1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?
Onirica is a project born a long time ago. About fifteen years ago, during my high school years. At the time I was playing in a power metal band, but I wanted a musical and compositional space where I could do something more personal, visceral and violent. So, fascinated by the Italian black metal of that period, I started to create the songs for the Onirica project. Onirica is a musical reality to which I return cyclically: it can stay still for years, but then there always comes that moment when I want to make music alone, in solitude... and the project is reborn every time like that. I have been playing for many years with the classic heavy metal band Serial Vice, but in the musical world of Onirica I can always create something more intimate and personal.
2.Recently you have released a new album, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
This record is totally different from anything I've done in the past. The first album, "Cosasonora," was very raw, because it was composed by a depressed teenager who wanted to put his sad poems to music. The EP "Baba Yaga" from a few years ago was just experimentation, an attempt to combine post-black metal with dungeon synth. Behind this "Burn The Ashes" instead there is a more mature person, especially from the compositional point of view I had in mind a very precise idea of music, I was aware of every reference and every inspiration. Moreover in this record there is the participation of a singer, Giacomo Albanese, who worked with great intensity to the realization of the vocal lines: he is not a simple guest. So this is an album built with study and effort, but with the desire to do something interesting (and maybe personal) within the Italian black metal scene.
3.With the exception of a split and an ep[ this is also your first full length since 2009, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time frame?
As I mentioned before, in all these years I have always carried on a musical activity, but in parallel to the Onirica project. For several years I played guitar for the power metal band Sleepy Forest, which broke up in 2010. Since almost ten years, instead, I'm the guitarist of Serial Vice, with which I play classic heavy metal. In addition, since 2018, I have a dungeon synth project: Hekate, with which I released a few albums, including "Haunted Soul Of The Wizard", for the cult label Ancient Meadow. In all of this, Onirica is my private, intimate musical space, the safe place where I occasionally return to when I want to express something extreme and deep, distant from all the other music I play.
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with the new release and also how would you describe your progress as songwriters over the years?
In life I'm a writer, I'm involved in literature, and I work in book publishing. So every track on "Burn The Ashes" is inspired by some book I particularly loved. To give some examples: "The Opponent" is inspired by the book of the same name by Emmanuele Carrére, "The violent bear it away" refers to Flannery O' Connor's masterpiece, "Blazing (The Left Wing)" has to do with Mircea Cartarescu's work. The lyrics on the first album were my own poems written in Italian or Latin. Here I decided to use English instead, because I now feel it is a more expressive language for the concepts I wish to convey.
5.You also had a song covering 'Baba Yaga', do you also have an interest in Slavic Mythology?
My girlfriend is an anthropologist and a poet: she wrote a collection of poems inspired by the story of Baba Yaga, and her experience fascinated me a lot. Therefore, while she was doing the anthropological research to write her book, I tried to put those suggestions into music.
6.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Onirica'?
Black metal for me has always had something to do with my dream activity: I often dream about this kind of music, and if I listen to albums of this genre before sleeping it always happens that the next morning I am particularly inspired to write something powerful or compose new music.
7.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the album?
It is the painting "Judith and Holofernes", painted by the Dutch painter Jan De Bray in 1659. A masterpiece that not everyone knows, because they are much more famous other works on that type of subject (above all that of Caravaggio and Artemisia Gentileschi). But the work of De Bray for me is really powerful, with a rare intensity, and murky colors, bloody, distressing. In that painting I see anger, pain, despair, dynamism, death but at the same time an inexhaustible desire to live: all the elements that I tried to include musically in the album.
8.With the exception of a vocalist you recorded the whole album by yourself, do you prefer working solo?
In the Onirica project yes, I prefer to work alone: I set up this musical reality for this very reason, that is to say to compose and play in total contact with my mind and with my musical reasoning. It is an almost spiritual artistic process, completely different from what happens when you play in a band. It is an activity very similar to writing a book. I really enjoy playing in a band, but with Onirica I want to do something completely different.
9.You also have experience playing other styles of metal in your previous bands, how would you compare your current musical style with this project to your past or current bands?
There are definitely some elements in this album that come from my other musical experiences, especially melodically. Some of the orchestral openings have a vague power/symphonic metal flavor, which I learned to appreciate during my time with Sleepy Forest. The constant use of guitar harmonizations has certainly been well thought out thanks to the many songs composed with Serial Vice. And the experience in the world of dungeon synth was also absolutely important to have particular compositional insights. But, at the end of the day, "Burn the ashes" is a record where I try to create a personal synthesis of many things I love about black metal music.
10.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal?
Well, over the years I've never received so much feedback about Onirica's music: it has always been a rather underground project (despite the fact that the 2009 album was released by a small US label). With "Burn the ashes" I hope to get some more feedback and opinions. From the first reactions around the premiere of the album, I have however perceived a certain enthusiasm: I hope it gets better and better!
11.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician during the future?
First and foremost, I would love to get back to playing many live shows with my band Serial Vice. And then I would like to grow the Onirica project. I don't want to let many years go by again for a new release. I would like to create an ongoing musical discourse, reaching more and more people. Onirica represents a musical universe in which I am comfortable, very consistent with my work as a novelist and poet. That's why I want to pursue the music of Onirica with tenacity.
12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
This new album was inspired by so much music. To stay in the black metal sphere I can say that I am very interested in trying to make personal the ideas put into circulation by bands like Panoptycon, Wood Of Desolation, Wolfes In The Throne Room, but also more hybrid and innovative projects like Deafheaven, Alcest, Amesoreus and Harakiri For The Sky. However, some Italian bands like Deadly Carnage and Stormlord are still fundamental - and then, far from black metal but very important for me, Novembre and Dark Lunacy. There are also some classics that are always absolutely central to my inspiration, especially from the Swedish melodic black metal scene: Dissection, Lord Belial, Naglfar, Sacramentum.
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thank you so much for this interview. I wish you all the best!