INTERVIEW: Despite Exile
After reviewing their début EP Scarlet Reverie, Italian deathcore act Despite Exile are back for more! I got to swap words with vocalist Jei about the band, gigging and the scene in general.
Where did Despite Exile come from, in terms of name and history?
Despite Exile came out one year ago. I, Erik and Gio had another band with other two guys, then Sanchez and Sasha (with whom I had another band where I played guitar) came in. We decided to change the old name of the band because musically we took another direction. The name Despite Exile was pretty hard to find actually, we had lots of ideas but all of them were “already heard”. Then Sanchez one day came out with the story of Lilith, who was Adam’s first wife. She was banned from Eden and exiled to hell, but despite that she continued to create demons and stuff. And basically that’s where the name comes from.
What’s the scene in Udine like with regards to metal bands?
There are a lot of bands here, mostly rock and death metal. There are just a few “core” bands. The scene isn’t very good actually, as far as music is seen just as a hobby.
What were the biggest musical influences on this record? Others mention Veil Of Maya and August Burns Red, and I can hear some Parkway Drive in there, what else was mixed in?
Yes you’re right! In the oldest songs like Pure Crimson or Unanswered you can definitely find some Parkway Drive inspiration. In the beginning we aimed to have a metalcore sound rather than progressive/deathcore one, but then our sound evolved, we gained more maturity and we took another direction, even if now metalcore is still a big influence. Right now we’re trying to make our own sound so we try not to take inspiration from a single band, but from the whole genre. We’re working on new material that is pretty different from the EP, it’s more mature, heavier and more various. If i have to name some groups, i would say The Contortionist, Structures, All Shall Perish, Whitechapel. You will hear some good stuff!
Where do you draw lyrical inspiration from? I wondered if the title track was based on a literary idea, for example.
Well I don’t really have a single inspiration for the lyrics. I write about what I have in mind in that moment. I start with some sentences and then I build the lyrics from there. I write always after that the instrumental part is finished. I prefer abstract lyrics rather than the “in your face” ones, i think they’re more intriguing. Scarlet Reverie isn’t based on a literary idea; it’s a song that talks about a person who’s oppressed by the reality surrounding him, and explains his feelings and state of mind through “artistic” metaphors.
Any special warmup routines before you hit the stage?
I just do some stretching for my back and legs, and maybe i just scream at my bandmates to warm up my throat! The others don’t do anything special actually, they just do a little warm up and that’s all. Maybe the special thing is that we like to annoy each other while warming up, and that usually ends up with Gio and Erik having a fight. *laughs*
Are there any dream bands you’d love to tour with?
ALL SHALL PERISH all the way, I am a really big fan of them. But also Born of Osiris, Veil Of Maya, Whitechapel. Love them all.
Craziest experience whilst playing a gig?
Probably when I called 40 people on the stage for the final song and the stage almost collapsed! It’s been awesome, we were all jumping and doing crazy stuff.
Do you play any cover songs, either seriously or as a joke?
No we don’t want to play cover songs on stage. Sometimes during rehearsals Sanchez come out with the first riff of “It’s Not Safe To Swim Today” of Veil of Maya, or Gio plays some Tool’s riffs.
This is the “Hot Water Question” so you get to drop each other in it. Any embarrassing habits or guilty pleasures (musical or otherwise) you’d like to accuse another band member of having?
Actually we all listen to all kind of music, nothing really embarrassing I guess. I have to admit that I listen to a lot of hip-hop music, especially Eminem, I love him. Other things…Nothing comes to my mind actually, we’re pretty boring I guess? *laughs*
So you’ve established a fairly strong fanbase at home, what are your plans now?
We want to get more visibility outside of Italy. Our aim is to build a solid fanbase outside of our country because there aren’t many opportunities here, tour Europe and hopefully one day the world.
Any other projects or bands we should check out?
Well Erik and I have another little project going on but there’s nothing to listen to right now. But actually we’re all very focused on Despite Exile so we try not get involved in other projects that might steal too much time.
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions! Final parting words for the readers?
I HATE YOU ALL.
No just kidding, you’re all awesome, thank you for your time!