‘’I was born in a small village in the mountains of Molise (a region in Central Italy) and the only music I knew as a boy was the opera music that my father made me listen to, the folk and street band music where I started playing the clarinet. When I was around 14, I started listening to metal music (I have to thank Enrico Di Camillo, a high school friend of mine who moved from Rome and gave me tapes of Metallica, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and more) and it's understandable that it was immediately dazzling for me. Since then, I have always wanted to insert the clarinet into extreme music, since it had never been done before me, and here we are after over 30 years talking about the addiction (or passion) it causes...
The new Notturno album is ‘’Inside”. An individual creation from the ever-evolving talents of multi-instrumentalist Vittorio Sabelli where the entire musical spectrum is explored and the emotions that are represented within. ‘’Inside’’ is not only an extreme album that includes all musical genres and instruments but a continual evolution that continues from its predecessor ‘Obsessions’’.
''As in all my projects, no album is designed to live in its own light, but it is the natural beginning of a journey. In the specific case of Notturno the first two albums differ in many factors even if they are held together by a subtle common thread. Compared to "Obsessions" you will be able to hear many parts entrusted to clarinets and piano as well as the inclusion of a male voice (Davide Straccione of Shores of Null) on three songs.
It also heavier yet more expressive?
‘’I don't know if it's heavier than "Obsessions" but it's certainly more intimate and painful, both musically and for the lyrics. The chamber music approach is certainly more evident than the previous one and much more intimate and rich in dynamics, ranging from pianissimo to fortissimo, creating very different soundscapes within the pieces.
The inspiration to incorporate chamber/orchestral music into the heavier doomier sections? It gives it a spiritual otherworld feeling?
‘’Precisely the inclusion of clarinets, piano and other instruments give "Inside" a deeper and spiritual touch, much closer to my way of understanding and writing music, which has its roots both in the music of my territory and in chamber music and symphony for clarinet. These elements give Notturno a further touch of uniqueness within the panorama of extreme music.
Does being classically trained allow you to think more creatively and add extra instruments into Notturno with sacrificing its rawer elements?
‘’I refer to the previous answer because I do not sacrifice the heavier parts, rather I think about the direction and balance that the piece must have and based on these elements I build its structure from the first to the last note. Playing wind instruments certainly helps me create dynamics and variety between sections in a very clear way
How do you create such large soundscapes? Is it thought or emotion that leads to their creation?
‘’It really depends on my mood and the period in which I write the songs. Autumn is certainly a season that particularly inspires me for both the music and the lyrics of Notturno. Above all, the lyrics are a very intense journey into the depths of the human soul and psyche: they speak of obsessions, fears, anxieties that somehow permeate the self-control system and create discomfort, worry, nightmares, which sometimes, however, reveal a way forward exit…sometimes!
Kjiel’s vocals are prefect for such expression. What bought about the collaboration?
‘’When I started writing the first songs for what is now Notturno I did several tests with male voices, but when I contacted Kjiel a few sentences were enough to understand that she was the voice of Notturno. Every sentence, every second is thought based on her way of expressing himself. She has dynamics ranging from whispered to fortissimo that can rarely be heard in the entire panorama of extreme music and these characteristics are even more evident on the new album.
The desperation with the vocal lines of ‘’No Passion’’? what is no passion? is it giving up to the inevitable?
‘’We are always looking for something we don't have but really don't need. We are capable of spending an entire life searching for empty and futile goals that in the end we lose sight of the day, the night, the breath, the beauty that surrounds us and sooner or later, when we stop for a moment, we find ourselves reflecting with lost time. A sort of hymn to live today with passion, dedication and love, therefore the opposite of surrendering to the inevitable, a sort of awareness and fight to live in this moment.
How do you compare that to the more introspection of ‘’Autumn Leaves”’?
‘’It is difficult to compare the two songs, but they certainly have a common direction, that of time. While in No Passion we move forward emptily without objectives, without passion, Autumn Leaves is the moment to stop, to look inside and reflect. Savouring the scent and colour of the autumn leaves as they fall is a bit like a mirror of the flow of our life over time. So waking up and wondering if ghosts, nightmares or reality are part of the dream or real...
The darkness and light within your music? And the duality of hope versus despair?
‘’I believe that all life is lived as a sort of balance between the parts, and this concept is the basis of my musical compositions. Each dark section must be contrasted with a sort of light at the end of the tunnel, or a slow section must be contrasted and followed in a natural way by a more aggressive one. In Kjiel's interpretations, this false hope mixed with desperation is expressed in a much livelier and touching way thanks to all the nuances she manages to give in every single word or sentence.
‘’Darkness brings us into contact with ourselves, with the deepest intimacy of our soul and our psyche. This is the moment that gives life to Notturno's compositions, and fear is absolutely not that of the dark or of the night but that (as told in "Obsessions") of a caress, of a kiss. The real fear is that of living today and of real people.
Is Inside itself part of a larger work? And the possible follow up?
‘’I refer back to the first answer by reiterating that each of my projects is never thought of as a single part but as part of a macro-musical journey. Now I'm working on some ideas but where they will go and what they will result in is too early to say. The thing I can say is that we are in the middle of autumn, and the leaves are falling...
Are you comfortable with being labelled DSBM?
‘’Absolutely not. As I mentioned before, I come from musical backgrounds ranging from street bands to Symphony Orchestra and Jazz. I have been fortunate and curious to have explored many different genres that are an integral part of my 360-degree projects, so it would be very simplistic to categorize Notturno (as well as the other projects) into a single, well-defined genre.
What is next for you creatively?
‘’This is a great question! Many say that I am too productive (in fact this year albums by Notturno, Dawn of a Dark Age and the brand new A.M.E.N. were released) but personally I think that if you want to be a composer as a job you can't wait for divine inspiration to come down from heaven but every day you have to write. Sometimes ideas are good and sometimes seem very ugly to you. I made this introduction to tell you that every day I experiment in my work, and I try to add a piece to my projects because I am convinced that sooner or later creativity or stimuli will end. Therefore, as long as I have the curiosity to try new compositional approaches and above all ideas to develop within music, I will continue this path of mine!
Top 6 albums of all time?
‘’The list should be discussed longer, as each of the albums represented for me something that pushed me to explore and study different genres for years and years. Above all, they are albums that, decades later, continue to give me that feeling as if I were listening to them for the first time, even after thousands of listens
1 Led Zeppelin – II
2 Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
3 Beatles – The White Album
4 Pink Floyd – The Wall
5 Satyricon – Nemesis Divina
6 Black Sabbath – The Headless Cross