Domine Interview – Rising From The Flames with Enrico Paoli…
Prologue: Mythology and fantasy blended together under the banner of Heavy Metal. Italian epic/power metal at it’s finest, the way only Domine can play it. Enrico Paoli, the mastermind behind the band, shares a few words with us, only a week before the band visits Athens for another killer show.
Hello Enrico, nice to have you here.
Thank you very much for the interview request!
Domine is one of the oldest Italian Heavy Metal bands; you guys are around for 30 years now. Was it easy back then in Italy for new bands?
Not at all. It was very difficult for every band which decided to play Metal or Hard Rock. We were also based in a small town for many years, so things were even harder there. No clubs, no record labels, not that many Heavy Metal fans. We started to play just for the passion of music and dreaming to record an album.
Tell me a few things about your influences as a musician.
Well, I am a music fan first of all. I love many different kind of bands but I started to buy albums by Queen, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Kiss, Thin Lizzy, Jethro Tull, Kansas, Genesis, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and only a few years later the Metal stuff like Maiden, Priest, Def Leppard, Saxon. So the stuff from the 70’s has always been my main interest, even though I totally got into Heavy Metal during the eartly 80’s. As a musician my fave guitar players are Brian May, Ritchie Blackmore, Randy Rhoads and Gary Moore. But there are a lot of great artists which influenced me. Also a lot of writers like Michael Moorcock, Clive Barker and Frank Herbert, just to name a few.
Your first album “Champion Eternal” came out in 1997. Until then you’ve already had released several demos. What kept you from releasing the album earlier?
Because we were not good enough to get a record deal and because in the early years it was difficult to get attention anyway. Even good bands were releasing very few albums and most of them were done with truly bad productions. I don’t think there was ever a proper scene in Italy. Out band was founded by schoolmates, we were just friends who happen to like Metal, in the first years we were just learning to play. Then we started to write our own songs and record demos, but we didn’t have any budget or money for a proper studio and honestly some members of the band were not real musicians. But we were friends and we have grown up together. It took a life time to put together a real line-up of wanted to make a proper album and play correctly. By the end of the 90’s there was a kind of renaissance for Metal in Italy, with many good bands releasing good albums, that’s when we had the chance to do our debut CD. You can tell the process was EPIC indeed, AHAHAHAHAHAH!
Many people claim that “Heavy Metal died in the 90’s”. Grunge, pop and other styles of music were very popular and the music industry was focused there. What are your memories from that era?
That’s a mainstream music point of view. If you looked at the charts, it was true that grunge and indie rock bands wiped away all the glam metal bands. Some of the grunge and indie rock bands were actually good, in my opinion. Boy-bands were pretty bad. But in the underground there were always good Metal bands around, maybe more in the extreme styles than classic, but still heavy. In a way, it was actually a good thing that major labels stopped to deal with Metal labels, so bands like Priest or Motorhead went ot indie labels and the underground flourished. And by the way, Metal was never big in Italy, not even during the 80’s. The biggest Metal festivals happened from 1997 on over here.
You also played in another band called Masterstroke. What do you remember from that? Have you ever thought of doing something besides Domine?
Well, that was just a fun thing. I was a friend of the guys and I played with them for a couple of years, we even recorded an album worth of material, it was more US Power Metal kind of style, a bit like Agent Steel, Sanctuary and Exciter. When Masterstroke was over and our drummer left, Mimmo, the drummer, became a member of Domine. He was one of the musicians who made Domine’s first album possible, with his great playing and devotion to the band.
During the last decade, old school Heavy Metal got more and more popular. Old bands are reuniting; we have festivals that are 100% for underground and old-school bands and many more new are trying to sound well… “older”. Do you believe that things are better for bands now or worse?
More popular? You must be joking… I think things are really bad now, as the “scene” is so difficult, with economy crisis, illegal download and the usual disinterest from the main medias. The underground festivals are great, but in the end they are attended by the same people who have been there for years and years, with only a few exception. There have always been bands which sound “Older”, some because they want to, some because they don’t have the budget to record an album in a real studio, other because… they are old! AHAHAHAH! But this is not a popularity rise, I don’t really see it, we have played at an edition of the Heineken Jamming Festival in 2003 with Iron Maiden and they attracted 40.000 people. That’s what I call popularity. The underground has always been there but of course it’s build by a minority of people who really enjoy music. They are kept the underground alive, but they are few in numbers (but the look in their eyes… oh, that’s Manowar…)
Difficult to say. We were lucky to have some great moments during all these years, not easy to pick up the best ones. I really loved some of the gigs we have played, like being on tour in Europe with Riot, Anvil and Agent Steel, the gig at Gods Of Metal festival 2000 with Maiden, or the one supporting Judas Priest, the big one at Heineken Jamming Festival in 2003 and 2007 and most of all, it was aleays great to get the band together every time we have finished a new album and having a listening to it. In the end, we record the albums we would like to listen to. We are music fans. The first gig in Athens is a great memory too. I’m sure I’m forgetting many more moments. Worst moments… well, there are many days when I would want to stop but that happens from the very beginning. But as a matter of fact life puts you through some really hard times, much difficult than the problems of playing in a band.
The last few years every band, big or small, is around the almighty Internet Empire. Do you think that the Internet helps a band or not?
It would take hours to discuss this. Internet is a great communication tool, so of course that can help bands to promote themselves, but at the same time most people are using Internet to illegally download music, movies, pornography, games, programs, books and that’s destroying everything. It is now impossible to think about a world without internet, as it has changed the way people are using their free time. But it should be used properly. I don’t know, maybe I’m too old, but when there will be Metallica and Maiden only, maybe kids will realize they should have bought the albums of the bands they like.
Your last album came out a very long time ago. What is the current state of the band? Are you currently touring or recording?
Domine is not a full time professional job, we all have our day=jobs and families and during the last years many things happened to our personal lives, we had some very important changes, se we are not fully dedicated on a new album, even though we have been rehearsing constantly. We are working on new songs but we want to take our time to make sure we will have the right songs. We want to improve with every album and not just do a copy of the previous one, we don’t have big budgets behind us or big commitments to honor. It’s not that easy but I’m sure we will come out with the album we want to make.
What are your future plans?
To record a new album and play a few good gigs. We would love to tour the world with a stage like the one KISS are using but I don’t think it will be possible in the near future. ;)
Are there any new bands that you’re currently listening to?
Of course. I do like In Solitude, Fast Animals And Slow Kids, Jess And The Ancient Ones, Foxy Shazam, Heart Of Cygnus, Portrait, Rival Sons, Purson, Witch Mountain… I’ve just bought a new live album by a band called Led Zeppelin, I think they are good enough to go places…
You have a concert scheduled in Greece, at the Up The Hammers festival for the 8th of March. Tell us a few things about that.
We are very happy to come to play in Greece. This is our fourth time and we always have fun with you people.We are going to play mostly songs from our first two albums, as you guys love those. I’m sure we will have a good time.
What are your memories from your previous concerts in Greece?
Well, the first gig in 1999 was amazing, the club was packed with people and it was the very first gig of Stefano with the band and our very first gig outside of Italy. I got to meet people who supported the band in the 80’s, sending drachmas in enveloped to buy demo tapes. Demo tapes !?!?!?! It sounds like Jurassic era now!!
Last but not least, I want you to send a message to your Greek fans.
Just want to thank you guys for all your support and we just can’t wait to play for you guys soon. “Conquest is mine into the fight, screaming the battle cry!”
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