Interview: Marco Pastorino of Temperance

marco-temperance-2016It’s been an exciting few weeks for Marco Pastorino. The guitarist and vocalist for Italy’s premier melodic metal maestros, Temperance, has just seen the release of the band’s stunning third album, The Earth Embraces Us All. And when we caught up with him he was about to take the stage in support of one of the biggest bands in heavy music: the indomitable Nightwish.

This was the second time Marco had opened for Nightwish this year, with the main support slot at their gig in Mantua coming only a few months after they had won a legion of new fans supporting the Finnish powerhouse alongside Epica and Apocalyptica at Rock In Roma. So how did this second once-in-a-lifetime opportunity come about?!

“It was so easy this time because after the show in Roma the management of Nightwish sent an email to me and asked me if we are available to do another gig. Because our music appealed to the management and Marco [Hietala] and the rest of the guys [in Nightwish], and they told me about another possible Italian gig, in Mantua. And they said ‘OK Marco, if we go ahead with the show, we would like to have you as a special guest.’ And I thought ‘Hmm, I don’t know, I maybe have something else to do… Haha!'”

Such high praises come as little surprise to anybody who has heard the new Temperance record, or seen one of their phenomenal live shows. Their sound is big and bold and absolutely full of earworm hooks, while the band’s live show is full of such an infectious energy it’s impossible to watch them without a grin on your face.

However, despite Nightwish and countless others singing their praises, Temperance have still to win everybody over.

“I think this is the best feedback for our albums so far. [But] there are some bad reviews in France, maybe one or two, but you know, France.. Bah! Maybe a single bad review in Greece. Usually we receive four or five reviews from Greece, but we got nine or ten which were good. I don’t remember the name of the webzine or the website, but there is one which said ‘2/10’! Haha!

Wait, what?! What was their problem?!

“I don’t know… Maybe they talked about ‘there is not enough new stuff…'”

What?! You have a saxophone solo in a metal record?!

“It’s OK, I accept every kind of [feedback].”, Marco laughs.

We get the sense that this really doesn’t bother Marco. Because, despite what some Greek critics apparently think, Temperance are committed to writing awesome music for themselves, and pushing the boundaries of heavy music by incorporating any and all influences which light them up.

“Usually every time we write a new album Giulio [Capone, drummer and composer] and I work in our house to write some stuff: some riffs, some melodies. When we have, in our opinion, good material, good stuff, we’ll go into Giulio’s home studio to work on a lot of songs. Usually we spend, not a lot of time, two days, when we check some stuff, this music, the kind of influences for new songs, and after these two very crazy days: non-stop recording, maybe three hours sleep, [just stopping] to eat something, we have almost what you hear in the new album. After that we have ten or twelve songs, and we send the stuff to Luca [Negro, bassist] and Chiara [Tricarico, vocalist].

“Because when I record the stuff in pre-production I just [sing nonsense to the melody, as he brilliantly demonstrates for us with his ‘nan-na-na rendition of ‘Unspoken Words’.]  In this time Chiara works out the lyrics, and of course Luca adds a lot of great bass stuff. This time, Luca had the time to record a lot of arrangements and great ideas. At the end, this is what we use to compose and record an album.”

The Earth Embraces Us All is easily Temperance’s most ambitious album to date. In fact, we’d even go so far as to say it’s one of the most ambitious heavy albums ever. From the aforementioned saxophone solo on ‘Advice From A Caterpillar’ to the sweeping orchestral soundscapes on opener ‘A Thousand Places’, it’s full of innovative textures which reward endless revisits. But one of the most surprising tracks on the disc is ‘Maschere’, the band’s first Italian-language track.

“It was Chiara’s idea. Because when Giulio and I wrote the song and the music, Chiara asked me about the idea of writing Italian lyrics for the first time, for us. Because in her head she thought about the chance to do something new and add some different stuff in our music, because the new album contains, in my opinion, our best lyrics so far. More introspective…”

While the lyrics remain firmly Chiara’s domain (if it ain’t broke, and all that…), Marco has taken the opportunity to really push his vocal abilities on the new album. This is the first record where he has sung on every track, and his voice has a previously untapped power this time round.

“In this album I have changed my vocal approach to Temperance. Maybe I sing in every song on this album, a little part or something. But my voice is so hard, very similar to, haha, Marco of Nightwish. And I try to explain with my voice, so hard, and so metal, what the lyrics say. Because in ‘A Thousand Places’ I say ‘A million lights, shining bright/ So many faces I don’t know’, [And] in the second song [‘At The Edge Of Space’] when I sing the title of the album, ‘The Earth Embraces Us All’ [there’s this] great, dark matter: dark energy.”

It won’t be long before fans get to experience this rejuvenated ‘dark energy’ live. Marco hopes that this album will take Temperance further and to more fans than ever before. So the Spanish tour locked in for November and the just-announced appearance at Birmingham’s Quinphonic Festival in April will be just the beginning.

“After three albums in three years we are more than ready to go in every part of the world, if possible. After the first album we didn’t have so many shows so it was not possible to play the headliner shows. After Limitless we could add some more things. But now after the third album I think we have a great setlist and it’s not so easy to choose the right songs because now we have so many! But I think for the next year we’ll travel around the world to play our own music. We have received offers from, well, A Thousand Places!”

But until Temperance roll into town, Marco’s got a little something else to occupy fans’ ears: his new side-project Light & Shade.

“We just received the final mix of the album. After the Nightwish gig [at Rock in Roma] Adrienne [Cowan, of Massachusetts  ‘theatrical metal’ outfit Seven Spires] recorded all vocals and we did a photoshoot and recorded a video (so cool!) which will be out in the middle of November, on the same day as the album.”

The Earth Embraces Us All is out now.

Temperance will tour Spain in November. 

Temperance will play Birmingham’s Quinphonic Festival on 16th April 2017.

Light & Shade’s debut album, The Essence of Everything, will be available on 18th November.

Temperance: official | facebook | twitter | bigcartel

Light & Shade: facebook

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