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Co-founder of Void Of Silence, guitarist/bassist Ivan Zara, is a man of few but pithy words - here, he briefly covers the history and philosophy of the band with Comrade Aleks.

Interview with Void Of Silence.
"Void Of Silence is a special kind of band. Since 1999 this Rome-based outfit has performed an interesting blend of Funeral Doom and Dark Ambient music. The band went through periods of activity and inactivity: for some time their vocalist was Malfeitor Fabban of Industrial Black Metal band Aborym, then Alan Averill of Primordial took the frontman role, Brooke Johnson from The Axis Of Perdition recorded vocals for their previous album 'The Grave Of Civilization' (2010) and now, eight years later, the two core members Ivan Zara (guitars, bass) and Riccardo Conforti (drums, keyboards, samples) have returned alongside new vocalist Luca Soi (Arcana Coelestia and others) with a huge new work: 'The Sky Over', released by Avantgarde Music. It wasn't an easy task, but we tried to look into the Void with Ivan..."

Void Of Silence: Riccardo Conforti (Drums, keyboards, samples), Ivan Zara (Guitars, bass), Luca Soi (Vocals).

Hi Ivan! You started Void Of Silence in 1999 - the band has quite a remarkable name, what did you put into it? What did you want to express through the band?

What we attempt to convey through our music amounts to our innermost anguish, perhaps a part of us that is hidden away and hardly fits within our day-to-day lives. The moment we pick up our instruments is when we manage to harness those feelings that would otherwise remain buried.

You and Riccardo Conforti have worked tightly on the band together, it's only vocalists who have came and gone. How did you build a collaboration with him? How long have you known each other?

Me and Riccardo go back a long way twenty years and counting, and we were always on the same wavelength as far as our approach to creating our style is concerned. Our songs can evolve either from one of his piano ideas or one of my guitar riffs, and then we take it from there.

How do you value the band's debut album 'Toward The Dark'? How difficult was the first Void Of Silence recording session?

To be honest, Toward the Dusk was our simplest work in terms of recording and mixing, and the one who took the shortest time to be completed. We were perhaps less demanding back then, but we already had a clear idea in mind of what we wanted to achieve, and we were conscious of the fact that we were kickstarting a new cycle. It's obviously a work I cherish (as much as the others), even though I'm aware it can sound rough around the edges. I still would not change anything about it.

It's said that there was an EP 'Remembrance', recorded in 1999 but it has never been released. Why didn't you publish it? Do you think that one day you will release it?

We were a different band back then, style-wise, and line-up-wise. We were still far from sounding like we did in the following years, so it can hardly be considered a Void of Silence work. I don't think it will be released, ever.

You recorded the following album 'Criteria Ov 666' pretty quickly: it saw the light of day in 2002. How did you manage to finish it that fast?

A huge part of that album was built on the foundations of an ambient project that Riccardo decided to put aside. We just had to re-arrange those tracks VoS style, so we already had some guidelines we were sticking to.

It's said that the band's lyrics deal with "anti-war and death" themes and the track "Anthem for Doomed Youth" includes lyrics derived from the poems of Wilfred Owen, a soldier and critic of the First World War. So how are these themes important for you?

That's true as far as our early works are concerned, but we've always let our vocalists handle the lyrics, so the themes and concepts evolved accordingly.

Void Of Silence's third album 'Human Antithesis' was recorded with Primordial vocalist Alen Averill. How did you come to work with him?

Alan got in touch back when we were looking for a new vocalist. Other singers were also sending in their applications, but he appeared at once as the most qualified person to take on that role. He doesn't really need introductions.

Void Of Silence - 'Human Antithesis' (2004):

How do you see the band's development on 'Human Antithesis'? What kind of new experience did you get working on this album?

It was a pleasant and thrilling experience. Our history as a band took a sharp turn both professionally and stylistically, and we largely evolved as a result.

'The Grave Of Civilization' was released in 2010. What sort of events gave you such a name for the album?

Brooke's lyrics largely center on the idea of the end of civilization, so the title came naturally from that.

Ivan, 'The Sky Over' is the first band's album for eight years and it's said that this material was composed just a year ago: what slowed you down?

Honestly, nothing was really standing in our way. That's just how we're wired. We can hold still for years and then finish off a whole record in a bunch of months. We never experienced any issue in conceiving and recording the instrumental parts of our records. We can run into some difficulties the moment we start looking for a new singer that suits our style and this time things haven't been any different, even though I believe that Luca Soi's entrance in the band fixed this issue once and for all.

It seems that there's an epic concept behind 'The Sky Over', can you give any details?

Riccardo found the baseline of the concept. It was something he had wanted to do for a long time, so Luca started a long and deepest path of study and research.

Basically the concept is centered on some great explorations that took place at the beginning of the last century on the Arctic ice, but basically it is only a metaphor to focus the contrast between blind faith / ambition, solitude / struggle for recognition, conquer new horizons - both tangible that interior, spiritual.

Void Of Silence - 'The Sky Over' (Official Teaser, 2018):

The band shows notable progress towards a more avant-garde sound in this material, how was it natural?

We've been polishing our sound throughout the years, without straying from our original intentions from two decades ago. If anything, this work does showcase my love of Pink Floyd. Their music has been the soundtrack to my entire existence.

Did you use any new equipment at the studio to get an updated sound? How did this session go technically?

We worked with Dh of Opus Magnum Studios; he took care of the editing, mixing and mastering of the whole album. He did an outstanding job. We've been nagging at him until the very end, and he managed to get as close to our needs as possible. For that I'll always be grateful.

This time you switched to Avantgarde Music, what pushed you to change the label?

We had a great time working with Code666, but we knew something had to change. We've been on friendly terms with Roberto of Avantgarde for a while, so the choice was effortless.

Ivan, this same year your new project Towards Atlantis Lights released its first album 'Dust Of Aeons'. How was that project's line-up formed?

That's right. 2018 has been a thoroughly intense year for me personally, in this regard, to the point that recording sessions nearly overlapped. While the plan was to gather a line-up formed by Italian members exclusively, this wasn't feasible for various reasons, so I had to turn to the international scene and see what it had to offer. Kostas, whom I only knew from his own musical projects, was warmly recommended to me by Arcana Coelestia's Marco, then Kostas himself brought Riccardo into the band.

How was the idea of 'Dust Of Aeons' created? Is it a result of common efforts? Or do you have a single member who's responsible for lyrics?

While I'm in charge of the songwriting duties, the lyrics are entirely handled by Kostas. He definitely did a great job, pouring his whole cultural background and meticulousness into them.

What are you plans concerning gigs with Void Of Silence and Towards Atlantis Lights for the rest of 2018?

Frankly there's nothing planned, and both will remain studio acts.

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Interviewed on 2018-10-30 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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