WINTERAGE – Interview With Metal Gods TV

British Steel Sam caught up with Daniele Barbarossa, singer for symphonic power metallers Winterage, for an email based interview:

Hi, my name is Sam, and I’d like to thank you for agreeing to this interview! Your music is a blast of fresh air in the world of rock and metal, and has by far the most original sound and style that I have heard in a very long time. Your album ‘The Inheritance of Beauty’ is a real ear-opener in terms of what a band with incredible talent, and determination to create a whole new sound, can achieve.

Hi Sam! Here is Daniele the singer, and all of us want to thank you for this opportunity and for your appreciation! We are really happy to become aware of such recognitions every day, that’s a source of great motivation!

You guys have so many styles and sounds going on in your music, what brought you all together?

Winterage birth was a fortunate encounter between some young boys who shared the same passion for power, folk and symphonic metal.

Gabriele Boschi, Dario Gisotti and his cousin Riccardo Gisotti, the founders, were almost neighbours, if we think about how big a town like Genoa is.

Riccardo was a naturally born guitarist playing many different genres, expecially power and prog; for all the time spent with us he was our “riff factory”. 

Some years later Gabriele graduated in classical violin at Niccolò Paganini Conservatory in Genoa and that’s where comes from, all the classical elements, the “know-how” of writing arrangements and also the taste for symphonic metal.

Dario became a professional folk musician, his principal instruments are, indeed, Uillean Pipes and Tin Whistle more than keyboards and he’s a living encyclopedia of traditional Irish tunes and many others from Breton and Scottish tradition. He quit the band in order to focus his career on folk music, but as well as Riccardo, he participated in the composition and recording of “The Inheritance of Beauty”; we still keep in touch to get some advice.

So, it was some kind of “written destiny” to mix all of these into one personal sound. When I’m talking about “destiny” I’m not so far from the truth: when I was a young singer I always dreamed to create this specific type of band, with a stable violinist and mixing classical and folk elements that way, but I never had the chance, until one day, for pure coincidence, Gabriele found me on an abandoned profile of an old Italian social network for musicians – incredibly Winterage was the band that I was always looking for and moreover in the same region.

Luca Ghiglione came after our first album, he is a real drum machine devoted to his instrument and we met him because a great drummer and teacher, Francesco “Frullo” La Rosa (Extrema) who already knew us, just proposed his best student, and now he still tells people how proud he is. Luca is a complete drummer but also a “hitter” and was just enthusiastic to give more punch to our songs.

Finally Gianmarco Bambini took over for Riccardo, we already knew him from power prog band Altair and one time he’d already replaced Riccardo when he wasn’t available. He is technical and well prepared, with a progressive attitude that will be very useful in the future.

What is your favourite gig/concert venue to play?

We surely found that the most satisfying events where to play are big open-air folk festivals, because into that Celtic atmosphere people recover a lost way of being convivial, they are so turned on, that usual desire to have fun. All open air events seem to be enhanced by some ancient tribal force and after a cider of two they forgive their modern self. I think it’s about this: the need of running away from the modern life and its problems.

Where are you most looking forward to visiting once the pandemic has blown over?

Some of us love the sea, some of us prefer mountains, I love both.

I believe that everyone is thinking about their own little corner of paradise, I would like to visit many adventurous places in the world, but I’m sure that we’re all trying not to go overboard with expectations, when the time will come, we will choose the place that better reflects what we’ll be feeling after years of the pandemic, which will be even different from now.

You guys have shared the stage with some great bands, who has been your favourite group to play alongside?

I could mention the lucky opportunity to open an unplugged concert of Angra with Fabio Lione here in Genoa, that was a real honour for us. We had already met Fabio before but it was the first time we saw the other guys.

I wish I had the same pleasure to see the late André Matos, it’s very sad to think there won’t ever be a chance anymore, what a terrible a loss!

With so many styles and elements within your songs how do you start the writing process? With the full orchestra and/or choir?

There are different ways we start to compose: maybe starting from a riff or a main theme that could be a refrain, sometimes one of the members writes most of a song and the others add or change some parts, however, the orchestral arrangements come in last, when the song is completed and it’s always a job for Gabriele.

We are usually open to brainstorming, we have examples of songs that were a balanced mix of ideas coming from us all, but also songs entirely composed by only one of us.

Do you all share a common influence or favourite band(s)?

We have common influences from symphonic and power metal bands like Nightwish, Rhapsody and Angra to make a few examples of someone who first included classical music in their works, however we also listen to a various galaxy of inspiring folk metal bands.

What would you like an audience member to take away from a Winterage gig?

In a few words? The memory of a journey through their “childness”.

Might not this be our imagination at all?

We are living in an era where everything has been played, everything has been composed: we’re not expecting to make something revolutionary, but something suggestive, guided by the same principles enounced by “The Amazing Toymaker” character, who gives the title to our last track, the same need of wonder that a child would have.

We are all children weighed down by life, so that’s a gift from a child to another one.

Is there any advice you would give to aspiring artists?

The only good advice could come from the precedent thought, no one goes far without study, experience, and a proper preparation, but never forget that child you had to ignore and hide within yourself in order to raise your abilities methodically, maintain a connection with him and never sacrifice his need of wonder to the altar of technicism, let him instead stand on top of that altar and guide you through your imagination.

Outside of music, is there any hobby or interest you all share in common?

Wow, that’s such a hard question! Five heads, one hobby?

No way… you could take some of us at couples, maybe, to say something we share, it would be too easy and obvious to say we all like fantasy stuff and LOTR.

I think I’m the one much involved into open air sports of various kind, but Gianmarco has in common with me, some practice of martial arts, my favourite sport, we both also like anime series.

Gabriele and I share some fascination for astronomy and sci-fi movies (by the way, they have amazing soundtracks!), while Matteo is also a school teacher and we both share a passion for history and story-writing.

It’s no coincidence that “Chain Of Heaven” comes from an ancient hand-written tale about a saint fighting a powerful statue possessed by a demon on top of a mountain pass, romanticized to the point of becoming very epic:  Matteo found a scan of the original papers and showed it to me, so we wrote those lyrics together.

Moreover “The Mutineers” really refers to the mutiny of HMS Bounty in 1789 on Tahiti (“Othahete” on the lyrics I wrote, like they would call it at the time), this historical episode finds his relevance into the main thematic of our last album: it represents the rediscovery of beauty, love and nature during a time that was already projecting “modern  people” towards the worst of the future, but wasn’t affecting Tahitians who lived their lives in harmony.

Do you see how much our lives can influence our music?

To remain into nautical history, it was a surprise to find that Luca and I read the same books about the adventures of navy captains from the Napoleonic era like C.S. Forester’s “Hornblower” and Patrick O’Brian’s “Master and Commander”, he studied into a nautical institute and I’m a “wanna be” skipper, what a coincidence!

Finally we could say that for every band formation, nature was a great source of inspiration, we often met together and wandered in the woods seeking impressions, suggestions, new ideas and listening to Dario’s never-ending tunes, (yes we still meet with our old band mates sometimes).

If I were to visit Italy, where should I go first?

Except Gianmarco, we are all from Genoa, the upcoming Disney Pixar movie called “Luca” set into a seaside town very similar to a famous location nearby: the “Five Lands”  i.e. five ancient and small villages of fishermen poetically built upon cliffs, not far from famous Portofino, which represents one of the most marvellous places in the Mediterranean Sea, just watch the movie and you’ll see how beautiful they are, no joke!

They really look like the one in the movie and surely they deserve a trip!

If you could only eat one type of food for the length of a whole tour what would it be?

I think almost everybody would choose pasta with “Genoan Pesto”, our typical and beloved basil/pine-nuts/garlic/parmesan sauce.

If tomato sauce and mozzarella were the red and white colors of our national flag, Pesto would be its green; the one I cook myself it’s the state-of-the-art ! Ha Ha!

If you had a time machine, when would you go back to and why?

In 19th century we should expect a lot of Irish Sessions in old styled pubs of Ireland and a lot of the best Italian opera “played live” by their still living composers like Verdi and Puccini, furthermore I personally love Victorian Age settled stories (our scenic clothes are partially inspired by that), so why not try that age? That would be quite “Winterage”!

Finally, is there anything else that you would like to say to our readers?

That’s too obvious: never kill your inner child, be curious, read, travel and let yourself be stunned.

Thank you for your time.


Thank you too, Sam, it’s been a pleasure!


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