#Notturno 🇮🇹 #Interview

5 min read

Bringing together aspects of depressive black metal, doom and chamber music, Italy’s Notturno is the brainchild of Vittorio Sabelli. Composing both lyrics and music himself, Vittorio brought in vocalist Kjiel and drummer Sven for the project’s debut album, Obsessions. Recently released on Hypnotic Dirge Records, the album is a fierce, dark and sometimes beautiful listening journey.

I caught up with Vittorio to learn more.

Thanks for agreeing to this interview for Blessed Altar Zine. First of all, should we call Notturno a band or a solo project?

Vittorio: Thanks to Blessed Altar Zine for the invitation and interest in my new Notturno project. We can talk about Notturno as a duo made up of me and Kjiel on vocals, with the addition of the French drummer Sven.

Obsessions is the first Notturno record. How has the reception been and how happy are you with the way the album turned out? 

Vittorio: To be honest, I didn’t expect Notturno to touch so deeply the chords of the listener, even if it was written in this mood. When a new project comes to life it is always very stimulating to understand the reactions of listeners, and at least in this first period the feedback, reviews and interest behind Notturno are gratifying us a lot. While it was a very troubled record for the making. I had to do several rehearsals while writing the record and sometimes I thought that I would never release it because I couldn’t achieve the result I had in mind. I let it settle for over a year, and then the turning point of including Kjiel in the voice opened the right path and here we are talking about Notturno.

What was the process like making the record? Was it enjoyable? Were there any major challenges? 

Vittorio: I usually work on several projects at the same time, and I often use phrases, riffs or other elements that I particularly like in both projects, and then naturally develop them in a completely different way depending on where I want the music to go. Notturno is very different from my previous projects and as I said, it was a very tormented process rather than fun. Precisely to create such a gloomy and paranoid mood I tried to work on it in some ‘more particular’ periods for me, because my intention was to transmit the sensations I had in those moments through the microphones. I don’t have a standard composition method, sometimes I start with an arpeggio rather than a bass line or in the case of the opening track Fear with a simple drum intro which then develops and evolves into the actual track. So, the biggest challenge is to find the moments with the right mood and state of mind to set my visions to music.

There is a very strong atmosphere to this record. What impression do you want to leave on the listener with these tracks?

Vittorio: Nocturne leaves the whole world outside the walls of our homes! When your eyes begin to become familiar with the dark, that’s where ghosts emerge, unreal worlds, your subconscious that often leaves you awake all night … This is the world of Notturno, a world that leaves no room for light but only to the inner search of one’s self, of the continuous daily struggle that we all face, and not with others, but alone.

You’ve played in other bands before. What were the reasons for creating this project and this album? 

Vittorio: I could say that Dawn of a Dark Age is my ‘warm’ side, the A side, the one that lives in the daylight, many musicians and many sounds, with a lot of historical research, while Notturno is the B side, the most intimate, hidden part , which digs deeply until it touches you in the gut. Two different ways of telling stories, my stories and my visions. In the case of Notturno, Kjiel’s unique and desperate expressiveness makes my idea even more marked and exasperated. Notturno was born very spontaneously as if to give voice to a more hidden part of my being that I wanted to come out in the form of notes and silences.

Were there any non-musical influences that had an impact on the making of the record?

Vittorio: At the base of an album there are always many factors that in an unconscious or real way influence the trend, such as the weather, the sun, the moon, books, travel and much more. It might be strange for listeners and fans of extreme music (and not only), but when I start writing songs, they are influenced by the most unthinkable factors, which characterize their progress during construction and development.

Do you have plans to perform this music live? 

Vittorio: It is a more than concrete hypothesis but not in the short term. We have other projects both me and Kjiel to carry out and at this moment preparing Notturno live would mean not being able to give 100% of ourselves. This is not my way of making music, where each project requires maximum energy and concentration, but surely we will talk about it again in some time …

What other music have you been enjoying recently?

Vittorio: I’m working on the eighth album of Dawn of a Dark Age, the third on the trilogy dedicated to my ancestors, the Samnites, which follows “Le Forche Caudine” and “La Tavola Osca”, which should be ready in 2023.

For our readers, what’s one book and one record they might not be familiar with that you’d recommend they check out?

As a book I say Notturno by Gabriele D’Annunzio, a writer who was born in Pescara (the city of Kjiel and near my house), from which I took inspiration for the name of the band. While an album that I recently discovered is Melancolie Urbaine by the French netra, a mix between hurban hip-hop and depressive black metal, an unusual but really intriguing and fascinating formula.

Finally, is there anything else you’d like to mention or promote?

Vittorio: I take this opportunity to thank Nicolas of Hypnotic Dirge for believing in Notturno and for the fantastic production he’s making for the album. As usual, I close the interviews by asking readers to always support Underground music, in this case through the official channels of the label, and by sharing our music, which may seem like a trivial act but it is the best method there can be to spread our music. Thanks to BAZ for this space dedicated to us and to all those who are supporting and will support Notturno!

interview: Tom Osman

Thanks to Vittorio for his time. Obsessions — the debut album by Notturno — is available now from Hypnotic Dirge Records.



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