Interview with Genus Ordinis Dei
Tommy Monticelli – guitars, orchestrations
Interview by Kira Levine
Hello! Thank you for your time, hope that you’re keeping safe and well. Please state your name and position in Genus Ordinis Dei.
Hi Kira, I’m Tommy and I’m the guitarist and producer of Genus Ordinis Dei.
The band formed several years ago. How did you all meet?
Yes, the band was formed in 2008 in Crema, our hometown. We were just a bunch of long-time friends who shared the passion for metal music and we decided to start to play together. We were 20 years old and none of us ever played in a real band before Genus Ordinis Dei (and I personally still never played in other bands). Richard (drums) came later in 2012 after changing two other drummers.
What’s the story behind the name ‘Genus Ordinis Dei’? Why did you choose to call yourselves this?
Well, initially the band’s name was supposed to be ‘G.O.D’. and it should be the abbreviation for each of our album’s titles (that’s a feature we kept though, like in Glare Of Deliverance or Great Olden Dynasty). So our first album was supposed to be titled Genus Ordinis Dei: The Middle (the birth of the divine order). Unfortunately the acronym ‘G.O.D.’ would be impossible to find on the internet search so, after self publishing in 2013 the album, we decided to change our name just to ‘Genus Ordinis Dei’ and when we re-published the album with the Danish label Mighty Music in 2016 we simply called it The Middle.
Thinking about the days before Genus Ordinis Dei’s inception, what influenced you to start making music?
What inspired me most (and still does) are my childhood fantasies. This kind of music/storytelling brings to life the sensations and the fantasies that I had during my childhood (childhood that I shared with Nick) and thinking about those values, feelings, dreams and primitive visions I had when I was a boy gave me (and still does) the inner impulse to bring them to life. Listening to our music still touches me.
Also, now that we’ve experienced how it feels to be on a professional tour, playing every day in big cities, big venues and sharing the stage, nightliner and stuff with great bands, I would say that it’s definitely something I wanna do for the rest of my life.
Do you have any words of wisdom for those wanting to start a band? Were you given any advice yourself?
Obviously, when you do this for more than 10 years, you meet several people and you can learn a lot from each of them if you’re narrow of mind enough, if you’re sensible enough. But we never had teachers or mentors putting us on the right path. I know that we’re still far from reaching the final goal but for what I learned so far I would give a couple of fundamentals to those who want to start a band (as a professional): Think big since the first rehearsal and prepare to take blows since the first rehearsals. For every satisfaction you take that makes you think you’re gonna make it, you will receive a hit right on your face that makes you wanna give in. Always believe and persevere.
As a band who released their debut independently, do you think it is important for new bands to be signed to a record label in this day and age?
I think it’s important to have the support of a label only if you keep in mind that it’s worth it until it’s a collaboration. Labels nowadays can open some doors for you, can absorb part of the load of work you need to do to promote your art and it can be an opportunity to share proficiency, knowledge, strategies and resources to spread your music as far as possible. But if you think like: I’m the band so I do the music, I play, I do interviews, shoot videos and pics, you’re the label and you do the promotion and press, it’s not gonna work at all, not today. Think of the label as an extra member of the band. That’s how we’re doing with Chris Poland from Eclipse Records, and it’s going damn well!
How would you describe Genus Ordinis Dei’s sound to someone who has never heard it before?
To keep it simple we’re used to labelling our genre as symphonic death metal. Talking about our newest sound, I would say it’s a mix of Gojira, Septicflesh, Lamb of God and Insomnium, keeping an ear on Manowar’s sense of epicness and melodies and giving it all our personal new idea of metal.
Your third full-length, ‘Glare Of Deliverance’, is due for release on 4th December, 2020. What was it like finishing an album and filming music videos for each of the songs in the midst of a pandemic?
We’re trying our best to keep creating content and developing new music, making a lot of “office work” just hoping that all this comes to an end quickly. From this point of view, releasing Glare Of Deliverance kept us busy for a long time, almost 2 years so far. For the first time I produced, mixed and mastered the album entirely in my own studio Sonitus Studio, so it’s been a tough challenge (and I enjoyed it so much!).
The composition process was basically the same as always but keeping in mind that we had to tell a story, so every song, melody and arrangement should convey the feelings and the situations that the main character Eleanor was living in each episode. Then we had to deal with the construction of the video series of this story, a totally new thing for us (and also for the fans) that led us to face a lot of difficulties and uncertainty moments, especially in the middle of this pandemic. But still, we enjoyed it and we’re so proud of the final result, both visually and musically speaking. It took a lot of time, considering that we had to create a crowdfunding campaign that fortunately went well.
The planning of all this stuff took months and making it took a year, and still counting, so we decided to take all the time we needed and don’t rush. We’re the first band who ever did something like this so we didn’t have a real plan but creating the best music as we can, telling the best story as we can and believing in it. Let’s see 🙂
‘Glare Of Deliverance’ is very cinematic sonically and communicates the concept superbly. What prompted the band to write about the Holy Inquisition?
This story was born years ago actually, I still remember us writing down on a notebook the plot of the chapters while hanging out in a pub in our hometown. Then, almost two years ago, we thought it was good enough and we decided it was time to try to make it real. I don’t think we had a specific reason why we chose the Holy Inquisition. We just enjoy writing good stories, the same stories we’d like to read/listen/watch.
What gear was used during the recording of ‘Glare Of Deliverance’?
Well, my approach to production is extremely related to software, so for Glare Of Deliverance I used 1 single channel strip to produce the entire album. The drums are all midi programmed and sampled with Superior Drummer 3. We used a 5-string Overload Bass through a Darkglass X7 and our Solar A1.6 and a Fender Stratocaster through a Precision Drive and then to a Kemper Profiling Amp. A Shure SM7B for vocals and a lot of different sample libraries to create the orchestra. We made an exception for the choir as we recorded it at the stunning Street Rec Studio using a top class analog mixer with top class microphones. To mix and master this, I used a lot of plugins, all in-the-box and straight out of Logic X. Analogue lovers will not be happy to hear that, but I think it sounds great and I love working this way.
Glare Of Deliverance’s cover artwork is visually stunning. It really illustrates the narrative of the album successfully without giving too much away. Who created it?
Tom Roberts did the cover art and all the 10 drawings we’ve put in the CD booklet and on our merch, which represent each episode perfectly. He’s a great artist and we couldn’t be happier than this. We took his drawings as models to create and dressed the characters of the video episodes.
Do you have a favourite song from ‘Glare Of Deliverance’ or your previous releases?
It may be a banality, but you know, songs are like your own children and you can’t tell who’s your favourite. What I can tell you is that ‘Fire’ represents the whole album perfectly and it’s our most ambitious song ever. So proud of it!
Once it is safe to travel again, where in the world would your dream tour be and why?
I personally started approaching Japanese culture this year so I would definitely love to tour in Japan, and I’m sure we will, it’s just a matter of time.
Are there any other bands that you are a part of?
No and I don’t feel like I ever will be, but who knows 🙂
Do you have any interests outside of making music that you would like to talk about?
Well, I like listening to it! And now I know how different is listening to music for the sake of doing it from listening to music as part of the job. Apart from music, I’m an enthusiastic (not good) amateur soccer player (can’t right now), I’m a longtime PC gamer (not pro at all), I love cooking while listening to history podcasts, I’m slowly studying Japanese, I’m anime-addicted and I love classic adventure books.
What is the current Italian metal scene like?
Unfortunately it’s hard to be a metal band in Italy ’cause there is no metal culture at all. People prefer pop/trap music and the underground scene is not so popular like in the rest of the Europe. Talking about our hometown, we’re the only metal band left, literally, and every single venue who could host live music is closed, every single venue! Ten years ago, when we started, there were dozens of bands and at least 10 venues to play live shows at.
Which established artists/bands have inspired you as a musician?
There’s a lot of bands that inspired me through this journey, but I can’t forget how it started: Blind Guardian, Kamelot and Iron Maiden are my all-time favourite guys and they’ll always be. In this exact moment, the most impressive band to me is Gojira, from the songs to the image to the performances: top band right now. They’re so inspiring. Then, I’ve been non-stop looping Luke Combs since this summer, but this is another story 🙂
Are they any up-and-coming bands that you enjoy listening to?
I listen to music almost every day, I take a walk or a ride and I simply concentrate and enjoy music and I do it almost every day but it’s very hard for me to fall in love with brand new bands like I used to do when I was 20. I guess it’s an age issue 🙂 But I have some names to bring to your attention: Irist, Letters From The Colony, Conception (definitely not brand new but they’re living a second life so yes, they’re in the list) and Port Erin.
If you had to choose only three records to listen to from now on, which ones would they be?
This is a tough one:
Nightfall In Middle Earth – Blind Guardian
Brave New World – Iron Maiden
The Black Halo – Kamelot
During your career with Genus Ordinis Dei, are there any moments that you are particularly proud of?
Touring with the guys gave me the best experiences in my life, the best memories and the biggest satisfactions. That makes me proud. Also this crazy project called Glare Of Deliverance makes me proud so much.
What do the next 12 months look like for Genus Ordinis Dei?
Exactly like the previous ones; hard work every day on our art to deliver brand new content every week and creating great stories to tell through our music. We hope to be able to be back on touring, and that’s the greatest regret from this 2020.
Thanks ever so much and congratulations on completing Glare Of Deliverance! Is there anything else you wish to share with our readers?
If you want something new, something that no one ever did before, follow the first metal music series: Glare Of Deliverance.
Thank you for this great interview Kira!
Stay safe and stay metal! Hail!
Genus Ordinis Dei is:
Niccolò (Nick K’) Cadregari – vocals, guitars
Tommaso (Tommy) Monticelli – guitars, orchestrations
Richard Meiz – drums
Steven F. Olda – bass