Singer Monica Primo - My Black Light
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Massacre Records for the promo pictures of the band
My Black Light is a new Italian goth metal act that late last year released their brilliant debut album HUMAN MAZE and because of the great album I felt it was time to hook up with singer Monica Primo in order to get to know the band better. The music of My Black Light isn't the ordinary Goth music instead they have featured some really interesting progressive influences so if this sounds like something you may like then check out the interview.
Hello Monica. First of all I'd like to thank you for taking the time to make this interview with me and metal-rules.com. Hope you're feeling fine and ready to kick off the interview?
Hello! Thanks to you! Ready of course!
Could you tell us about when and where the band was founded?
I met Rudy almost 5 years ago, we played in different cover bands but he was looking for someone to start a new project with. He had already written some songs and he liked my voice. So we looked for the other members and MY BLACK LIGHT was born.
Was it hard to recruit members to the band and are the current line-up all from Italy?
Actually no, we were lucky. Our town is full of musicians and we just had to choose. The line-up is still the same, Rudy and I, Lello at guitar, Marco at bass and Edo at drums, all from Italy, right.
Did you play your own material from the very beginning?
No, we didn’t. We started as a cover band. Some of us were very young and we just wanted to see how things went by playing together. But at the same time we worked already on our songs.
When did the band perform live for the first time and where was it?
It was in 2008, it was a local open air small festival, but we really enjoyed it and our audience too.
Where does the band name come from and who came up with it?
When we met we realized how different we were, we came from different music genres and our tastes were in contrast in some cases. So we wanted something that could express this contrast and we thought that BLACK and LIGHT were perfect. We added MY to make it more personal considering also our lyrics topics.
Was it given from the start that the band was going to play goth metal?
Actually we’ve never talked about that. I mean, when we were a cover band we do goth metal, but writing and performing our own songs was completely different, we just wrote what we liked, we didn’t want to play goth metal, we want to play what came out from our personal taste and heart that is some cases is goth metal, but it was not decided.
How would you like to describe what kind of music you play?
Of course it’s Gothic metal but not only. I can hear some progressive and heavy influences and also some dance and pop music. Like I said before, we’ve got very different tastes in music, and everybody has brought them inside our songs.
You have participated in a few musical contests what can you tell us about those contests?
Yes, some contests. One in particular was very interesting and important for our band, it’s called MUSIC VILLAGE. You perform in front of lots of musicians, labels and experts of the music market and they give their comments and impressions on your work. It helped us out a lot.
Did you record any demos before you landed a record deal?
Yes, we did. Human Maze was a demo at the beginning, we did it one year before the release with Massacre Records.
Was it hard to sign a record deal?
Well, we sent out by post and email so many CDs before we got an answer, but it was worthwhile, wasn’t it?
How long did it take to write and record the debut album HUMAN MAZE?
A bit more than a year, but actually Rudy already had some drafts he submitted to us. We worked on them and then recorded.
Who writes the material and what are the lyrics about?
Rudy writes almost everything. He writes the music, then he works with the other guys arranging it and then at the end he gives me the song to add the lyrics.
We work on the lyrics and topics together usually, they’re about feelings and reactions to the world outside and inside us.
Who came up with the idea to name the album HUMAN MAZE? Does the title have any special meaning to the members?
We thought about it together, it was the last thing and we wanted it to represents what we tried to express with our songs. You know, people react to the world around them and the world inside them in so many ways you could get lost, there’s so many feelings that it’s hard to find your way out, that’s what we wanted to say with this title.
You and Bertetto share lead vocals and he sings in a death metal style of vocals - was that anything you had decided to do from the start?
Yes, we love the contract between female and male voice, like beauty and the beast.
Were there many songs that wasn't featured on the final edition of the album?
No, just “Unbreak my heart.”
You posted a few songs on your MySpace site before the album was out. How did the fans react on the new songs?
Very good, they liked them and asked for more, some were happy we started writing our own songs some were not, but the response was positive.
You recorded the album without any backup from a record label why did you decide to do that?
Well, because we just wanted to have our CD out, we actually didn’t think about releasing it with a label and we had the means for doing it by ourselves, so we did it.
There are two covers featured on the disc in “Ti Sento” and “Un-break My Heart” how come you chose to cover those two songs?
I simply liked them a lot and they were good for my voice and we enjoyed playing them in a metal version.
In what studio was the album recorded?
Rudy’s home studio.
Who produced the album and who did the mixing and mastering?
We did everything by ourselves, only for part of the mastering we applied to a studio near Milan.
You chose to release the album as a download back in 2010 together with Pirames International how was the respond from critics and media on the download?
It was surprisingly good. We met Pirames at MUSIC VILLAGE and they really helped us to start.
What has the media to say about the album and do you and the band care about what critics have to say?
In general we got good reviews, of course some were awful! I remember one magazine whose mark was 2,5 out of 10!! But in any case we like reading all of them trying to understand what we can do better.
Who own the legal rights to the mastertape of HUMAN MAZE?
That is Rudy how do that.
Were there many labels that showed interest in the band when HUMAN MAZE was released?
Yes, some, but not so many.
How come you chose to sign on for Massacre Records?
Well, of course because it is a very important label and we were so excited they got in touch with us. Their channels for distribution and advertisement are huge and I think they offer you the chance to introduce you on the music market
Are you happy with the work the label have put into the album and into the band so far?
Yes, we are. They have distributed our CD worldwide and sold almost every copy of it! We have had a great feedback from their job
Have you done any changes on the album version of HUMAN MAZE compared to the download version?
We just added “Unbreak My Heart” and changed a bit the graphic.
For how many albums are you signed for at MR?
Do you see any problems or difficulties in the fact that MR is based in Germany and you live in Italy?
No, no problem. Nowadays we’ve got many ways to communicate, distance is not a problem.
Who's done the cover art-work of the disc and what do you think of it?
It was first designed here in Italy and then Massacre records has adjusted it giving it a more visible look. We like it. The cover shows the band and for a debut album I think that it’s the best thing
Where in the world is the album released at the moment? Is it going to be released in North America as well?
I don’t think so for the time being, but of course Internet gives the chance to sell a CD everywhere
Are you happy with the outcome of the album?
Yes, we are. Like we said the feedback was very good
Do you co-operate with any booking agency or management at the moment? If so how is that going?
No, actually it’s not easy to work with agencies especially now that there are a lot of bands on the market. But we’ll see, maybe in the future.
Are there any differences in how the foreign and native media writes about you?
Not that much, but we have to admit that of course Italian media are proud to talk about an Italian band, so maybe this help a lot
Do you think it's important to be a part of all the social networks that's around nowadays?
Yes, absolutely. The Internet is so important now that it’s really impossible for a band not to be part of a social network and we have to admit it’s a very helpful and easy way to introduce your band and to promote your music
At the beginning of 2011 you won the demo of the month in the Italian paper Metal Maniac how was that?
Well, honestly unexpected! But of course we were so happy and proud of it. A big satisfaction!
You music lies pretty close to the music of Lacuna Coil and Evanescense etc do you feel befriended with those acts? If so do you see any difficulties with that?
There’s surely something in common with those bands and it’s difficult to be original, but I think we have our personal style so it’s not a problem for us to be compared with them, on the contrary, it’s really good considering they’re famous bands.
What separates My Black Light from above mentioned acts?
Well not the voice or the image I think, but I would say our touch of prog music together with heavy guitars, we like to mix different styles
Did you do any live shows during last year? If so where and how was that?
Yes, we did. We performed especially here in Italy, in festival and clubs, we opened Leaves Eyes last year and it was really great, and we were to Bristol to the Spiders web festival in June.
Do you have any festivals shows or tours booked for 2013 so far?
Not for now, we are working already on new material so we are working mainly in studio
How would you like to describe a live show with My Black Light?
What is really important for us on stage is having fun, absolutely, that’s the first goal and I think that people can see it and share it with us.
What are the bands main focus and priority at the moment?
Like we said, we want to release a new album as soon as possible but we will welcome any kind of event that will come to us.
If so could you reveal any dates when the new album is going to be out in stores or any song titles?
Not yet, it’s too early but we don’t want to wait much.
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy HUMAN MAZE?
Of course because I’m pretty and I sing so well!! No, just joking! I think that if you like Gothic metal with a touch of progressive then this is a good album for you
Well, that was all for me for now. Thanks for the interview and I wish you and the band all the best in the future. Do you have any final words of wisdom to the readers and to the fans?
Thanks to you and stay tuned on our channels \m/