Saturday, 22 May 2010

An interview with ... Symbiosis


One of the fringe benefits of running this Blog has been the sheer pleasure in getting to talk with various interesting people - be they label owners, band members or fellow fans - all of whom have some connection with Hugin and his work. It has also allowed for the exploration of other band's music, some of which is excellent and also deserves a wider burst of publicity.

Today Nazgul is proud to publish this brief interview with Valerio Orlandini, the sole creator and member of Italian ambient project Symbiosis. Now, longer-term readers of Honour and Darkness will know that Symbiosis have featured twice in past postings being part of split releases with both Uruk Hai ("United", 28 February 2009) and Hrefnesholt ("United By Heathen Blood", 1 May 2009), and in both cases the quality of the Symbiosis material was commented upon at the time.

It is a project well worth your attention and support, particularly if you enjoy Uruk Hai. Should you be intrigued to find out more for yourself, follow the link to or for more.

Without further ado, let me welcome Valerio to these pages and let the questions commence!

1. Your Name and Location:
Valerio Orlandini, Florence - Italy.

2. Band(s) name:
I mainly run two projects: Symbiosis - melodic dark ambient, and another one that carries my own name, more industrial oriented.

3. Can you tell us a little about the philosophy behind your music?
Symbiosis is about Man and Nature. It may seem (and maybe it is) an abused theme, but it something that is really felt. It is also a scream against the modern world, its way of living and its way of thinking. The music I make with the other project – namely Valerio Orlandini, has not a uniform philosophy behind it: it depends on the single compositions. I chose not to use a pseudonym for this reason, too: anything can describe an idea of mine, should be presented through this projects, without the necessary limitations I put on Symbiosis' stuff.

4. What song of your own would you recommend to a new listener to the music of Symbiosis, and why?
"E Ultima Venne la Neve", for which a video has been made, too: It summarizes all the elements of Symbiosis' sound: frozen pads, warm orchestral melodies, some discreet vocals, epic percussion. If you like that song, you will certainly like Symbiosis music - otherwise, no luck :)

5. What music would you say has most influenced your own?
Well, it depends. From a stylistic side of view, as far as my early stuff is concerned, surely (ambient) Burzum, Mortiis and Vinterriket. Plain and obvious, but true. Now I am more influenced by the ambient/industrial scene, both famous names (from Lustmord to In Slaughter Natives) and minor ones. But my will to create music was born together with my passion for black metal. I never wanted to play black metal, because I would add only another useless project to the tons that exist, having ruined the genre and making me lost any interest in it.

Notwithstanding this, I remember than, years ago, while listening to some Emperor stuff, something grew inside me, and I decided to make music. Then, another couple of years passed before I seriously began to do something concrete, but the flame had been lit.

6. How did you first come across Hugin, and his music?
Having been fond of ambient music, especially the one born inside the black metal scene, since years, listening to Uruk-Hai was definitely straightforward. The first album of his I had bought was "A Night in the Forest": what wonderful work! Then I discovered the other projects of Hugin, and all seemed to be parts of a whole, together creating a parallel world where to lost and forget about the miseries of our reality. How I came across him, is explained in the next answer!

7. How did your split tape "United" with Uruk Hai come to be recorded?
After the release of my first demo ("Passages", February 2006) I sent an email to Hugin to ask him for a trade, since I have been listening to his music since a lot of time. He replied me very kindly, and after having listened to some samples on my website, he asked me to make a split album. I could not believe to my eyes when I read the email: one of my favourite artists that asked me for a release together!

I worked very hard to create in one month (the release times were really short) something better than what I had done for my first demo in a year. The result, I have to say, satisfies me still now, even if I am currently a more skilled composer and producer.

8. Are there any more split works with Alex planned?
There is a compilation on the way, called "Wandering Streams". Both Uruk-Hai and WACH will be featured. It is a work where I gathered some of the finest dark ambient acts out there: each one gave me a song, and I mixed them all together, to obtain a long and uninterrupted stream of sound. An idea not new to electronic music, but rarely seen in ambient music.

Currently, we are looking for a label. Must be a great one, for great is the material I have in my hands!

9. Do you have a favourite piece of music from Hugin's many releases?
I think that "A Night in the Forest" is amazingly brilliant. It can really take the listener to another dimension. How to forget the feelings of that album after having listened to it? It is more than music, it is truly a mystical experience. I listened that album very few times, because I want it to reserve it for moments when I can really handle all the energies that album set free.

10. What song (your own, or someone else's) do you wish you would never have to hear again?
Before the release of my first demo, I made a cdr with four early compositions to test my skills. The first track was featured on "Passages", and I still like it a lot. The other three had some good melodies, but was poorly arranged and produced. Luckily, just a close friend of mine listened to them, but I wish I had never written those songs. Then I am plenty of bad stuff, but I never released something I was not satisfied with.

About someone else's stuff, obviously the world has plenty of bad music, too long to mention it all!

11. What piece of music would you like played at your funeral?
Burzum's "Moti Ragnarokum", the version made by Tronus Abyss. I am not ashamed to say that their version of that song moves me to tears every time I listen to it.

12. Your favourite album cover of all time?
Interesting question, and a hard one to be answered. Surely, Burzum's "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss" and Ulver's "Nattens Madrigal" are amongst my favourites. I would add Emperor's "In the Nightside Eclipse" and Tronus Abyss' "Vuoto Spazio Trionfo" covers. I listen to many genres of music, but for sure black metal has the best album covers ever. This attention for the visual part of a musical work is something that really fascinates me. I like to see an album as a "whole": music, (eventual) lyrics, artwork.

Uh, I almost forgot to mention practically all Mortiis' covers.

13. What was the first album you ever bought?
It was an album by Zucchero, a famous Italian blues-rock singer, when I was 9 years old. But the first album that really got me into music was surely "A Little South of Sanity" by Aerosmith, when I was 12. It is still one of favourite albums ever.

Since I like this question, I add something else: first metal album bought - Iron Maiden "Brave New World"; first black metal one - Satyricon "Nemesis Divina"; first ambient one - Burzum "Hlidskjalf".

14. And what was the last album you bought?
Burzum - "Belus". First time I listened to it, it appeared to be a good album, but did not know if it was at the same level of its predecessors. Now I am listening to it continuously, it is an absolute gem. I lost almost all my interest in black metal, and I have not been buying a BM CD for years, but "Belus" is something that makes me remember why all my passion for music began with black metal... simply perfect.

15. The craziest thing you've ever done?!
The idea of what is crazy and what is not varies so much from person to person, that it is hard to answer. In general, I am somewhat a rationale person, so nothing "crazy" enough comes to my mind...

16. your best and worst experiences in life so far?
Wow, you are making harder and harder questions! Best ones, apart from personal facts that people could not care less, surely every time I play live is always a deep emotion. Worst experiences? All the times I lost somebody I loved, but, again, nothing that people who do not know me personally could be interested in.

17. What ambition(s) have you left to fulfil (musical or other)?
Musically: to be signed by a label huge enough to receive all the support needed to create my music and travel the world to play it live, but small enough to leave me all the artistic independence I need to do it without pressure.

Other ambitions: to find a job that can let me live in symbiosis with Nature (I am currently studying environmental biology for this purpose), a beautiful princess to share my life with, some time to know better the tradition of my place and the ancient wisdom of this world.

18. Have you a message for Hugin you'd like to pass on through the Blog?
I want to thank publicly Hugin for his loyalty and friendship through these years. He made me explore, for the first time, the world of professional music, and I learned lots of things working with him.

19. Have you any messages for H&D Blog readers?
Sure, I invite everybody to support this blog, spreading the voice about its existence. And if you have some spare time, check my music. If you love Hugin's creations, you might like mine! Feel free to visit and and to write me a mail, no matter what your message is.

20. Finally, if you were elected king of the world, what would be your first decree?!
Paganism as state religion.

Nazgul once again thanks Valerio for his kindness in answering these questions, and wishes him good fortune on the long path ahead. There is, by the way, a new Symbiosis album for sale via Hypnotic Dirge -

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