DOMANDE A CURA DI FABRIZIO PAVAN
How Project Renegade came together and how the current line up came about?
Ody and I decided to form a band in order to realise our musical dreams and also we wanted to do something in a more “professional” way than the bands we had up until then. At first it was just the two of us and we went through a lot of lineup changes until Nick K. and Jay joined the band. Nick found us through an ad we put up searching for a guitarist and we connected right away and Jay is an old friend and former bandmate of Ody who joined the band permanently after he finished his studies abroad.
Let’s start with the first EP “Cerebra”, did you expect such considerable response right away?
To tell you the truth no, because we started “Cerebra” as a sort of demo, trying to test the waters. But it caught on pretty quickly, especially after we made our video for “Pressure” and we were really happy. We did a lot of shows and it turned out that our little demo gave us the right push to kickstart our journey!
In 2019 the first album “Order of Minus” was released. How the recording and creative process changed compared to the EP?
Pretty much everything! Like I wrote above, “Cerebra” was recorded as a demo. “Order of the Minus” was a full-blown production, so from a technical aspect there was a big upgrade to everything. Also, having the experience from “Cerebra” we were more confident in the studio about what we wanted to hear as an end result and every song got bigger in terms of composition and production. Also, we had the luck to have as our mixer Forrester Savell (Karnivool, Twelve Foot Ninja, Sikth etc.) and it was our first time collaborating with a renowned international producer. So as you can see “Order of the Minus” was a big step up for us.
In the tracklist of the album we find two tracks: “Sylar” and “The New Joker”, are they connected with the comic book world? Does this world affect your music or is just episodic?
Not at all! “The New Joker” is about feeling marginalized and segregated because people do not understand you and they bully you into being something you are not, into becoming a “fool”, a jester, a joker, someone who tries to fit in but is not him/herself, and all that loneliness is suffocating him/her, although in the end that joker has a lot thicker skin than everybody else thinks. Therefore, the reference is from the playing cards, not the comic book world, despite us being huge fans of comic books. “Sylar” on the other hand is a made up word that refers to the potential that human beings have in them, the need to explore, to expand their horizons and reach a higher sentient level of being. That is what “Sylar” means to us. Again all our respect to comic books, since we are big nerds ourselves, but none of our songs are inspired yet from there.
Some lyrics seem to be about social issues. How much the situation of your country has influenced them?
Directly and 100%. Seeing our country being dragged through hell and back the last decade, and mostly witnessing how all the socio-economic problems have affected our lives, especially the lives of the younger generation, how our dreams and hopes have been stolen from our hands and threw us in a position of not being able to provide a decent life to ourselves and families is something that angers us and we have to battle through everyday. And it’s not only the economic side of what we’ve been through. All that is reflected in the social web, how people have become more distant, more racists, more sexists, more selfish and more afraid. This is something we cannot escape and we see it constantly in one way or the other. Therefore, we try to find a way out through our music, where we can open a dialogue and find together, hopefully, a solution.
Tell us something about the album cover. Who came up with this concept and what does it represent?
The “Order of the Minus” cover was created by Gustavo Sazes (Machine Head, Arch Enemy, Amaranthe etc.) and we are really happy with it! When we were giving Gustavo our guidelines he was very enthusiastic and knew exactly what to do to bring our vision to life. After all when you are collaborating with such talented people you pretty much sit back and let them do their thing, because this is the reason why you choose to collaborate with them in the first place. As to what it represents, is pretty much a manifestation of our message for “Unity through diversity”. You see all that broken, twisted reality where everything is not what it’s supposed to be. But there are people willing to escape that reality that collapses on themselves and they will fight through it. Our way of fighting is our music and that’s why you see the human figure walking towards our symbol because that is our way that we try to change something in this world. And also it’s a calling for everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation to join us in this journey.
What was it like taking your record on tour? What relationship do you have with live music and with the public?
We love it! It is what we are living for! We always have fun on stage and there is total chaos and sweat and jumping around and we love it when people headbang with us or mosh in our heavy songs. We cannot wait to return on stage; it is something that we are missing a lot.
In 2019 you shared the stage with Evanescence. How was this experience and what do you think of Amy Lee?
It was the best experience of our musical journey so far. Evanescence is one of our main influences and one of my favorite bands and it was like a dream coming true for me. The crowd was amazing and very welcoming and the whole experience was beyond words. Also, Evanescence are the sweetest people on earth, very approachable and down to earth and they even came to watch our show. Amy Lee especially was awesome, spending time with us taking pictures and talking about random stuff. It was really an amazing show!
A question for Marianna about Amy Lee: is she one of your influences? Are there any other female metal voices you like?
Of course Amy Lee is one of my main influences and my favorite singer. Other female singers that I like are Maria Brink, Cristina Scabbia, Floor Jansen, Lena Scissorhands, Elize Ryd, Charlotte Wessels, Anneke van Giersbergen, Sharon den Adel and a many many more!
What are the bands or artists that have influenced you the most?
Pretty much the late 90’s early 00’s scene. Some of our favorite artists are Korn, Slipknot, Pantera, Limp Bizkit, Rammstein, Killswitch Engage, Evanescence, In This Moment, Devin Townsend and the list goes on. But we also listen to other genres like rap, rnb, pop, funk, soul, classical whatever we like in general.
Do you know Lacuna Coil? Do you listen to other Italian musicians?
Of course we know of them and we love their music! We will hopefully play together with them in a festival this summer and we cannot wait for that! We also had the chance to play with other Italian bands like Reasons Behind, Wicked Asylum and Theatres des Vampires. And there are many other bands that we listen to like Kalidia, Asphodelia, Temperance and others. You have a very strong scene there!
Is the release of a new album already planned? And if so, when the concerts will be finally allowed, do you think that there will be some dates in Italy?
We are currently recording our new album but I don’t think it’s gonna see the light before this whole pandemic thing wears off. I really hope that once we get back on the road we will be able to visit Italy too, cause last time we played there it was amazing and we had a lot of fun! Also we have many Italian friends that we can’t wait to see! Fingers crossed.
DOMANDE A CURA DI LAURA CASSARA
Project Renegade is the name of your band, how did you choose it? What does it mean for you?
Well it’s kinda funny cause at the beginning it was only Ody and I in the band so we always referred to it as a musical project. So that kinda stuck with us. As for Renegade it reflects our perspective of life for going against the tide, against the norm, a rebellion against what suppresses us whether it be stereotypes, expectations or sociopolitical systems.
You call yourself a metal band but you use a lot of electronic and ambient elements, why this choice?
We listen to a lot of different music genres and we are influenced by many different musical backgrounds. Of course we have a soft spot for metal but we are multidimensional personalities and that is reflected in our music. If we were to stick to something specific musically we would be really bored so we try to experiment with our sound but also having an identity and a “Project Renegade sound”. Metal is our base and everything else is the toppings!
Order of the Minus is the title of the album released in October 2019, the songs talk about things that happen between kids, you send a message for society unity through diversity, why this decision?
It only fits in today’s world I believe. You see so much injustice and so much hate that divides people while others take advantage of us. Imagine what we could achieve if we were all together fighting for the same thing united, regardless of race, sex, religion, socioeconomic status. Personally, I cannot ignore what goes around in the world and in our daily lives and I want to speak about all that stuff and invite everyone who is willing to listen to respect each other for who they are and accept them. It’s the only way that we can change the state of the world for a better future.
You performed in many events and collaborated with bands like Evanescence, Bullet For My Valentine, Harakiri for the Sky, Mayan and Beyond the Black: has this experience changed you in some way?
Aside from having amazing experiences together with all those bands, we got a glimpse of the big production that follows those bands and helped us upgrade our own game and show. We are really lucky to have shared the stage with such big names already and it kinda felt like coming full circle for all the work we have put on for our music. We are really happy about that!
After releasing your debut EP, “Cerebra”, very well received by critics, how did you create the next album?
By the time “Cerebra” was out, “Order of the Minus” was pretty much done in terms of composition. We are always creative and ahead of our game, but surely the experience with “Cerebra” taught us a lot of stuff regarding production and the recording process. So everything got bigger and more professional and that is something that we are trying to achieve with all of our work.
Do you think you have achieved the goal you set for yourself?
Well we haven’t won that Grammy yet hahahahaha! Not at the least bit! If I could share with you what we dream about doing with this band you would think we are crazy people but I never stop dreaming for bigger and better things. I don’t want to stop setting goals cause that would mean I have nothing left to give!
Are you working on a new album? If so, can you tell us something about?
Yes we are actually wrapping up the instrumental recordings and starting slowly with the vocals. It’s a long process and one that we do not want to rush. What I can share is that it’s gonna be heavier and you are gonna listen to a lot of new stuff and styles that might surprise you!
What do you think about this pandemic that, unfortunately has closed many opportunities? Will it be possible to return on stage for live shows?
I hope so! Don’t get me started with that awful situation cause, I think I speak for every musician, we are miserable! We want to do live shows and share that unique experience with the audience. I don’t think that in any other period of crisis music has been silenced in such a way. I truly hope and want to believe that the live shows will return soon and it will be safe for all of us to rock our hearts out!
Not being able to play and see your fans anymore what does it mean besides the reduced economic aspect? And above all, can you work in contact for a new album? Or do you work on the web?
We truly miss the contact with the people. The energy that you take from a live show and from talking with our fans and friends afterwards it’s unique and cannot be replaced by anything. We are missing a vital part of our lives. As for the working process we are doing both. Here in Greece there has been some opening in the quarantine that helped us be up close and other times some difficulties in meeting up so we had to work through the internet. We manage though well enough for now I might say!