RESONANCE ROOM – Italy’s Multi-dimensional Metal Beacon
As a journalist I feel fortunate to take in an enormous amount of music on a weekly basis- purely of my own choosing. Although a lot of what is put out on the marketplace is questionable as to the accuracy of ‘true’ musicianship versus computer technology cut and paste work, sometimes certain records resonate with your soul. Such is the case with the second album "Untouchable Failure" from Italian dark progressive gothic metal act Resonance Room.
I’m not surprised that bassist Alfio Timoniere has an equally wide appreciation for the heavier styles of metal as his band does for doom, progressive, and gothic metal acts. It easily explains their deep approach to riffing, attention to structure detail, and the knack for assembling all of these influences in a cohesive package. I fired off a series of questions to him recently and although his answers are brief, there is a lot to learn about this foursome of musicians- including tracking down their two full length albums to date.
Tell us about your personal background- what was your life like growing up, how did you get into music and what were some of the first albums you remember hearing/ buying that moved you into playing metal music?
(Alfio Timoniere, bass) "At the age of 13 Iron Maiden happened to play in a nearby city and on the radio the event was widely advertised. I was really struck by their music and that’s how I started listening to and, later, playing metal music. Later on I really got into Norwegian black metal which is still an important influence on my approach to music."
What were some of the first bands that you played in- and at what point did you decide to perform with Resonance Room? What changes were made from the pre-cursor band Fragment that went from 2003-2008?
"I started playing while still a teenager with a Catania band called Southernland – playing epic metal – and later I joined Orion Riders, a power prog band again from my city. I decided to found Fragment together with other local musicians who later left the band. Between 2005 and 2007 Riccardo (guitar) Alessandro (vocals) and Sandro (drums) joined the project, which actually sounded widely different from the original Fragment idea; that’s why we changed the name of the band into Resonance Room."
A year after Resonance Room began you signed a record deal with domestic label My Kingdom Music. What did you like best about the label, and were there any other offers on the table?
"We chose My Kingdom Music because it best suited our requests, although we had been offered other deals."
The debut album "Unspoken" established the band in the international metal scene. Can you give us some details about the songwriting and recording of the album- what are some of the highlights and were there any particular difficulties/ challenges that came up?
"Our first album has got a more pessimistic and melancholic tone which was partly influenced by our personal mood at that time. No major problems came up during the recording sessions, but some sad personal events in our lives contributed to the overall tone of the work. We are still really satisfied with the final result we obtained."
Five years have passed between albums. How did the members of Resonance Room spend their time in the interim? Do you have other side-projects you work on, or is it the work/music balance that appeared to be a little out of sorts that caused the long gap between records?
"We’ve all got jobs which keep us rather busy during the week, so the time actually devoted to music and songwriting is mostly on the weekends. Riccardo or myself bring some ideas and then the others give their contribution in developing the songs. This may take some time… another reason why we took such a long time to release this CD are some lineup changes – you know, when a new member joins the band it takes a while to make him really feel part of the project."
"Untouchable Failure" as a new album is a great multi-dimensional effort, incorporating a dark progressive gothic/ doom metal sound that gives the listener so many elements to grab onto. What do you see as the major differences between your two albums to date, and what did you learn more about songwriting/ recording that you think you applied to this new album?
"The new album sounds for sure more varied and rich in arrangements, with a more careful groove which is partly due to our previous recording experience with ‘Unspoken’."
Do you mind the comparisons to acts like Porcupine Tree, Pain Of Salvation, Katatonia, Evergrey, Anathema, Riverside, and The Gathering that writers have been making in regards to some of the influences to the Resonance Room sound/ style?
"We don’t mind at all!!! Rather, we are really flattered by the comparison with bands which have contributed so much to our musical growth. We are all great fans of the above mentioned bands."
Describe Resonance Room in terms of live performances- and what have been some of the more memorable shows you’ve done through the years?
"For sure the best performance so far has been the one with Alcest and The Vision Bleak in Milan. Another one we remember with great pleasure was the official presentation of Unspoken in Catania… It was really great to see so many people from our city enjoying the show and singing our songs. We are planning some more gigs in summer, but we aren’t able to confirm any dates yet."
What type of personal and professional goals do you have for Resonance Room in the next few years? How do you feel about the current state of the music business- are you very active on the internet and social media to keep in better contact with your fan base?
"We are constantly trying to do our best to promote our project, and this includes social networks, internet and so on. We know we will never succeed in making music our job, those days in which bands could become rock stars playing real music – not talent shows ones! – are long gone, so we only play for passion, and we hope our fans will be able to feel this through our songs."
How do you view the world these days? What do you think are some of the biggest concerns that need to be worked on for a safer, healthier world?
"At present I am rather pessimistic about the future… In my nation the crisis is giving heavy blows on the future perspectives of most people – and the saddest thing is that all this has been induced by the people who should be in charge of promoting and supporting the common welfare of the country. People have become really passive and they are not able to react properly anymore – all this thanks to television and all the shit it broadcasts, which has brainwashed people. I would like to say that only (former Prime Minister Silvio) Berlusconi is to blame for this, that would make things easier to sort out, but unfortunately there are many others like him."
What is on your current playlist for bands/ albums? How would you describe the music scene in your part of Italy- can you give us a few bands to look for as up and comers in the metal genre (doesn’t matter what the style)?
"The last album by Enslaved "RIITIIR" is really a masterpiece, together with the last by Gojira "L’Enfant Sauvage". In our area there are many many bands who play good metal music at very good levels, but a few names that are really outstanding is in my opinion are Cadaver Mutilator from Palermo – excellent brutal death band with astonishing live performances – , Heretical – black metal from Caltanissetta – and Disasterhate – female thrash black form Catania."
If you had the chance to meet any particular musician(s) past or present, who would you want to meet and what would you talk to them about?
"I would really be honoured to meet Varg Vikernes because he contributed so much to my musical growth. Another musician I would have liked to meet is Jon Nodtveidt – it’s a shame he committed suicide, although I know the reasons which led him to this choice. If he hadn’t, he would have given a still major contribution to the genre."
Has the songwriting process started for the third Resonance Room album? If so, will there be any special new influences to add to the sound- or is the band very happy with the direction and development in terms of arrangements and foundation stylistically?
"Some ideas are already in progress… although it is still very early to talk about new influences, I can say the new work might sound heavier and more gloomy than the present release."
I’ve read in a previous interview many of the members are fans of sports. Which particular sports do you follow and who are some of your favorite teams? Do you also participate in sporting events as a player when you have the free time to do so?
"I am a great soccer fan and I heartily support Catania football team. However, I do not play football – I have a small fitness center at home, that’s all."
Thank you for your attention!!