OvO’s ninth album, Creatura, was released recently via Dio Drone Records. The veteran Italian duo’s raw and dramatic sound is a unique mix of primitive industrial, horror-movie ambience, and noise-rock punishment, led by the theatrically demonic vocals of Stefania Pedretti.
Counting Swans and Diamanda Galas as their biggest influences, Pedretti and co-conspirator Bruno Dorella have spent the past 16 years releasing albums on labels like Load Records (Lightning Bolt, Prurient), and performing across the globe with the likes of Godflesh and Thrones for a total of almost 1,000 shows to date.
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Dorella to discuss the album and to introduce him to some new music.
What were some of the creative catalysts that inspire Creatura?
As usual, me and Stefania start from different places. This time I was fascinated by the idea of electronic music sequences, and especially how sometimes it’s tricky to hear what’s been played live, what is artificial, what’s looped… but whatever I can do, then Stefania will play and sing on it, and it will become certainly, originally, undoubtedly, exclusively OvO.
Did you record this yourselves? What was the process like?
Oh no, man. No matter how weird it might sound, this album has been fairly pro-produced. The process was pretty long. I started to record loops and drums patterns, about one minute long each, and these are the skeletons of a song. Then Stefania chose the ones she liked best, and started improvising on them. When we felt we had something, we recorded the proper songs in a huge warehouse. It took about two months.
What has Dio Drone done to elevate the band artistically?
What we needed was its attitude. It’s the best example of contemporary DIY label of good extreme music with punk attitude in Italy, at the moment. Naresh, the label’s boss and only employed, also put a lot of passion in this record, and made us feel how special was to him to release an OvO album. Finally he put more money than he could afford for it, gaining our eternal gratitude.
A lot of critics and music writers speculate what your influences are. But let’s hear from you what they are?
We don’t try to sound like someone else, that’s what misplaces some critics. I actually wonder why most of the bands try to sound like other bands, when you can just enjoy their music and do your own different and personal thing. We like bands thay re-defined genres, that brought their music to a place that didn’t exist before. Neurosis, Scorn, Swans, Godflesh, Napalm Death, Minor Threat, Diamanda Galas, Lightning Bolt, and all the other ones that pushed the game to unknown limits.
You’ve performed your material live for over 1,000 shows. Is it a daunting task to recreate your music live?
We started as a pure improv live band. For the first years, we just improvised freely on stage and in studio, and recordings were just an excuse to take a picture of what we were, and go on tour. Then we started to, more or less, compose our songs, but it was a nightmare to try to recreate the live energy in studio, especially because of the unorthodox approach to our instruments. Only with our fifth album (Crocevia, on Load records) we started to compose in studio, adapting the songs to the live perfomance later. With our 7th album (Abisso, on Supernatural Cat) we introduced electronics in our music, and since then it’s been a big but funny job to recreate the songs live.
Which country has the most receptive audience for what you are doing? Why do you think that is?
Europe is definitely less receptive than the U.S. In the U.S. people like to be challenged by music, to lose a bit of control during a live performance. In Europe people build walls when they feel challenged. This is just a general thought. Of course we had some great unforgettable shows in Europe and some disappointing ones in the U.S., as well. Then it’s always curious to see how well received is our music in countries that are off the usual routes, like Russia, Israel, China, Vietnam…
What are the predominant lessons you’ve learned over the last 16 years?
The main one is that OvO is a band made of iron and steel, and nothing can defeat us. No matter if we’re successful or not, if a tour is good or not, if an album is well received or not, we love what we do and we feel good doing it since 2000, and have no reason to stop.
What is your most recent gear purchase and how do you use it?
Stefania is very proud of her Death By Audio distortion pedals, that redesigned her sound since “Abisso,” but also of her cheap Digitech Digital Reverb that really gave a total new touch to her sound in Creatura. For me, the best purchase has been the Roland SPD-S drum pad, which is now a very important part of my drum set. The new version has more skills but it’s also a bit more unconfortable to play, I still have to get used to it.
Do you have plans for more touring in support of Creatura?
We’re booked until June so far, but we hope to go on touring until the end of 2017. And hopefully coming to the U.S. after many years. Unfortunately, the problem is that stupid visas bureaucracy, a real nightmare for non-American bands.
Just for my own edification, did you ever hear The Lack (Troubleman Unlimited, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pi0M3xWUNE) and what did you think of them if you did?
We never heard them before, but we checked this link and the song kicks ass!
(Buy OvO’s Creatura here: https://diodrone.bandcamp.com/album/creatura.)