Friday, June 15, 2012

Off the Record: an interview to Slumberwood (English translation, Italian audio)

Slumberwood are an interesting band from Padova (Padua, one Veneto's cities and provinces), a place that in recent years has been well known for the quirky and lysergic sounds of Jennifer Gentle (Sub Pop), always very influential, at least in Italy, if we consider the number of other acts like the "Madcap Collective" bands (from Treviso) and many others that followed their example through the years. Slumberwood present their new record "Anguane" and talk about psychedelia, influences and their friendship with the other bands from the area. This interview was originally broadcast during last Friday's Up! radio show
(Radio Onde Furlane, 90.00mhz or streaming on

Audio originale/podcast in italiano!
Original audio in Italian and English translation:

UKN: Can you talk about the origins of Slumberwood?
S: The Slumberwood project started from the ashes of "Talk Show Host", our former band in which we used to play "electronica", glitch music. That had started ten years ago but with the passing of time we progressively abandoned the use of computers to go back to traditional instruments like guitar, bass, keyboards, drums... This is how Slumberwood started. Perhaps the "universe of sounds" we refer to has changed but the general imagery, our attitude and what we want to deliver are more or less the same...

UKN: The name of your band but also the title of your record reveal what seems to be more than just a simple interest, a passion for the natural and supernatural world. How did this develop, how did this start?
S: Our name perfectly represents the imagery we are interested in, the relationship with nature seen in an infantile/naive way but also in a darker and scary way for some respects. It also shows our fascination for the oneiric and subconscious. We're also very interested in the relationship between man and nature, it's not a chance we're big fans of Lynch and Herzog who based their movies on this relationship for some sometimes. The title of the record pertains all of this; the "Anguane" are mythological creatures belonging to the Veneto [region] folklore, they're half women and half serpents, dwelling the mountainside and according to the many versions of this legend they can be either good or mean, almost demonic.

UKN: Playful titles like "Emerson Laura Palmer" and the sounds on this records sometimes represent an original mix of psychedelia and "intimist" prog rock. What do you think about this? Are there other kinds of music you'd like to explore in the future? Was there an evolution from the first record according to you?
S: Definitely psychedelic music is one of our biggest influences, especially the oldest psychedelia, the seventies', English or German psychedelia in particular. But we don't feel like putting ourselves in this genre or other ones, for when we write songs we do it in the most spontaneous way, without thinking at a certain direction for the record. We all have our influences and things we love to listen to (very diverse by the way), we all bring them out, consciously or unconsciously, when we compose music. Oftentimes the results are spontaneous and independent from our main influences.We definitely matured with this record, composition wise and technically too, especially how we render our ideas in the studio. Studio work was very stimulating but also very tiring sometimes, also because sound research is fundamental for our music.

UKN: There are different collaborations on the record, some are kind of obvious because of some musical and "geographical" affinities (Father Murphy, Marco Fasolo). Who would you like to collaborate with in the future, from Italy or from abroad, seen as you sing in English?
S: There's a huge musical and human affinity between us and other bands from our region (Veneto) like Jennifer Gentle, Father Murphy and Mamuthones, some of which collaborated with us on this record. First of all we're all big friends, in a way you could say there's a certain musical influence, but it's a kind of attitude emerging from all of us instead, a way of thinking psychedelic music that for some reason is big in the North-East of Italy in this moment in time, even though I don't think you can really talk about a "scene"... We do know each other very well but all of us pursue our own different musical paths independently. So we can say there isn't really an influence between us while we have a great respect for each other.

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