Thanks to Camillo Colleluori, from Italian metallers Hollow Haze, for giving us a good insight into his music career, personal projects and for bringing us to speed with their latest album release and musical collaborations.
Hi Camillo. To start with I’d like to thank you for taking some time off for this interview with Moshville Times. We are thrilled to have you here!
The pleasure is mine, I’d like to thank Moshville Times for the opportunity to chat about Hollow Haze’s next release and my musical career as well.
Let’s start with few words to introduce yourself. Tell us something about you…
Actually there is not much to say. I trained musically at the Modern Music Academy of Milan, where I am still working as a teacher. I own a music school in Portogruaro, province of Venice, and play with different bands in a variety of musical genres. More or less the classic curriculum of a professional Italian musician around my age. I am 45 years old.
What were your musical influences? I know that you have collaborations with many musical projects, all much different from each other musically … as a musician how would you describe yourself?
My main musical influences are rooted in ‘Hard and Heavy classic’ music of the 80’s as well as clearly all the rock bands of the 70’s. I am particularly fond of Deep Purple during the Coverdale-Hughes periods. It might be unusual but I have never been a huge fan of Led Zeppelin. I have a preference for the production of the more mystique songs… No quarter, Rain Song, Battle of Evermore and so forth which are as you would imagine, their iconic songs. I think I am getting off topic here…ha ha ha! I would like to mention also Iron Maiden and Saxon, no surprise here. The artist that has a solid place currently in my heart and in my i-pod rotation is Jorn Lande. In my opinion the greatest singer of all time. As you can see, despite my age, I am a big fan boy!
As you rightly pointed out, however, my influences are not limited to Rock. For a good part of my formative years at music school I was very attracted by the legendary bands of jazz-rock and fusion. My top choice were Weather Report, I avidly went through their entire catalogue over the years. I can safely say my dedication to those genres resulted in my ongoing project called Frankenstein Rooster [they have a new album out if you want to check them out – Lara]. This is a project with guitarist Raphael Indri, a very easygoing and laidback musical approach, where we love to merge our Rock and Metal core, with the most diverse musical languages around like Funk, Latin, Indian, etc.
The band that represent me the most is undoubtedly Hollow Haze. My intention is to pay tribute to all my great teachers, obviously with my personal take on their teachings, through the music we create with Hollow Haze.
We went to the same college many years back [both agronomists…figure that! – Lara] and I must say meeting you in this particular context of a music interview really fill me with joy as I clearly remember your expression, few decades ago, when you proudly showed me your first drum kit! You made your dream come true, how does it feel?
Ok …now I am getting emotional! Despite most of the drumming learning curve is now well in the past, the memory you are referring to is well imprinted in my fondest memories. Meeting up again, after all these years to share the same passion, as we were magically trapped in a time bubble in the playroom of our teenage years is, well, it’s just one of whose moments that makes life meaningful.
What advice would you give to those who want to become a professional musician today?
Usually, in my role as a teacher and educator, the only advice I always give is the simplest: STUDY.
This certainly does not guarantee a successful music career, although what is regarded as “successful” might change from individual to individual. However, if you do not work on yourself (not knowing your limitations or turning them into your strengths) nor invest in your own potential, you will invariably guarantee your failure.
What equipment do you use? What’s your “dream” drum kit set up?
To be honest I have never been a fetishist about my instrument. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I recorded about thirty albums in various music styles and held hundreds of concerts in my career so far. From the small local pub up to joining on stage a symphony orchestra, I always found there are more variables then certainties, so you have to be flexible and versatile.
I am a fan of the traditional set up with toms and timpani, contrary to my fellow metal musicians my drum kit overall look is quite bare. I think that this stemmed from the need to be ready to perform at short notice in any capacity…you know, less is more !!!
Let’s talk a bit about Hollow Haze. You joined Hollow Haze in 2009 and appeared from the album “End of a Dark Era.” A few years and several albums later… How has been the experience so far?
Certainly. As I mentioned before, Hollow Haze represent, musically, my dream band. The band embody all the music I love above any other genre. One of the things I appreciate the most about Hollow Haze is the paradox of being a very traditional metal band, while also having a recognizable and original sound in their arrangements at the same time. It is a marriage of tradition and modernity, from my point of view, a goal that the band so far has managed to achieve.
From “Hollow Haze” to “Countdown to Revenge” (which came out in 2013) there have been many changes in the group line-up. Can you give us an update on this matter and tell us something about your quest for a singer?
And here we begin with the mournful notes. Our situation from this point of view suffers from the reality of living in a country (Italy), where metal does not have an historically settled professional music scene to refer to. There are many bands, some extremely valid and talented, but it is very difficult to match the creative activity of any band with an equally active music scene that can bring some revenue. It is necessary for any band to play live to justify all the hard work behind the scenes and finance the band to further their progress. Things here are difficult on this particular aspect. In our culture the singer is centre stage and this is reflected in Hollow Haze as well, where the band seems to accompany the vocalist. In Italy pretty much everything is “pop” and the band revolves around the singer and that’s all. Said that it is clear that for us the vocalist is the central aspect of the composition. Until now we have always been very satisfied of what was recorded in studio albums with all the singers we had. It is obvious however, that we are not able, for now, to give some continuity in terms of line-up. Structural changes are therefore inevitable.
Is it an ongoing search or for Hollow Haze it works better to have guest singers?
Given the above, we currently have stopped looking for a stable singer. From our point of view, we have now a valuable repertoire which is very important from a vocalist perspective. Some of the singers who contributed to our compositions, in some cases, have reached their peak of expression, according to them. This is very reassuring for the future. Having a permanent singer would be ideal, but at the moment, it is not our priority.
… what are the advantages and disadvantages in this case.
Well, I am telling you so far we have managed to always fulfil our commitments despite having a stable vocalist or not. We haven’t encountered any problem so far, actually, it makes us feel good about ourselves to have written and recorded so many albums we are proud of with vocalists that complements the productions. Having a voice like Fabio Lione singing on our album created more interest towards the band. I am not denying either that we are ecstatic about Mats Leven’s work on our next release, not to mention Rick Altzi, Ivan Giannini and Claudia Layline’s guest appeareances. It is great to work with so many talented artists, we are satisfied about the results.
From previous interviews it transpires that Nick Savio has great input in composing Hollow Haze albums, in terms of production, mixing and composition, but I also know that the person who created the concept of “Countdown to Revenge” is you. We are waiting for the second part of the trilogy now. Can you tell us what are the ideas and the creative process behind this concept? How is it evolving?
The basic idea is related to a concept that will need to match and complement some epic music. With this task in mind I started to write down some ideas … and I must say that the result is not bad, if I can say so myself. The next chapters will be placed directly on the site, and the cover of the next album…something you will understand waiting for the development of the adventures of 10-03
On previous albums, Nick was in charge of the mix and production… now the dynamics have changed since your last job with the vocalist Lione… who is handling the mix for the next album and why have you undertaken this collaboration?
The band’s sound will remain unchanged. Also for this new chapter Nick Savio took care of the mixing. A special mention goes to Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios, who did an amazing job in mastering the new album “Memories of An Ancient Time” which will be out from June this year.
Which singer do you have for the next album?
As we mentioned earlier the role of lead singer, has been played by Mats Leven (Candlemass, Therion, Malmsteen), He does not need much of an introduction (definitely not! Love him!). We were blown away by his talent and professionalism. He did a sterling job on his role on the album.
Please talk about these guest singers and why you choose those collaborations.
As for the guests, Rick Altzi, had already made a appearance in “Countdown to Revenge”. About him I can only say one thing: he is one of my favourite singers! Should I mention he replaced my idol in Masterplan?…he has…ha!! The other two guests are Italians: Layline Claudia is a beautiful soprano with the band Serenade, while Ivan Giannini is the singer of the band Derdian as well as other various Metal tribute band He has all the energy of the classic Power singer. We also have the beautiful voice of Amanda Somerville in this album.
When will the new album be available and what about the title for it?
After some fighting for the album title we settled for “Memories of An Ancient Time”… ha ha ha.
It will be out in June 2015 on Scarlet Records.
You play regularly in Italy and you had significant support slots in recent years with Tarja, Accept and Dragonforce…how has the public reacted to Hollow Haze?
By far the greatest achievement is the reaction of the public during those shows. It is also highly rewarding being respected by such bands and entourage.
Do you think you’ve gained new fans on touring with those bands?
Certainly! In particular during the tour with Tarja where we had the opportunity to reach a wider audience.
Which bands would you like in your ideal line up in support of Hollow Haze live? Everything is possible, we are dreaming here!
Too many comes to mind, I could not possibly give them all a support slot…ha ha ha!!! Oh well…I would love to play with Jorn Lande but I will pretend to play drums with them..ha ha ha…reaching new peaks of megalomania here!
What is the most memorable thing that happened during your tour with Tarja? Do you have any funny story to share with our readers?
Oh, there are several funny stories, usually the ones you do not want to mention ever again. Memorable was our first attempt to reach Warsaw and Vilnius when, under a relentless blizzard, we were driving a camper-van with worn out summer tyres!
You have two outstanding videos from the album “Countdown to Revenge” (“No rest for the angels” and “We must believe”) how you intend to promote your next venture? Do you have a single and video already planned? Do you have any input on it?
Everything will depend on the label that will promote it. As for now I do not know if we will make real video clips for logistical reasons. We are also negotiating our contract with some labels so it is premature to discuss it now. So far we have always done everything personally. We normally have clear ideas on all artistic aspects regarding our band. The promotional aspect has varied from time to time. We will see.
I hope to be able to see you live without having to come to Italy… do you have any European date scheduled?
Obviously this is also our hope! Live shows are the natural habitat of a band like us. For the dates we will have to wait and see what we can arrange after the album release.
Is it difficult to reach a global audience coming from the Italian music scene? Is touring the only way to be appreciated and known abroad?
I believe that to achieve certain levels of visibility is hard for anyone, regardless from their nationality. Certainly some places have a greater tradition and that helps. It is a visible coming trend now that many big industry names prefer a festival then a risky headlining tour. You also see great blues-men playing pubs nowadays. I believe in some ways, the fate of live music is changing.
Surely touring is a key aspect for the promotion of a band but having a good label behind you is key for outreach in the music industry. Looking back, all the greatest bands that have written important pages in music history had large labels supporting them.
Do you have a message to send out to our readers or a wish for 2015?
First, a huge thank you to all of you at Moshville Times. My wish for all of you and your readers is to live with a heart filled with passion and lit by the flame of music. The best soundtrack of our lives.