are a very good band, and I don’t like black metal! A Means to No End from the Italian band called Destrage, some random stuff from Foo Fighters (I can stay to much time without listen to Foo Fighters!) I can’t stop listening to Sirens Charms from In Flames, some songs from the new work of Opeth, and of course the preproduction of new album of Sawthis!
With the ever-changing and categorization of metal in today’s music world, do you feel any pressure to move away from the thrash metal/groove metal genre?
Today it seems necessary to always create new categorizations…to do a new look to music, but I rarely see something really new with that. We make the music that we like, so we have no problems with our genre. Sometimes is can be really frustrating to see bands reach results just because they followed a new trend.
Do you agree with the categorization?
In a world when new tunes are released on a daily basis, genres helps the audience to find out what’s closer to their preferences.
Most of the time its hard for a band to fit into a genre, and categories end up being tight and not at all realistic. Sawthis, for instance, goes far beyond simple groove thrash metal, but audiences can only find that out by listening to the tunes.
Do you think there are too many sub-genres in metal today?
Absolutely yes. I think you can call your music as you want, but you can’t change the reality. If you play thrash metal, you can call it introspective parodistic chaos-oriented heavy death proto metal, but the real fact is that you’re just playing thrash metal!
You end your live shows with the song ‘The Purifier’ from your first album, “Fusion.” Will you always do that? Why that song?
At the beginning, ‘The Purifier’ was one of the first song of our live set, but one day we tried it as last one and the effect has been great. ‘The Purifier’ is a very aggressive song, but in a very groovy way. This makes this song perfect for a final big wall of death. To end our future shows with it would be good and characteristic, we’ll see.
Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?
I just want to say to stay tuned for the new album of Sawthis. I can’t be more satisfied of the sound of the new songs. I can’t wait to know the release date and play these song live!! I want to say thank you so much for this interview.
I am so glad to reconnect with you, Gaetano, and I’m really looking forward to watching what comes next for Sawthis.
Thanks so much Susan, I appreciated a lot to talk with you. Your questions have been very interesting, exciting, and absolutely not banal. I’m always happy to find original people. Thanks.
To view the crowd funding video for the new release, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWwoW5fiCqo