The Foreshadowing

Since I came across this band, a few years ago, I always had in mind they had the potential to go further and offer us some wonderful atmospheric, doom/gothic metal albums. Thankfully, they proved right… and their third album puts them among the big names of the genre. Having chosen this album for the “Gems” category… it was rather mandatory to talk with a member of the band so as to learn some more things about their music and their future plans. The keyboardist of the band, Francesco Sosto, talked directly with no restrictions… making this interview very enjoyable…
The Foreshadowing band pic

Hi Francesco… “Second World” is a truly stunning album… We’ve added in the “Gems” category…
 
F: Thanks for appreciating, man!
 
 
Only two years after “Oionos”, which made you more popular… and you’re back with a new work. You’ve toured a lot all this time period… but never stopped working on new material as well. How hard is it to combine those two things?
 
F: Yes, we can say 2011 has been on the whole the year where The Foreshadowing have been most active than ever, we took part at some important festivals and also managed to arrange a small tour, but honestly we could make something more for “Oionos”. Unfortunately, we couldn’t work it out, because of reason going further our willingness.
 
 
Thus, I do believe that “Second World” is a step forward for the band… but what are the differences and the similarities with “Oionos” from your point of view?
 
F: “Second World” has basically very different atmospheres respect to “Oionos” which is more obscure and dark. Maybe they got in common some songs are shaped in a complex and progressive way, but “Second world” is more passionate and empathic, it’s much more instinctive and desperate in the same time. I don’t know if it’s a step forward, from my point of view it is, or it’s better to say, it’s definitely my favorite album.
 
 
Although you’re in the gothic/doom metal scene… you managed to differentiate your sound… not only due to your various music elements but also thanks to Marco’s unique vocals. Probably, you didn’t have in mind to follow the “classic” gothic/doom metal path with harsh/growl vocals. Is The Foreshadowing close to what you had in mind in the first place though?
 
F: That’s indeed what the result we wanted to achieve with our music. We worked a lot to customize our sound in all particulars: guitars, keyboards, drumming, and even some solutions that are external to the canons of the genre. Nevertheless, there are still some statements about us telling we’re too similar to British gothic doom metal bands, or that there’s nothing new under the sun, and so on. I can’t see the point with this speeches, I don’t want to say we’re an original band, after all we haven’t invented anything new, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have our personality and style. For example, Jonah’s drumming style and Marco’s vocals are trademarks that are easily recognizable and original in The Foreshadowing music. (i.n.: yeap…I absolutely agree with you… elements such as these make your sound more personal after all…)
 
 
Sadness… coldness… emptiness… melancholy… desolation… depression… are some of the feelings someone’s experiencing while listening to “Second World”. But thankfully, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Is this how you express you hopeful side… through pessimistic approaches?
 
F: The light you can see in this album is certainly a symbol of hope, I think hope is a human feeling, after all, and we’re allowed to hope in something better for this world. But in this album our hope is intended to be as an illusion. Another world is possible, but very soon human beings will incur in the same faults of ever. And I wouldn’t call it a pessimistic, but rather a realistic vision of life, it’s even proved on history books.
 
 
Where is that “Second World”… Is it somewhere near us… or we are becoming that second world little by little?
 
F: That’s for sure times are changing, Don’t ask me why, but everybody’s feeling a wind of change everywhere, I think we’re going through a system which is going to collapse, and, you know, all this chattering about the Maya prophecies, or crop circles sightseeing, or 2012 which identifies with the End of the World is not a case. Why all of these topics are so much on the vogue nowadays? Because we’re probably arrived at a saturation point that will bring things to an inevitable change. (i.n.: you’re right Francesco… and I totally believe that we need that “new change” in our lives… the world as we know it, will probably collapse very soon… but there’s no end for humanity… just a new beginning…)
 
 
How is the post-apocalyptic image of ruin in the cover artwork related with the album’s title?
 
F: We gave some hints to Travis Smith in order to get a cover which could be give an idea of the album atmosphere. In the meantime we hadn’t still decided an album title, but as soon as we had a look at the final draft, we thought automatically that “Second World” could be the best title to be associated to the cover album. The idea of people going towards a path whereas everything around them was destroyed gives a suggestion of survivors to a tragedy moving on and looking for a hypothetical “Second World”.
 
 
Please give us a hint about each one of the songs…
 
A: “Havoc”: A critic about the army industry.
 
“Outcast”: The mechanization and alienation of society.
 
“The Forsaken Son”: For those who go upstream and are finally destined to be turned out.
 
“Second World”: A passage from the old to the new world, hoping for a golden age that will never be.
 
“Aftermaths”: The unspoiled nature is corrupted and destroyed by the hand of man. Soon after, when it’s too late, he realizes the bad consequences he will experience.
 
“Ground Zero”: The nature rebels against man evilness with all sorts of natural disasters.
 
“Reverie Is a Tyrant”: The constant passage of time that forces the man to a mad and useless struggle against it.
 
“Colonies”: The man conquers new unexplored lands to dictate his merciless law.
 
“Noli Timere”: The loss of false religion and false prophets.
 
“Friends of Pain”: End of the world and beginning for a new one to be spoiled and destroyed again.
 
 
You’ve cooperated with Giuseppe Orlando (Novembre, Klimt 1918, Stormlord, Necrodeath etc.), Dan Swanö (Asphyx, Dark Funeral, Katatonia, Edge of Sanity, November's Doom, Opeth, Pain and so on) & Travis Smith (Opeth, Anathema, Katatonia, Nevermore, Amorphis and many others) in the new album. Is the final result as you expected it to be since you have cooperated with some of the best out there? Do persons like the above-mentioned ones help you make any difference in music eventually?
 
F: When you’re dealing with names of this level, you cannot help but expect great results, moreover, it was the reason that brought us to collaborate with them all. Dan Swanö has amazed us with his work on guitars for example. I think he has a great ability to get into the mood of any band without distorting the sound, in fact, he improves it significantly, and so it was with “Second World”.
 
 
I believe that the third album of a band is very important… as it shows whether the band can make the next big step… or not. What do you think of “Second World”? Does it show the band’s evolution since the beginning?
 
F: With “Second World” we wanted to demonstrate that our band knows how to use the work we did in the past, as the major source of inspiration for this work were our two previous albums. But we also wanted to add something new, like true Gregorian choirs and acoustic parts, and also tried to structure the songs in a different way from how we normally do, like we did with “Colonies”. If you consider all this I would say the progress has undoubtedly been made.
 
 
Will you release any videos? If yes, for which one of the songs?
 
F: We would like releasing a video, it’s something we would have liked to do since our first album, but it’s not an easy thing for a band like us, especially dealing with the budget requested for it. Until we don’t reach a certain status, live performances and albums will be remaining a priority for us.
 
 
I’ve written: “Second World” will satisfy the fans of the band and can also bring new ones onboard… in my review. Do you agree with that? In any case, isn’t that what a band should always try to do… except for musically progressing over the years?
 
F: It’s just what we think, indeed. I don’t think the band playing just for themselves or for the glory, or to escape from the rest of the world to withdraw themselves into their own music, I find music should be a message to spread and share with as many people as possible, and it’s quite normal that every band have this need.
 
 
I’ve also quoted another part of my review: “They are just on the right way and they are claiming a place among the top acts of the genre”… Do you feel ready to compete with the best and claim a place among them?
 
F: We feel very confident in our potential, and if someone decides to approach us to the great names of the scene, we’ll be ready to take on this responsibility, and try our best to give honor to this award, if ever that day will come.
 
 
The press and the fans have been very excited about the new album right? What’s more important to see more fans happy or the press?
 
F: They are both important. The best thing would be to satisfy both fans and press, but unfortunately there will always be someone unhappy with your music, all in all you cannot please everyone. But in the end we must consider ourselves very lucky because in general both critics and audience has definitely tipped the scale in our favor, and for all the three albums. It’s been a great satisfaction for us.
 
 
So, what’s next for the band? What are the future plans? Will you play to any festivals this Spring/Summer?
 
F: Maybe we can find something very soon, in the meanwhile we have confirmed our release party for “Second World”, and will be held in Rome on June 8th. For the rest we can’t anticipate anything.
 
 
Is it more fun for you to be on the road… or you also like the studio time of the band?
 
F: It depends on many factors. If you consider the work in the studio during recording and mixing, there are some positives and negatives aspects. If we include the pre-album in the “studio time” concept, then I’d say these are the moments that I most prefer, musically speaking. I love gathering with the other guys of the band in the rehearsal room to research and experiment with our music, and I also really like the phase of the recordings. The mixing, however, can be frustrating and gets you nervous sometimes, especially when you cannot find the missing key that keeps you going on with; it's a job that requires much patience for those who do it.
 
As for the live shows, there are many positives and negatives aspects as well. On the positive side there’s you have a journey on the road with your friends, escape from the daily life and create beautiful live atmospheres with the public that supports you, and these are the moments that we would always have. On the negative side there are sometimes some stressful rhythms you are subjected to, like load in & out, quick soundchecks, bad sleeping, bad food and loosing some money sometimes. Consider that after the tour I had a bad gastritis and came back home that I was vomiting my soul.

 
 
After almost 7 years in the scene (with The Foreshadowing) what are those things that keep the flame alive in making music and tour extensively?
 
F: I cannot tell you… the need to compose music comes from an inner feeling that I cannot explain in words, I think it’s the main reason who we do it, but it’s also the fact we don’t like the life we live, and the idea of being able to go touring and held at major festivals makes us feeling important, as the idea of having released three albums with our strength and our ideas. And I personally hope to live these moments much longer with The Foreshadowing.
 
The Foreshadowing band

How would you characterize every studio album of the band that helped you evolve through the years?
 
F: “Days of Nothing”: “Days” has been our calling card, where we showed what influences we’re affected, it was easy to make because we had some good material we already developed many years earlier. It was definitely the easiest album to be accomplished.
 
“Oionos”: This was a dark album, as dark was the period that we were going through. I would say that the making of the album was just the opposite of “Days”, this album was definitely the most difficult we’ve ever recorded. Only later on we realized it sounded darker than the first and third album, and I would say that this is the most beautiful aspect it reveals, since an album, as well as any work of art, must always be able to mirror the state of mind of its creator.
 
 
What are the secrets of composing really dark, atmospheric, doom & gothic music? What are those things that inspire you?
 
F: You have to get into it, this is the only secret. You cannot do this kind of music if you don’t suffer and don’t fight with life day by day, you wouldn’t be believable, nor it does suggest that your music would be believable…
 
 
How do you see metal music nowadays? What does it miss? What acts as a surplus in our age?
 
F: Well, the internet phenomenon has made things harder for everyone in my honest opinion, There are myriads of bands in comparison with the ‘90s, but this also means much more competition, and even less quality than before. I think support is the first thing that comes into my head missing nowadays. They were beautiful times, when you used to count down the days to your favourite album release, went to your trustworthy metal shop and bought it. It was part of a ritual that has now gone way off, because nowadays you can find an entire album on youtube as early as 15 days before the official release and devour it quickly. Unfortunately, these are such aspects, that only cult lovers can understand. (i.n.: I absolutely feel you dude…)
 
 
Can Internet be “used” as a promotion tool for every band out there or it causes problems that cannot be fixed ultimately? Is it a curse or a blessing?
 
F: It is more a curse than a blessing. It would be a powerful means to divulgate culture and in this respect I’m totally all for internet, but the bad use made by everybody just give a strong contribution to the clinical death of newer bands.
 
 
How good is the fact that a whole generation learned to hear music via MP3’s (that have such a bad quality) and they actually believe that music is only in mp3 format… and nothing more? Maybe some of the younger guys won’t even own a single CD! That’s gonna be a boomerang in the end… what do you think?
 
F: I will not blame the people who download from the Internet, for heaven’s sake, I also download music, but once downloaded, if I like an album I’m going to buy it. So, I’ve done in the past and still do now. And It’s not just a matter of quality, but it’s because a CD or vinyl is a product that has an artistic value (artwork, text, etc.). Evidently those who stop to MP3 don’t have that culture necessary to enjoy the music, whether it’s metal, or blues, or trip-hop.
 
 
And some weird Questions now!!! Why did you name the band The Foreshadowing?
 
F: In the beginning we wanted us to name “Eschaton”, a Greek word meaning “End of the World”, but there were a lot of black metal bands with this name. We wanted an original name summarizing the most of our issues, then in the end we chose The Foreshadowing. A little curiosity: The Foreshadowing was originally the title we chose for The Wandering, a song we still perform quite often in our live performances, whereas Eschaton, from the monicker turned to the title of the fifth track of “Days of Nothing”.
 
 
Which would be the ideal doom/gothic metal band of all time… Of course, you can name any musician from any band… in order to make it…
 
F: Peter Steele (Type 0 Negative): Vocals
Andrew Craighan (My Dying Bride): Guitars
Anders Nystrom (Katatonia): Guitars
Leif Edling (Candlemass): Bass
Noah Landis (Neurosis): Keyboards
Shaun Steels (My Dying Bride): Drums

 
 
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
 
F: Personally speaking I’d say “Tonight’s Decision” by Katatonia, because it’s the album which let me get into the modern gothic doom sound. (i.n.: amazing work indeed…)
 
 
What are those things that you do not like in the music industry nowadays?
 
F: All those bands created for marketing operation from major labels, in particular those with a female voice. (i.n.: too many chicks in metal music nowadays huh…)
 
 
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music evolution, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
 
F: Philip Glass: “Koyaanisqatsi”.
 
 
If you were a God’s messenger what would you tell Him to do for the well-being of humanity?
 
F: I would tell Him to tell the humanity He doesn’t’t exist. (i.n.: hehehe… quite contradictive yet artistic…)
 
 
What do you think of the economic crisis that’s threatening people’s lives over the profit of some rich men? Do we need a revolution again? Living in a country that has also got so many problems as mine… your opinion counts more…
 
F: I believe, if things keep on deteriorating, there will be a revolution indeed. As long as people can keep their little piece of land, they will continue to suffer, but once you pass the limit, a reaction will be taking place. But I believe the word “revolution” could make a sense in your country, or in countries like France and Germany. If in these countries there will be a reaction likely there will be a revolution. In Italy however we’re not accustomed to using this word, we never had an Italian revolution, we always let the others to free us from oppression, like the americans, during the age of fascism. You know in Italy what people are doing to respond to the crisis? They commit suicide. Or burn themselves alive. They certainly don’t prefer going to the streets and burn buildings and banks, as they did in Greece, but they rather burn themselves. We’re not exactly inclined to make a revolution, we are too lazy and unexperienced for this kind of things. (i.n.: probably, it’s not an Italian thing only… for people also commit suicide very easily here as they do in other countries… instead of standing up for their rights… possibly, a global submissive way of protesting… which will not lead anywhere…)
 
 
Is the European Union condemned to fail in the end? That would probably cause a worldwide domino of destruction at any level…
 
F: I would not create distress and anxiety to anyone, but there’s every reason to give soon birth to a third world war, with lots of weapons, tanks and nuclear bombs. (i.n.: the younger guys are rather prepared through all these war-like games all these years…)
 
 
You are standing in front of two transparent doors. Door number 1 leads to a huge garden full of naked models running, playing and kissing around while Door number 2 takes you to the Isles of the Blessed where you can interact with some great ancient philosophers and learn the deepest secrets of life, death and universe. Which one would you cross and why?
 
F: Fuck the deepest secrets of life and death, we’re made of flesh and go definetely for Door number 1! (i.n.: hahaha… if you can’t escape it… just give in…)
 
 
If you were the opposite sex for one day, what would you look like and what would you do?
 
F: I would look like Cyndy Lauper and make a soundtrack for a new “The Goonies” sequel.
 
 
You have the opportunity to sleep with the movie-celebrity of your choice. Who would it be?
 
F: Frances mac Normand in the shoes of Doris Crane in Coen Brothers movie “The Man Who Wasn’t There”. (i.n.: That’s a really bizarre movie… although Doris is adorable cheeky)
 
 
Who is your favorite philosopher and why?
 
F: Heraclitus, for his work “the Identity of Opposites”. He said Dark cannot exist without Light, Cold without Hot, Death without Life. I was 15 and studied him at school, and I was struck by this statement, it was definitely a revelation to me. (i.n.: Heraclitus was beyond his age… probably of your age as well…)
 
 
Which is your best book that also became a movie… and why?
 
F: “The Process” by Franz Kafka, even if I never watched the Orson Welles rendition. I think there’s a lot of Kafka in the main concept of “Days of Nothing”, I like the surreal and alienating atmospheres he could picture with simple and clear words, he was a master in doing it.
 
 
If you were dating a very beautiful woman who hated metal music and you knew it- on a loft with a beautiful view in the evening… which song would you choose to play to make her feel comfortable, to break the ice… and why?
 
F: I think the whole album “Wildhoney” by Tiamat would be good for this kind of situation, I would always choose this album to initiate someone to metal for the first time. (i.n.: honeymoon… silverspoon… psilocybe tea… what an astonishing album!)
 
 
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
 
F: Well... I would tear that ring from her finger, and then sell it to buy her our whole album collection.
 
 
Those were my questions Francesco. Thanks for the music, please leave a note to Grande Rock readers… Take care!
 
F: Save the underground artists from the crisis, Go and buy “Second World”!

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