gianni berretta talks about the new album in the works

Hi Gianni, how are you? First of all, thanks for taking the time to do the interview with us. Can you give us a little background on how you got into the music scene?

Hi, I’m doing alright. Hope all is well on your end. I’ve played in bands since I was around 15. A lot of my friends were very creative and played instruments, so music was always present in my life in many ways. I was inspired to pick up the bass guitar when I heard bands like Type O Negative, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Deep Purple, and Motorhead.

I’ve always been drawn to big, bold, heavy sounds and lyrical themes.

I wanted to learn everything I could about playing and making music so I worked on as many aspects of the craft as I could. I started by playing along with my favorite records, then playing in a couple of jam and cover bands. From there, I had written my first songs and put a band together. We played around locally for 3-4 years and eventually disbanded. After that, I played in a slew of other bands in different musical situations (punk, rock, jam, noise, blues, industrial, metal etc.). They all required different skill sets and really taught me a lot about working creatively and how to think on my feet.

Was music always in you since you were a kid? Who did you grow up listening to?

It definitely was. I had keyboards, guitars, a xylophone and a recorder. Music that I’d hear around would always stick with me. I’d play pieces of music I’d hear on the television, radio or on records. I loved recording and manipulating audio (sounds, music, voices) using one of those toy tape recorders. I still have those tapes today. My attraction to slow and heavy tunes started back then as I would take my mom’s vinyl records and play them real slow on this toy record player I owned. The music always sounded cooler to me that way.

Growing up I listened to Type O Negative, Carnivore, Black Sabbath, The Beatles and Pink Floyd to name a few. I’ve always been drawn to music that I felt was genuine and that came from a place of real human experience. The songwriting and sounds from these bands immediately attracted me. I also felt I could relate to the themes in some way.

When did you realize that music is what you really want to pursue as a career?

I realized that I wanted to pursue music when I first heard the bands that inspired me to play. I just want to make music at a very high level with people that are just as passionate about it as I am. Every aspect of this craft: performance, writing/arranging, production, recording, mixing etc. fulfills me in a way that nothing else does. That’s why, despite the many disappointments, I continue to work.

Every career path has some sort of difficulty. If you’re going to experience a hard time, it might as well be doing the work you love.

It’s very tough being in the entertainment industry. How do you handle the challenges? Any tips and advice for younger artists?

I think the tried and true method to get through any challenge is to have a positive attitude and a sense of self-worth. The music I write is gloomy and paints a dark picture of the world, but that’s one aspect of my personality/perspective. That’s the sound and intent I’m attracted to when expressing that side of myself. It’s therapy. I look at every challenge as an opportunity to grow and come out stronger. This is how I deal with people and situations that I’d rather not deal with. I try not to let my fears get the better of me and I make sure to work on my craft every day for as much time as I can.

Things don’t have to be butterflies and rainbows every day either because that extreme of perception is equally harmful. Find a balance within yourself, enjoy the good moments and victories and use the defeats as learning experiences to fuel your growth. At the end of the day, if you’re lucky enough to be healthy and working towards a career of your choice (music in this case), you’re blessed to do so because you could’ve been fated to work in some foreign sweatshop as a human robot. Perspective is key.

I’d say the number one thing for artists is to be an asset and a team-player. Always strive to learn new skills and techniques and bring value to the band or project. We live in a time where you need to take the bull by the horns if you want to get something done. You won’t be able to do it alone though. Surround yourself with good, trustworthy people.

Can you tell us about your band House of Dusk? How did that come about?

House of Dusk is, for lack of better words, a doom metal band inspired by the likes of Type O Negative, Carnivore, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, The Beatles and Life of Agony among others. It’s heavy, melodic, gloomy music with themes based on life, love, sex, and death. While playing in other bands, I had been writing House of Dusk music for a couple of years with the intention of getting this band going. I feel this band and its music truly represent what I want my musical contribution to be.

 

So you’re a singer/songwriter, and you also produce and do the mixing and all that. That’s quite a lot of responsibilities. How do you manage your time?

I fund the work through working a couple of day jobs. I try to keep my schedule very flexible. I spend most of my free time in my studio working till early in the morning. Different situations call for different “hats” to be worn so if I need to be writing for a while, I’ll prioritize that while making production and mix decisions during the process. I also make lots of notes and regularly get critiqued by people I trust so that I am always making progress. I don’t work in a complete vacuum. I don’t know where I’d be with the process if it wasn’t for those great people in my life. I’ve thus worked out a system for myself to maximize efficiency. It still takes time but I love it and to me, it’s the only way forward as I’ve done the band thing every other way to no avail.gianni_studio

 

Your guitar riffs are really good, by the way! Are you always experimenting? I’m curious to know your workflow in general. Can you share that with us?

Thanks for the kind words. It’s appreciated. I’ve experimented for many years before finding a vibe that I felt truly expressed my intentions. That vibe is usually my go-to when writing. I always make the conscious effort not to deviate too far from it. As far as riffs go, I’ll sit down with an emotion I want to explore or song idea and will set my tone so that I’m feeling inspired. I’ll write with the bass, guitar, keys or sometimes I’ll program a beat. Sometimes there’s a vocal idea and I’ll write around that. Recently, I’ve been sitting down with a song title and will play what I think the title should sound like. Usually, the riff starts out one way and evolves as the other instruments get added. Throughout the process, I am plugged into my recording rig and will build songs or pieces of songs by recording everything I do. I always consider the roles of all the instruments and how they are working together when writing so essentially the work evolves over time. At times, I’ll even grab the acoustic guitar, go sit on the toilet and work out a basic arrangement. The bathroom where I live is quiet and has great acoustics so I’ve been known to disappear there for a good while. Most of the new House of Dusk record was worked out on the toilet. I don’t stop until I am completely happy with what I’m hearing and will rearrange or transpose elements until everything is doing what I feel it needs to.

You’re working on your new album, correct? What’s the explanation behind the new record, the driving force?

That’s right. It’s a ten-song affair. Most of the songs are of the longer variety: 6,7,8-10 minutes with some shorter 3-4 minute ones as well. I like to vary the tempos in songs so you’ll get rocking moments interspersed with end of the world riffs. On top of that, a free doom and gloom cover of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” will be released.

I’ve seen and experienced a lot of darker times in these past ten years with deaths, disappointments, break-ups, betrayals, and hardships, so that subject matter fuelled the content and creation of the record.

This collection of music is my coming to terms with those darker times and the heavier emotions that came with them. The record was written so that I could re-arrange it in interesting ways when played live. I wanted to create something that would inspire me to provide a really interesting life experience.

And when will it be out?

I’m mixing the record now so it will be out in the next couple of months barring any unforeseen issues. This is a completely independent endeavor. There’s no label or government support and no outside funding other than what’s in my wallet. To get this done the way it needs to be done, I had to take on most of the tasks. I’ve worked with some cool engineers in the past but the reality is that they’re only going to give a certain amount of effort on the project. All they’ve invested is some paid time. I have found that the love the job needs is not really put in by these folks as they are disconnected from the work, ask for thousands and would have to prioritize other projects as well, increasing the time it would take for revisions and project completion. I do understand the reason as to why they operate that way however, I really didn’t want to be disappointed with the results this time. It really is a labor of love for me.

I got to listen to the teaser of “Thy Will Be Done”. The intro is EVERYTHING! It’s sort of dreamy to me. Are you going to release the full song soon?

Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’d love nothing more than to release all the music now but the mixes are quite extensive and need to be worked. The first stuff to be released will be the two singles “She Lives Evil” and “Letting Night”. There are some teasers of those tunes up on the SoundCloud page, so do go check them out.

 

What do you want the listeners to take away from your new record?

I realize we live in a time of 15-second attention spans so firstly I’m hoping that there’s still some metal album fans out there that would love to go for a real trip while listening to this record. Secondly, I hope that listeners will relate to the material and get from it what I have gotten from my favorite records. Those I worked with in the making of the record, such as Drummer Jules Pampena and Systems Two Engineer Max Ross are highly skilled, passionate individuals who truly care about the quality of their output. That came forth in their work on this record so I hope people hear all the love that went into this thing.

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Are there other bands that are/were biggest influences on you?

The bands I named earlier on are the ones that turned me on to doing this work. Cream, The Obsessed, The Misfits and The Ramones are some other bands that have inspired me. Dead Can Dance, Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy and The Cure are also influences. A Pale Horse Named Death and Silvertomb are two newer bands out of Brooklyn, New York that I enjoy listening to.

You’re based in Montreal, right? Do people in your town support metal? Or just independent artists in general?

Yeah, that’s right. For the time being, I am stationed here in Montreal until I manage my escape. People here do support metal and every other type of music you could think of.

It’s a very artistic city which is also a bit of a problem because everyone in your audience is in a band or plays an instrument and is therefore hard to impress or jaded. Touring outside the city usually helps with that.

For the type of music you do, it’s always best to listen live. Do you plan on touring?

Yes, after the singles and accompanying videos are released, I will be assembling a band to get on the road.

Before we wrap up, I wanna ask you what you think of the current state of the music industry, especially in the rock and metal genre.

It’s a great time for creators as all the tools are at your disposal, so for someone like me, turning a musical vision into reality is actually doable. It’s harder to get out on the road for longer because of the cost. Initially, spending on touring has to be more conservative as the band is paying to be out there. There’s still great music being made by very talented artists but unfortunately, the most sterile and safe music is what gets the most support. More than ever, it’s all about what can make the quickest, easiest buck at the lowest risk. It’s very disappointing. All that stuff sounds like one long cell phone commercial. I think it’s one of the most difficult times to be a musician because stupidity, superficiality, and novelty are at the forefront. Not only are you competing with other bands but you’re competing against cats, dogs, and rabbits on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram. It’s just all backward.

Anything you’d like to say to your fans?

Thank you and follow House of Dusk on Facebook, Instagram, and Soundcloud. Keep an eye out for the band on the road and let me know what you think. Take it easy.

FOLLOW HIM ON SOCIAL MEDIA: 

Facebook: facebook.com/houseofdusk
Instagram: instagram.com/houseofdusk