Sometimes out of the blue, you are asked to look at a band that you have never heard of before and they take you completely by surprise. One such band see four Italians coming to London to fulfil their dreams in recording and performing music for themselves and the masses. Formed in Rome in 2008, Slave Steel relocated to the UK and took their time to self release their debut album, Entanglement, as well as a self-titled EP in March of this year. Slave Steel now want to tour and promote their music to every music fan that they can and have set their sights to do that in the near future. I caught up with the band to see what their plans for the band are, how their songs are constructed in the studio and the struggles for a band to survive. Best wishes to the whole of the band Slave Steel and see you on that tour.
We’re all from Italy, a mix of different parts of the boot, but have since relocated to London for about 4-5 years.
How long have you been playing together as a band?
The Slave Steel project actually started around 10 years ago and it went through several changes until the current lineup which is only 1 year old. We’d say that the sound we have today, or at least its research, has begun 4 years ago, and it’s finally shaping up the way we aim at.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
We think “unique”, is always about being original and authentic in a way. We always keep our music spontaneous, raw as much as finely crafted. That’s how we engage the audience in a loud but real interaction of musical energy.
Having left Rome to study music and now residing in London, are there more resources and better accessibility to the things a band needs in order to progress in England than there is in Rome?
Yes, definitely. The Italian metal scene is very warm and proactive thanks to the awesome people and bands that are in it, but is also very difficult to find your own dimension and a constant involvement. We assume this is mostly due to lack of support and investment to venues, promoters and the entire scene. Still, we love to play there just as much as we do here…there’s not only one home when music is your life.
Slave Steel released a self-financed debut album in 2015 called Entanglement. How did it feel to put all your blood sweat and tears and get an album out there?
Entanglement has been for us an important step into the world of underground metal, as well as a crucial milestone to start building our own profile. It has also been very challenging to work on the post-production and promoting campaign during our relocation to London, considering that our main target at the time was to perform in a music scene unexplored and new for us.
How has the sound of the debut album differed to that off the self-titled EP from this year?
At the time we were approaching that EP record with a mix of excitement and concern, because there was a lot going on. We couldn’t wait to have out our updated songs with the new vocal tracks recorded at The Outer Sound Studios and the new mastering with Finnvox studio, but we also knew that to deal with it in a rush wasn’t a good idea. Eventually we managed to stick to the previous sound while refreshing it with the new vision of our sound.
How have the press and fans reacted to the new EP?
The audience response was very warm and motivating for us, in both media and live sides. Hopefully our efforts will enhance the audience involvement just like our commitment does.
What are the lyrical themes of the songs? Is there a main lyricist?
Our music is strictly related to the vision of the world we share as individuals. One of the main – if not the first – purpose of our composing method is to cooperate as much as possible. The lyrics are a reflection of our most intense thoughts in which we drive out our doubts and discomfort about reality.
How often is the band able to get together and rehearse in the studio? Where do you get together and record?
We always try to keep our rehearsal schedule as tight as possible with 2-3 sessions in a week. This is not very easy to be honest, that’s why we also live together so we can share ideas and take decisions face to face even outside the studio.
How are the songs constructed in the studio? Are there the main songwriters of songs that take care of everything or is Slave Steel a band where all members contribute to the songs?
We would say it’s a bit of both. We look at the song-writing duty as a very balanced process. The fire-starter is always an embryonal idea that one of us comes up with, believes in and brings to the studio. The entire band then contributes with ideas and develops the song in the most solid way.
Being a four piece and having different musical influences within the band, is there sometimes a lot of negotiating in the studio or do you feel you are writing the music you want to for the band?
There is definitely a lot of negotiation and discussion about each one’s influences and the way they define our music. But we feel like this is one of the best parts of the game. Trust and honesty are obviously very important in order to deliver authenticity and an 8-hands energy in every song; it’s something we should never take for granted. If we wanted to follow only our personal styles there would be no band but only 4 solo projects wouldn’t it? So yeah, we are writing the musing we want for Slave Steel, taking lots of pride and fun in it!
How hard has it been to juggle the touring side of things with the everyday jobs? Do you have plans to go on bigger tours and further afield in 2018/19?
Totally: walk bigger stages and do more extensive tours is one of our absolute priorities. It’s very challenging to match our music work – which is a 24/7 occupation – with our everyday jobs. Those take time and energies that we’d rather use to focus on growing continuously as a band, and not just ‘surviving’. In fact, being on the road for tour concerts in much more effective for the purpose.
So what are the plans with the rest of 2018? Is there a chance of more material?
It’s not a chance, it’s a guarantee! It’s the first thing on the list: we’re working very hard on new material for a new release. We can’t say more right know, but from a musical point of view, this will be the most up-to-date, powerful incarnation of our style and sound. We can’t wait to get it all perfect so you can hear it!
How hard is it for a metal band like Slave Steel to survive in the current climate where bands have to tour non stop and sell merchandise in order to bring money back into the band?
It is very demanding to be honest, but at the same time strengthening and passion-driven. We love to take care of our band image and merch in order to sell of course, but more than everything to involve the fans, make them part of something unique.
What’s your live show like? Why are people going to watch you instead of another band?
Every live show is for us an opportunity more than an experience. Surely we want to deliver bone-breaker riffs, the shredding vocals and hammering drums. But more than anything we interact in the mutual exchange of musical intent and response. All of this wrapped up in an high-tension flux of energy.
What are you working on at the moment?
As said we are on a pre-production stage at the moment. On the side of that we never stop writing new material to play in our live shows and further recordings. This also motivates us to always explore new style possibilities and perfecting our sound.
A fun question to end this interview. If you were a DJ and were allowed to bring 5 CDs to the party, what would they be?
Aaah,tricky! We hate being predictable so we’d blindfold each other and start picking up CDs randomly from our collection… impossible to say! Hire us as DJ and you’ll see!
Any last message for our readers here at Moshville Times?
We want to thank you guys at Moshville Times for the passion and interest you put in the metal music scene. A shout-out to Elliot and Enso Management for their support. It has been a pleasure sharing our “behind the scene” thoughts. So long chaps, see you on the loud side of the moon!