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figureofsix2011_01Interview with

Matteo Troiano (guitar) of Figure of Six

These Italians are not made for spaghetti-music and pizza solos! Let us find out why they damn rock in our interview with Matteo Troiano, the guitarist of FIGURE OF SIX.

Reflections of Darkness (RoD): As I read the band was formed in 2003. Can you tell us a bit more about the past of the band?
Matteo Troiano (Matteo): The band was formed in 2003 but me and Peter [Cadonici - guitar] were playing together before. We started writing some riffs a couple of years before meanwhile we were looking for the right people to start a professional project. As we found the remaining members we started writing the songs for the first album ‘Step One’ which came out in 2005. The band included a DJ so it was formed by 7 people but he soon left the band. After some live activity including a whole tour in UK in 2006 we started writing the new album which finally came out in April 2008. After a couple of years spent playing intensively we started working on the third album called ‘Brand New Life’ and here we are!

figureofsix2011_02RoD: Hearing your new album it is evident that SLIPKNOT and, at times, SEPULTURA have influenced you. But overall which were your musical influences and inspirations?
Matteo: You hear SLIPKNOT and SEPULTURA? Well I would say music from the 90’s influenced the writing process of this album. I would not name a particular band but most of the metal/rock music that was written between then and now was really inspiring for us. We returned to our roots of the first album in some way but at the same time we tried to find something fresh.

RoD: Your previous album, ‘Aion’, is full with a more symphonic approach to metal, with a more multilayered production, a production that “softened” the edges of the songs. Now, the new one, ‘Brand New Life’, is a more raw, back to the roots album. How did you come to this decision?
Matteo: We wanted something more solid from the beginning so we worked hard with our production team called DysFUNCTION productions to have the raw sound you named. [the decision] To have less orchestration came later during the mixing process with Tue Madsen. He felt like he needed to focus on guitars because he heard the album more like a rock album. If you listen to it carefully it is a clever decision as keyboards are still there, maybe less than the other album, but used in a different way. We, together with Tue, wanted keyboards to sound as a lead instrument so not only like a background orchestration and I think we reached the goal finally!

figureofsix2011_04RoD: You underwent the process of finding a new front man after Giacomo left the band. What exactly happened? Were there any thoughts of breaking up the band?
Matteo: It happened during the recording process of ‘Brand New Life’. We had a different view on how the new album should sound regarding the vocals so we decided to separate. From his side vocals should have been more hardcore while we wanted something that could distance the band from that scene. By the way we never thought of breaking the band, absolutely not! We started looking for a new singer that could fit with our new idea and Erk was found after less than 1 week after Giacomo left the band.

RoD: To continue from the previous question, as it is commonplace, every band that changes a front man in their next album there’s always a shift or a different approach of the music. Is it the vocals influencing the orchestrations of the songs?
Matteo: No I wouldn't say that changing front man influenced the choice of having less orchestration on the album. As I said we did it on purpose but to obtain something else. Anyway I think that changing singer influenced all our sound as a result of a choice we made after recording the other instruments.

RoD: I remember that once upon a time, Steve Harris was saying that in their beginning, there has been a lot of pressure put on the IRON MAIDEN by the music industry to cut their hair (!) and to play Punk, as it was the current fashion back then and of course they refused to do so. Were there any pressures on FIGURE OF SIX?
Matteo: I wouldn't call it “pressure” but a desire of being a fresh sounding band. No one ever obliged us to sound this or that way. We, as a band, after some time from the previous album always sat and thought how the next one should sound, how we should correct our mistakes and so on. We influenced ourselves if I may say so. I also think that there are not 2 trends fighting nowadays like it was between punk and metal back in late 70’s. You can see a guy that look like an Emo playing metal or a punk guy simply playing pop music. Some people do it on purpose to be different even if everyone notices it after 2 seconds.

figureofsix2011_03RoD: You were on a UK tour back in 2006. British are not known for having overwhelming reactions to metal bands! How did they receive your live shows?
Matteo: In some way you are right, we never found a “hot” crowd as we found in Italy or recently in Germany. Probably they have a different approach on how to attend a live show but I won't say it's their fault. Every country is different, every scene is different. After all shows they came to us even if it was to say “great show” or to by CDs or shirts. They are cool people as well even if they don't get mad at shows.

RoD: If Silvio Berlusconi, the Vatican and the life-style are a significant part of the modern Italian mainstream scene, what do you think the underground scene is influenced by? What does it react to?
Matteo: Reactions are different within bands like between common people. In general Italy is a conservative country as you might know so the fear of change made the fortune of a guy like Berlusconi. Italy is not an easy country to govern as well so people felt like he was the only guy they could vote. To me Italian people speak a lot but when it is time to react, like some countries did already, they always prefer sure jobs and let people govern even if they are pigs in their eyes.

RoD: You’ve been a vital part of the underground scene during the past years and as I can guess you’ve gained some hardcore fans. What you think their reaction might be listening to the new album?
Matteo: Well we gained some fans in the hardcore scene for sure but as we were not a “pure” hardcore band they finally went back home a bit disappointed. With this album we needed to distance [ourselves] from this or that scene and be different from anyone else. I mean it is not easy and the decision we made was not easy as well but time will tell I’m pretty sure.

figureofsix2011_05RoD: Which were the factors that kept your band in the underground scene and didn’t allow it to reach bigger audiences?
Matteo: No, don't ask me this! I mean if you are asking me if we feel like losers for not being major I tell you not for sure! We always played our music and always will! Time will tell as I said before...

RoD: If some kids asked you for advices or tips for forming their band, finding good producers and labels. What you’d say to them?
Matteo: Well I don't feel there is only one way to the success. You can find a big producer and record your album the best way or record everything at home and concentrate on finding buyers on tours. It is always up to the band and both methods either get paid or miserably fail. I would say to kids to write good music and record it the way they feel better for their band. Don't spend all the money at the beginning but keep in mind you won't have a professional band without investing money! Think with your head and don't trust anyone unless he is not but truly interested in your music. These are my advices.

RoD: What are the bands plans for the near future? Are you ready to go on the road again?!
Matteo: Playing as much as we can. We have a festival appearance in July in Germany and whole European tour in fall/winter. We also recorded a live video in Cologne that will be ready soon and we are about to film the official video for the song My Perfect Day. Hopefully you will see them on TV soon! Check our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/figureofsix or our website at www.figureofsixband.com you will find everything about us there!

RoD: Thank you very much for the interview!
Matteo: Thanks to you!


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