30th July 2021
Interview by Kat Knite
Italian doom metal trio BOTTOMLESS are back with a stunning new self-titled record, out now via Spikerot Records. We got a chance to catch up with lead singer & guitarist Giorgio Trombino and learn all about the process and inspiration behind the new release, as well as future plans the distinctively soulful group have for their heavy and ancient brand of doom metal. Check out the interview down below, and don’t forget to grab your copy of Bottomless ASAP!
Congratulations on your new record! It’s the first full-length in years, and I’m sure fans are dying to hear it. Usually a self-titled release signifies a debut or a change – whether that be sound, identity, line-up or anything else. What was your reasoning behind it? How do you feel this new album defines the band?
Well, we believe this first album is a declaration of intents but we can still expand our possibilities quite a bit within the framework of traditional doom metal. Much can be done to do more cohesive, well-oiled songs, but aside from that it’s, like, ok. You’ll never hear me say I’m 100% satisfied about anything I do ahaha! That being said, considering the 2 years gap between the end of the songwriting and the recordings and after all the re-thinking and re-arranging, holding this record in our hands is already a small miracle as, at times, we’ve found ourselves wondering whether it would ever see the light of day at all.
You’ve worked very hard to create a fantastic album, and I can say you’ve succeeded. How did inspiration for it come about, and how have you grown and deepened as a band in this time?
Basically, inspiration is a constant element for me, no matter what I’m doing or where I am. I always find myself thinking about riffs and bits, patterns, stories for lyrics and so forth. I write continuously and do tons of home demos for the bands I play in. I used to write much more in the past, but now I try to work just on what we need for a single album and I try not to lose the grip on the overall vision it needs. I think we’ve now found our dimension as a 3-piece and, even though we have to play more and more live to improve the confidence with this specific project’s needs, we are progressively honing our craft and working to improve our interplay and our focus.
I’ve seen you describe your sound as “Doom metal from Italy – the ancient way”. Can you elaborate on what that means and how it plays into your songwriting?
If you look at it under the lens of popular music history, doom metal is, indeed, an ancient genre or at least a very old one compared to many others that have been rising in the last few years. Italy is our birthplace but, needless to say, our main influences come from the American tradition of doom metal. Internal Void, Penance, Asylum, slow Manilla Road, Revelation: you name ‘em. Our country has a fantastic heritage of somber, occult doom but we know well that there are already enough bands doing that one thing so we felt it was about time we tried and bring some other declinations of doom to the table.
I’d love to put your record on and drive through the desert – you’ve created a true mood. What is your emotional, mental, and aesthetic vision and goal? How do you want people to feel when they hear your songs?
I would be glad to see people being on the same page, emotion-wise. You as listeners can maybe relate to some of the darkness in our music and feel that sense of impending dread doom metal is well known for. Other than that, everybody is free to perceive our music in many different ways. Our one and only goal is writing good, strong songs that stand the test of time and tell the world doom metal is, first and foremost, slow heavy metal!
Obviously, there are some classic and legendary doom influences in your music. Is there an artist or band from outside the genre, something we wouldn’t expect, that inspires you in the writing as well?
Nice question. We listen to varied types of music but if I ever had to pick up someone outside of our genre that maybe has some slight degree of influence on us, I’d choose The Doors and Townes Van Zandt. The former’s crawling sense of magic trance and the latter’s sad stories of bitterness and loss are something I feel close to what we do, The Doors being the first musical obsession of my whole life and a constant passion that has never left me since I was 11.
At times in your record I feel some grunge layers weaving in. In particular I hear Alice in Chains moments in the instrumentation and some of Giorgio’s vocal tints. Is this at all intentional? Are you fans of the 90s Seattle music scene?
We like some grunge bands like Alice in Chains, Willard and Soundgarden but Bottomless is a totally different affair for us. Our purposes are much more traditional and we like to keep it that way. I’ve read and heard about the comparison with Layne Staley’s vocals many time these days and, although very flattering, I don’t feel that close to his style and music. Well, no matter how you put it, he was one of the best rock singers ever to walk this planet and AIC have an undeniable Sabbath feel to many of their classic songs (Jerry Cantrell was, indeed, influenced by Iommi more than anyone else in that scene, which is great), but my “pole star”, vocally speaking, is Scott Reagers. Saint Vitus mean so much to us and their records with Reagers have an immense amount of evocative energy. He, Wino and Christian Linderson have all brought their fantastic touch to the music of Saint Vitus through the years, but Reagers is the one I feel close to the most, no other way around it.
As a trio in the doom/stoner genre, you have a unique vibe that’s hard to miss. How did you arrive at your current image/phase? Is it something that was born organically or have you had to work on it together?
It’s hard to tell. I’d say we all envision this kind of doom in certain way, so all our musical and visual choices feel very spontaneous to the three of us. That being said, we do work hard in order to literally pull off a certain degree of external influences, so to speak. We want to play doom metal. Plain and simple.
What are your favourite things about being in a group together? What are the biggest challenges you have faced?
Our main challenge is distance. We live 2 hours away, David in Bologna, Sara and me in a small town in Veneto, so we don’t get to practice as much as we would with all that’s in between us these days with lockdowns, restrictive measures and stuff like that. As for the best part of it, Bottomless is a labour of love. Sara is my soul mate whereas David has been my musical partner in crime since 2004. We know each other so well we simply click together very easily.
Where in Italy are you currently based? Are there any local artists or bands from your hometown or country that you think stand out? Is there anyone in your circle you feel a kindred spirit with?
As previously stated, we all live in Northern Italy. Sara is originally from Valdobbiadene, Veneto, while me and David come from Sicily. I guess that makes us the rednecks of the pack, ahaha! We have sonic friends in both places and I’d say top ones are Messa (yes, Sara is the singer; still I can’t help but suggest everyone to check them out), Horror Vacui, Tenebra and Gothic Stone from Palermo. We feel different kinds of human and musical connections with all of them.
What is the scene like generally for your type of music in Italy? Has there always been space for you to express yourselves authentically and be received by an audience?
Doom metal is one of Italy’s top genres together with 70’s progressive rock and 80’s HC punk. We just can’t deny there’s something in the arcane feel doom brings that rings some dark bell within some of us. For what concerns the overall live music circuit, well, Northern Italy has always experienced more wealth and synergies. Bologna, Milan, Parma all have the biggest and better slice of the sonic cake because there’s more room for promoters and solid venus. Sicily has always had an awesome rock and metal scene but it was always hard to have a stable, long lasting venue and the same goes for all of the region’s bigger cities. It’s always been a roller coaster of fantastic experiences that just bloom and then burn away too quickly, leaving big holes in the tissue of our music scene. It’s a broad subject though, but speaking strictly for Palermo, I see some light at the end of the tunnel with the cool recent live activities that have taken place in venues such as the Alibi.
Europe has so many great venues to visit and play. Have you been able to do any live shows lately? -Are you planning a tour for the future? If so, it’s very exciting… Do you feel ready for it?
Yes, we’ve done a release show in Bologna a couple of weeks ago, then we’ll play the Spikerot Records-organized Frantic fest in Abruzzo, do an audio/video live in a recording studio nearby and then we’ll play another gig in Veneto. That one’s going to be on September 11th. Aside from that, we’d love to tour and we’re ready to leave any time. We’ve had offers for concerts abroad but first we have to wait for the covid dust to settle down a bit. I feel like there’s a big question mark hanging over live music in Europe, still. Cross fingers!
What is your biggest dream in music? A venue/event to play? Maybe an ideal collaboration? Or perhaps it’s the emotions and experiences you provide to your fans? Tell me what keeps you going in your love for this art.
You know, we play doom metal, therefore all our dreams are dead. Ahaha! Sour jokes aside, I don’t know really. Bottomless was formed in 2006 but keep in mind it’s still a freshly-activated group, so I guess our story is yet to be told. There’s so many places we want to play I wouldn’t know where to start. I can tell you that I do believe in childish enthusiasm. Losing it means losing everything. You’ve got to feel some degree of excitement for what you do, you’ve got to have that passion that keeps the wheel turning and the fire burning, and live rocking is always the best fuel.
Though music may be your main passion and true love, what other outlets or hobbies excite, fulfil, and allow you to evoke and express your emotions?
Reading, drinking beer, walking in the nature, making love, cooking. Maybe getting wasted once in a while through substances and such. Sara is deeply into graphic design and she puts a huge load of drive into it. She’s got a wild imagination so there’s always some poster, album art or sticker to be made. David is the most laid back fellow you could ever think of. He doesn’t ask much but I can tell you Sweet Leaf is always on top of his spare time hobbies!
A surge of creativity usually fuels the creation of a new release. Obviously, artists can’t say with certainty when or where they’ll feel that again or how events will unfold. However, in your mind, what do you see next for yourselves? Are there plans for a future release already, or any songs in the writing process? Would you like to take some time and enjoy your lives before jumping into something new? How would you like to see the next couple of years go for yourselves?
We already have 4 brand new songs and at least an extra tune that needs to be fully arranged. Home demoing allows you to see in advance the tracking time of what you have, but you usually got to gather at least 40 to 45 minutes worth of material in order to have enough stuff for the next album. We definitely want to record our next album within the next couple of years or even earlier as we feel we’re going places we haven’t been before. Heavy doom metal will always be our main aim, but I believe the new numbers will sound much stronger and focused than what you hear on our debut.
Thank you so much for your time. Good luck with everything, I’m grateful to have been introduced to your music. I hope I can see you play sometime! Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Thank you very much for your interesting questions and for the cool opportunity. Thanks to all those who took their time to read this all up. We’re standing on the sun…