Interview with Ferdinando AKA Herr Morbid
With 13 years of activity, 6 full-length albums + a double live in studio, live shows all over Europe and a worldwide underground following, Forgotten Tomb definitely deserves its cult status in the current Extreme Metal scene. With now-classic albums like the milestones “Songs To Leave” (2002) and “Springtime Depression” (2003), the band practically crafted and gave birth to a whole new sub-genre, now regarded as Depressive Black/Doom Metal; then it managed to evolve it, destroy it and reshape it with the highly acclaimed “Love’s Burial Ground” (2004) and the controversial “Negative Megalomania” (2007), breaking every kind of musical boundaries and expanding the sound of the band, incorporating in a unique brand a wide range of influences from the Metal, Rock and Dark fields. What’s certain is that the band has always been and still is on top of the genre, as well as being one of the leading bands in the so-called third wave of Black Metal.
With an history made of suicide-promoting lyrics and pictures, antisocial and over-the-top declarations, nihilistic attitude, self-destructive behaviors of band members and fans alike, and banned cover artworks, Forgotten Tomb surely managed to keep an high profile and a bad reputation during all these years. But being born under a bad star didn’t stop Forgotten Tomb from becoming one of the most respected Black Metal bands of today, thanks to its constant “do-it-yourself” attitude and coherence, which led the band to play an ever-increasing amount of memorable live-shows all over Europe, often headlining or co-headlining big Extreme Metal festivals and concerts, sometimes even without a new album to promote nor a record-deal. After celebrating it’s 10th year anniversary in 2009 and releasing “Under Saturn Retrograde” in 2011, the band embarked on an impressive set of shows which led them to play nearly 30 gigs over a year, including high-profile festivals such as Hellfest (FRA), Extremefest (GER/AT) and Kings Of Black Metal (GER). New album “…And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil” is being released in October 2012 and the band will then restart a non-stop live activity to promote it.
HMA: Thanks for joining Heavy Music Artwork for this interview?
Forgotten Tomb: Hey, no probs. Here’s Ferdinando AKA Herr Morbid.
HMA: “…and don’t deliver us from evil” marks a new milestone for Forgotten Tomb. Tell us about the recording process and production?
Forgotten Tomb: The songwriting took place over a completely fucked up lapse of time spanning for the last year and half of my life, which saw me sinking into complete self-destruction and misery, and I’m plain honest here, no need to put up any promotional bullshit. Just had to deal with a shitload of extremely negative stuff and emotions coming from my private life, as well as getting sick with some disease, dealing with the abuse of various shit, getting through bad nervous breakdowns, depression, emotional disorders, absolute misery and generally getting really fucking near to my own demise, which certainly left more mental scars than ever before. I think we took the more rocking vibe and the aggression of “Under Saturn Retrograde” and took it to the next level, while at the same time we went heavier and darker and got back many elements from our early albums… In general, compared to USR, which was very melancholic, this new album is sicker and more desperate. It’s totally dark. We certainly became more straight-forward and “rockish” over the years, though the depressive and dark feeling is still totally there, in fact I think this new album is the darkest album we’ve ever done after “Love’s Burial Ground”. We like all of our albums, but this time we just outdid ourselves in terms of songwriting and atmosphere.
HMA: There is a lot of negativity, depression and solitude in your artistry. Where do you find inspiration and dealing with these emotions?
Forgotten Tomb: From my own life and experiences, as well as from my personal view of life. Nothing more, nothing less.
HMA: The artwork is monochromatic and misanthropic, how does imagery compliment the music?
Forgotten Tomb: It basically reflects the title and concept of the album pretty well, it’s about the death of innocence and about delivering your soul to evil, meaning submitting to the dark side of life. I strongly wanted children and young people to be featured in the artwork/booklet ‘cause I like the concept of innocence getting corrupted, so you can find a child on the cover of the CD as well as another child on the cover of the “Deprived” 7-inch, and pictures of young people hurting themselves in the booklet. This time, like with our previous album “Under aturn Retrograde”, we wanted something different than the usual urban/decadent pictures that we have been using on some of our earlier albums, because over the years a lot of bands started using similar pictures, and we like to always be a step ahead of the others. When other bands started to copycat us musically, lyrically and on their artworks too, we wanted to progress and be ahead of the game like we’ve always been.
HMA: Does the lyrical theme carry the same bleak undertones?
Forgotten Tomb: It’s a very personal album lyric-wise. There a couple of songs about love and fucked up relationships, which is something I haven’t talked about in years, for instance. But it doesn’t get too specific, it’s mostly my vision of how I see and live this kind of things nowadays, and it’s incredibly negative stuff. Nothing fancy or “emo” like some people might suspect. It’s completely dark stuff. It’s about things that I experienced myself but it’s also about what I see around me. Then there are other songs dealing with pure despair and self-destruction, stuff about this will to die and disappear that caught my life over the last year and half. Things got incredibly dark at a certain point and I just came up with these lyrics.
HMA: A few bands can successfully convert pessimistic emotions into music. What vision do you have as a band and as musicians?
Forgotten Tomb: We do what we feel to do and that’s what we do best since it reflects pretty well what we are in real life, a bunch of nihilistic fucks. We are negative and self-destructive even when we’re having fun. So everything comes along very natural when it comes to the band, you know.
HMA: Tell us about the graphic artists that have been involved with Forgotten Tomb?
Forgotten Tomb: The first three albums’ artworks were done by me. The “Negative Megalomania” artwork was done by a graphic designer under the name of Laboartory. The “Vol 5: 1999/2009” artwork was done by me while the inside hand-made drawings were done by Italian artist Dani2Hell. “Under Saturn Retrograde” artwork was still done by Dani2Hell while the booklet was done by me. Last album artwork was done by Italian artist Tumulash and the inside of the booklet was done by me and Algol and then revamped by Tumulash. “Deprived” 7” EP artwork was done by Italian artist Serena Moerke.
HMA: Do you give direction and guidelines to your artists?
Forgotten Tomb: For the latest album and EP, yes. The other ones were pretty much made out of the artists’ imagination.
HMA: You just finished a tour across Europe in support of the album, any stories to share?
Forgotten Tomb: It was very fun to be on the road with Enthroned and Impiety. We drank a lot and generally had a good time wherever we went, met friends and fans along the road and such. Last show all bands played pranks on stage to each other, it was crazy, haha.
HMA: Thanks for this interview with Heavy Music Artwork.
Forgotten Tomb: Thanx for the interview, keep up the buzz around the band and get our latest album ‘cause it’s fucking sick!
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