"Priest drops their full-length debut `New Flesh´on November 17. Like a Delorean DMC-12 it will take you back to the colorful future of the 80´s." (Lövely Records)
Interview by Michela (Anesthesia)
LFdM: It shouldn't be easy to write music and lyrics according to your traditional synth pop roots and the urgency of your modern influences (industrial rock, EBM, science fiction soundtracks). What's your chemistry in rehearsing, composing, arranging and – if applicable – playing live?
Priest: The writing process looks a little different for each song, sometimes an idea emerges first, then lyrics before you add the musical composition. More often the music comes first and then we try to define what it´s about. The most important thing is that everything fits naturally together.
We´re in rehearsals right now and it´s a lot of programming involved. We used a large amount of big ol´synthesizers on the record and we obviously can´t bring everything on the road, so we have to make the rig a lot simpler than we want and still keep good quality sounds. It´s a challenge.
LFdM: Since Italy has always been a “virgin country” for Priest, would you describe your sound to someone who never heard you before? Which are your major influences? Did you experience any funny episode during the recording of New Flesh?
Priest: We like to think we approach synthpop and electronic music from a different angle, since all members been active in a large variety of bands from different genres. But we listen to new underground techno a lot. Depeche Mode, Skinny Puppy and Orbital are big influences, but we like a large variety of stuff – even Italian prog! We love bands like Le Orme, Alphataurus, Museo Rosenbach and so on.. On “The Cross” the writer was inspired by Goblin, especially their soundtrack for Suspiria, when writing the main theme for the song.
Since we have a strong visual image we can move between genres more easily, and our sound will change from record to record.
One fun thing: since Mercury sings too good we had to use another band member to do the main vocals on “Nightmare Hotel”, in order to get the right approach.
LFdM: You are used to combine fetish and sensual images with mechanical and futuristics elements, creating an atmosphere of sensuality disguised by a cold and impersonal attitude. What's the reason behind this choice?
Priest: Well, when I was a human child I dreamt of replacing body parts with bionic ones, as a teenager I dreamt of having sex with glowing robots in the dark.. I still have human parts in me but my goal is to go all artificial. It´s a fetish for sure, maybe even a religion? The masks and costumes is just an exaggeration I think.
LFdM: Did you keep any songs in your pocket, just because they were too different? Will you twist them in the future according to your natural evolution or will you preserve them just like they are, maybe in order to stay true to your roots?
Priest: Oh yes. There´s enough material in the drawer to cover an entire human career-span, but since we are not, new melodies and songs are generated on almost daily basis. If you write a lot, something´s gonna turn out good, right?
LFdM: Is there any New Flesh's song whose lyrics mean a lot to you, according to your thoughts/believes and maybe your personal life? Do you always succeed to express the feelings you want? Do you believe that maybe a fictional concept might work even better, in order to reach the hearts and the minds of your potential fans?
Priest: Yes, I try to remember how it was to be human, and different hardships that came with it. I take those feelings and try to write something that can be understood by many without give away too much. I like when you find your own meaning.
We have high expectations on ourselves and we like being perfectionists, so if something’s coming out from the grinder we´re pretty confident that it´s good and that many people will like it.
LFdM: Talking about the stylistic side, can we say that Priest are walking a totally new path through this album? I mean, in terms of rhythmic dynamics (sometimes so close to EBM) and, above all, a twisted kind of “erotic catchiness”.
Priest: Well, it´s a blend of different electronic genres for sure.. And it´s consciously made to sound retro. We used a lot of hardware synths from the 70´s and 80´s for example, even a Stylophone from the 60´s, but also a lot of new technology in terms of mixing and mastering (Thx Niklas and Magnus for a great job!). When you combine many styles from the past and integrate it with new thought patterns, maybe something new happens?
LFdM: Do you care more about keeping your artistic peculiarities as a band, or maybe exploring your expressive urgency as single musicians? Is there any borderline between your personality as artists and your attitude as people?
Priest: Priest is a band with a pretty clear path and image, but the opportunities of what you can do are still endless. If a member wanting for individuality happens to be too off grid, maybe a side project would be more suitable. Since I´m planning to have the same puppets in the band for a very long time, I´ve programmed them to be nice and open to each other.
LFdM: The new album will be produced by Simon Söderberg with the help of Mauro Rubino (both of them ex-Ghost). Do you think the success around Ghost will play an important role over the perception and expectations of your audience?
Priest: Simon (Alpha) is a fantastic producer, very open minded and always comes to the studio with new ideas and great energy. Mauro (Airghoul) was the first choice to play a synth solo on the album since he is one of the greatest keyboardists in our country. …and yes, it was a conscious, mutual decision to trampoline the band with the ghost connection.
LFdM: As we discussed before, back in the mid-eighties synth pop/rock reached it's artistic peak, contaminating every kind of music, even heavy metal. In your opinion, what's the health status of this genre nowadays? Do you believe it will have a future only mixing together with other genres?
Priest: We love synthpop, EBM and industrial but it faded in the mid-90´s and is now only, more or less, enjoyed by smaller groups of enthusiasts. This is absolutely fine but we want to reach more people with our gospel. I think Rammstein have already reached the point of perfection with the rock/synth-blend, and maybe NIN, Manson in the 90´s as well.. Synths, cyberpunk and techno is the coolest things there is according to us. We´re on a different path.
LFdM: Will you ever play live? How would you imagine the stage scenography, maybe a futuristic and/or minimal one? Will you let any session musician help you? Will you keep your fascinating and bizarre outfit?
Priest: Yes! We start out minimal but the ideas are grandiose. We want to integrate more lazers, visuals, special effects and fashion designers in the future. Maybe even some ghoulish guest appearances..
New Flesh REVIEW