EMQ’s with HELLIGATORS
Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Italian Rock’n’Roll band Helligators! Huge thanks to them 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?
Alex: Hi, my name is Alex and I am the drummer. The band is from Rome and formed in 2009. We are going to celebrate our 10th birthday!
Simone: I am Simone and I am the singer. I was a fan of Helligators and then joined the band in 2016.
Kamo: Hi, I’m Kamo, founding member of Helligators and I play guitar. The band was born in 2009! We were just five heavy metal lovers that wanted to have some fun playing whatever we liked as long as it was loud and wild.
How did you come up with your band name?
Alex: Initially, the band’s name was Snakebones. Unfortunately, there was an American band with the same name, so we decided to change it to Helligators. We love it because it’s a mix between an aggressive animal and hell, it represents our music perfectly.
Kamo: Well it wasn’t easy to find a name that we all liked and that wasn’t already used. One night in 2009 in the rehearsal studio we were talking about the name and everyone was giving his input to find something cool and not already used…someone then said to try something with hell like Hellacopters, and someone else said, what about Helligators? Wow…Sounds cool 🙂 So, Helligators it was.
What country are you from and what is the metal/rock scene like there?
Alex: We are from Italy and, believe it or not, there are many incredible bands here. Unfortunately, record companies rarely give them the attention they deserve and we are condemned to remain in the shadows and to be just local ‘heroes’.
Simone: The scene in Rome is actually a very good one, there are many really talented bands and they all work hard. Unfortunately, like Alex says they don’t get the recognition that they deserve. One thing that really sucks though are the venues. Here in Rome we are left with very few venues dedicated to live rock n roll.
Kamo: We’re from Roma, Italy and the metal/rock scene here is great, various and we are like a big family. But heavy metal lovers are maybe 1/1000 of the people…so, there’s no business around the music we make, few clubs where you can play live and it’s very hard to go on, only the well-known passion that every one of us has got allows us to go on like a crazy unstoppable train.
What is your latest release (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Alex: We released our new album “HELL III” in June for Sliptrick Records. As the title said, it’s our third album. We also released the video of the first single ‘Rebellion’.
Simone: Indeed, ”Hell III” was released 4th June 2019 and we are doing our best to promote it and we are very proud of it. We hope the readers are going to check it out and hopefully they will like it. Check out the video for ‘Rebellion’, too.
Kamo: “Hell III” our last album released in June 2019.
Rick here! We have already reviewed the album, courtesy of Alun, and he was very impressed. Read it at the following link!
Who have been your greatest influences?
Alex: Everyone in the band has different influences and musical tastes, so it’s hard to say. Of course we love the all the bands that made Rock’n’Roll great through the years!
Simone: The five of us have different influences and tastes and I think it all comes out when we compose new material. However, we can say that we are all pretty much influenced by straightforward rock and metal. We have been listening to this music for all our lives and it would be difficult to name one inspiration.
Kamo: Well, I’m 47 and I have been listening to Hard ‘n’ Heavy music since I was about 11…so you can imagine what a huge bunch of bands and artist are living in my head? Too many to be named, I’m sorry.
What first got you into music?
Alex: When I was a child, I fell in love with The Beatles. It was the beginning of everything and I consider them the best band ever. Thanks to their albums, I started to love music and to play drums.
Simone: When I was about 6 or 7 years old, I was living in England and discovered rock and roll and heavy metal. It was around 1983-1984 that band like Metallica and Iron Maiden christened me to this world.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Alex: I am a great fan of Metallica and I would love to collaborate with them! I know that this dream will never come true. To be honest, I already feel lucky to have collaborated with many wonderful musicians in my life, even if less famous or unknown.
Simone: If I am allowed to dream, I would say that I would absolutely love to collaborate with Faith No More.
Kamo: Alice In Chains.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Alex: Every festival is ok to play Rock’n’Roll but please, don’t let us play at 12 am with the sunlight! It’s horrible hahahaha!
Simone: Festivals are really cool, there is a great overall feeling and many different bands and even different styles of music. I guess we would be happy to play at any festival but, again, if I have to fantasize, I would say something like the big European summer festivals.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Alex: Fans are so kind and they usually give us wonderful gifts! Once a fan gave us underwear with our logo printed and asked us to wear them during the concert. We said ok! But I am fat and the underwear was too small, so I probably played my most uncomfortable concert in my life!
Kamo: ‘The Pick Of Destiny’ (the same as in the famous movie with Tenacious D), that I still have in my house.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be
Alex: My underwear size is XL! Hahahaha! Seriously, my only message is ‘thank you’! They’re special and make us feel loved everywhere.
Simone: Our fans are great and loyal. We are lucky because they always come out to support us at our shows and appreciate our music. My message to those who support us is THANK YOU, I am honoured. We are nothing without them. Also, take care of each other and respect everyone. Let go of hate and anger.
Kamo: Think seriously about your planet, we all must change our habits and try to save this big rolling ball because it is the only one we have. There isn’t another chance, another place, nothing!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Alex: Difficult question… In the last years many of my heroes passed away… Lemmy, Dio, Malcolm Young, Layne Staley, Dimebag. But it I have to choose just one, Bon Scott. He was unique and I miss a lot his ironic way to be a true rocker.
Simone: Such a difficult question! I would probably bring back Cliff Burton. I always think about how his bass playing would have contributed to rock n roll and metal if he were still around.
Kamo: I would answer Layne Staley (my favourite singer ever) but he was so sick and tired of living that maybe he found some peace finally after his death (and this is so sad), bringing him back to life wouldn’t be a nice gift for him, so the other name is Cliff Burton, he was a big loss for music, and I often wonder how Metallica would have changed if he was still with them.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Alex: To be a musician means to travel a lot and to know new places and people. I love it! And I love the adrenaline on stage. I hate when music isn’t treated as an art.
Simone: The best thing about being a musician is that you get to express yourself in this beautiful and intense language. You can be yourself either in the studio or on stage and it feels amazing. The feeling you get between yourself and the crowd is wonderful. It is a gift. Also, when we get to travel outside of Rome or go abroad to play our music, that’s an amazing experience. Great fun! What I hate about it is the waiting. When you play live you spend most of your time waiting….either for soundcheck or just to go on stage.
Kamo: Playing is a big game, making music with my friends is something that I always wanted to do since I was a teenager… it is also a way to channel your emotions and inner feelings and after all, playing live is a real recharge of my life batteries. There’s a huge energy exchange between the stage and the people that gives us big waves of pure energy…you feel so damn alive and kicking after a good live show!
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Alex: I would change everything. At the moment nothing is good in the music industry. Prices of concerts and CD’s are too expensive. Many people can’t buy a ticket or an album. That’s why illegal downloading is growing every day.
Simone: I would remove all the technology. I miss the days when people actually went out and bought Records or CD’s. The experience has changed. Now, we have a million ways of listening to music that even damages music itself and the people making it.
Kamo: I usually don’t talk about things that I don’t really know. The music industry is a business, it’s all about money. That’s how the world has been going for centuries. The same reason why we are killing our planet! Human kind is driven by the constant achievement of profit and power.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Alex: AC/DC – “Back In Black”. It’s the perfect and immortal Rock’n’Roll album.
Simone: Metallica – “And Justice For All…”. It’s my favourite album of theirs and it kicks ass totally. I am leaving out so many albums that would make this interview endless!
Kamo: Two at least: Metallica – “Master Of Puppets” and Alice In Chains – “Dirt”. But there are so many more jewels to be named.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Alex: I love vinyl but my house is not big, so CD is more comfortable. I hate downloads and digital formats because I like to read lyrics and read every info of an album on a paper booklet.
Simone: Vinyl is amazing, but so are CD’s and tapes. I still go out and buy records. I also love going through the booklets and reading everything from the info to the lyrics and looking at the pics. I am not at all a fan of downloading. You get only half of the whole package.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Alex: I cannot say. Believe or not, I enjoy every single concert we made. It doesn’t matter if there’s a huge crowd or just few people in the club, I will enjoy it with my brothers!
Simone: Yes, I agree. Every gig is great. From the big venue to the tiny club, we always have great fun. However I have to say that a few gigs have a special place in my mind. I remember a really great festival in Latvia and another open air gig here in Rome last summer. Lots of people, great stages and a great all-round vibe!
Kamo: An open air festival in Liepaja in Latvia and the last summer at Parco Schuster in Rome, but even a sold out gig at Jailbreak in Rome…!
But I hope that our best gig will be the next one on October 11th at the Orion in Rome.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Alex: A writer. I love to write about everything and I think I am pretty good. It would be a perfect job for a lazy man like me!
Simone: Unfortunately, we all have day jobs. We wish we could live off music but we can’t anymore. I think I would be doing something close or in the field of humanitarian work.
Kamo: Professional skier!
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Alex: I would invite my band mates! hahahaha! But if they’re busy, I’d invite Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Ozzy, Alice Cooper and James Hetfield. Of course, I will not pay the bill!
Simone: I would also have to say my band mates…just like Alex. However, thinking outside the box, I would invite Chewbacca, Obi Wan Kenobi, R2D2, Weird Al Yankovic and Darth Vader!
Kamo: Donald Trump, Putin, Bolsonaro, Angela Merkel and the president of China (I don’t remember his name atm)!
What’s next for the band?
Alex: We are going to promote the new album in the only way that we know and prefer: playing our music everywhere!
Simone: Gigs, gigs, gigs and more gigs. We want to take “HELL III” out to as many places we can.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Alex: You can find us on every web platform!
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Alex: It’s a biscuit! But if you disagree, I will eat a thousand to understand!
Simone: Cake? Biscuit? Whatever, just gimme em all! Hahahaha!
Kamo: It’s hard to say…in Italy we call that “pasticcini”!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Alex: I just want to thank you for supporting Helligators and to say to all the rockers around the world: support the music!
Simone: First of all thanks so much for the support and the hard work you put into supporting music and bands in general. We hope people will read this and check us out.
To everyone reading this: Hope to see you somewhere along the way and keep supporting all the great bands out there!
“Stay on the roads. Keep clear of the moors. Beware the moon, lads.”
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