About Me

Interview with Fugitive

Italian band Fugitive have released new material in the midst of the pandemia. On their newest release "Multiverso", they display their constantly evolving instrumental mixture of rock, metal, prog, post-rock and stoner-rock in a psychedelic flair. The tracks are craftfully mixed by Christian Henrik Ankerstjerne, who gave the project very distinct traits and a rock-solid foundation for the guitar work. The 4th record by the band is incredibly awesome and delights us with its cinematographic melodies, so it was reason enough for Metal Imperium to have a nice chat with Manuel Gianella, one of the band’s guitarist.

M.I. - The band’s name is Fugitive… what are you running away from? Why Fugitive? Your promo picture features the faces of all four members as in those mugs shots when one commits a crime whose idea was it?

The name Fugitive comes from an idea of Daniele (guitar) who suggested the name in the early days of the band. We all liked the name since we all are fans of the Finnish band Callisto, which happens to have a song called “The Fugitive on their beautiful record “Noire”. We are generally very attracted to north-European bands and their distinctive sound so maybe this name was also some sort of a tribute in a way. Plus, we happen to like the movie with Harrison Ford so it was a win-win situation for everybody, I guess. Only later it became pretty clear that this name was in fact a sort of an omen since we liked to play outdoor gigs in the woods or at the beach, maybe a sort of escape from the busy city life. No criminal activities involved, I think.

M.I. - After the album "Mediterraneo" released in 2013 and a European tour with Tons, the band went on a relatively long hiatus… why? Lack of inspiration?

After touring with Tons and Satellite and having played The Duna Jam festival in 2013, we took a little break from gigs and rehearsals. Later that year, I decided to move to Germany, so the band went on hiatus for a while. We were still working on new material during all this time and we managed to record two new records even if we live apart. We usually play a bunch of gigs a year and we are unfortunately able to rehearse only once or twice before every gig/tour: other than that, there are not many downsides to our geographical distance.

M.I. - Fugitive is an instrumental band. Don’t you think your “message” would come across better if you put some words into the melodies? Why have you opted to be instrumental only? Is it a way for the listener to pay more attention to all the details?

We are very much an instrumental band since the beginning and we were very much inspired by post-metal/post-rock bands in the early days of the band. Music is a language of its own so there is no strict need of vocals or words in it to make sense and elicit emotions in the listener, in my opinion. We still like vocals and we are not adverse to the their use in our material. We just have them when we feel we need them in a song to express what we would like to express. Personally, I recently became a fan of the “wordy” Mark Kozelek/Sun Kil Moon so... we love music with and without vocals even if we are still mainly an instrumental band.

M.I. - In a Facebook post you say “Fugitive is a band, a necessity and foremost a state of mind. Fugitive was founded to give voice to unheard stories, to give hope back somehow whether you are sailing desperately through the Mediterranean Sea, risking your life to survive and to find hope again or whether you're sailing across your personal sea of uncertainties and despair to reach purpose and meaning in life again. Fugitive speaks for thousands of lives who have left everything behind. It is the story of leaving beloved ones, identity, culture, family and a life behind. It is in some form the story of who is escaping. Fugitive is escaping from who you think you are to who you really are. The road calls. Fugitive is ready.” Apart from this tragic problem that keeps on killing thousands of humans every year… are there any other issues that affect you somehow? So, can one assume Fugitive would be kind of a political band if there were any lyrics in your songs?

I don't think we could have ever been a political band with our lyrics but I guess that if we had them they would surely point out indirectly to some serious problems in our society that concern us. I am personally into self-improvement as a way to improve society and I don't support any particular movement or political agenda. My motto would be thinking with your head, working on yourself and trying to coexist and construct a future together peacefully solving our problems. Dialogue is the key to me, often and most importantly with the ones that differ the most from you. I don't think you can have an impact on society if you're a mess as a person, and quite frankly I think it is quite often the case. With this new album I guess we are suggesting and maybe inspiring self-exploration in every way possible as a tool for mankind, nothing more really. At the end of the day it is just music.

M.I. - Your newest release "Multiverso" displays an instrumental mixture of rock, metal, prog, post-rock and stoner-rock in a psychedelic flair… how “limiting” or “unlimiting” is it creating an album solely based on melodies? Is there a story in your head when you are creating a new track? How do you decide its title? Who’s responsible for the compositions? Do you all pitch in?

Usually melodies in relation to harmonic structures constitute most of the music on the market and I believe most of singers come first with melodies, upon which they then lay the word content. I personally think I often work as if I would be a singer: often a melody pops in my head or I find it while noodeling at the guitar (especially late at night) and then construct the harmony with chords or simply bass lines. Sometimes I do exactly the opposite: I have a riff or an harmonic structure that I like and then, weeks later, I come up with the matching melody. It is generally a very quick process for the basic ideas for the song. For me, the arrangement and various refinements are the things that take most of the time.

M.I. - The album was digitally self-released on the 20th April 2020. Considering the difficult times Italy was facing at that time, did you ever consider the idea of postponing the release of the album? It’s been 2 months now… how are things going? How are the reactions?

We decided to release the record in April 2020 during the pandemic and we thought maybe it could serve as some sort of relief in these challenging times even though the record was ready to be released at the end of 2019. The reactions have been good so far. Some reviews are very positive indeed. We are very happy about the record and how it was welcomed in the community.

M.I. - The band’s been self-releasing its material digitally… why? Don’t you want a label to boss you around?

We had contact with two labels regarding a potential release on vinyl for the record, which we took care ourselves for past releases. At the moment we don't think we can invest a lot of time touring since we all are pretty busy with our jobs, so we thought we will do most of the work ourselves. Labels are mostly interested when a band is ready to tour extensively and we are not able to do that at the moment. Maybe in the future there will be other opportunities to work with a label on future releases.

M.I. - The first track of the album “Private Visions Of The World” is about the frightening thoughts of what's out in the universe and freaky theories about the multiverse. Do you believe in extraterrestrial life? Are you fascinated by it?

Every album we put out so far has been a sort of a concept album related in some sort of way to water because we are really fascinated by it. “La Traversata” took the water element to even a social and kind of political topic. With this album we wanted to expand our concept to the universe and the theories related to that, specifically the multiverse and the probable existence of infinite parallel universes, which is to me a frightening thought in itself. Generally, I think this album would like to inspire ways of self-exploration and personal growth.

M.I. - Your song “Underworld” is beautiful and it reminds me of Portuguese traditional tunes. Do you inspire yourselves in other cultures?

I'm very much inspired by all genres that involve guitar,r like classical guitar composers like Heitor Villa Lobos, Flamenco and Fado as well. Underworld is just a sort of our tribute to the beautiful sound of concert guitar and nylon strings “Fugitive” style. I think the song works well in the album because of its cinematic nature. I often imagine our music like a soundtrack to a picture movie and I think the record works well in that regard.

M.I. - The multidimensional concept and artwork was designed by Matteo Lescio and there’s a four-eyed kind of cross… pointing to the 4 main cardinal points: North, South, East and West… The eyes on the cover are looking all ways… like there’s diversity everywhere… maybe I’m really overthinking this but each eye is a Greek lucky charm. What is your interpretation of it after all? What does it mean to Fugitive?

We had the great pleasure to work with the tattoo artist Mateo Lescio who has a very distinctive and personal style. I think the tattoo influenced elements are very present and fit perfectly what we had in mind for the cover art. The eyes in the cover art represent a vajra. In the tantric traditions of Buddhism, the vajra is a symbol for the nature of reality, indicating endless creativity, potency, and skillful activity. The symbol worked really well with the infinite layers of the multiverse and is again related to the nature of reality and multiple realities.

M.I. - The tracks were mixed by Christian Henrik Ankerstjerne, who gave the project very distinct traits and a rock-solid foundation for the guitar work. Which bands/ musicians have been an influence for you as musicians? Since your inception in the music scene has your musical taste changed/evolved somehow?

Thanks to our drummer booking agent activity we were able to play with many bands we really like and admire through the years. I think playing together and getting to know our favourite bands helped us finding our musical identity and grow as musicians. We have been big fans of Town Portal and Christian's work in the last decade so it was really natural wanting to work with him since we appreciate his work as a musician and as a producer as well.

M.I. - Fugitive prefer to present the live material at peculiar outdoor sessions like the legendary Duna jam cult festival and the Mountain Session festivals. Do you think the sound fits better with the outdoor environment? 

We happen to like outdoor and peculiar locations for our music a lot and I think it is maybe due to the cinematic nature of our music. In the early days we just came up with the idea of playing in the woods with a generator and we liked it a lot. Then we came to terms with the Desert session thing
and we happen to play Duna Jam which is a festival on the beach: playing on the sand at sunset is one of the most indescribable feelings.

M.I. - Do you have any final thoughts to share with Metal Imperium Webzine’s readers? All the best!

Thank you very much for the interview and the thoughtful questions. We hope to play Portugal some day!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca