How do you make a Venetian blind? Poke him in the eye. How do you make a Venetian band? Well, we’ll let Great Master tell you that…
[Giorgio] We are a Venetian band that orbits the provinces of Venice, Padua and Treviso.
How did you meet?
[Giorgio] With the current line up things started between 2018 and 2019. In October 2018 Jahn contacted Stefano, his old friend, asking him if he was interested in becoming the voice of the GM and expressing the need to find a keyboard player to expand a little bit about the sound of the band. Stefano and I had known each other for some time for various collaborations and so he proposed my name to Jahn.. Later Massimo David and Jack Lauretani took over respectively on bass and drums.
How long have you been playing as a band?
[Jahn] Great Master were born in the early 90s, from an idea of Jahn that he then shared with some friends. The idea was to play classic, epic metal. Over the years there have been various line up changes.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
[Jahn] The name comes from the fantasy scene, from the novels written by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis [writers of many a great Dragonlance novel! – Mosh]. We have never taken a reference character and we have always imagined this mystical and occult figure, hidden behind his head-dress and cloak. Great Master was also the title of an old song recorded and released as a demo. It sounded good, it was impactful and characterized our initial sound.
What are your influences?
[Jahn] In our sounds you can hear a lot of Iron Maiden, Running Wild but also Warlord and Manowar, the latter at least for the first songs and albums. Then the sound evolved with German power metal and with the personal influences of each band member.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
[Max] Our sound features powerful guitar riffs accompanied by catchy melodies. What makes us unique, from my point of view, is the great friendship that unites us and the enthusiasm we put into working together to ensure that our music is a product of excellent quality. And I hope our songs make it clear!
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
[Max] In principle no. We create the arrangements of the pieces based on what we want to tell and convey to the listener. To give an example, with the last two albums, with the pirate theme, we tried to create the right atmosphere of that time, of course with a good dose of Power rhythms that we like so much. (Smile)
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
[Max] Unfortunately at the time of the global lockdown for Covid -19, the group had just renewed and the only live was the release of the album Skull and Bones in early 2020, there was no opportunity to play live. However we are working to bring a great show to the stage. The determination to each member is not lacking, given the great background of each member. But we’ll show you soon. (Smile)
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
[Max] From me. A few years ago, at a festival in Venice, I played with a local rock group as the headliner of the event. Let’s say that the alcohol level of the evening was high among the spectators. It was the evening of the Redeemer (a very famous Venetian festival, which ends with fireworks). Halfway through the live a guy managed to get on stage and started lacerating his arm with a broken beer can. We were told by the organizers to keep playing. We have seen every individual rescue step. From leaving the stage to the arrival of the paramedics, who later took him away in an ambulance. It all happened in a few minutes and it is an experience that I will hardly forget. It was surreal.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
[Max] As a bass player, I prefer a nice 5-string with 135-55 mute. I love the low B sound in certain situations of the pieces. I mainly play with the pick which makes the sound more aggressive in my opinion. I prefer a distorted sound, because it blends better with the riffs of the guitars, but without exaggerating.
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
[Giorgio] After the release of Skull & Bones at the end of 2019 we are committed to making a “Home made” video in the middle of the Covid period, taking up a song from the album Serenissima, “Black Death”, rearranging it with the current sound of Great Master. From this song we then made a limited edition vinyl, Black Death 2020, which brings as a B-side a Warlord cover. With the block of live shows we decided to invest our time producing an “easy to listen” album that gradually became more and more consistent. So on May 20, 2021, the 5th Great Masters album Thy Harbor Inn was released, a collection of traditional Anglo-Saxon seafaring songs from the 1800s that we revisited and arranged with our own sound.
What are your plans for the next 6 months or so?
[Max] Definitely to play live again. In addition, with Rock On Agency we are evaluating various proposals for autumn and winter 2021 and the first quarter of 2022. Of course we hope to be able to tour Europe so that we can make ourselves known even further outside our territory.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
[Giorgio] Angra! Angra!
[Max] My dream would be to play before Iron Maiden. But since I have to go back to earth and not get too carried away by the imagination, let’s say that opening the live at Elvenking, maybe in the UK it would be very nice and Innerload as our support band. Both are excellent bands from Italy and above all from Veneto.