Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Interview: Viola of Camion

Embracing both the whiskey-fueled rock 'n' roll of Motörhead and the fuzzy, herbacious doom metal of Kyusss, Italy's Camion are churning up the Roman landscape with their raucous style of Southern Doom. The band's second release, the A Serenade for Yokels EP, has been out for a year and garnering praise for the band among global critics. Bass player Viola graciously agreed to spend a few minutes answering questions for Harvest Moon Music's Women of Heavy Metal interview series.

[HMM] For readers who may be unfamiliar with Camion, would you introduce the band and describe your role?

Viola of Camion
Photo: Davide Starinieri
[Viola] Camion is a four member stoner metal band from Rome, Italy. Or, at least, we like to call ourself stoner metal. Some agree, some do not. I'm the bass player and beer buyer of the band. If it wasn't for me they would be always sober and totally not groovy.

The bio on your Facebook page says simply "we met. we play." There's gotta be more to it than that, right?

Not really… We were friends, we shared a passion and we had a lot of spare time. So why not start a band? Well, we wanted to be a proper stoner band, but we are hopelessly metalheads. So basically we started playing with a regularly stoner attitude, but then the singer (Fede) started singing… and never has been the same anymore. After a few years Massimetto and his Moog joined us and there we are. So, in the end, we met, we play.

How long had you been playing bass, and were you involved in any other musical projects before Camion?

It's been a while. I had my first bass when I was 14. Now I'm a little bit older. Not that much, just a bit. Never went to solfeggio class and never really studied the instrument. I just started playing trying to follow the bands I liked. Since then I always had bands. Some school projects, a female punk band and a nu metal band. Nothing that last that much.

Camion's sophomore release, the A Serenade for Yokels EP, came out in 2011 - five years since the band's first demo. Why such a long break?

Ah, we started working and time went by. No money saved and one of us (Tix) is a live sound engineer. He has weird working hours…similar to Batman. Sometimes it's difficult even having a beer all together. We kept rehearsing and writing and recording, but then I left Italy for a year. When I came back we had all the songs recorded and we decided that, yes, they were good. It was time to let the world know that we are still here to rock!

Is the songwriting process for Camion a collaborative one? If so, what contributions to the writing of A Serenade for Yokels did you make?

Photo: Davide Starinieri
It all starts with riffs. Riffs that come from the drummer. Yes, the drummer. No mistake. Usually he comes along and plays some stuff. Then we just keep playing since something comes out. So basically it all goes on and ends with riffing and improvisation. Now that we are writing with Massimetto, we had to change our attitude a little bit because the Moog is not an arrangement anymore but is part of the song… it's gonna be the "melodic" part. That is something that we always missed a bit. Hard times are when we have to decide how to start the song and how long a riff should be played. It's quite a collaborative way to make music but sometimes someone just decides the way the song should go…even me.

Where does the inspiration for the band's lyrics come from?

Usually from movies, Lobo (the comic!), zombies and rock 'n' roll. Basically what we do all day.

"Can A Truck Splat A Lollypop" is one of the more oddly titled songs I've come across lately. Is there a story behind it?

In our minds the song should have been kind of a 'summer' song. So Camion should have tried to write something softer. We just couldn't. So we splatted something that should have been sweet.

How has the reaction to the EP been in Italy?

Viola of Camion
Pretty good! We had lots of reviews and some live reviews that are really good. We even had a radio interview that gave us the opportunity to share our music to people that didn't know us. It was pretty good moving outside the usual circle. We didn't expect that much. Probably because we listen to the EP so long that we were not that sure anymore. Lots of people were still exited about our music that we were quite touched.

Have you had much feedback from other countries in Europe and elsewhere?

Yep yep. We had few reviews from around Europe and a review even in Canada… and I've got this personal interview that put me at the top than the other members of the band!

What is it about Southern Doom that drew you to this style of metal?

Sincerely I don't know. It all comes out by itself. We have common influences like Kyuss and Motörhead… but we never thought to walk on a peculiar path. It just happened.

What bands do you feel influence the Camion sound?

Someone compared us to Entombed or to the Unsane jamming with Kyuss. Some other said we are something like Motörhead of Orgasmatron if they came out on Amphetamine Reptile. We are proud and we thank all those crazy people that compared us to all those unreachable giants of music. We all love those bands and we still listen to good music that inspires us every time we rehearse.

Are there any bass players in particular who inspire or influence you?

Oh well. My very first love was Steve Harris. I'd like to say that I follow his steps but, sadly, I didn't.

Do you have any upcoming gigs lined up?

I think so. I mean, I usually take a look on our FB page to remember the gigs we planned. As I'm reading it right now, our next show will be on the 16th November @ Porky's near Rome.

Are there any interesting stories from previous gigs that you'd be willing to share?

We drank 'till 5 a.m. with William Mecum from Karma To Burn. I don't remember that much, but it was awesome. We opened their gig in Rome and it was just like winning the lottery since we are fans of K2B! After the show we just kept drinking and joking and talking with William. And I have his signature on the vinyl that says "hope to play with you again". WOW!

Do you have a favorite song to play live?

I love playing "Route 666". After all this time this song still moves something inside me.

Has Camion begun writing material for a follow-up to A Serenade for Yokels?

Viola of Camion
Photo: Davide Starinieri
Of course! We are half way through a new album that should be ready next spring. This time will be little bit different since we are planning a concept album. We are gonna tell you a story. A splatter story.

If there was one bit of advice that you could give to a woman with aspirations to play bass in a heavy metal band, what would it be?

Just wield your bass, give him or her a name and start playing. Look at all those bands that are having fun whilst playing on stage… it's quite motivating!

Finally, do you have any parting words for your fans and for those who may be reading about Camion for the first time?

If there is any fan out there I wanna thank you. If there are any possible future fans out there click here and listen the full album, because we believe "try before buy". If there is any zombie out there check this out. Last but not least I wanna thank you for your interest in our music and for giving me the opportunity to answer these questions. Horns Up for all of you!

Thank you very much Viola!  I'm looking forward to the new material from Camion and hearing about that splatter story.

1 comment: