NANOWAR OF STEEL kick off their tour today to promote their latest record Dislike To False Metal, it’s an album that is being cherished by fans and critics alike. Rock Out Stand Out’s Lotty Whittingham spoke to band’s bassist Gatto Panceri 666 about the album, their tour and mental health.
Hello Gatto, how are you?
I’m doing better than yesterday because it’s less cold.
First thing I wanted to ask was how do you decide what topics to write about? What makes you think of Barbie being princess of the twilight and a song about dandruff?
I mean the actual process is very easy. Any of us can come with these ideas and there isn’t a real process behind it; we come with ideas like ‘oh how about a song about dandruff in a Nightwish style? Why not, let’s do it.’ There are no boundaries, it’s whatever comes to our minds and we try to materialise them into songs. It can be anything.
Was 10th March the intended release date? I only ask as lots of albums were pushed back particularly due to COVID.
This was the intended release date, during the COVID times we released our fourth album Italian Folk metal; which was our first album with Napalm Records. Dislike To False Metal is the second album with Napalm Records.
I made a note of the song Metal Boomer Battalion. What have been the most weird comments you have received from Metal Boomer Battalion?
So many of them. There is a long story about a guy in the UK back from when we first started. We started getting some hate mail at some point from an Italian guy living in London and he was threatening to come over to Italy to beat us up. This went on for a while and we responded by telling to come over as we don’t care.
After a few weeks, we started getting emails in English; these emails said it was from a lawyer and telling us we needed to stop doing this sort of music because we could get sued. The next thing we know is we’re getting emails from an Italian guy who told us they were a lawyer and they heard we were going to get sued by this UK lawyer so they wanted to help us.
At some point, I checked the IP address and these emails all came from same one. The same one that sent us hate mail in the first place. All of that to stop us playing music.
I caught you at Sabaton Open Air this year and Pasedena 1994 features Joakim Brodén. Was that recorded before or after Sabaton Open Air?
I think it was recorded before that, the song was written a few years ago and the idea was to make a preliminary version to send to Sabaton to see if Joakim would agree to sing it. We were in contact with Sabaton way before Sabaton Open Air happened because we were scheduled to play in 2020 but of course that was cancelled. So we took advantage of that contact and asked Joakim if he would like to sing in the song. In the preliminary version, Joakim was singing the whole song as we didn’t know how to divide the parts up among the different singers.
I want to make it know that Pasedena 1994 is the first serious song Nanowar Of Steel have done as in the sense of the lyrics. I mean yes it’s about a football match but it’s an important event for us in Italian history. It was a huge defeat we had and it still evokes sadness. If you read the lyrics, there are no jokes or silliness; it’s a serious chronicle of that sad day.
Am I right in thinking Chupacabra Cadabra the longest Nanowar Of Steel track?
I think it is. It’s over nine minutes long so it wins the award for longest Nanowar track so far. Therefore also wins the award of the most boring Nanowar song. [laughs]
I didn’t find the song boring.
When we were writing the song, we wanted to write a story on two levels. I’m not sure you know this song is about COVID that you can read on two levels. The first level is a story about this monster, the second being that this is a parallel and connection in what happened during COVID. There are plenty of references in the song which is why we wanted to create a song that worked lyrically on two levels and the song did turn out to be pretty long.
Power and Prog metal fans tend be drawn to long songs so they will like that. When recording your music in particular vocals, do you already have in mind who is singing what part or is it a case of them singing out and seeing what works?
It’s random. Sometimes if we know we’re going to do a parody of a band we already know; we decide between us whose voice is best. For example, Mr Baffo’s voice is more suited to ballads. Usually we write a song and ask out of the two who is going to sing it. We do it on a song by song basis and then we work to balance the two voices for the duration of the album.
What was the most challenging part of recording Dislike To False Metal?
The recording session took place during the summer tour, the whole recording session was a pain in the arse. It was really challenging as we were playing every weekend during the summer and then we were alternating; so we would have four days saying recording the vocals, then the next two or three days playing shows and then another four days recording the bass parts. Going back and fourth was the main challenge but it was the only way we could record the album at the time.
You’re touring this Spring, is there any places you are looking forward to playing the most?
We are looking forward to the UK, we played at Bloodstock Festival last year. This is the first time we are playing more than one show in the UK. UK is one of the temples of rock and metal so it’s an important test to play there. It’s not only a temple for music, it’s also a temple for comedy like Monty Python; we grew up watching that and there are influences of that in our music as well. It’s a honour to be able to play in a country that gave birth to two souls of ours in terms of comedy and metal. The public is another challenge. When we play in Germany and Italy, we already know what the crowds are like there and know how they react to jokes.
For those who haven’t Nanowar Of Steel live, what can they expect from your live show?
Expect the unexpected. For me, a Nanowar Of Steel show is us going out on stage and doing whatever we like. We are just ourselves on stage and we try to involve the crowd as much as we can into our jokes and humours.
One of the things we like to do at Rock Out Stand Out is to spread the message of mental health awareness. Is there tips or advice would you offer someone who isn’t feeling their best and not coping?
In my experiences; people I know don’t reach out when they are struggling with these sorts of issues and it’s up to people around them to notice any signs that they might be struggling. I think the biggest step comes from people around them. For me; if there is someone you are close to, you get to know what signs they show when something is wrong. I don’t have an experience with dealing with ill mental health but I have experienced it from the other side and seen in it others around me. It’s hard to go up to a loved one to say that you have noticed there is something wrong and offering to talk about it as it could trigger a bad reaction. This happened to one my closest friends, it was hard to approach and ask but it’s also important that you do and keep an eye out for the signs.
What’s awareness like in your local area in terms of resources available and talking about it in the media?
In Italy, things are generally superficial in my opinion. It becomes a stereotype. That’s my take on it from the other side of things anyway. What really will help is grassroots education on what signs to look out for. The best help comes from friends and trusted resources.
Is there anything you like to do to relax and unwind?
There’s lots of things I like to. I like to ride my bike, listen to music and podcasts. If I’m biking around, I am not looking at my social media or emails. I find the same thing when I listen to podcasts and music for two or three hours, they are great ways to disconnect.
It’s so important to do that.
Exactly. I have a full time job whilst doing most of the management for Nanowar Of Steel, rehearsing and things going on in your personal life. Most of it is done through a computer so at points, you need to disconnect. That’s the best part about living in Rome, there are always parks and places you can go to when you need to disconnect.
Which five people would you take to the club in Disco Metal?
I mean, I would invite the rest of the guys from Nanowar. If you want to have fun, you need to have a connection with them. Particularly if you are in the club in Disco Metal, you need to be sure they will help you if the monsters turn on you.
And you can use the outfits from Disco Metal to disguise and protect you.
Of course. We would save a lot of money on the dress code.
Do you have any messages for Nanowar Of Steel fans and our readers?
Get rich by the time we come to the UK so you can buy all of our CDs and merchandise. Videos are very expensive. Do it for your family and invest in Nanowar Of Steel as Nanowar Of Steel are going to be a long term asset. That’s my financial advice.
Thank you Gatto for taking time to talk to Rock Out Stand Out today and best of luck with the album release and tour.
One thought on ““There are no boundaries, it’s whatever comes to our minds and we try to materialise them into songs. It can be anything.””