Interview: Eva’s Milk

groove har snakket med det italienske bandet Eva's Milk, som fremdeles nok er ukjente for de fleste.

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Eva's Milk

Let me begin this interview with a clarifying question: How many of you are familiar - hand on heart, now – with the incredibly noisy Italian and downright progressive but still intimately direct rock ‘n’ roll band Eva’s Milk? No? Well, I really can’t say that surprises me much, but I suggest that’ll change soon; at least it should change. Why? Because they’re without competition the most interesting constellation found on today’s scene of hard rock in Italy. Progressiveness comes natural and unpretentious on their debut, Cassandra e il Sole Che Oscura, released in 2007 by the German indie label Fuego, on-where almost every recorded second seems tried, tested and not merely believed but sincerely meant, collectively and individually by the band.

It can be difficult to explain, but try the album out for size and I guarantee you’ll understand what I mean. Even though Eva’s Milk appears as destructive and forceful as a category five hurricane, there’s absolutely nothing forced about their expression. Presumably carried by anger more than anything else Cassandra e il Sole Che Oscura simply tears you apart.

Hereafter, nothing stays the same; absolutely nil, zero, zilch ... do you get my drift?

Eva’s Milk is impossible to typecast, musically, as they borrow and steal from every genre they can - and that’s quite a few. The interaction is constant and easy, not only from song to song, but also within the single creations. It might sound messy, but it isn’t. This mixture works surprisingly well. So you’ll find a straight rock ‘n’ roll blending with elements from regular heavy metal, but even more often gets noisy in the best possible post-grunge-way; the noise-rock elevates from time to time to strike an anarchistic, punk-like note - add hereto countless instrumental effects: The acoustic guitar, deliberate false singing, heavenly harmonic choirs, ear crushing, disharmonic ditto, whisper, shout and a generous use of so-called progressive elements like echo, radio montage, telephone, whale song plus a musical box. And everything loaded with cause and effect.

The premises

Months and months ago I was granted an interview by the band.

But for them to get back to me took quite a while. In fact time passed and I almost gave up hearing from them ever again; as it turns out, it all has to do with their desire to stay independent and in total control of the whole process - while continuing to have time to go out and do that what’s all about: To play the damn music.

They tried to explain:

“We are working intensively on this project and we are trying to bring what we feel outside Italy. It is hard work to follow everything (music composing, video, photos, press, radio promotion, booking (in Italy it's very hard to book a gig), etc.) but we want to continue by this way because it allows us to meet very interesting people around the world and to exchange our views, our opinion and our feelings.”

But suddenly, now, on the verge of releasing an anticipated continuation of their sound-story – the audible second chapter comes out of time recently spent in the studio and entitled Zorn – they’ve ‘finally’ found a quiet moment to cast a little light on the feelings, ideas, thoughts and whatnots behind their first instalment plus reveal a few details about the next one.

The Brief Biography

Let me, at this point, try and recapture the band’s biography very briefly:
Eva’s Milk is an independent Italian band from Novara, Piemonte, Italy who just play rock ‘n’ roll. They’ve done so since 2003, by fast calculation they’ve been playing together for six years now; back then old chums Andrea (Zonalli - guitarist, vocalist) and Paolo (Contribunale - bass player) met drummer Lorenzo (Stangalini) and immediately things fell into place: Eva’s Milk were born.

This rather unusual name was chosen to reflect the trio’s collective, psychedelic vision of beauty, which still allows “every single of us to have a totally different concept about it.”

How come you have chosen an English name for the band and then - still - sing in Italian? Is it only a matter of sticking out, being different, or doesn’t that have anything to do with it?

- Because it sounds good in English!

The name considered have you ever contemplated singing in English?

- For the new album we did consider to sing in English, but our language is and should be and always will be - Italian; quite simply, because we made our sound with it.

How would you describe your music and what is it influenced by?

- Oh, we couldn’t possibly name all of our influences. We are three very different personalities with very dissimilar roots, but our flaming sound definitely derive from the 90’s. We all grew up in those years and the noise of the decade was fed into us since we’re children.

(Re-)considering Cassandra e il Sole Che Oscura

Prior to Cassandra e il Sole Che Oscura they’ve released a couple of EPs; Edera Immobile late in 2003 and Milkshake late in 2004 - a majority of these songs made it in one form or another into the record; but who’s Cassandra and what are the premises of the album and the songs?

Cassandra (meaning “she who entangles men") was the beautiful daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. Myth has it that her beauty was so immense that it caused the Greek God Apollo to fall helplessly in love with her and grant her the gift of prophecy. However, when she did not return his love, he placed a curse on her, so that no one would ever believe her predictions. The consequences were disastrous; e.g., while Cassandra... foresaw the destruction of Troy, she was unable to do anything to forestall this tragedy since nobody believed her.

The sun, on the other hand, is our life's light but also the truth which enlightens our most horrible misdeeds.

In May 2007 you released - to critical acclaim - your debut album; to me, personally, one of the most exiting releases not only of the year but in a long time. Can you tell a little bit about the album; for instance: Is there a story throughout and what is it about?

- We have worked intensively on every minute detail on the album, and it‘s a pleasure to see that this is appreciated. Cassandra e il Sole Che Oscura is our personal trip around the truth; each song carries a different story. The mythical figure Cassandra represents everybody of us - everyone - who wants to say something true, from the heart of hearts, and this frustrating situation sometimes makes you feel as if you are screaming to deaf ears.

It has been received well around the world; do you feel any pressure by that, also concerning any future releases, or doesn’t it bother you at all?

- No. No pressure at all. Luckily, Cassandra... was received better than we thought. Maybe people have picked up how actually we are - and this helps us to continue doing things our own way. We would like that people continue to catch the sincerity in our music.

How was the process of recording? Did it take you long? Did you reuse a lot of the material from the Milkshake EP?

- It took us six months to record Cassandra. The recording period has been prolonged especially for self-financing issues (as everything after all). From the Milkshake EP, we’ve reused three songs, remixing them in order to get a more homogeneous sound in the disk. The record required a thorough study of which sounds satisfied us; but when working on our new album, we’ve dwelled even longer on that aspect. We all feel we’ve improved dramatically on Zorn.

The anger in us all

If anything Cassandra e il Sole Che Oscura seems like a very angry album; does it take an amount of anger to write music like this and is this the reason it is so convincing? Who are you so angry with?

- We believe that each person has reasons to be angry, just like us. If all this is convincing it’s because it’s not a false construction, but the reflection of our feelings in music. And with all that shit that happens in the world, how can you not be mad??

Is it easier to create on anger and frustration than on beauty and love?

- We think that it’s the same thing. The most important aspect is to be sincere and spontaneous, love and hate are very similar feelings that can generate both violence and calmness - obviously. So nothing has to be build up.

Should anger always be addressed and expressed? Because of all the anger Cassandra... is very, very raw, if not downright ugly, but at the same time it also has a very, very beautiful edge; did it just happen that way or did you strive for that – I hesitate to use the word harmony but balance then? Is anger both ugly and beautiful?

- Well, anger is powerful as love; and as with love, the feeling is not important if it’s not addressed or expressed. You have to feel them. You have to follow your way, to express what the feeling means to you. But love is not always beautiful and anger can create something which can make you feel better. Anger is as powerful a weapon as love if you use it to wake up and change the things.

So, what’s next for Eva’s Milk? What does the future hold for you?

- Soon our new album will come out. We have just recently finished recording; Zorn is a particular word used by the rabbits in the Watership Down and it means destroyed, murdered or something that denotes a forthcoming catastrophe. We decided for this title because the album is centered on the murder of our ideals, the youth's weakness and the power of television which eats up people as a cancer.

- We don’t know what the future will bring, but we will keep going for long with everything we’ve got, we the most shameless truthfulness.

Do you have any famous last words?

- To all readers: Support the whole independent musical movement because it really needs it … there are people behind it who work intensively with passion and sincerity. There are always some issues in this world to deal with … otherwise: We wish you a very good morning, and in case we don't see you: Good afternoon, good evening, and good night!

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