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Vonamor - Because we wanted to make the album come out, we needed to continue. In a way, these hard times have been an extra reason not to give up and to keep going Aanbevolen

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Vonamor - Because we wanted to make the album come out, we needed to continue. In a way, these hard times have been an extra reason not to give up and to keep going

VONAMOR is a pretty new Italian darkwave-related band, though Francesca Bottaro, Giulia Bottaro & Luca Guidobaldi had worked with other underground bands before focusing on this project. Riding on the success of their single Take Your Heart by VONAMOR - YouTube and ahead of their self-titled debut album (out on February 18), Rome-based darkwave / electro rock trio VONAMOR presents You the People by VONAMOR - YouTube with a hypnotic fast-paced and colorful video clip featuring dystopian imagery focused on the messed-up and borderline world in which we live. The sound weaves together stories of men, power and protest worldwide to a sharp dialogue between male and female voices. 

Who is VONAMOR? Tell us a little bit about yourself
Luca Guidobaldi: We are an Italian band, we started this band in 2016. But the three of us already had some experience in other band projects from the Roman underground scene. We come from slightly different musical backgrounds and we actually started to cooperate together thanks to a common acquaintance that asked us to work on the score of an animated short movie. That was the occasion that brought the three of us together. After that, we started a band and that’s how it all began. We play something between darkwave, the new wave from the ‘80s and some inspirations from the ‘70s and electronic, more contemporary music.
Giulia Bottaro: One important thing in this story is that we are true friends, almost family - we are personally very close to one another. My sister Francesca and I met Luca and Francesco (our fourth VONAMOR who composed and recorded the guitars of the album), and we immediately became artistically fond of one another and very good friends. We had common roots, both culturally and musically speaking, and we really wanted to make music that could cut apart from commercial music. Luckily, we found out we all walked in the same direction. So that’s how the story started.

Although you get the label 'darkwave', there is clearly more to it. I also hear experimental music that goes beyond the boundaries of the genre, is that right? The extra interesting thing is the vocal delivery, with a dark side, very danceable, but also mysterious. Is that right? Is this also a conscious choice?
Giulia: This is true: through our music, we want to convey something that’s not been labeled or “tagged” yet. It’s correct what you say, we really don’t want to stick to a single genre or mannerism. There are so many different shades in music and it would be a pity to just stay within the boundaries of one genre. That mysterious thing is particularly important for us, because music (like life in general) is deeply mysterious. The connection between us who write and compose and you who are listening is indeed a mysterious, mystical connection that is to be treasured. We don’t want to do something too simple, without mystery. It would miss something, wouldn’t it? It’s beautiful that you can feel with your heart and emotions something that is not so simple to understand - it’s not straightforward, I mean. That’s for sure something we want to create with our music and share with our listeners.
Luca: Life is made of nuances. That is true also when it comes to relationships between human beings. And yes, there is an experimental way of composing music for us, and the lyrics are an important part of our music, too. We want people to wake up, to read through the lines, spending some quality time with our music. It can be that two listeners hear something completely different in our songs, and have different feelings about it. But that’s perfectly fine for us, because that’s exactly what we want. So, “mysterious” is a word that we definitely like a lot.

I've been watching the recent video of ‘You the People’ on YouTube. It’s a very confronting video, about the past and the war. I feel that there are stories in the songs. It’s something that you also want to do, confront people with what’s going on in the world?
Giulia: My sister Francesca is the director of this video. We really want to convey our meaning through images, lyrics and music. That’s important to us - to give a full view of our music. And it is exactly the combination between those three things that we wanted to convey through the video clip of “You the People”. And the historical experience of the world, through the use of archive footage material, is also a part of that, which is extremely important to us. Because we think we really can’t forget our past, it’s important that we keep thinking about what happened back then to face our present. We fear that we are really missing something nowadays, running so fast in this world we live in, erasing the past so quickly, so easily…
Luca: We indeed wanted people to confront the past, with history, that is also a history made of pain and wars. In this video we wanted to talk about humans, their relationship with progress and technology. It seems that these days, we tend to forget the past easily. If we hear the news this very today, it seems that we are now once again on the brink of a new war - just think about what is happening right now in Ukraine. Ukraine is so close to Europe, it is not in  land far away and still this is happening right now, under our eyes,  it makes you think. That’s some message we wanted to convey in this video. We should be sensitive, and not forget the past.

Besides the danceable ones, there is also something melancholic and wistful in some of the songs. Like in 'Never Betray Us', which pierces straight through my heart, very intense. Is there a story behind that, because this one is very emotional (that comes back sometimes, by the way)?
Giulia: We wanted to make you feel, when you listen to our songs, we wanted to make you feel as if you were on a trip - on a train, I mean (laughter). You go from one landscape to another, from one emotion to another. That’s indeed something we really wanted to do. It’s like life, there are moments you feel more lighthearted - and you want to dance and enjoy life. And other moments in which you feel sad or thoughtful, then you can hear more emotional parts, like 'Never Betray Us'. Because that’s how you can feel sometimes - you might miss someone… this feeling of loss you can catch in this song. We wanted to put all this in our record. That’s why there is this variation between danceable and more melancholic songs. For sure it is not an album I would have written when I was 18. It’s an album you can write if you have faced certain experiences in your life - both good or bad, like we had.

The band is releasing its debut, after all these years why have you been waiting so long for this debut album?
Luca: It’s the first album from VONAMOR, that’s correct. We wrote this album some time ago, and of course due to this pandemic the release has been postponed for a while… The album should have been coming out earlier, then it was stopped due to the pandemic. But at some point, we could not keep waiting anymore. So we are releasing it now. Also we felt like it was NOW the right time to release this album, in this strange time we are living in.
Giulia: At the beginning of the project we thought we meant to write score music for films only. To write for moving images, for animated or live-action movies, short films and documentaries as we have been doing since 2016. But when we went to the recording studio to record one of our musical scores, our producer Lucio Leoni asked us “Why don’t we make an album out of this? Not just a soundtrack, but a full album?”. And that’s how we came up with this album - thanks, Lucio!

You are absolutely right, it’s the right time to create this album because in these times we need danceable songs and find a way for our emotions, you find it all in this album. But how have the reactions about the singles and new album been so far?
Giulia: There have been some very good reactions on the video clips and singles. Actually, we have already received some extremely positive feedback - we have to thank Shauna from Shameless Promotion, because she has been doing a wonderful job promoting us. This music, which is in 5 different languages, can be somehow difficult to understand in Italy. But it was meant to be really a more cosmopolitan, truly European project and we are super happy to read such positive reviews and comments coming from the USA and other countries, from other parts of Europe and even from the Far East. I think it’s been appreciated much more than in our own country.
Luca: It was good to see all these good reactions on the singles. But the nicest thing really was to bring our music all around Europe, because we believe this album truly belongs to a European culture. So, we wanted to deliver this album outside Italy and create connections all over the world. So we are happy with the positive reactions till now. We just wanted to put together a good record in the old-fashioned way… creating connections just through music, without Tik Tok (no offense, but it’s not our cup of tea!), but a record that could work not only for the Italian public, that was important to us.

I didn't have the feeling that this is an old-fashioned record, rather you dare to leave the comfort zone. But maybe it’s difficult for people who only want to hear one style of music. I guess that’s something you did not want to do?
Giulia: We like a lot of genres and different bands, it’s not just classic darkwave. We did not listen only to darkwave, for instance, we all used to listen to The Beatles or The Beach Boys when we were young and this is something we keep with us while writing and playing. There are so many different influences in our music. It’s true, we did not want to make an album thinking of just one style of music, that’s something we are not interested in. We want to experiment. And we didn’t want to write music for people who only listen to commercial music - no offense, again! (laughter), but we try to reach those who are open to more genres.

You also had to deal with the COVID story, what impact did that have on you as a person (and a band)? Did you come out of it stronger, some bands faced their limits and quit, for others it was a form of inspiration?
Luca: I think that this pandemic was bad for everyone. We all had to experience a whole new sense of  isolation. Not only as musicians, all our human and social connections with family, band mates and other people changed a little bit. Actually, as musicians the three of us were lucky at the end of the day, because we live close to each other and we are somehow as close  as a family. We just had the opportunity to keep meeting each other during this tough time. That was a good thing: sharing the experience, sharing our feelings among us, made it all a little easier. And because we wanted  our album to come out, we needed to continue and it  was an extra reason not to give up and to keep going. At the end of the trip, we feel stronger now.

Let's also talk about the future, what are the further plans for the future? as far as plans can be made...
Giulia: The moment is of course a bit tough to make plans. Because we still don’t know if we can go back on tour and things like that. For sure we want to play this Spring, as soon as possible, we would definitely like to go on tour to promote this album on stage, possibly also in outdoor festivals. We also like the mix between music, performance and images, so we are thinking about setting up concerts featuring performers, video-projections, etc., experiment more ways of performing. That’s a plan for the future.
Luca: We hope we can play live soon, that’s the most important thing. At this moment it’s still not easy because of COVID and the conditions that are still not good enough to have a ‘normal’ gig. We want to play in clubs in Italy, but we would also like to play in clubs in Europe, eventually Belgium. Do you know any good clubs? (laughter). Coming back on stage is something we miss the most, that’s the plan for now.

Next to making plans, what are your ambitions as a band and musicians? And are there any goals you wish to achieve?
Luca: As we said, just the fact that our music can reach out to people, that’s the biggest ambition and goal we have as musicians and as a band. To reach out to people all around Europe in the first place, and maybe around the world: that’s the best! And we want to keep doing that, because it gives us a lot of strength. I think this answers the question. Also in our personal lives, we think that music is the perfect way to connect with people.
Giulia: Another dream we have is to keep writing music for many, many years ahead - for movies as well, that’s a big dream, too. It’s wonderful to see when your music is connected with images, when an instrument gives a certain twist to a character or a landscape - that’s a big dream we have. And also in the far future, that’s the most important goal: keep composing… and keep sharing our music with people as long as we can.

One other thing, Luca I see there on the wall a picture of David Bowie, you must know David Bowie is not only my inspiration in music terms, he is my guide to my personal life in many ways. How important is David Bowie to you? Because if his picture is there on your wall… it must be
Luca: Oh yes, of course, David Bowie was an absolute superstar throughout his whole career, a one-of–a-kind, unconventional artist who has certainly been a major source of inspiration for all of us and for VONAMOR’s music. There would be so many things to say about Bowie but maybe the thing I would focus on right now is that he was definitely someone who was not afraid to change, to experiment, to take completely different directions from those that people expected from him. He liked to play with genres, borrowing things here and there to create his own unique style; for example you know in the “Ziggy Stardust” album you can find a lot of musical rock’n roll influences from the ‘50s and the early ‘60s, but still it felt so new, fresh and personal. And later on in his career you find him playing with Nine Inch Nails… wow!
Giulia: Yes, we LOVE David Bowie. At the same time, within the same song, he could make people dance, he could make people think, with a lot of irony and sarcasm and with a superb mix of retro taste and experimental twists that made him deliver hits after hits. He also wanted to create an artistic community, supported other very good bands and promoted them even when he was super-famous and could even retire on an ivory tower. A great artist!

Thanks for this nice interview, I hope that we can see you on stage in Belgium very soon, and of course good luck with the album and everything you create now and in the future

Aanvullende informatie

  • Bandnaam: Vonamor
  • Datum: 2022-02-10
  • Beoordeling: 8
Gelezen: 703 keer