XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Andrea: Our latest album, titled “Neuroteque”, came out at just a few days ago on Subsound Records! It was a big project for us: we have been busy first writing and then recording it for the past two and a half years and for this reason, we have played very few and selected shows during this time. The plan now is to do the exact opposite and play live as much as we can, to bring the music from Neuroteque anywhere there’s an audience waiting for us. We already played a few shows in France and northern Italy in September, just before the album release date, but more shows will be announced very soon.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
Andrea: The band formed sometime around 2006 (though I’m not completely sure since I wasn’t there…), and released their first album “…Where Mountains Walk” in 2009. The current line-up came together in 2012 and immediately took the decision to continue as an instrumental band (Juggernaut had a singer before so it was a completely new beginning). “Neuroteque” is our second album as an instrumental band (third overall) and it came out five years after “TRAMA!”, which was released in 2014.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
Andrea: I’m sure each member of the band has his own deep motivation for being a musician. To me, it was a matter of cultural exploration, as well as emotional research: music is the most important thing in my life, and listening to records or playing in a band made me who I am and it still has a huge role in making me a different (better!) person.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Andrea: This is the hardest of all questions. Everybody in the band has a very wide and deep interest in different musical genres: we go from extreme metal to jazz, from world music to hip hop, from progressive or avant-garde to whatever we find interesting for any reason in any particular moment. We certainly have common ground (mostly things we listened to when we were younger), but as we became more expert and eclectic music connoisseurs we noticed that each band member had found a very personal path such that today there are very few things the four of us agree on (certainly Beastie Boys, not much else…). This, of course, makes things more interesting when it comes to composition.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Andrea: As an instrumental band we give primary importance to the visual aspects of our music: we think of our music as the soundtrack of a movie that doesn’t exist (yet…). We want our audience to be transported to a world that can be visualized in their minds. This of course changes from album to album, sometimes from song to song: for our previous album “TRAMA!” we wrote a story set in Italy during the Seventies, with “Neuroteque” we opted for a more abstract approach, so that every listener can give his/her own interpretation of each song and find different images in his/her mind. Even between the four of us, there’s no agreement about our visions of each song.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Andrea: Each new record better than the one before, each new show better than the last. Simple as that.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Andrea: That’s a hard choice! Our live shows are a powerful and cathartic experience and involve a strong emotional component, while in the studio you have to stay focused and let your brain juices flow. I’d say these are two completely different worlds and I really don’t want to choose between the two.
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Andrea: We are an instrumental band, so no lyrics! We let the audience decide what each song is about.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Andrea: I’d say having an open mind: it’s something that leads you to have the best experiences and to meet the best people. And it’s something that allows you to evolve constantly as a composer and as a performer so that you’re able to progress every time you do something new.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Andrea: A lot of crazy shit happens on the road, but not everything is worth to be mentioned. One funny moment is when we asked some fans in Poland to recite a line from an Italian cult movie from the ‘70s (“Fantozzi”), without them having any clue of the meaning of their words.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Andrea: Nothing too strange, unfortunately (or luckily?).
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Andrea: Absolutely! They come see us every time we play in our hometown of Roma.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Andrea: It may sound obvious, but being true to yourself and to your style (whatever it is) and doing things in your own way is the most important thing. Write your own music and be proud of yourself but also be humble and try to improve yourself every time you do something new. Also, cooperate with other musicians/artists in your local scene and play live as much as you can! And don’t forget to have fun, music is beautiful!
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Andrea: The music from our new album “Neuroteque” is particularly challenging to play live, it has so many details that are hard to reproduce in the right way, so we’re having a lot of fun performing it. We also love to play “Ballo Excelsior”, from our previous album “TRAMA!”, because it’s a bit easier than the rest of the set and we can let ourselves go crazy with the audience.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Andrea: Each of us had his own starting point. To me it was grunge and the alternative rock from the ’90s (e.g.: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Radiohead): it was aggressive but emotional, cathartic but smart, very different from other music but still very direct and it had something to say. But moving from those first bands I listened to as a kid, every new artist I discover inspires me in a new way when it comes to writing music as well as performing live.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Andrea: In clubs or on outdoor stages? Active bands or zombie tour with Hendrix, Zappa, James Brown, and Miles Davis? Random stuff or genre consistent? Joking aside, let’s stay real and say that, for example, touring with other instrumental bands such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Battles or Tortoise or our fellow Romans Zu (we played a couple of shows with them in the past years) would be pretty cool.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Andrea: We are extremely proud of the music we wrote and recorded together for our latest two albums “TRAMA!” and “Neuroteque”: we think that we accomplished our original aim of writing something personal, that we haven’t heard from anybody else, and that could reflect our own tastes, our ideas and our view of the things around us. This, of course, doesn’t mean that we’re done: we’re sure that our next record will be even better. Oh, and touring Europe three times was great too!
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Andrea: Being a musician is not a job that pays much these days, unfortunately, so we all have day jobs that pay the bills and that leaves us enough free time to dedicate to music. If I hadn’t devoted my life to music, I would have probably become a journalist.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Andrea: Just regular guitars, bass, and drums, regular amps and a bunch of pedals, both analog and digital. We’re not snobs who only use boutique pedals and vintage guitars: we are not rich, so we need equipment that works well and that’s not too expensive to replace if broken or (god forbid!) stolen. Out of curiosity, one interesting thing to say is that after playing different brands for a very long time both me and Luigi, as well as Roberto, are now playing Fenders: Luigi and I have Telecasters and Roberto has a Jazz, Bass.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Andrea: There’s no doubt that guitar music (rock/metal/punk and similar stuff) is getting old: there’s not much stuff that sounds fresh and original, and rock is not the music of the younger generations anymore but that of our parents. This means that young musicians are less interested in playing guitar than it was 15-20 years ago, and they are instead going towards electronic music or hip hop. This, of course, doesn’t mean that there’s no good music anymore: there are a lot of interesting artists from all over the world, but the youngest among them mostly belong to a different music scene than the one we grew up into. Our music scene (in Italy as well as abroad) is still alive and well, but we don’t have many young bands anymore as it was some time ago.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Andrea: I really don’t know how to answer this, but one thing is probably the fact that we play very heavy music, but we don’t listen to heavy music that much. This means that when we meet with other metal bands who are a lot into metal and want to talk about contemporary metal bands, we really don’t have much to say. Sorry about that!
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Andrea: Listen to our music and support our band! You can find us at juggernautrome.bandcamp.com. And come to our live shows! You won’t regret it. And a big thank you goes to those who already do this: we love you!
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!
Andrea: Thank you XS ROCK for this opportunity to talk to you and to your readers!
Andrea Carletti ELECTRIC AND ACOUSTIC GUITARS, SITAR, SAMPLES
Roberto Cippitelli BASS, GLOCKENSPIEL, VIBRASLAP, SYNTH
Matteo D’Amicis DRUMS, ATV AFRAME, EGG AND SOFT SHAKER, TAMBOURINE, TABLA, SENASEL, TRASH CAN
Luigi Farina ELECTRIC, ACOUSTIC AND CLASSICAL GUITARS, SYNTH