Guitarist Luca Correnti and singer Valentina Aleo – Six Degrees
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Roberto at Rockshots Records for setting up the interview. Thanks to Rockshots Records for the promo pictures of the band.
From Italy comes Six Degrees and late November 2020 they dropped their debut album NO ONE IS INNOCENT. Since the album is great, I was intrigued to learn more about the band and hooked up with the duo that runs it all – guitarist Luca Correnti and singer Valentina Aleo. Besides talking about the obvious in how it was to record the album, I also had to ask why they chose to do a cover of the Huey Lewis and the News song “The Power of Love”.
We also handle the issues of working with the new label, the the Covid situation in Italy (this interview was made in November). The info sheet labels their music as groovy/death metal filled with melodies and fans of In Flames and Lacuna Coil are going to like this. NO ONE IS INNOCENT is a really really good debut album and is on fact one of the better albums of 2020 and is an album I urge everyone to check out straight away. See what what they have to say. Enjoy…..
Hi Luca and Valentina, thanks for taking the time making this interview today, I hope you and the band are doing fine and are healthy!
Luca: «Hi Anders, it’s a pleasure to be guests of Metal Rules…»
Vale: «Hi Anders! we’re fine, thanks….thank you so much for your interest.»
How did you guys meet and how come you form a band together?
Luca: «We met about two years ago, Valentina was looking for musicians to form a band and since I heard her sing, I realized that she would be perfect for my projects»
Vale: «yes, it was a very lucky encounter.. »
What have you guys been up to before your formed Six Degrees?
Luca: «I played guitar (and still play) in a death metal band (S.R.L.) and Valentina sang in another band called Burn It Down..We were both looking for something different, a different way of expressing our musical concept. And in the end, our meeting gave birth to the Six Degrees project»
Vale: Well, before we met I was trying to form a new band with metalcore / industrial metal influences. Moreover, before knowing Luca, and still today, I got another project with a friend of mine, Takao Wazowsky (Marco D’Atanasio).
Valentina, I know you have shared stage with Cristina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil, when was that and what did you guys do together?
Vale: «I met Cristina at an event called Music Village in 2015, a sort of week dedicated to music with various seminars held by different personalities, including some exponents of Italian record companies. My previous band, Burn it Down, and I attended the event and during the seminars we got to know Cristina Scabbia, one of the most kind and helpful people I’ve ever met, as well as an exceptional singer.. I admire her very much. I remember that she was so kind helping me to correct the lyrics of our songs, she gave me a lot of advice that I treasured. During the week we found the courage to ask her to sing with us a cover, Aerials by System of a Down, I was so embarrassed, I thought she would kindly decline the offer… without thinking twice she said “yes” and the evening we played on the small stage of the Music Village of Peschici, in Puglia, together with her! An emotion that I’ll never forget. All the members of the band were super excited, our legs were shaking, but as soon as Cristina started singing we were transported to her in one of the most exciting moments of my life. I can only thank her for giving us this honor.»
Luca, last year you teamed up with the band S.R.L, tell us a bit about that band and how you ended up with them?
«I joined the S.R.L. last year, we performed live several times (before this great global health emergency broke out) and started writing the material for the next album. We hope to be able to publish it by 2021.»
I know the inspiration to the band name Six Degrees comes from a sociological theory born in 1929, educate us and tell us why you named the band Six Degrees?
Luca: «Sociological theories have always fascinated me. In general, anything that focuses on the human being and his behaviors has always aroused my interest. People are connected to each other, we ourselves are connected to the world we live in, and I’m not just talking about the environment we live in, or the planet that hosts us .. but also about the emotions that pass through each one of us. We are similar, we are part of a single…unique.. huge project»
Did you know that there are a jazz/rock band in Ontario Canada called Six Degrees as well as a company that hires PA system in Hong Kong and a record company in USA that releases bossa nova and funk music also titles Six Degrees?
Luca: «Ahahahahah…no, no…frankly I was unaware that all these different realities inspired by this name existed, but I also understand that, being a universal concept, it is very easy for many others to have made this choice…»
Besides you two who’s the other members in the band?
Luca: «Right now the project includes only me and Vale. We have had the collaboration and help of guest musicians, but in the future, we would like to complete the line-up to be able to perform live»
Vale: «yes, I can’t wait to play our songs live!»
Debut album NO ONE IS INNOCENT
When did you begin to write material to the debut album?
Luca: «We started writing those songs about two years ago. There were about twenty-two tracks ready to be recorded, but in the end we only chose ten of them.»
Who writes the music and lyrics and what are the lyrics about on NO ONE IS INNOCENT?
Vale: «The main ideas come from Luca’s mind and his guitar…then I help him to define them better and give them the right shape».
Luca: «As we wrote on our Bio, if you asked me for an adjective to define our lyrics, I would answer “introspective”. Not a concept album, of course, but a collection of many emotions, all inspired by the events that we live everyday and that belong to the experience that each one of us carries on his shoulders.»
The bio states that the album is an intense collections of emotions of all kinds and sorts like anger, love, frustration, death and social criticism etc, what’s your comment on that, is it true?
Luca: «Of course it is. It is exactly what you experience every day that inspires you. Music is a wonderful expressive way to let your emotions out. Have you ever been unable to express a concept using only words? And to make someone listen to a song, to tell them how you feel? Music always manages to go further. Beyond everything.»
Vale: «Exactly, I’m sure that many people will see a lot of themselves in the situations described into the lyrics.»
How come you chose “Restart/Erase” as the first single out?
Luca: «It’s one of those songs that represents us perfectly. There is aggression, melody, groove … in short, all the main ingredients of our sound»
Vale: «I agree with Luca, I think it is the song that best expresses our identity and the message we want to convey».
As the ending song on the album you chose to do a cover of the old Huey Lewis & The News song “The Power Of Love” taken from the OST to the legendary movie Back To The Future, why did you pick that song?
Luca: «I’m sure you perfectly know that movie (who doesn’t?), so you also remember the scene where Marty, during the audition together with his Pinheads, plays this cover (a cool metal version) on the school stage. The guy who selects the bands cuts them off without letting them finish playing! This thing always pissed me off when I was a kid! And then I decided to take revenge! Ahahahahaha… Beyond that, I think it’s a f**king groovy song, with a riff that always makes you bang your head!»
Why did you end up naming the album NO ONE IS INNOCENT and have the title got any special meaning to the band?
Luca: «It’s the phrase you find in the chorus of the song “none of us”. I believe that each of us is responsible for all his choices. Sometimes it is too easy to blame others without doing an inner search. You have to see things from many perspectives. It opens your mind. This is the message behind this title: knowing how to judge yourself before judging others.»
Who did the cover artwork to the album and are you happy with the outcome?
Luca: «I took care of the artwork myself (I do this job for the Italian federation of American football). An original photo of Olenka Kotyk inspired me. A female body (the most perfect thing in the world) consumed by anorexia. Similarly, judgment destroys people’s souls.»
Vale: «When I entered the project Luca had already chosen the cover artwork of the album, I honestly liked it immediately, I find that the intensity of the image is dramatically wonderful».
The album contains 11 songs, included the cover song, and clocks in on about 55 minutes, was it your intention to make a long album or was it just something that happened?
Luca: «In the writing process, we honestly didn’t care about the length of each track. But in the future we would like to be more direct, shortening the new songs and making them more … impactful.»
What are the longest songs “Silent Glance” (5.00) and “Stillness” (5.32) about?
Luca: «”Silent glance” is about uselessness of certain words. Sometimes you don’t need words to be able to describe a feeling or a state of mind. Gestures often manage to describe us much better than words do.. even a single glance can express everything you feel.»
Luca: «About “Stillness”…The inspiration came to me looking at the evil grin of Heath Ledger playing Joker in the movie “The Dark Knight”, that’s why at the beginning there is a line of his, taken from the film. It may seem like a paradox, I know, but sometimes stillness is not a way of standing still. It is an effective way of reacting to things. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you think you are making a mistake, whatever you do? Sometimes people put you in this situation. Have you ever reacted to hatred with violence? Perhaps the best answer would have been indifference. The human soul is capable of wonderful things, but also of incredible evil. Moreover, I do love the alliteration (that literary device in which a series of words begin with the same consonant sound) in the chorus: “There’s no stillness in standing still”»
Your record label labels the band’s music as groove metal, but how would you like to describe what kind of music you play?
Luca: «Frankly, I don’t like to label things, because it puts limits on them. But I also understand that people need reference points to guide their tastes. I would tell you that we like making music that has two characteristics: impact and melody. You have to bang your head (pumping the volume in the car), but also sing the choruses in the shower!»
The info sheet states that fans of In Flames, Lacuna Coil and Slipknot are going to like the music of Six Degrees, do you agree with that?
Luca: «I would say yes. But these are just a few influences. In my opinion, we could name others … like Amorphis, Soulfly, Soilwork, Metallica, Whitin Temptation, Archenemy…and many others»
Vale: «I agree with Luca, the influences are many, and it is right to give points of reference, but in the end we are Six Degrees and there is no need to necessarily sound like other groups. Each band has its own identity».
Which bands do you think Six Degrees lies close to music-wise?
Luca: «I’m still asking myself…»
Vale: «I don’t know either, Ahahaha».
The info sheet also say that your music is aggressive, simple and direct groove death metal filled with melody, what do you think of those words?
Luca: «I think they perfectly reflect our intentions. This is our way of writing music.»
I think that NO ONE IS INNOCENT is a great album with some really well executed fierce material, do you think that media are going to enjoy the album, do you care about what critics have to say about your work?
Luca: «First of all, thank you very much for your words. I hope many others agree with you. We are prepared to welcome the opinions of others and they do not scare us. Do you know why? Because a positive view gives you the push … while a negative one helps you correct your flaws. Every opinion counts».
Vale: «The positive comments give us the energy to keep on doing what we are doing, while the negative ones.. could be good tips to grow as a band and as people. Music is something extremely subjective and we are aware that our album will reach everyone differently».
How come you inked a deal with the Italian label Rockshots Records?
Luca: «When we had the tracks ready (but not yet final) we sent two songs to Roberto Giordano of Rockshots Rec. He got curious and wanted to listen to the other songs as well. Then he contacted us saying: “you must be part of our roster!” and we accepted… we were so pumped!»
Valentina, in the info sheet you are quoted saying “I’m looking forward to the new challenge this Rockshots Records deal represents. This is certainly an excellent starting point” means that the band is seeing a future in co-working with RR on many coming albums?
Vale: «Well I sincerely hope so! We are only at the beginning of our musical journey, the ideas for the next songs are already there and we can’t wait to develop them. We plan to add new facets to future projects, for sure there will be many surprises»!
Is it a benefit for the band that RR is located in Italy or doesn’t it matter for you where in the world a label is based?
Luca: «If you have a staff that works well, with passion and devotion, it doesn’t matter where the label is based. Rob is very professional, and so is his entourage there at RR.»
Vale: «What really matters is to find yourself with an efficient staff, that does not distort the project, and above all that really appreciate it. As Luca says, Roberto and his staff are truly professional…whether it’s an Italian label or not.. it doesn’t really matter».
NO ONE IS INNOCENT is available to purchase as CD and download, any plans on releasing it on vinyl?
Luca: «We honestly haven’t talked about this with the label. The vinyl version would be very interesting, but for now I don’t think it’s planned.»
Are you fans of the vinyl format?
Luca: «Personally … yes. I still love listening to vinyl. It sounds great. And it also has a considerable vintage charm…»
Vale: «I love vinyls, unfortunately I don’t have a turntable, but I gave one to my boyfriend and we often listen to some good records when we are together. I find vinyls very fascinating and it would be wonderful to have “No one is innocent” among them too».
Past present and future
Why haven’t the band got a website?
Luca: «We’re starting to work on it..»
You got a facebook page but it doesn’t hold much info about the band at all, why is it so? Do you want to be a bit mysterious?
Luca: «No, no. Not at all. It’s just that… we have recently started our musical journey … so little by little we will put more information about us and our works..»
Vale: «Ahahahaha….no,we are anything but mysterious. We are doing the best we can to let our fan base grow, but as Luca says we have a path ahead..and we’ve just started»..
Imperfect (OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO)
The bands facebook page got about 600 likes so far, do you think that number is going to increase with the release of the debut album?
Luca: «That’s what we hope for. If we’ll expand our fan base, we will get our music to more people … basically we would like to have listeners, not just followers..»
Besides Facebook you got an instagram page and a youtube channel, are you active on any other social forums as well?
Luca: «Nope. Right now we got only FB, Instagram, Spotify and YT profile..»
With thought of the covid 19 making live shows impossible at the moment, do you have any plans on a live stream show or anything like that?
Luca: «I honestly think you need the right equipment to do this … and I think we’re not still ready to do it right now. But we want to be optimistic and think that..all this will all be over soon. Going on stage is something unique … and it is fair to hope that sooner or later we will be able to do it again.»
What’s the current status regarding the virus in Italy, I know you were one of the countries that was struck the hardest by the virus in the spring/early summer?
Luca: «The situation is dramatic. We’ve passed 50,000 deaths from the virus. And if you think about it, it’s an incredibly scary thing. Each of us must do our part. We have to respect the rules. Accept the restrictions and behave responsibly. Only in this way will we come out of this crisis».
Do you consider Six Degrees as a band or a project?
Luca: «It was born as a project…but now we want to continue as a band».
Vale: «yes, definitely like a band».
What’s the plan regarding promoting the album, promotion is another thing the pandemic made harder to do?
Luca: «Our label takes care of promoting the album. We are doing our part by publishing news on our social channels, doing interviews, etc .. it is true, the pandemic is forcing people to stay at home more time … maybe it can be an excuse to listen to lots of music!»
Vale: «We try to be fairly constant in publishing the news on our channels and certainly the photos taken for the release of the album (taken before the pandemic) by Francesco Lenti (mynameis_slow), a dear friend of ours and a great emerging photographer, are helping us a lot in the promotion process».
What’s the bands main focus at the moment, the Italian market or do you want to branch out to the rest of the world?
Luca: «We would like to make our music known everywhere. Probably the international market is more … open, receptive .. but certainly we are also interested in the national one. No limitations. To do this, however, we must be sure that we have made a product of international level, otherwise we will not be taken into consideration. What we hope is that we have succeeded in this… But the conclusions are not up to us, only to the audience.»
What would you like to say to the ones that haven’t heard the music of Six Degrees yet?
Luca: «Give us a chance. You will not regret it…Inside each of us there is the right amount of strength, power, but also softness, smoothness… let’s live this thing without any shame! .. Don’t you happen to listen to “Roxette” immediately after “Aborted”? … to me, yes ….. and I’m proud of it …»
Vale: «You will not be disappointed! I think that anyone who listens to the album will find at least one good song (or more), according to his tastes…»
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy NO ONE IS INNOCENT?
Luca: «Of course.. 1) It’s a heavy, modern, interesting project 2) ..if you pump up the volume in your car, you will be pleasantly surprised by the sound 3) it is fucking crazy cool!..ahahahahahha»
Vale: «ahahaha…yes, and – as a last point – ‘cause you have to fill your days with music!»
Well, that was all for me and metal-rules.com today, thanks once again for making the interview, I really hope to see you guys performing live here in Scandinavia in the near future. Stay safe and healthy, do you have any finals words of wisdom to share with fans and readers?
Luca: «Thanks Anders. It has been a great pleasure. We hope to meet you soon. I recently saw “The Great Beauty” by Paolo Sorrentino. I’ll leave you with this line: “…life is a gift, we can’t waste it doing the things we don’t want to do”.»
Vale: «Thanks Anders to you and metal-rules.com, it was an honor to be interviewed by you! At last, I invite readers who do not know us to listen to “No one is innocent” and I thank all those who are supporting us!»