Chaotic Italian metal band Destrage made their live UK debut at Tech-Fest last month and ZT were on hand to find out how it went and why it has taken them so long to reach these shores.
Founded in their hometown of Milan back in 2005 the band has since gone on to put out three albums, including this year’s Are You Kidding Me? No. that was released by Metal Blade Records. Their hard work of touring their home country Italy, the rest of Europe and Japan clearly paid off as it led to such a high profile deal.
Not to everyone’s taste due to having so much going on in their music as they throw thousands of influences together, they’ve still built up a strong following. Jazz, tech, hardcore, industrial, it’s all got a place in the Destrage sound and if original, progressive and energetic interests you then you need to check out Are You Kidding Me? No. Guitarist Mat answers the critics, explains the album title and how they write such organised yet chaotic music.
ZT: This was your first gig in England. How was it?
Matteo Di Gioia (guitar): It was amazing! We were not scared but we were kind of asking ourselves whether you guys could like us. The UK is a big proving place for everybody and we’re pretty happy with that. I don’t know what the audience was expecting from us because everyone was saying ‘oh it’s much more punk rock than I expected’, like our attitude on stage, much more than they could imagine than listening to our record. So I think that’s a compliment.
It was a good, lively performance. Why do you think it has taken you so long to come to the UK?
I have no idea, it must be some curse. We planned twice to come and then both times something always happened. We have not managed to come here on the Protest The Hero tour either, we are joining Protest The Hero, The Faceless and The Contortionist for a November/December tour this year and that includes a few gigs in the UK but we will not be there for reasons we don’t know. There’ll probably be another band touring the UK leg.
So you must play a lot in Italy?
Yeah Italy is pretty big. The metal scene is not huge but surprisingly people get to like us a lot and it’s growing. Italy is actually the country in which we’re touring the most which is kind of strange. It may sound banal because usually a band that is coming from a place is most famous in that place, but it’s never the case with Italians. They like a lot of what’s coming from abroad and just don’t consider what is within their country. So usually bands that make it in Italy that are Italian make it outside before then import their fame back into their country. But for us it was really surprising to grow that way in our own country.
You released your third album Are You Kidding Me? No. recently.
We released it in March 2014. We did a release party that was sold out, it was amazing. There were so many people waiting outside and they couldn’t all make it into the place, it was so crowded which was a huge surprise for us. 200 people were left outside the show and we were ready to apologise to everybody on Facebook but every one of those people left outside were happy like ‘Wow I could never imagine that a band like you that I’ve been following for three/four years now is doing sold out release parties and as a big fan I’m fine with it’. So it was really nice.
Your sound combines a lot of different styles. How do you cram so many influences into it?
It’s not planned, it’s just that we listen to a lot of music and it’s not even that we sit round a table and say ‘ok let’s put a bit of that into the equation’ it just comes naturally. When we write our music it’s not always with our instruments in our hands because that narrows your views a little bit. So many times we put aside the instruments and talk about what the songs may go into. Then we have all these personal ways of explaining things. My phone is full of audio notes of me going ‘de-de-da-da’ and then the day after I listen to them and try to tab them. Because maybe I’m in a cafe or somewhere and don’t have a chance to record what I just thought so we do that a lot. I write on my Vespa a lot and am really surprised how easy inspiration comes when you’re wearing a helmet. It’s just the world is outside and the engine goes zzzzzzzz and you can sing along with that. So many ideas come like that.
Where does the name Are You Kidding Me? No. come from?
We were asked this question a lot from people listening to the music and interviewers, people in the scene were like ‘Are you fucking kidding me? What are you guys doing?’ and our answer was ‘no, we’re serious.’ We understand that this may sound ridiculous but we’re taking this completely seriously. Have you seen the trailer for this album? It’s all about an old man in panties. That has a lot to do with this Are You Kidding Me? No. idea because he was a real person. He was a mad guy and our drummer Federico met him and the guy was going around completely naked just with panties on in an Italian town. Federico asked him ‘Rodolpho, can I take a picture?’ and he said ‘yes absolutely, but first let me go dress up’. So he went and came back and as promised he was dressed up completely naked again with panties but also a jacket and he was opening the jacket, posing for the picture. I’m pretty sure if you asked the guy ‘Rodolpho, are you kidding me?’ his answer would have been ‘no’. He was totally serious when he said he was going to dress up and that was what he meant.
What are your future plans for Destrage?
Our plans are to tour as much as we can, especially in Europe and we want to come to the UK properly for a tour and do a few shows here. the we’ll see. Definitely America and to go back to Japan again.
To say you are popular in Italy, why do you sing in English?
Oh because it would be total nonsense to sing in Italian, you just cut your legs to the rest of the world. Italian is kind of a very musical language and you can sing in Italian but then how is the rest of the world going to appreciate your music? You’re just going to dig your own grave in Italy and we don’t want that.
What would you say to people who say you’ve got too much going on in your music or are too crazy?
Fuck you haha. No, just kidding. We’re not crazy. We think that music should be much more about saying yes than no. So if something is coming out and it’s not in your comfort zone why not give it a chance instead of saying ‘this is not cool, it’s not in a genre etc.’. This self castration, we don’t like that. We just want to do things.
What are your future plans for Destrage?
Our plans are to tour as much as we can, especially in Europe and we want to come to the UK properly for a tour and do a few shows here. Then we’ll see. Definitely America and to go back to Japan again.