Interview with Vito F. Mainolfi of Pentesilea Road and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: Hello Vito! How are you doing?
VFM: Hey there, all good here, compatibly with the strange time we’re living, of course.
PD: We really liked your new album. We can call this “real music”. How do you feel on this?
VFM: Thanks, I am really happy to hear you liked it! Actually, I do believe music is pretty much a subjective matter like anything else having to do with the emotional side. We might discuss on the complexity, the academic background, originality but not sure about an absolute ethical categorization when it comes to music. Good music is just what you like, in my opinion. What we have tried to do in this first album is definitely trying to give it some personality: I hope we have achieved the objective!
PD: Tell us a few words about this personal project…are you also a multi-instrumentalist, right?
VFM: I do mainly play guitars and bass, that’s what I actually recorded on the final version of the album, but indeed I can decently approach drumming, piano and do the vocal lines. That helps a lot during creation sessions and allow me not to be too much biased towards the guitar side. Sometimes I start writing down some music with acoustic guitar, some other times with keys, drum, bass…and that’s the way this album was created. PR is definitely more instinctive, heartfelt rather than planned and I believe that contributes a lot in the definition of its sound.
PD: This first album is actually filled with many nuances, each one having some history behind.
VFM: First of all, there is a curiously wide chronological and geographical span in this recording, when it comes to guitar and effects: although almost the whole album has been recorded in the last 4 months of 2020, a very few parts were recorded a few years back. There are some pieces recorded in Rome, some in the UK and the rest in the Netherlands. I can feel the different moods of different times and different places.
Regarding the sound, I liked the idea of keeping some parts unchanged, to give some intact “vintage” feeling which I would have found hard to reproduce with my current setup. Therefore, in some cases I kept the original sound of the demos.
In the album, there are quite a few of these sound cameos. For example, the overall arpeggio of “Stains”, was recorded in one single session to test a guitar synth I just bought; that very first take is the version around which the whole song has been built and that is also in the final version of the song.
I do like this kind of primitive approach to recording: the objective is to be able to capture the moment, even with those eventual imperfections. I’ve never been a massive fan of the ultra-clean productions anyway…
PD: Being from Italy, makes you have a big tradition in culture. What is your opinion about music in your country?
VFM: On the current time, frankly I’m not sure: I do not listen to many Italian bands, at least on the rock/metal side. I might name Rhapsody and Vision Divine, among the ones I really liked in the past. I am sure there will be more, but nothing I can really mention as I am a bit out of it.
Conversely, I do think the Italian scene was definitely prolific, eclectic and original a few decades back. I can think to Goblin, PFM, New Trolls…these guys were (and are) truly phenomenal.
PD: How is your mood about Covid-19? Did this influence the band?
VFM: Definitely. I had to give up the band I was playing with, in Holland, and that give me some real time to focus on the Pentesilea Road album. This was a project I have been working on for some years, but never found really the time to give it a proper chance. Until now.
PD: Do you consider that being the only standard musician is an advantage or a disadvantage for the band?
VFM: Probably the only real advantage is being able to progress without having to wait from anyone else’s approval. That is also the biggest risk, though. For the rest I do think it’s definitely a disadvantage: I’d more than happy to collaborate with other musicians in the future.
PD: Who writes the lyrics and what they are about?
VFM: I do write all the lyrics. From that point of view, Pentesilea Road is a rather complex project.
There’s a clear philosophy behind the lyrics: PR is an act of dissidence and protest against the new world has been imposed on us. Globalization, surveillance capitalism, ruthless erosion of what were the most basic elements of the life we were used to know, are constantly being de facto imposed. PR is an invitation to never give up in thinking and keep fighting the intimidatory power of politically correct. The whole album is loosely, metaphorically autobiographic and I’m truly convinced the lyrics are not secondary to the music itself: its full enjoyment requires reading the lines.
And between them.
PD: Are there any other musical projects for you?
VFM: Not at the moment and I don’t think for the immediate future I will have anything more than this band. I would like to fully focus on the second album of Pentesilea Road.
PD: Have you ever performed live?
VFM: Yes, I have been playing for many years with my previous bands, but it was quite a few years ago…for a few years I have been playing in a Iron Maiden cover band, that was definitely a lot of fun!
PD: What are your plans about Pentesilea Road? Do you feel this about a project or a full band that will last for years?
VFM: I will definitely start to work on a second album for PR, whether I will have the same approach as this one or will have a standard, defined lineup. The next months will tell a lot about this. For the future, I would like to try to push the band out of the underground limbo. This album has been really the first, unannounced step: we literally started from zero, but the feedback we have received so far is really encouraging. Considering the album has been auto-produced with no support from any of the mainstream channels, I think it’s been a very good start!
PD: Keep up the nice work, Vito! Metal on!
VFM: Thanks a lot for hosting us on your portal, I hope we’ll speak again soon!