The power-fun-epic metal band, Nanowar Of Steel, is back with their third full-length album. PowerMetal.no had a chat with bass player Gatto Panceri 666 about Eros Ramazzotti, Puff Daddy, Manowar, LGBTQWERTY, the Mafia, The Russian Secret service, and of course the new album.
When the band started out in 2003, what was your idea behind the band back then? Can you take me back to the moment when Nanowar Of Steel was born, and how the concept of the band came to place?
Gatto: Hi! To take you back to the moment when NoS was born I would need a time machine, which I do not currently own. I would then rather take you back to the moment at which I am answering these questions, which is easier to do. The answear is – LEPTOGENESIS.
Did you ever think, back then, that the band would become so popular?
Gatto: The funny thing is, back now, that we don’t think we’re popular even now. It’s puzzling though because it’s very hard to be the best and most popular band in the world while at the same time very few people acknowledge it. Very weird indeed.
What can you tell me about the members musical backgrounds?
Gatto: I was Eros Ramazzotti’s trumpet player for a while, then I did some Latin American tour with Manu Chao playing the accordion, and then I did an AIDS awareness fundraising tour with Puff Daddy in Montana and Wisconsin. So yes, I would say I have a pro-musician background.
During your career have you ever felt «a rage» from bands in the genres you are parodying? Or have NoS always had a good relationship with the more «serious» bands, and the people in the business?
Gatto: Well, do you think that Rhapsody Of Fire are a serious band? Or Manowar, for that matters? Have you ever bothered to take a look at their lyrics? Like «My father was a wolf, I’m the kinsman of the slain … Sworn to rise again!» Of course we’re in good relationship with them, we sort of play the same shit in the same league of standup comedy clubs!
Behind every good parody there is love for the art, and I guess that is the case with NoS also? Who are your truly musical influences and what band/artists do you look up to?
Gatto: Besides Eros, Manu & Puff, I get my inspiration from the style of Bill & Tom of Tokyo Hotel, the Black & Decker decisiveness and perforativity, and also from Vojislav Seselj of the Srpska Radikalna Stranka.
Stairway To Valhalla is your third full-lenght album, the last one being Into Gay Pride back in 2010. In between you have released a compilation & DVD (A Knight At The Opera) and an EP (Tour-Mentone Vol. I). Is that the reason it has taken eight years since the last full-lenght?
Gatto: This is a deeply philosophical question, as it seems you are mistaking correlation for causation. Now the plain fact that this album took 8 years before being released is not necessarily caused by the presence of two other albums in between – it is rather the opposite; those two EP and Compilation were released exactly because we knew we had to fill the 8 years’ gap with something. The 8 years’ gap is intrinsic to our nature and there’s no plan or intentionality to explain it.
The new album is quite diverse, where it covers a vide spectra of genres and styles. What can you tell me about the approach towards the new album music wise? Why so diverse?
Gatto: Because we support LGBTQWERTY and diversity in the music business. Have you ever noticed that in a power metal album there are usually only less than 0% black metal songs? Is it because they are black? I don’t know, but the evidence is strong.
How would you describe the new album; what can the fans expect?
Gatto: They can expect to find it on Spotify and find out a whole new world. This is a very special album – you can listen to the first song and say, «I don’t like it» – then I would tell you «Well, try the second, it’s different» – to which you could reply «Well, I don’t like this either», and I would answer «Go for the third one, it’s also a different style» and so on and so forth, until you do find a style and a song which you like. It’s basically the equivalent of negotiating and bargaining the price of a copper coffeepot or a carpet in the old city of Jerusalem.
We must talk some about the lyrics, as they truly are funny and to the point. Who writes them, and can you describe the atmosphere in the room during songwriting sessions? Is it just fun and laughs, or do you manage to be serious?
Gatto: Thanks for telling us that our lyrics are funny, but I must disagree with you strongly on this point. I do not know what kind of humor you have up there in Norway, but our lyrics deal with serious topics such as: hyperinflation and dramatic fall of the standard of living in Venezuela («Tooth Fairy»), the complex sexuality of middle aged women («Barbie, MILF Princess Of The Twilight»), the discovery and exploration of the solar system’s outer ice giants («Uranus») and the macroeconomic management of Liechtenstein’s successful business model («Hail To Liechenstein»); just to name a few.
Talking about the lyrics: I could never imagine Fabio Lione singing «Yes, I am a Barbie» and «With dildo faggings always at your side». How did you get Lione to guest on your album, and how was it to have him sing one of your songs? How did he handle singing the lyrics – was it a lot of laughs?
Gatto: I cannot answer this question directly, but let me remind you that in Italy we have something called the Mafia; an organization that allows you to accomplish things you would not be able to accomplish otherwise. It surely does not involve laughter.
There are no question about the fact that you are gifted musicians, and that the music of NoS is as good as many other bands in the genre. But do you ever think about writing «serious» music at one point?
Gatto: Again, this album is 100% serious. Now, ask Manowar if «My father was a wolf» is something you can call «serious» with a straight face.
After the album is released, do you have plans for touring and concerts?
Gatto: Yes, sure! We’ll have a huge European tour, except it will take place in secret locations, with secret fans and in secret countries. It’s called the «Stairway to Siberia» tour, and it will take place with the sponsor of the FSB (Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti, the Russian secret service) and a crew of roadies from Saudia Arabia and their van, the Jamal Khashoggi’s lonely heart club band.
The new album is self-produced, as the other albums you have released; are you looking for a label, or do you prefer to be independent?
Gatto: We want to be independent, though we would vote NO on the referendum in Catalunya.