Interviewed by Denys (Site Founder/Senior Staff Writer) Myglobalmind Webzine
Myglobalmind: Hey Julio thanks for taking some time to take us a little more in depth into you recent release of “Glasnost”.
Julio: No problem, it’s always a pleasure to talk to independent writers and webzines.
Myglobalmind: The world of music is a big place and so many bands release music daily is hard to keep track. So for fans not familiar with your band Illuminatus, can you describe the band’s sound and style for the first time listeners and readers?
Julio: Our music is a combination of a lot influences. We really don’t fit into any bandwagon or any other kind of fashion scene. Musically, our sound is all about soundscapes, creating a big wall of sound in the way of bands like Isis and Neurosis, but packed into fist-sized songs, taking elements from Grunge and other genres too.
We’re often compared to A Perfect Circle, Tool and Deftones in the press.
Myglobalmind: Before we get into the intricacies of the record, let’s talk about the band’s name, where did the name come from? The meaning behind it? How did the band’s name come about? It’s definitely an eye opening name I think?
Julio: In the very beginning, the name was inspired by a painting by HR Giger, and it was the name of a very early band I was in back in school. Over time, the name stuck and it was only after a few years that I realised what a meaningful name it was, and how well it fit in with the type of lyrics I had been writing all along. It’s almost as if it was pre-destined! Wait – ARE THEY WATCHING ME RIGHT NOW? ARGH!
Myglobalmind: Talk about the bands members ethnicities, the four of you are from Italy, Spain, Germany and English? How interesting…..how did you guys meet and decided to create this type of music?
Julio: We all kind of converged in Nottingham, England for different reasons and decided to start a band – with Leo joining the band a bit later via MySpace (back when it was still cool). I’d had the idea to start a band for a long time with Jon (who I’d known since school). He’d been jamming with Felix for a while, and the rest is a bit of a blur.
Myglobalmind: Did the different background from all the guys in the band help spark even more creativity when it came to start making music? if so how?
Julio: We never set out to copy any other bands or to write music specifically engineered to please a specific music scene or a specific type of haircut. We simply wrote music we wanted to listen to, and ignored the rest. We all bring different influences into the mix, but we have a good common ground on which we build our style.
Myglobalmind: Let’s get into the details of the record “Glasnost”. The songwriting is one of the first things that caught my attention here. Some lyrics are politically inspired maybe? I’m sure there’s more to it then that, but it seems like the songwriting on your new record was very crucial as to how each song flows? Talk about the writing in particular for this release.
Julio: Some of the lyrics are politically (socially) influenced, but they do have another meaning too. The title of the record deals with the issue of ‘transparency’ and ‘honesty’. This is carried through the record with quite a few introspective moments and questions raised. The main objective of my lyrics has always been to make the listener think about what it means to them, not what I think. So if you ever listened to one of our songs and you ended up thinking about a particular moment in your life, a memory or feeling, then I have achieved my goal.
Regarding the flow of the record, we wanted to make a record that felt like it was written with purpose, with the songs flowing neatly into each other and helping to build a larger, wider concept that you’d want to return to over time. We also wanted a variety of sounds and styles in the record.
Myglobalmind: Talk about a song like “Division” for instance, which has some lyrics that we can all relate to when it comes to the state of the world, and the media freedom of information in particular?
Julio: Division is a song about how the media influences public opinion, and how many people form half-assed beliefs which they carry through to their children and friends without really thinking about it, or why. It’s also written in a kind of Orwellian speech style, I pictured some overweight featureless man in a grey overall shouting through a megaphone in a shopping mall…
“for those of you who are morally impaired, the president will be crying in your place. We are only doing what we know is best for you, the way it’s always been here.”
Myglobalmind: Explain the word “Glasnost” please? what it means and how it relates to the album’s music in general?
Julio: Glasnost is a Russian word that doesn’t really have a direct meaning in any other language. Roughly it translates as “to speak clearly” / “to speak openly” or “to describe a moment that could not otherwise be put into words”.
This record deals with that concept right through its core, from start to finish. From a personal point of view I have also written lyrics here on subject which I would never have explored before, including some very personal things I have never otherwise discussed with anyone. So, going back to the issue of honesty, in some ways this is my way of addressing certain things for my own state of clarity, my own process of understanding things. That in itself *is* the meaning of the word, the meaning of the album.
Looking at it from another angle, it’s also a political term used to describe the process of increased transparency of the Soviet regime in the late 1980s.
Which meaning applies to the record? Which one is more relevant to you? That is the point – think about it, take a moment, make a choice.
Myglobalmind: The cover artwork in particular is another facet of the new record I really liked, as soon as I saw that character with a newspaper around his head, I don’t know maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it makes you think. What’s the story behind the artwork?
Julio: The artwork was done by our friend Keith Burton at The Mouse Department. We had some discussions about the concept of the record, and I left it with him with only two instructions: it needs to be cinematic, and it needs to be weird. He read the lyrics, listened to the record and came back with this masterpiece.
The artwork has many meanings, but for me the one that sticks out is the thought of a man so immersed in information that he no longer has a voice. Inside the record, there is another version of the cover in which the paper is on fire, with flames coming out of his mouth.
Myglobalmind: What has been the fans response to the new record?
Julio: We’re very pleased with response so far, and encouraged by the positive reviews and comments from everyone.
Myglobalmind: Because the writing is so ambitious, we’re you hesitant that some people out there wouldn’t read that much into it or read too much into it? What we’re expectations for your this release?
Julio: If everyone thought about the music they listened to, and made an effort to understand what writers are trying to do, there would be a lot of unemployed popstars.
Myglobalmind: Back when you guys released The Rising Tide EP, Magazines like Kerrang and Metal Hammer UK gave it some favorable reviews. Did that help put you guys on the map sorta of speak?
Julio: I think by and large the UK mainstream doesn’t understand what we do. We had some good reviews from the “big papers” but generally they ignore what we do.
The press and fans in the rest of Europe (Germany, Holland for example) are much more interested and into what we do, and I think it’s definitely to do with the fact we don’t subscribe to scenes or haircut fashions, and therefore we are not part of whatever wave of torrid generic shit the magazines are pushing onto the kids at any particular time. I’m sure we’re not the only ones.
Having said that, below the surface there is an important core of intelligent music lovers in the UK and beyond who DO understand what we do, and that is the reason we continue to do what we do.
Myglobalmind: How did the music change or evolve from your EP to now?
Pictures by: www.venstrehaandsarbejde.com
Julio: This record is tighter, heavier, more focused and direct than the EP. It also helped we were able to work with Willi Dammeier who is a fantastic engineer and really got a great sound out of us this time round.
Myglobalmind: If a reader was to go to an Illuminatus show, can you describe it?
Julio: Loud, sweaty, expansive, passionate. We always go onstage and give maximum energy and passion, and we hope that comes through in the music.
Myglobalmind: Speaking of shows, what places has the band toured in support of this release? Possible tour dates?
Julio: So far we have been playing short runs of dates in England, but we have plans to visit continental Europe soon – stay tuned for updates!
Myglobalmind: I read on the press release that you guys we’re invited to the Famecast festival in 2007 that took place in Austin, Texas? Is there any video of this anywhere? Would love to see that?
Pictures by: www.venstrehaandsarbejde.com
Julio: Yes! It was a great experience to play in the USA. The videos (including a 3 part documentary about our trip) are all on YouTube – must see! Check out “illuminatus – Texas and Back”, you won’t regret it…
Myglobalmind: Tell the readers some reasons why they should pick up your newest release?
Julio: Because it’s personally endorsed by Rupert Murdoch and was officially approved by Fox News as safe, wholesome listening for responsible citizens striving towards moral purity. Probably.
I couldn’t help but laugh my ass off at this answer……Editor
Myglobalmind: It’s been a pleasure thanks for taking the time. Congrats on a killer dark, brooding and thought provoking album that slays guys. Good luck in the future!!!
Thanks guys, anytime! And thanks for your support.
Webzine Review for Illuminatus – Glasnost