EMQ’s with BLACK PHANTOM
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Milan, Italy based Trad Heavy Metal band Black Phantom. Huge thanks to vocalist Manuel Malini, for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Hi, I’m Manuel, the lead singer of Black Phantom. The band was born as a solo project of Andrea Tito, bass player and main composer of Mesmerize during a break from the band’s activities, in 2014. He had a number of songs that were not complete thus had never actually been recorded. So, with the help of Andrea Garavaglia and Luca Belbruno (bandmates drummer and guitarist in Mesmerize) he started working on these songs, then asked me and the other guitarist Roberto Manfrinato if we wanted to join the project (both Roberto and I play in a traditional metal cover band called Eruption). Song after song we wrote and our debut album “Better Beware!”, was released by Punishment 18 Records in 2017. This was followed by intense live activity, thanks to which, we became more and more a real band. In the meantime, our current drummer Ivan Carsenzuola joined us and replaced Andrea G. two years ago. The music we play can be identified as Traditional Heavy Metal: we love the 80’s sound of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, so if you like these bands you can appreciate our band too.
How did you come up with your band name?
The name of the band was chosen by Andrea because he wanted a direct, simple name, that would fit in the “metal” world and that could be pictured by a real character: scary and menacing, if possible. If you see the covers of our records, they’re just about that. Let’s say that the name of the band and the visual concept were born and developed together.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We come from northern Italy, near Milan. The rock/metal scene here is not the best, there are only a few clubs that support this kind of music nowadays and even the organization of the various events is never easy. However, in our area there are good bands that make great music with which we collaborate when possible and with which we have good relationships.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
On March 20th our second CD “Zero Hour is Now” was released, again by the label Punishment 18 Records, and we are really proud of this work. I think we were able to raise the bar of the overall quality compared to the first album. These songs are the result of what comes from our heart, we write and play exactly what we feel and like, without calculations and I think the final result is there to show that Traditional Metal really flows in our veins in a genuine way.
Who have been your greatest influences?
I can only mention all the classic metal of the 80’s, from Iron Maiden to Judas Priest. Personally, I also listen to more modern things and try to go as far as possible in genres other than metal but in the end the imprinting roots always prevail!
What first got you into music?
I started singing as a boy almost as a joke, just to have fun with a group of friends. Things then became more and more serious and over time I always tried to get involved and improve with study and experience. I think at any level you have to try to improve and be curious to discover new things.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Iron Maiden was the band I’ve always listened to since I was a kid and it would be an obvious choice for me. The other band I really loved as a kid is Blind Guardian, so it would be real great to do a duet with Hansi Kürsch!
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
There are some wonderful festivals around the world, and it would be great to play in all of them!! Maybe because of the importance in the “metal” world, playing at Wacken would be really an experience and an important part of any metal band’s career.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Unfortunately, nothing in particular! We are actually waiting for the launch of women’s underwear at the next live shows! Haha!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
I think that’s what we do with our music, which is to do what you really feel. As I was telling you, we do the kind of music that we love and really believe in. I believe that this kind of attitude then comes to light when you listen to our songs: the message is follow your heart, believe in what you do, and you will never have regrets!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
One of the greatest metal artists who left too soon and would surely continue to write great music is Chuck Schuldiner. Certainly him, then other big metal names like Ronnie James Dio or Lemmy.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
The best thing is always playing your own songs live and see the appreciation and enjoyment of the people who come to see you. Personally, I also appreciate the whole writing and birth phase of new songs, I always find it very stimulating. What I hate is all the bad business that surrounds the music world, I’m talking about stuff like “pay to play” or agencies / record companies that exploit bands by asking them to pay money for anything.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
You should go back to producing music and bring out who’s really good and offer something good. Today, by investing a lot of money, it is possible to play on the shoulders of large groups without any real merit.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
In metal, I’ll give you three: “The Number Of The Beast” – Iron Maiden, “Painkiller” – Judas Priest and “Nightfall In Middle-Earth” – Blind Guardian. Apart from that field, I think an absolutely perfect rock album is definitely “The Dark Side Of The Moon”. I love Pink Floyd.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
The way music is enjoyed has changed for sure in the last 20 years. Digital is now the main listening format among young people and of course we are also on the main online music platforms. Having said this, I’m still tied to the physical format whether it’s CD, cassette or vinyl. It represents in my opinion a different way of approaching music. I remember waiting for a record to come out, the magic of flipping through the booklet for the first time and the attention in hearing a record for the first time. Nowadays things have changed, and, in some cases, we have lost that very attention placed in the music and in the efforts of a band.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Supporting our first album we had the chance to play at quite important festivals, here in Italy: I can mention the Padova Metal Fest, one of the most important metal gigs in northern Italy where we had the pleasure to open for Necrodeath; the Rock Inn Somma, another very important festival; but also the support given to Iron Savior with our mates of Drakkar and Airborn.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
If I had more free time, I would spend it doing some sport, I’m very passionate about football, and I would always have liked to learn how to play tennis.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
One is enough. Candlelight dinner with Scarlett Johansson!
What’s next for the band?
The plans were to make a string of support dates for the new album, but unfortunately, what has happened with the Coronavirus, the resulting global quarantine and the total shutdown of all shows has blocked everything. Right now, in the absence of live shows, we’re focusing on writing new songs from home.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
We have an official Facebook page www.it-it.facebook.com/bewaretheBP/
Please go there and leave a “Like” for our latest news.
We also have an e-commerce site www.blackphantom.bigcartel.com/
There, you can find our two CD’s and all the band’s merchandise.
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Never tried, in Italy unfortunately they are not marketed; seen on the internet I can answer with … biscuit cakes!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
First of all, we thank you very much for your questions and the space you are giving us. I would like to invite all readers to spend some time listening to what Black Phantom has to offer! If you love the sounds of Traditional Heavy Metal, I am reasonably sure that our music will be just right for you!
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