Tuesday, 21st August 2018. 5:29:03pm ET
Interviews Ethereal Interview- Ataraxia


Band: Ataraxia
Interviewer: Marcos Massarri
Date: 9/13/04

“Italy’s Ataraxia are pioneers of the neo classical movement & forbearers of the 90’s international Darkwave music scene where certainly nothing comes quite close to describing their intoxicatingly rich sound. From echoes of lush world & chamber music influences that cross timeless lands of magic & romance upon haunting medieval ceremonies that float high above the clouds into brightly lit renaissance ethereal lullaby’s that would surely make the angles & devils weep; They are always stirring with a high regard towards intricacy & avant-garde finesse. This is a true piece of art; Highly recommended to fans of Qntal, Arcana, Rajna, etc. The following interview with founding members Francesca (vocals) & Giovanni (keyboards) was done through email & my many thanks for taking time out of their hectic schedule to answer these questions.”

Grave Concerns -How are all of you doing?

Francesca –“We spent a really engaging season lately with two new releases that will be out around October and November, and we spent a lot of time in the recording studio to finish the mixing and editing too. The first release will be a digibook (book + Cd) called 'Arcana Eco'. It’ll be a sort of collective work album because it feature’s Italian music journalist Feruccio Filippi’s travel diary throughout our albums with an exhaustive interview and discography. Livio Bedeschi's collection of 50 images (archeological sites, cathedrals, sea spots, etc.) that had inspired many of our songs with some beautiful and exclusive portraits with live photos of the band along with some of my writings. The Cd will contain 7 exclusive songs, 4 of them are new but the other 3 are new versions of older tracks with updated arrangements. The second album called 'Odos os Ouranos' will feature a live concert that we gave in May 2003 at a church in Italy. It's a unique performance because we played only acoustic instruments like piano, classic guitar, clarinet, flutes and vocals. We played several songs from many of our albums (La Malediction d'Ondine, Il fantasma dell'Opera, Orlando, Lost Atlantis, Suenos, and Des Paroles Blanches) in new exclusive versions so it’ll be possible to find some new songs played just for that occasion. The album will be released as double digipak Cd. The second Cd will feature the performance of Italian neo classical ensemble Autunna et sa Rose who played that same evening. You can see much more info at www.ataraxia.net (news and discography sections).”

Grave Concerns -Have you been doing a lot of promotion for your new record?

Giovanni –“We started promoting 'Saphir' with three exclusive live performances in Leiria, (Portugal), Paris, and Reggio Emilia (our town in Italy). Then we gave some concerts all over Italy. The last promotional performance was in Bologna last July. Over there we had a special stenography and four actors working with us on the stage.”

Grave Concerns -All your albums have a theme running through them with a highly detailed account explaining each one. Your new record "Saphir" concerns itself with the symbolism & mystique of gardens. Please tell us more.

Francesca –“Every civilization had felt the need to have its own gardens because it’s the perfect place where nature and human craft meet. Furthermore, at the basis of quite literally all the myths concerning the origin of human kind, there's a garden as a symbol of the primordial perfect harmony. The gardens enables us to overcome our everyday life to get the essence of beauty. Many artists during the centuries have been inspired by gardens. The harmony of gardens and their colors, forms, perfumes, natural sounds, etc. permits us to penetrate the mysterious forces governing life. We visited several parks all over Europe to get palpable inspiration for this album and while some of them had a classic Italian or French style some others were romantic English gardens and we walked along some Zen gardens, 'green' cemeteries, and cloisters. All these places have influenced our music. Musically the album features brilliant textures of classic guitars, keyboards, piano, several eastern and western percussions like timpani, frame-drums, manjira, darabouka, tablas, chimes, rattles, bells, and fronted with my vocals, Giovanni, and Vittorio's backing vocals.”

Grave Concerns -Have you ever decided to release a follow up to any particular record (e.g.; "Lost Atlantis", "Il Fantasma Dell 'Opera", "La Malediction D'ondine", etc.) or perhaps do a trilogy of some sort?

Giovanni –“Many years ago we considered a follow up to ‘Simphonia Sine Nomine’ but afterwards part of this material became the corpus of ‘La Malediction d'Ondine’. Three of our albums could be considered a trilogy; ‘Simphinia Sine Nomine’, ‘Il Fantasma dell'Opera’, & ‘Concerto N. 6’.

Grave Concerns -Has Ataraxia recently gotten much positive feedback from North America for any sort of possible future performances?

Giovanni -We actually had some positive press feed-back and a very good reaction from people in North America, but unfortunately we haven’t had the chance to play over there so far. We'll see in the coming times how things develop.”

Grave Concerns -Are all the original members still in the band?

Giovanni –“Three of them are still there ( Francesca on vocals, Vittorio on guitars, and me on keyboards), a fourth one started working with us in July of 2003; he's Ricardo, our new talented percussionist. Furthermore, the band is proud to have strictly collaborated with Lorenzo Busi (our live performer and mime) and Livio Bedeschi (projection if images). One of the original members of ATARAXIA isn’t present (our first and only bass-guitar player Michele Urbano, who took part to the Cd ‘Ad Perpetual Rei Memoriam’) anymore. Our activities started in the second half of the 80ies so it's quite a miracle to be still together after such a long time.”

Grave Concerns -Will you ever release any of your home videos on "region free" DVD format?

Giovanni -Last year we recorded and filmed an unplugged performance in a suggestive church. Some songs were supposed to be released on DVD format but because of some unexpected visual problems there won't be any. Anyway you'll soon find that performance available on a double live CD called 'Odos Os Ouranos' ( the way to the heavens)”.

Grave Concerns -How did Cold Meat Industry (Cruel Moon) come across you guys & do you appreciate any of their bands & artists on that label?

Giovanni –“It happened in 1997 when we wrote them because we really appreciated their musical choices, attitude, & seriousness so after an exchange of letters concerning music in the second half of 1998 they released our album 'Historiae'. The artists currently on CMI that we deeply appreciate are Raison d'Etre and Coph Nia.”

Grave Concerns -What have you been listening to lately?

Francesca and Giovanni –“Madredeus, Wim Martens, Erik Satie, Mike Oldfield, Hesperion XX, Diamanda Galas, Meredith Monk, Depeche Mode, Ashram, This Mortal Coil, Frozen Autumn, Ross Daly, Natacha Atlas, Nina Hagen, & together with Baroque and classical music.”

Grave Concerns -After being together for so long, how would you say your relationship in the band has evolved? How would you say Ataraxia has evolved in artistically, musically & lyrically?

Francesca –“I could use a similitude. Everything has its origins in the stone and the stone is at the origin of everything. The stone is a natural element that can be embroidered to create daring architectures or remain massive and impenetrable to the light. We have built the foundations of our manor, ATARAXIA, & with that rough material to make it stronger and unaffected by time. At the beginning our music and lyrics were made of stone. After, the water, symbol of death, re-birth, eternal rest, and regeneration has become our spiritual guide; has given us the chance to progress, to shape, and transform our art throughout the years. Then, the doors of the realm of dreams have opened to allow us to cross deeper dimensions belonging to an ancestral past and attain contemplation. At the end, walking through a labyrinth leading to a painful and surprising knowledge of ourselves, we have achieved a new state of enlightenment. What distinguishes a raw stone from a precious one lies in its capacity to be crossed by light and filter it. Our music, lyrics, & artistic relationship is a journey from the rocky underworld up to an Eden of light.”

Grave Concerns –Well said. What other groups in Italy do you recommend people check out?

Giovanni –“I'm happy to say that here in Italy, the scene is very rich and varied. A few examples are Camerata Mediolanense who offer a majestic percussive and baroque repertory. Kirlian Camera are considered one of the best realities of the Italian and European dark-electronic scene. Runes Order play hypnotic and experimental noise while Limbo are specialized in techno-goth, and The Frozen Autumn are a wonderful dark-wave romantic reality. The list could truly go on.”

Francesca –“I don't want to forget Ashram who are a touching trio playing a sort of romantic wave with piano, violin, and vocals and also Argine; a neo folk original and interesting reality.”

Grave Concerns -Will there be any side projects coming from any of you?

Francesca –“Yes, Vittorio Vandelli, our guitarist, is going to release his first solo album (scheduled for September 20th) called 'A day of warm rain in heaven'. The album will transpose into music the romantic opus of S.T. Coleridge, 'The rhyme of the ancient mariner'; an odyssey through sin, death, and re-birth until the achievement of wisdom. The trip of the protagonist reflects Vittorio's existential experience, a spiritual experience that each of us could be called to live. The ability to sublimate all of this into music seems to be the only way to fight the tempest and survive the storming sea. Ambient tunes alternate with timeless ballads; short industrial moments precede ethereal compositions; soft-electronic episodes follow hypnotic lullabies and atmospheric airs introduce moving sonatas in his unique style. Vittorio felt the urge to follow the creative processes from the beginning to the end, starting from the musical idea, passing through execution and finally reaching recording and mixing. I also took part to this album on vocals. My contribution is the result of a sudden enlightenment after the very first listening of the tracks.”

Grave Concerns -What was your worst live experience? How about best live experience?

Francesca –“We played more than 200 concerts in several European and Latin American countries so I can't and I don't want to write a list of the better and worst experiences but each of them is a part of the whole. With the listeners we have always had a great exchange,where we shared intense precious moments. Anyway, I remember with affection and nostalgia all our Portuguese tours because that country deeply inspired our songs and albums offering us 'the force of the silence' that we transformed into music. Also Latin America's audience (Argentina and Mexico) touched our hearts too because they were sincerely involved, respectful, and enthusiastic.”

Grave Concerns -What else does Ataraxia do when not writing or performing music?

Giovanni –“Francesca gives private lessons and write novels, Vittorio carries out artistic furniture and has a recording studio. I study neurology and work as an assistant in a retirement center & Riccardo is still attending university.”

Grave Concerns -Thanks so much for your time & is there anything else you'd like to say?

Francesca –‘The motto of an ancient French dynasty, the Beaumanoir could be the slogan of all the artists;’ if you suffer you have to help yourself, you're your own redemption. If you are thirsty you have to drink your own blood. Drink your blood Beaumanoir!' Gottfried Benn.”


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