Interview by Ali Blackdiamond
MEMBERS OF GOD were born in Italy in April 2009 from an idea of Enzo Donnarumma. The sound that the project aimed to achieve mixes prog- symphonic metal elements with highly researched orchestral lines, quoting also the Jewish folk music scene. Even more sophisticated is the meaning inside the ideology and the texts, strictly linked with Christian metal. Through a passionate theological study, the singer Donnarumma shared with the Pinto brothers the idea of Christ speaking through metal. The band’s current album release is entitled “Ten Talking Words.”
METAL SHOCK FINLAND‘s Ali Blackdiamond recently caught up with the band to find out more:
Hi and welcome to Metal Shock Finland, how are you today?
Hi, we’re really fine thanks. It’s a pleasure and a honor for us to be received on Metal Shock Finland.
For people who do not know MEMBERS OF GOD, can you please tell them about yourselves and your music?
Mmm, sometimes when it’s so easy it’s so hard. Well, it’s better to start with the easy things:
we’re musician, we do music for passion, fun and work. Everyone of us started his own musical journey in different ways but in the end we came up loving the same music : Rock and Metal, the progressive side above all. So we do what we love, we play Progressive Metal, with a huge symphonic side, and we added the traditional Jewish Folk music. Our prog is not to be intended as the fast and virtuoso stuff, although we really appreciate it, but as a way of writing and doing music.
Yes, we do have strange time signature and fast solos, but the more progressive work is done with melodies, with arrangements, with the lyricism, with the sound. And of course with the lyrics and the themes, and we’re going talk about that.
This is the list of us and our role:
Jesus of Nazareth: Singer and Acoustic Guitars
Myriamor: Singer and backing vocals
Alex “Uriel” Pinto: Lead Guitars and choirs
Gianluca “Jahn” Pinto: Bass
Roberto Pinto: Keyboards and Synths
Pasquale D’Angioilllo: Drums and Percussion
The hard things : well, we’re musicians, everybody knows that “it’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll”
The idealogy of the band is a little more unusual in the world of metal, can you tell me about the process that led to the formation of MEMBERS OF GOD and why you chose Christian metal as your genre?
The project began to take life when Enzo, our singer, felt the need and the duty to share his Faith with everyone, using a very strong way of communication : Metal music. We can say we met on the internet, than we met physically and he proposed us his project. We soon fell in love with the demos and we started to work together really fast. Of course we needed a drummer, because the founding members are the signer, the guitarist, the bassist and the keyboardist (interesting things : guitarist Alex and bassist Jahn are brothers, and keyboardist Rob is their cousin), and so we starting to search for a Drum man.
We didn’t really choose Christian Metal, it was simply the natural outcome of our wish to share our thoughts, our belief. And we want to spend few words about that:
It’s not an easy theme to talk about it. But we don’t really feel like prophets or big connoisseur of theological knowledge. Our approach is humble but we feel the duty to give back to Christ’s Words his authentic polemic and provocative essence and soul. His Words has been adapted to a gooder ideology of some religious cults that took His Words to an impractical moralism that will offend Himself.
We dare to say that Christ is Metal, that His message of sweetness/violence is still so much modern, and we believe that who denies His Word didn’t really have the opportunity to know it. We really believe to the promises and the message of the Word of God, we believe that Heaven is here, now. This doesn’t mean, as a lot of people thinks and cults professes, that we reject the good things of life : we love Metal, we love freedom, we love wine, we love tears and joy and every good thing life give us. We’re learning to love how to “give” for the love of it.
This is basically what is in and behind Ten Talking Words, our debut concept album.
How much research goes into the content of your songs and how do you go about writing your material?
There’s a lot of research, but at the same time the contents are spontaneous, because it is just what we are, as person, as Christians, as musicians. Our writing is meticulous in the orchestral arrangements, is violent in the timing, with hard metal riffs. It is sweet in the melodies, sometimes rude. But the most important aspect of our writing is that it comes up after the words. Music for the words, just like Monteverdi said. We internalize the stories, the lyrics, and we just give musical life to them. It may sounds factitious but to us it is just so spontaneous. Anyway we also work on single ideas, but we don’t really say our songs can be attributed to a single member. Our songs are the songs of Members of God.
The band’s influences are quite main stream in the genre of metal, for example: Alice Cooper, Deep Purple and Nightwish. As your music is so different, to what extent do those musicians influence you as a band?
Deep Purple really doesn’t appear in our music, but we mention them for the respect we have for their music and their role in Rock Music.
Alice Cooper is a great musician, who give an huge attention to the live aspect: he is not only a musician, but a phenomenal actor and frontman, his live are just spectacular and emotional.
Nightwish are a symphonic metal band. Although our orchestral lines are so different compared to their we know they did and do a great job in the metal scenes. Purist may be annoyed reading these lines, but to us they are a strong and really good band.
And hey, we have a female singer (Miryamor) who loves, as we love too, the voice of Tarja Turunen, ex Nightwish singer.
Your debut album “Ten Talking Words” was released last year, what kind of reaction has it received so far?
A really good reaction. We’ve honestly expected a good reaction, because of the love, passion Faith and work we put in Ten Talking Words, but it goes even better, we’re proud of it. But what we’re happy for is that a lot of people not only liked our music, but started to get into our message, that is what we’re playing for. Of course as a band we need time, more experience, more live shows, more fans, more persons who wants to change their lives, but we believe this is going to come if we follow His path and will.
Can you tell me more about the songs on the album and do you have a favourite?
Our concept album is made of 17 songs, 7 of which are intros, outro, interludes and preludes.
Ten songs, Ten Talking Words, Ten Commandments. Our songs are not long as most of progressive metal songs. We had our space and time for instrumental craziness and solos, but we tried not to lost the sense, the message into infinite notes and long stuff (still long life to Dream Theater, one of our biggest influence with Shadow Gallery).
We fuse Prog Metal aspects with Classical Elements, quoting the Jewish Folk Music, with the use of ethnic instruments of that area. You can really hear all of that in “Don’t Murder”, that is not our favourite song (we can’t choose a single one, it is all a single thing), but it is the song that sums up all the aspects of what Members of God are.
What was the hardest moment in the band’s history, and how was it resolved?
The research of a drummer. We could spend so many words about that that a book will not be enough. We changed more than ten drummers, for various motivations.
How do we resolve that? It’s pretty easy : With Faith.
You describe your live shows as “fusing the energy of metal with intense and significant representation of iconographic and mystical items, in a very original way.” Can you tell the readers about the MEMBERS OF GOD live experience?
What we want to do, what we propose is a Metal concert in every aspects, but also a theatrical shows. People need to listen but also to see, and we give them what we thing they need. Just thinks about Alice Cooper, or Rammstein, they do great live shows. They involve people on every side.
Our live are theatrical not only to look cool, but to give strength to our message, to let people see that Faith is not suffer and reject of life, but joy, energy, passion, love.
Do you have any plans to play shows in Finland?
Actually we don’t, but it will great and we’re looking forward to it. Sure Members of God will be in Finland, and we’re expecting you to be in the first lines just under the stage!
What are your aims for the band over the next 10 years and what is next for MEMBERS OF GOD?
This is a good question. People singing your songs while you’re playing for them, people enjoying your music, people sharing Christ’s Words and Message, people feeling happy to believe, to live this wonderful life, this divine gift. That is what we expect.
We’re now working on a second album, and we can’t wait to get in the studio for the recordings. We have a lot of material and stuff for the next album. We’re also programming a live tour, just stay tuned for our news.
Please feel free to leave a final message for your fans and the METAL SHOCK FINLAND readers.
Of course we want to thank our followers, who’re giving great moments to us.
We want to thank Metal Shock Finland for the space, the time and the cordiality showed us.
Thanks to the over 30 000 people (monthly) all around the world who read about us on Metal Shock Finland.
And thanks to God, for His immense Love.
Greetings from Italy,
Members of God.
Thanks for your time!
Check out the new video for “It’s Saturday” below:
For more information check out this location
Official website: www.membersofgod.com