Today we are focusing on a very curious Italian one-man project. Scent of Darkness plays funeral doom metal. Project born through the artistic expression of the mastermind Gianluca Moreo (ex-Vereor Nox) in 2018. On the 20th of June 2020 “Insanitude”, first EP from Scent of Darkness project, will be released. A concept EP which speaks of psychological and social experiences lived in first person by Gianluca himself, touching on themes like depression, psychosis, abandonment, mistrust, delirium, solitude and hope. Nero Corvino, Italian label, have announced a reissue of Insanitude for 2021.
Hi! Tell us about the origins of the project. At what point did you realize that you need to arrange your material within the framework of this project, where did the name come from?
Gianluca: Hello and thank you for this space! The project was born in 2018 in Italy. The idea was mine, namely Gianluca, with the precious help of Lorenzo who took care of doing the bass, drums, vocals and production parts and several guests in each track. Anyway I take care of writing the tracks, both the compositional solutions and the lyrics. The name “Scent of Darkness” was born by chance. I was looking for advice on social networks, a good name for a Funeral Doom Metal project. A friend of mine suggested “Scent of Darkness”. I liked the name very much and so I chose to call this project that way!
The atmosphere of hopelessness in this sound, lyrics and compositional decisions is very close to me. Doom is felt from start to finish. How is the preparation/the birth of new material happened? Is it a matter of inspiration or increased practice, hard work? Where does the inspiration for a song begin?
Gianluca: I am so pleased with your words! “Insanitude” is a special album, it’s an autobiographical concept album. We have a man who lives closely depression, psychosis, abandonment, disappointment. These stories have been part of my past and in fact “Insanitude” is my past. I wanted to make this album to tell the world: “I’m alive, I don’t forget anything but now I have more will to live”. So I tried to create solemn riffs, that emanate despair. I often like to take walks in desolate and abandoned places during the composition phases. These are so evocative to me. So an important point in writing a track is observation and emotion. It’s not always easy and that’s not always all that’s needed. It definitely matters a lot to practice your instruments a lot so that you can perform and record the pieces to the best of your ability. In these years metal is full of many bands but the demands have also increased. You have to bring to the listeners a product well cared for, especially with a production done well.
In the lyrics and music, the reality of human feelings and personally experienced emotions is felt. About the monsters inside us, about the loss and search for identity. At the same time, the line from the first song “I can feel the pain, I’m not dead yet” pushes to certain reflections. As long as a person feels pain, he is alive. And this pain gives us the strength to compose beautiful art. Is that why you chose this genre for yourself? What brings you exactly to doom metal?
Gianluca: You’re right, it’s exactly as you say. As I told you, in “Reborn” I wanted to send a positive message: “I can feel the pain, I’m not dead yet”. This is because depression, psychosis or any mental problem often leads to resignation and loss of confidence and energy. I know how difficult it is, often words are superfluous but this should not happen. We must not forget that we are the ones who write our own destiny, despite the fact that life is not easy. You can always do something to fight and improve yourself. Monsters, in the end, we build them and for this reason we can also fight and destroy them. I chose to do a funeral doom project for various reasons: first of all because funeral doom reflects cemetery themes, therefore in contact with death or in any case very decadent. In addition to this has influenced the fact that I am a big fan of bands like “Bell Witch”, “Ahab” and “Black Sabbath” and then all bands that play Funeral Doom Metal or Doom Metal. I therefore thought that funeral doom was the right path for me.
Tell us about your cover art, who made it? What meaning did you want to convey? Will the main hero of the album still find the desired peace in the arms of oblivion?
Gianluca: This is the first time I’ve been asked this question, I’m so happy to be able to answer it!
I did the artwork for “Insanitude”, the reason is strictly personal and I knew I had to do it myself in order to best represent it. The character that is in the mirror is me, in a very distorted view though. I actually represented an old “hallucination” of mine. There were times when all I thought about was taking my own life, I would often look in the mirror and see myself differently. In this artwork the subject is miming the act of shooting himself in the head. I didn’t want to create a creepy artwork though, so I worked to make it look almost like an oil painting. The ending of the “Insanitude” story is up for interpretation. The album ends with an arrangement of the soundtrack from the movie “The Shining”. This is because, just as with Jack Torrance, our character descends into madness. So everyone can think of an epilogue in a personal and subjective way. I was interested in sending a positive message both to the listeners and to myself. To make the world understand that people who suffer cannot be discriminated.
What musical projects have served as a guideline, a source of inspiration for you?
Gianluca: There are so many musical influences in “Insanitude”! That’s because I’ve been listening to a lot of music for years, not just metal. Undoubtedly among my inspirations there are “Bell Witch”, “Ahab”, “Black Sabbath” but also “Saturnus” and the project “Doom:VS”. I am particularly close to these bands, they are a huge inspiration for me. Listening also to a lot of classical music and a lot of folk music, I decided to include in this album also atypical elements like acoustic guitars or orchestras. It’s not just music that fascinates me but all art in general. In fact, in the track “Trust Issues” I made a tribute artwork to Zdzisław Beksiński while in “Crowded Solitude” I made a tribute to Vincent Van Gogh. Everything for me can be an inspiration!
You played in other project Vereor Nox. Tell us; what are the main differences, pros and cons of playing in a band and as part of a solo project for you? And why did you decide to leave Vereor Nox?
Gianluca: My years in Vereor Nox were wonderful. Those guys have great qualities and taught me so much, not just musically. The good thing about having several people writing music in a band is that when you don’t have any ideas or are struggling, there is someone there to help you. Whereas if you’re a one man band you only have to think for yourself. If you don’t have ideas one day, that’s a lost day. These things are not always bad, there are musicians who prefer to work alone so they can write what they want and record when they want. It just depends on what you prefer. So mostly I think the “pros” is the ability to play what you want, when you want. The downsides are that you can find yourself in particular situations where nothing you’re writing convinces you but you don’t have anyone to compare yourself to. In Vereor Nox I made an album, there was also “Lorenzo”, my collaborator in Scent of Darkness. We made an album called “Noli Respicere” and we played symphonic black metal. There were no problems with the band, on the contrary, we still have a beautiful friendship! I simply wanted to try a new experience in Funeral Doom Metal and for this I thank Lorenzo again for all the help he is giving me.
What kind of movies do you like? I really like classic horror from your country; it has its own uniqueness. Could you recommend anything that filmed in your country in recent years that is worth paying attention to fans of heavy music or dark cinema?
Gianluca: I really like movies, especially Horror movies and Thrillers! For some years now, however, in Italy there is a lack of content on this topic. That’s why I prefer to recommend movies that are quite old but true works of art. For example, the films of Dario Argento, here in Turin there are many villas where many of his films were shot. Villas that I have visited in person. Or even the genius of Mario Bava or Pupo Avati. There is no shortage of actors, I know many friends who would have an important future if they were offered the chance to act in horror films. Perhaps there is a lack of ambition on the part of producers and directors. From the musical point of view, the Italian scene is very active, luckily there are many metal and heavy metal themed festivals.
Tell us more about how the music scene is developing in your country. How has the musician’s life changed in general due to the Pandemic?
Gianluca: The pandemic in Italy continues to bring serious problems. We are living this situation very closely, being that our nation has been among the most affected. Unfortunately, there have been many problems in any working sector and obviously, among them, art has been very penalized. Many venues have been forced to close or are restarting very slowly. This has unfortunately created inconveniences to many musicians who had organized tours in Italy. It is not easy to see each other to rehearse and record, as well as it is not easy for those who manage music venues to recover expenses. Many musicians here have made crowdfunding campaigns to support themselves, it’s a beautiful thing. We hope that this pandemic can end as soon as possible but, right now, the priority is to try to stay well.
Could you recommend some interesting underground bands from your country?
Gianluca: I know so many important musical projects here in Italy. I would like to mention the great “Eurynome”, a funeral doom metal band of my dear friends and with whom I will collaborate in the future. In addition to them I can’t not mention my old band “Vereor Nox” but also other realities such as the melodic death metal band “Bloody Unicorn” or “Barbarossa”. Another very interesting musical project are “Canticum Diaboli” who play a very aggressive and powerful Black Metal. In this occasion I also mention my dear friends of “Furor Gallico” a folk metal band that I think many people know. Luckily the metal scene is not bad, it’s not inferior to the rest of Europe. There are also a lot of labels like: Earth And Sky Productions, Nero Corvino, Masked Dead Records that offer precious help to musicians.
And according to tradition, in the final question, tell us about the project plans for the future
Gianluca: I have so many projects in mind with Scent of Darkness. I don’t know exactly how long it will take me to accomplish them. First, I will be working on a split album with the band I mentioned earlier, Eurynome. After that, I will most likely take part in some musical collaboration. Luckily I’m getting a lot of requests and we’ll see how they turn out. For next year or in two years, I would like to make a full album with Scent of Darkness, I already have a lot of ideas in mind and I just have to manage them in the best way. Anyway, thank you again for all your valuable and nice questions, I had so much fun today! I send you a warm greeting and a sincere wish for this beautiful webzine. Thank you!