The following article was published in N-SPHERE December 2009 issue.


To begin with, for the ones who are not familiarized with who Roma Amor is: when and how did your musical project come into being?

Our musical project started two years ago, when Candela convinced Euski to stop playing alone at home and to think about putting some of her passions together, among which cabaret, chanson française and folklore.

And the commonly found “describe Roma Amor in no more than 3 words” (you could also choose between colours or symbols, if needed).

Amor Vincit Omnia.

Who had the idea of the band name? “RomA” and “AmoR” at the same time, mirrored words.

In Roma Amor music is energetic and sombre, romantic and angry, accurate and rough, in other words it is something and its contrary at the same time: “Roma Amor” mainly conveys this meaning, being a two faced word. The idea came into our heads while reading historical researches about the esoteric name of Rome. Some scholars wrote about Amor, the Latin word for love and palindrome of the city name itself, as the mystical name of Rome. Isn’t it fascinating? Rome may have gained its empire through brilliant military planning, but it was able to keep it thanks to the promise of Amor (or at least that’s an hypothesis of some scholars).

Do any of the band members have former (or formal) musical experience in solo projects or other bands?

Maybe it could sound strange, but some of us come from punk 77–new wave bands. Actually, our music has a noir–cabaret taste that is strongly influenced by our listenings of new wave and dark records, such as the ones by Virgin Prunes, Marc Almond, Tuxedomoon, Japan…

You’ve already signed to the Italian label Old Europa Cafe so worldwide acknowledgement is getting nearer. How did that collaboration start?

We already knew some of the productions of Old Europa Cafe that we liked very much; so when the boss label, Rodolfo, showed interest in some of our tracks on line we were very honoured with it. Since then a new interesting collaboration started and it is still based on a reciprocal esteem.

How does the creative process of a Roma Amor song develop, both lyrically and instrumentally?

We usually think of an idea first: it could be just an atmosphere or a general topic. Then we write down free compositions or record some musical fragments that come into our heads with a little old recorder that we always bring with us. Recently, for example, we thought of bringing into music some characters of the Italian folklore, intriguing magic and scary figures almost forgotten by the contemporary society.

While listening to the songs on your album, the mix of “old school” instruments (such as the accordion) becomes obvious. How does that contribute to conveying the Roma Amor sound?

Undoubtedly when we think of arranging a new song, the use of the right instruments is necessary to convey the right atmosphere. The accordion and the classic guitar, typical instruments of the Italian tradition, seemed to fit perfectly in our songs that are musically rooted in our folklore. Other old school Italian and European instruments will play an important role in our next songs. Don’t miss our next production if you want to discover what they are!

Since some of your songs seem to be cut out of an intimate cafe, how important is musical improvisation to you, especially in concerts?

Our recordings have always focussed on emotion and spontaneity, so the quality of the resulting sound has inevitably to take inaccuracy into consideration (isn’t life like that?).

An interesting pattern can be traced through your 2008 album: mainly the neo–cabaret feeling which blends nicely with the seductive female voice. Are you gonna try and keep that pattern for your future work as well or do you feel it is just a temporary phase?

Surely the tavern–ballad, the use of naïf sound and folk melodies, all typical elements of cabaret music, will have a central role also in our future tracks. Another aspect of cabaret music that we would like to fully recover is the style of the lyrics, usually written about a story to be told or moulded into rhymes or lullabies. In a similar context a seductive and deep female voice couldn’t be more appropriate.

By checking your myspace site, one can see some interesting composers in your list. Marc Almond, Jackques Brel and Nico, to name just a few of them. How have they been influential for your work?

We wanted to show our thanks to certain characters such as Almond and Brel through our songs because they have left a deep trace in our way to live music. Euski was shocked by the voice of Almond when she was only ten (that was so long ago!) and despite of her age she learnt what is the art of exploiting the voice and to move one’s feelings. Brel is a maestro in telling stories and there’s no need to go any further about him: his music talks for him. What to say about Nico? A way of expressing femininity through an unusual and original voice, far from any kind of stereotype.

Are there any other artists or things which influence Roma Amor?

Obviously other artists are of adamant importance in our sounds, but they are too many to be put in our my space site. Anyway we shouldn’t forget Bowie, Scott Walker, De André, Yann Tiersen, Milva, Gavin Friday, Morricone…

What are your thoughts related to the contemporary neofolk / cabaret scene? Do you feel that Italy has some interesting projects to offer these days?

There are a lot of interesting bands in Italy that play neo–folk and neo–cabaret, we have several works of some of them (Spiritual Front, Ain Soph, Recondita Stirpe, Albireon, Division S…). One thing we like about this scene is that within the same genre each band is different from the other, and we think this is very enriching.

One of my favourite songs on this album is the cover version of Brel’s – Next. Although “cover” is probably not a suitable word since your version is very different and ” reworked” so to say. What do you think of the status of new bands who decide to do covers of inspiring tracks? Some say that there is a wide range of contemporary “cover bands”, even if it is not at all the case for you.

In our album we put four covers and “Next” has had a particular importance for us but, as you say, it’s not really the case of a cover as typically perceived. In fact we didn’t copy the original version, but instead we tried to personalize it, making it ours by taking the original as inspiration. As our first album we wanted to use the cover songs as a “manifesto” of our musical intentions and feeling.

Any plans or collaborations for your future work?

We are in contact with several bands related to the industrial/neo-cabaret scene and we have a relationship of reciprocal esteem with them. So it is likeable that someday there will be the chance to start an interesting musical collaboration. As we have just started to create some new original tracks for our new work it is too early for us to think of a collaboration right now but…you never know!

Any words for the ones who are reading this and are interested in your work?

Roma Amor is for those who want to search deepness into the simple things of life, in an atmosphere made up with a good company, a sombre relaxing light and a good glass of wine.

questions by Diana Daia

Full article here.