Bloodtruth is another great death metal band that comes from Italy, a country that is recently seeing a second reinassance in its metal scene, giving birth to bands capable to rule the international scene (e.g. Fleshgod Apocalypse) through working ethic and professionality.
This band is now promoting its debut album, Obedience, which is being reviewed positively everywhere, and it's just returned from an European tour; here's our chat with the guitarist, Stefano Rossi Ciucci.
GuitarNerdingBlog: Hello Stefano and welcome to Guitar Nerding Blog! Introduce yourself to our readers, tell us your story!
StefanoRossiCiucci: Hi everyone and thank you Atoragon for this awesome opportunity. I am Stefano Rossi Ciucci, I’m 37, but just until the next month. I still keep on playing death metal, anyway I lead a very normal life as a thermal plants engineer and as a father. I started learning how to play a guitar when I was 16 exploring different genres, from hard rock to brutal death metal. Since the beginning, I was even working together with Grind Promotion and Distribution in order to support the local metal scene organising several shows.
GNB: Tell us about your career. We know you worked in many projects during the last 20 years, and the two most important ones are obviously Bloodtruth and Devouring Hatred.
Which are your career highlights? Which are the artists that influenced you the most? Is it there still some collaboration that you wish you would do?
SRC: Yeah, that’s right. I worked in many projects during these years but I have only three career highlights:
1) (1996/1997) the first love, a local band called Affliction, in which I was playing bass guitar during 6 years, the band who allowed me to play death metal. I was a guitar player but I accepted to play bass just to be in the death metal world. I was a huge fan of the band before I could get in it, that’s why I will keep good memories of it in my mind.
2) I entered the brutal death metal world thanks to Devouring Hatred. Great friends, great musicians and awesome music.
3) Last Bloodtruth European tour. Something that I was dreaming about since forever, along with my dream band.
About influences, my all-time favourite guitarists are Doug Cerrito (Suffocation), Trey Azagthoth (Morbid Angel), Joe Satriani, Steve Vai. My favourite death metal band is Cannibal Corpse, the first DM band I ever listened. Still love them after so many years tho. About collaborations, it’s a hard question, although I tried to get in touch with many musicians around the world. I still remember in 2003/2004 when I was writing on the Derek Roddy forum searching for some members about an international studio death metal band, I was in touch with George Kollias (Nile) just few months before he joined Nile. Actually, I would love to start a collaboration with some italian musicians that I really admire in order to create a studio album: never talked to them about it but for the future, who knows?
GNB: You are a very talented guitar player; tell us about your love for this instrument, how you learnt to play it and your favourite models!
SRC: I am a self-taught guitar player that started to learn some Guns & Roses songs (incredible huh?). In a little while I started to take some lessons with a gifted guitar player, Francesco D’Oronzo, but I never loved to study music theory, I always preferred to play along some tracks or learning them from the tablatures. About my favourite guitar models, last year I started a collaboration with Overload Custom Guitar and Basses that built me a tremendous guitar. Sometime I still play my first and beloved Gibson Les Paul Standard wine red glo equipped with EMG pickups.
GNB: What do you think about the actual music business? What are your thoughts about underground and mainstream music scene nowadays?
SRC: It’s a really strange period for the music business. During the last years people stopped to buy CDs, downloading music from the net. Instead, during the last years, a lot of labels started back to print vinyl platters and some special bundles with posters, stickers, etc. In my honest opinion, it could mean that people love to buy something different from a simple record and that they still have some money for it.
I think it could work for the underground business too.
GNB: What do you think about the digital music distribution? What about the file sharing? How do you think the music business will evolve in the future?
SRC: I want to be honest with you. I download music and love to listen to albums in streaming, just because I rather better to listen before I buy something. I usually purchase 2 or 3 records per month but I definitely need to listen to them before: there’s a lot of crap around the music world. Who knows, maybe if labels could make people listen to complete albums in streaming at least during the pre-orders, they will sell more. If you really like the record, you need to have the original stuff in your hands, because you want to listen to it in a better quality and you want to read lyrics, special thanks, see pictures, etc.
GNB: Let's talk about live music! Which have been the best gigs you have ever played? Do you consider yourself more a live musician or a studio one?
SRC: The best live experiences were at Neurotic Deathfest this year and the last Brutality Over Europe show in Milan. Neurotic DF was the first fest with kinda professional taste I participated, exclusive minibar, hotels included, four stage assistants one each member. Just to mention, I met Gene Hoglan and Pestilence members in the backstage, our dressing room was next-door to Misery Index and Grave dressing rooms. Unbelievable! I love to play live and to record tracks in my personal studio either.
GNB: Tell us some funny story: which one has been your best/funniest experience as a musician? And your worst one?
SRC: That’s the hardest question for this interview because… my memory started to fail (laughs…). Let’s start with “the worst” one: many years ago I was playing in a dancing local band (just to be able to pay the bills), it was 1998. We had a show in front of 1000 people in Milan, I was simulating playing bass and the general playback machine began to stutter in the middle of a song so that the attendance started to laugh out loud. The funniest experience I can remember was during the last tour, in Holland, when I traded a shirt with a local band. I did not check, I just traded it, that’s my lifestyle, but the problem is that the shirt was showing the image of a girl giving a hard blowjob …. So we made a bet, Damiano (Devangelic bass player) wore it and went to some girls asking a lighter. I still can remember, they were having such faces!
GNB: Since many readers of our blog are mainly interested in the technical side of the guitar world, can you tell us your studio and live equipment? Can you tell us about the recordings of your latest album?
SRC: I usually record and edit myself all the guitar parts in my home studio. I prefer it instead of the studios because I can take all the time that I need to play any guitar part without thinking about the time running and about the money I should pay to the studio. I recorded “Obedience” with a Radial J48 DI and Stefano Morabito at 16th Cellar Studios re-amped it with an Engl Fireball and an Ibanez TS808. On stage, I am actually using an Overload Custom guitar built according to my technical specifications, with a Warpig Bare Knuckle Pickup, Spectraflex cables and Intune custom guitar picks. I use two stomps, a chromatic tuner and a Boss NS2, then going directly into our sound card through Cubase, using a custom overdrive VST and an amp simulator called Emissary, both from Ignite Amps. In the Cubase project I’ve got all the automations about delay and pitch shifter VSTs for solos, then the sound goes through an Engl E840 Finale and a Mesa Boogie 2x12” Cabinet. I chose this system because I love to keep less equipment on tour and I love to use more technology as possible. Having an automate solos sound on stage was my dream, finally realized (special thanks to you, Stefano, for your big help about).
GNB: Is there any advice that you'd like to tell to our fellow guitar players?
SRC: Take music seriously, take it as a job. Everytime, every stage, every situation. Don’t forget that if you want to reach a goal, you’ve to work hard and be driven.
GNB: What does the lyrics of your songs talk about? What do you think is most important in a song, the lyrical side or the musical one?
SRC: The singer of the band Luigi wrote all of the “Obedience” lyrics, except for Suppurating of Deception that I wrote myself. We don’t like to be one-way against christianity but we prefer to list all damages religion caused during the centuries. Lyrics are very important in a song, because together with the music, they create a peculiar atmosphere, giving a tasteful sense to what you want to express with the music.
GNB: The interview is over! Tell us about your latest album, projects and tours! Thank you very much and we hope to see you soon live!
SRC: “Obedience” was a hard task to accomplish. It took me two months only to record the whole guitar parts! That’s how our hard work and training pays off. By the way, soon we will start working on the new stuff for the second full-length. Now we are working hard searching for some shows/tours. See you next Thursday, we’ll have the first Obedience release party here in Italy supporting Fleshgod Apocalypse, I know you’ll be there Atoragon (note by AtoragoN: I'm going to be the metal dj on that venue for that night)! Thank you very much for the interview! Cheers.