Saturday, November 22, 2014

Interview: Stefano "Saul" Morabito (Eyeconoclast and 16th Cellar Studio)

Stefano "Saul" Morabito is an iconic italian Producer, which has worked with many known extreme metal bands such as Fleshgod Apocalypse, Hour of Penance, Bloodtruth, Devangelic, Subhuman and so on; he is also a talented guitar player, which plays in Eyeconoclast, a thrash-death metal band from Rome (Italy).
Here's our interview:

GuitarNerdingBlog: Hello Stefano and welcome to Guitar Nerding Blog! Introduce yourself to our readers, tell us your story!

StefanoMorabito: Hi, Stefano Morabito here, Nice to be on your blog! 34 years old, Producer/audio engineer at 16th Cellar Studios since 2002 and guitar for Eyeconoclast.

GNB: Tell us about your career. We know you've been playing in many projects during the last few years, and the most important one is obviously Eyeconoclast.
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?
SM: Begun playing guitar in a death metal band called Chthonian Nemeton in 1997, played in Hour Of Penance in 2001, with Rust of Reason in 2003, and from then on, I've been playing guitar in Eyeconoclast. My favourite metal artists of all time are Dan Swanö, The Crown, Dissection, wtf list could be too long let's say basically all swedish death from 1990 to 2000 and a lot of american death metal from the same age :D
My career Highlights with Eyeconoclast have been touring Japan with Septic Flesh and Svart Crown, the best place i've ever been to, there you can see the kind of support you could expect 10, 15 years ago, when everything was new and magic, the people is really interested in your music, and supports bands in a way that is forgotten here. 
Yes, they could download your album, but everyone, and I mean everyone who comes to your show, buys your cd. Japanese people is hungry for metal, and they gave to us so much enthusiasm and will to continue!

GNB: What do you think about the actual music business? What are your thoughts about underground and mainstream music scene nowadays?

SM: Actual music business is based mainly on hype and money. With File sharing everyone has a place, everyone can be heard, which is great, but the downside of this is that there's so much offer than request for music, so: more bands, less quality, and the bands need to invest more on promotion, so money talks here. 
Whoever has more money gets more hype, and buys a bigger place in the heart of fans. 
That's how it works: artistic quality is often found in the second or third place.

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? 

SM: File sharing had a bad impact on music business. While it is also true that if there was no file sharing, we probably wouldn't be here speaking: your blog is shared, my music is shared, the works I do in the studio are shared. I think that at the moment we (the music business) are learning how to deal with the good sides and the bad sides of file sharing: music busines at the moment is like a baby who's learning how to deal with a new world, and hopefully someday this situation will reach a balance that will satisfy the companies and the people. At least this seems how it's going.

GNB: Tell us some funny story: which one has been your best/funniest experience as a musician? And your worst one? 

SM: worst one but also funny: Going to play to Stonehenge fest in Holland: Lufthansa air company lost one of our guitars and one of our basses, which arrived 2 flights later, so we were late for the show, we had the driver run like crazy from the airport to the festival, something like 130km/h in a shitty van risking our lives at every turn, then we arrived on stage, plug guitar in and PLAY in front of 1000(ish) people:  here's exactly 5 mins after we took our stuff out of the van ahaha!
The best one was the afterparty after one of the gigs with Cryptopsy, Cattle Decapitation and Decrepit Birth, where Cattle decapitation offered us so much stuff that we were completely out of our mind, the night finished with me, Mauro and Paolo in the streets near the venue doing spanish corrida/bullfight to the passing cars with our jackets, and being asked by the police what we were doing, fortunately they had a laugh about it and everything went good ahah!!! Crazy stuff!

GNB: Since many readers of our blog are mainly interested in the technical side of the guitar world, can you tell us something about your studio and live equipment? Can you tell us about the recordings of your latest album? 

SM: In the studio I have some good amp: Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier (first version), Peavey 5150, Engl Fireball, Engl Savage, I also own some great OLD Geloso Amps, from Italy (1965) completely refurbished and adapted for guitar. About the cabs, I use a Carvin Legacy loaded with Celestion v30 stripped off from a Mesa cab. This is why the Mesa cab was too bassy, but I liked the mids, so I created this "frankenstein" that I like so much, along with some classic Boss, Ibanez and Maxon pedal; I also have some guitars to choose, a 92' Jackson Dinky reverse loaded with Quad rail pickups, a Schechter Hellraiser loaded with Bare-knuckle Aftermath pickups, an '89 Kramer guitar loaded with Emg81, an Ltd guitar, and some "Overload guitars" an ITALIAN company who makes incredible axes ( and basses, who basically kill any other competitors when it comes to recording guitars here :)

About the recording of our last album there's not much to say, we wanted it to sound OLD style and raw, like Angel Corpse's "The Inexorable" meeting The Crown's "Hell is Here" album, so drums are completely not triggered at all, except for a minimum on kick drum: we wanted to go in the opposite direction of the standard metal format of today. Quad tracked guitars with Savage and 5150, and lots of headbanging going on ehhehe

GNB: Tell us something about you recording studio (16th Cellar Studio): which Daw do you use? What are your favourite vst plugins? Do you use hardware outboards or you prefer to mix in the box?

SM: Studio is in working business from 2002, I begun in 1998 doing stuff for friends, when Hard disk recording was mostly unknown for the general public, and often seen as a low quality option for recording, (as many of the new technological breakthrough in their early age) in that period ADAT was used. To mix totally outside the box for today's extreme metal is completely unrealistic and unpractical, and very few do it, Just maybe really really big 1 year / >3 months productions , mixing outside the box a project of 60/100 tracks needs a really big mixer, and people who follows the automations by hand when tracks are reversed on the final stereo tracks. What is often and most likely done, is to mix inside the box AND outside the box together, at some degree, for example I often use buss compression on drums with my API 527 compressor, and bass, vocal, acoustic compression with my telefunkens U373a, U373bk, u373S, or my emt 277 dx limiters, old stuff with big punch. 
External Insert with delay compensation rules here, and then I take care of the volumes with my Mackie Control Pro, extender pro and c4 pro, or just draw lines to automate stuff. that's a healthier life for sure, eheh. For mic preamps I use Neve 1073 (bass, vocals, kick), Api 512c (snare, guitars, sometimes kick), Telefunken v676, v672 (works well on vocal, bass and toms) and neumann pv46 pres (works wonderfully on cymbals and rooms). On vocals I've found the paradise using Neumann U67 mic, since a year and a half. Favourite VST plugin is the Sonitus: fx Equalizer, a bit old but it is the most precise EVER for me :D

GNB: Let's talk about guitar tone: what is your favourite way to get a good guitar tone? Do you use vst amp simulators or you prefer to mic a cabinet? Have you got any tip to share?
SM: I rarely use any simulators (if not never), for rhythm guitars, maybe I still havent found anything that sounds 100% right to my ears, although in the recent year a good company popped up, making some plugin that works very well, and is ITALIAN, its name is Ignite amps
They also build the real stuff, so they're a step ahead to other simulators, they really know what the hell is going on inside those boxes with lights that produce sound eheh, I used it for the Solos of Bloodshot Dawn, an UK band who came over here 2/3 years ago to record their album, you can check it out here; pretty nice stuff!
Anyway for rhythm guitars I stick to my beloved amps and pedals. Favourite way to get a good guitar tone? Bring with you more guitars than you can and listen carefully to each one, with and without the amp (hi-z), to better understand how each guitar behaves; the one who wins, records the album. 
NEW strings every 2/3 songs Golden rule! Sm57 mixed with another mic of your choice will always be my favourite choice!

GNB: Do you have any advice for the guys that wish to open a recording studio on their own, or to become mixing or mastering engineers?

SM: 1) forget sleep
2) be patient
3) learn psychology
4) never lose passion
5) the project needs FUCKING ORDER dont do a mess with tracks!
6) build your experience day by day, never give anything for granted
7) learn to do things in 10 different ways to have the same result
8) learn from others, even unexperienced people can make you understand important stuff
9) If you have time listen to what others do, there's always a good tip everywhere
10) learn how to repair your own stuff
11) never use presets, begin each project from scratch, otherwise one day you will find that you have produced xx albums which sounds identical to each other
12) be methodic, and Have FUN!!!!

GNB: The interview is over! Tell us about your latest works, projects and tours! Thank you very much and we hope to see you soon live!

SM: Tours with Eyeconoclast are being planned as we speak, hopefully everything will fall in place! We are also planning the third album!! About the studio: You can listen the last Fleshgod Apocalypse's album or the last Hour Of Penance Album (where you can hear the mighty engl fireball roaring on guitars), or the new Hideous Divinity album or the new Bloodtruth album! Too many damn good bands in Italy are around these days!!!
Support the scene, buy albums but most of all: DON'T PLAY SHIT MUSIC. Thanks :D

Become fan of this blog on Facebook! Share it and contact us to collaborate!!

No comments:

Post a Comment