Thursday, 24th May 2018. 10:59:35pm ET
Interviews Ethereal Interview- Miriam
Band: Miriam
Interviewer: Shaun Hamiltion
Date: 10/26/03

(1). Hello. How is everyone and everything over in Italy? I’m the only one I think who works at this site who hasn’t been to Italy ever!

Hello! Everything is ok, actually quite hot these days…

(2). So tell us a bit about yourselves, how you decided to work together and all the interesting things about the group.

Well, everything started in 1998 when Carlo, Daniela and Francesco joined together to play some older songs created in the early years. The experiment was simple and quite successful: MIDI sequencers, live keyboards and electric instruments made up the first line-up of Miriam. After some concerts, the band released its first promo CD “Arabesque”, which gained attention through either Italian or international press for its characteristic ethereal sound. After one year Massimo Bandiera – formerly guitarist for an interesting Italian punk band “Fasten Belt” – joined the band. In the meanwhile, Miriam signed for Black Velvet Agency releasing the second promo “Im Nebel” in year 2000. The entry of Massimo added sharp electric guitars along with a definite electro flavor to some of the new songs, while the electronic components grew towards a more distinctive and original sound. In 2002, with Black Velvet Agency turned into the label Decadance Records, Miriam released its first official album “Scents”, gathering all the best of previous releases after deep re-arrangements and re-mix work. Within the last weeks, with the addition of a drummer, Miriam is rehearsing for a new live set-up, while the new album (forecast for 2004) is starting to see the light…

(3). You mentioned you got the name Miriam from a David Bowie movie in the old days. Would it be "The Hunger" by any chance? Yes!

(4). What personality traits do you see in yourself in the Miriam movie character, and traits in your music? There are a couple of things out of the movie that impressed a lot: the environments for instance, the Bauhaus live act at the beginning, the overall thing of the “eternal youth”… and many more… Probably the environments from this movie affected our inspiration in the early songs at least.

(5). With the guitar playing, I notice a little bit of a Fada, Calypso and Flamenco influences in the style. Are there any regions whose influence you take in when playing guitar and even keyboards?

It is a very interesting question: we do not know whether it is intentional or not, but there’s a lot that comes out of our roots within the music that we make. Our travels, our experience are part of us and affect our music… the first track of the album “Scents” has a clear Mediterranean flavor with Spanish-sounding guitars, while in the song “Daphne” the same sounds are combined together through a more traditional “ethereal” structure.

(6). For those, especially in America, who haven’t heard your style yet, tell us how you would describe it and how it fits or contrasts into the Italian scene and the European scene in general.

It is very hard to describe it without falling into similarities: on one hand, our tunes are ethereal and introspective, on the other hand they’re wicked and electric-sounding; more than this, we’re continuously evolving and the new CD will probably sound deeper and more intense… we will not compare it with the Italian alternative music – whose lyrics are in Italian – because our Italian language introduces constraints that require a different approach. We probably fit with a certain British 4AD style, more on the ethereal side, even if our new songs share a lot of elements with contemporary electronic instances such as synth-pop and similar...

(7). With the switch in labels from Black Velvet Agency to Decadance, is the first CD "Arabesque" still in print?

It is not within our plans to re-print our first promo CD “Arabesque”, but in case of a significant number of requests our label will certainly consider this as a possibility.

(8). With some of the tracks, there is a certain jazz element mixed in (like on "Space White Stones") with all the different elements. Have you had any kind of jazz training at all, or use any jazz principles when composing your music?

“Space White Stones” was conceived and arranged as a mean atmospheric space-tune in the first promo “Arabesque”; during our live rehearsals in year 2000 we realized that an acoustic element could have added a lot to this song… from within the various acoustic instruments, we decided to go for a saxophone, and the overall arrangement got this strangely artificial “Jazz” feel. We used to say that this song landed from space down to a New York terrace…

(9). What is the fate of the CD "Im Nebel" and "Arabesque" now that it is out of print? Any plans for a re-release or even a remix version of this CD down the line?

Even if it is not planned to re-print any of our previous promo’s, there are some songs out of them that could definitely fit into some of our new releases. We will probably re-arrange songs like “Mimic” and “Underworld” sooner or later, maybe approaching these within our next live performances.

(10). With each song composition,, which part do you add first and what is the working order of composing a song piece by piece?

It depends on the type of song… the electronic tracks usually come first, because they’re flexible in both writing and arranging phases; then Daniela adds some vocals. From this point on, all the tracks, including guitars and vocals are turned upside-down until the overall thing works… we’re very meticulous when we reach this point, and some good tunes are often and specifically a clear result of these last production steps.

(11). Any vocal training on the part of Daniela, or any vocal treatment used on the CD?

Both of these have contributed to the excellent vocal result of Daniela within our last CD. Vocal treatment has not been stressed over the limit of standard voice production, aiming to get a quite realistic result.

(12). Tell us about the filming of the video for "Scents" and some of the interesting moments in the shoot.

The concept of this video belongs to Massimo: his idea was to spotlight on a young girl that had visible signs of inner sufferance depicted like writings all along her skin: these writings come from the “Scents” lyrics, and contain the most intimate and meaningful significance of this song.

(13). Any plans to release this song as a single?

Not yet.

(14). With "Scents" being a sort of compilation over the years as well as a debut, are there any B-sides that will be released in the future, or be reworked into future songs?

Well, as told before, some of our unreleased songs will be re-processed sooner or later; furthermore, there are a lot of older ideas that are still in the pipeline… some of them are impressively beautiful, and we do not know why we didn’t release them yet!

(15). Are you planning for a deal in America, or is your attention more towards the fan base in your homeland of Italy and Europe?

According to our distributor coverage, we do not set any “boundaries” and wish our sounds will be heard in many different countries.

(16). Any plans to tour America? Have you started with a tour of Europe yet, or is that down the line?

We performed some gigs in Italy and Europe during 2002; currently we’re working on the new live set-up, which will include live drums and keyboards plus electric instruments… it is likely that a real tour will be scheduled to run with our new release in early 2004. It would be great to tour America, we’re enthusiastic about this possibility.

(17). How did you bump into Decadance? Any collaboration with bands on that label, such as Pulcher Femina (Roberto is a very cool guy!) or Artica?

Well, we signed with Decadance Records after two years of collaboration with Black Velvet Agency. The transition became quite natural for both of us. As far as collaborations may concern, Daniela recorded all the female vocals within the last Pulcher Femina album “Shadows of the Lovers”, and we think this provided both Miriam and Pulcher Femina with very good value in terms of experience and musical results.

(18). When writing lyrics, do you prefer any particular mood, and do the plains and valleys of Italy provide a good atmosphere to write in?

Italy has many different landscapes to choose form… we may range from Mediterranean flavors to windy and rainy metropolitan environments… traveling it is also another great source of inspiration… but since our lyrics are mostly deep and introspective, feelings are often the driver…

(19). I read where Daniela once played bass, guitars and keyboards before focusing on vocal work. Any plans to bring back the instrument playing on future Miriam CDs or side projects?

The current Miriam live set-up consists of four musicians that can turn-over at various instruments; therefore there ain’t any plan to include additional elements to it.

(20). From what I read, Massimo owns a night club in Rome called The Velvet Club. Have Miriam played any gigs at this club or have any plans to in the future?

Unfortunately Velvet Club closed some years ago… but we had the chance to play in the “temple of Roman-Wave” in May 1998.

(21). And Carlo is into my favorite movie, "Blade Runner", woo-hoo! Would you say your love for film helps in setting up the studio mood for a Miriam song?

We agree totally on the importance to set up an inspiring environment, and lights, furniture, colors are definitely a relevant choice... Carlo will sooner or later set up a new home-recording studio that will look like a starship…

(22). The absence of vocoders and all that equipment is one thing I notice in hearing Daniela’s vocals (aka it’s great to finally hear someone sing ethereal naturally!). Why the decision to not use vocoders and vocal treatment like so many others in the ethereal genre?

Our CD “Scents” was not meant to be a “pure” electronic release, so we tried to keep the standing of an alternative rock production, through all of these choices. In general, it is great to make experiments with vocal trickeries, but these things are exported to a song only when they work really fine!

(23). If given the ideal location for a live show, where would it be and why?

Well, since we’ve been talking about Italian landscapes, we’d recommend Frasassi Caves in the centre of Italy; they’re astonishing and breathtaking, probably some of the deepest caves in the world… but unfortunately live music would be impossible there inside, unless we manage to have a great natural everlasting reverb a-la Slowdive…

(24). Tell us a bit about your new CD and what we can expect from it.

Our new songs are more innovative and hopefully original then ever… for the ones that liked the old ones, we can say that the overall mood will not change, while we’re pushing more towards experimentation on both sounds and melodies. At the end of the day, there will always be some great melodies, which makes the heart of our music.

(25). Any distribution dates for it in American markets?

Not yet, but we will inform you as soon as there’s an update.

(26). Any good Italian recipes you’d like to share with me? I’ll happily trade you some for some Portuguese or Spanish recipes!

We may give you some good Italian tricks for “pasta al pesto” if we will get in return the real “paella” stuff ?

(27). Marc (our founder who is from Italy) and I did an experiment to see if Spanish would work speaking it with Italians, and Italians speaking to Spanish speaking people in Italian would work. Here are some Spanish sentences, just write back a natural response in Italian, and we’ll see how this works:

!Hola! ?Como estas?

Molto bene, grazie!

?Tienes la tiempo a no tienes?

Non tanto, adesso devo andare.

Miriam la musica de corizone, cerebro, y alma. Hechos relaxation, y esta noche yo tango con esta, tambien!

Grazie con il cuore, il cervello e l’anima…

(28). Anything else you’d like to add before we go?

We’d like to thank you and your readers for your interest, wishing we may see on a future tour. You may check out our website www.decadancerecords.it/miriam for any update about the band.

(29). Thanks for your time, the great music and the interview!


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