Rome in Monochrome is a dark Italian band that mixes doom metal with shoegaze and alternative rock tendencies.Valerio Granieri lead vocalist and songwriter of Rome in Monochrome gave me time for an interview.
Hello Valerio,let’s start.You consider your music “music for cold hearts and hopeless souls” a definition which is quite profound but I wonder what made you describe your music like that?
Hi to everyone and thank you for the attention. Well, this definition is just the result of an abstraction process: we don’t recognize ourselves in a specific genre, and we feel those kind of strict definition as a limit for us and for our listeners and fans. We have a lot of influences and they are different for each one of us. We use different musical languages and approaches that fit to our message and that we find proper to represent what we have to say. So it’s natural for us to define our music not mentioning specific genres but describing moods and sensations: I have to say that “music for cold hearts and hopeless souls” fits well.
How did you started Rome In Monochrome?
It started as a Gianluca’s project: I was the first one to join and I immediately started to write material. We recruited all the rest of the guys and arranged together Gianluca’s stuff and mine, adding some new tunes. It was a long road that brought us to our EP “Karma Anubis”, our first live performances and the first full length “Away from light”: we are still on that road, we are always moving and so will be until we will exist as a band.
Which is the band that influenced you the most?
It’s not just one: it’s impossible to reduce our stuff to just an influence, expecially for the fact that each one of us would give you a different answer. My influences come mainly from doom, post rock, shoegaze, dreampop and slowcore, but I never choose music by genre. I am not a metalhead, I must say: I’ve been it but I listen to a lot of different stuff (including metal, obviously), it has just to sound deep and move me somewhere, and it must be filled with sadness and absence of hope. I love Slowdive, Red House Painters, Low, The Cure, David Sylvian, My Dying Bride, Alcest, Miles Davis, Earth, Bush, Sunn O))), Red Sparowes, Aphex Twin…I am an hard record collector. While I’m writing these words I’m listening to King Dude, and this Friday I will see Massive Attack live: everything I like could be an influence and so happens for the other five guys. This is embodied by the fact that we all have a lot of side/alternative/other projects: I am recording Aurora Nowhere debut album these days and preparing a lot of different stuff you’ll hear soon, and some of us play in A Taste Of Fear, Degenerhate, Exhume To Consume.
Anyway, trying to see things from a not involved point of view: I think we sound like a mixture between Katatonia, Slowdive, Mogwai, Red House Painters and Interpol, with Michael Stipe on lead vocals. This could be a good image of us.
If you could release a split with a band which band would you chose?
Uh, this is an interesting question, each one of us would give you a different answer (as always). My dream would be to share it with reunited Red House Painters, or The Smiths, or The Cure but also splitting with Katatonia would be incredibly cool, obviously. Anyway, I would like to be on the same disc with our close friends Arctic Plateau, Winter Severity Index, Ars Onirica, Invernoir: we have something in common with each one of them. It would be cool and absolutely doable.
You just released “Away From Light” on 16 March 2018.Are you planning to release anything new on 2019?
We are looking forward to arrange a cover version of something I will not reveal to anyone, and if it will work I think that it will be released during 2019, in some way. We are also writing our new album: there’s a lot of stuff here that needs to be arranged, expect something more complex and tragic, with progressive, ambient, indie and darkwave influences, always in our key. We are going further and further.
What things inspire you to write your lyrics?
It’s just myself: my tragic approach to life, my resignation about human condition, my feeling of emptiness and absence of purpose in this everyday reality, the substantial impossibility to live in pure way without profiting someone or using someone. “Away from light” was so resigned, it was me refusing to be human and to feel something: the next one will be a lot more tragic and painful, so full of bitterness and bad feelings about how no one (including me) ever knows or loves or simply tries to not hurt the others.
On every concert you write different things on your arms. What is the meaning of this thing?
Oh, it’s about the specific mood of the evening. I used Bible quotes, lines I wrote, symbols or drawings as black veins on my arms. It’s a great, tragic metaphor, to give more strength to the words I sing. It’s me getting totally exposed on stage, hoping to get in touch with someone down there.
Any last statement for your fans?
Life is short, just try to do your best, whatever it is. Join Art in every form and join the cult of the absence of color.