Introduction: Due to time constraints as regular individuals running Witching Buzz and focusing primarily on writing reviews, we are limited to publishing only one (occasionally two) review(s) per day. However, we strongly believe in providing greater exposure to deserving bands and musicians who have put in immense effort. As a result, we have launched a new section called “Witching Riffs: Behind the Sound.” In this section, we have crafted a series of intriguing questions that we pose to every band or musician who wishes to share more about their unique projects. While the questions remain the same for each participant, the diversity among bands ensures that the answers will be fascinating and diverse. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy this captivating journey as we delve into the minds and stories of these talented artists.
NAUTHA / Italy
What drew you to the immersive and hypnotic sounds? How do you aim to captivate your listeners with this genre?
It wasn’t a conscious choice. I’d say we play what we are in total freedom of expression and composition. We have never really thought about accessibility, just as experimentalism and hypnotic sounds are not premeditated. We are lucky, we have had a perfect understanding and to this day we have never had to accept compromises for our music. If our music can be “experimental” for some or “accessible” for others, so much the better, for us it is simply very natural.
We’ve been always for good driving, cinematic, long form music. But we make records that are quite the opposite of background or accompanying music.
In a society that perpetually asks you to do something, perform, produce and never think, we ask the listener to slow down and stop, to have patience.
To reconnect on what is around you, and drop you ego. So sit back, relax, shift back from your conscious and take this journey all along the way. This is what NAUTHA is all about.
Can you share the story behind your band name? How does it reflect the essence of your music?
We were looking for something original and not “already heard” but which contained some essential aspects of our musical proposal. The name NAUTHA derives from Etruscan mythology, and precisely from Cautha, sister of the Sun god, often depicted as a woman rising from the ocean. We replaced the initial letter so that the sound itself could somehow evoke an ancient and unknown version of the Italian word ‘nascita’ (birth). NAUTHA for us is a female entity, the explorer of the psyche of the human being, specifically what makes us artists and dreamers. We finally managed to convey the idea that underlies our music: it draws its inspiration from water, the amniotic fluid, from which the first image of man derives and whose fluidity refers to the movement of thought and sound.
What are some unconventional or unexpected influences that have shaped your unique blend?
We always try to flow our listenings into ideas for something that is musically organic for us and that resounds with our passions. When we play “as NAUTHA” we surely tend to blend our deep devotion for bands like Mastodon, Opeth, Motorpsycho and Devin Townsend, and above all the musical mysticism of Tool and A Perfect Circle. But we have different stories, musical tastes and different approaches to our instruments. Giorgio (drums) listens to a lot of new ‘contemporary classic’ electronic and ambient music like Apparat, Jon Hopkins or Max Cooper, and Pierpaolo (guitar) is a huge fan of the 90s grunge scene, plus fine-pop guitar excellence like John Mayer. I’m (Antonio: vocals, bass and guitar) a big fan of black and death metal, heavy hardcore like Black Flag or contemporary destroyers Trash Talk, but I grew up with the music of composers like Klaus Schulze and Edgar Froese, and the experimental stuff of bands like Tangerine Dream and Amon Duul II. We like to search a lot and to dig in different approaches and styles. If you listen very carefully you’ll find hints and echoes of all those elements in our songs, that’s for sure.
How do you approach creating expansive and atmospheric soundscapes? What techniques or methods do you employ to achieve that signature vibe?
We forged NAUTHA together to pour out our passion for a certain type of progressive rock/metal and psychedelia that has its roots in the 70s (King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Peter Gabriel’s Genesis) but I think we evolved in something personal and different. We’re interested in a more sensual, dark and also lyrical aspect of Music, so we like to experiment outside genres and this continuous research keeps us going through and through. I usually bring to the rehearsal room a series of long and more or less structured demos, from which we start arranging songs following some of the sound cells that convince us the most, discarding parts and rearranging others that instead seem more appropriate. We trust each other blindly and if someone doesn’t like a part or finds new harmonic solutions to graft onto the initial plot, we always tend to go along with it. So our music come out from a continuous process of exchange, enrichment of parts and subtraction of others, favoring the proposition of each instrument from time to time to see where it takes us. This is the reason for the title itself of our last album “Metempsychosis”, in its strict sense of transferring meaning from one to the other: it is very lyrical, very symphonic in some strange way, like multiple layers combined that came together at some point and then went off on their own in other parts of each song. We’re like brothers, there’s a deep connection between us. Each of us had the feeling of being in complete harmony with the other, a sort of even telepathic ability to transform the sound without having to explain and bend it from time to time to the characteristics of each of us, just with our instruments. I think this is our greatest resource as a band.
Share a remarkable moment or incident from your journey as a band that exemplifies the spirit of your music.
Probably when we decided to switch from Italian language to lyrics sung in English. Our first record was definitely a “coming of age” album in which we tried to blend some sound modalities typical of the politically engaged Italian progressive scene of the 70s with a personal approach between alternative rock, grunge and doom metal. This way, Italian language allowed us to work on the text as a very poetic, very deep and lyrical part of the songs but at the same time without synthesis, often redundant and didactic. With the elaboration of the new material for “Metempsychosis” – which is also a concept as well as our first “Tutti i Colori del Buio” – we have instead tried to dry, to synthesize our message and leave even more space to the instrumental component and the free interpretation by the listener, without providing specific linguistic points of reference. Now, for us English is not only more musical but also undoubtedly more cryptical and fascinating.
Are there specific themes or emotions you seek to convey through your music?
We like to think about our music as the sound counterpart of a visual and inner imaginative journey into the psychic space. But it’s really all in the listener’s mind, without us guiding them too much or deciding what feeling to suggest.
We have read many reviews in which those who have listened to our records have found references to bands completely unknown to us, and this is beautiful. I mean, we think that once our music is out there it should belong to each listener, who can make it their own vision, their own world in which we no longer intervene. Like we offer a draft, a small unfinished construct that (who knows) may become a new thought in the mind of the listener. It is perhaps the most beautiful thing about the universal language that is Music.
In what ways do you envision your music progressing or evolving in the future? Are there any new elements or experimental approaches you’d like to incorporate?
From a strictly musical point of view we have looked a lot at certain harmonic juxtaposition typical of Free Jazz, or of the broader and more experimental Krautrock, and electronic Kosmische Muzik layers, always trying to avoid the classic verse-chorus structures. We never repeat anything in our songs, which is crazy and commercially suicidal. But “Metempsychosis” is a very important piece of our sound research. There are many different elements compared to traditional Rock but maybe typical of the ‘progressive’ language. We have inserted various anomalous musical instruments such as the koto, a Japanese zither with a very particular timbre and which we have used to obtain a certain type of polyphony on “Samat”, then the mellotron on “Kteis”, a theremin on “Heracleion”, the organ on “Laguna” and the acoustic piano that is the protagonist for the entire title-track, as well as the wavedrum in several drum sections. We like the idea of experimenting at 360 degrees without precluding anything in terms of research or musical genres.
Are there any emerging or lesser-known artists within your music genre realm that you find inspiring or deserving of more recognition? Feel free to share their names and what you appreciate about their work.
Definitely, Motorpsycho and Elder. Two super underestimated bands from two different generations. They’re both a big influence and inspiration for us and we think they truly deserve more, especially Motorpsycho who continue to be a truly incredible and brilliant band for having started a new way of understanding experimentation and following a complete different path in “musical career”.
We’re in debt, forever.
What do you hope listeners experience or feel when they immerse themselves in your compositions?
As I said, without guiding the senses too much, we would like the listener to make his own image of our songs, get a sensation, or an emotional state, and therefore a thought. In a certain way, our main goal remains Music itself and the images that we can shape from it and give to others. It may seem presumptuous but we’re not here to entertain or to rock’n’roll, to sexualize or objectify Music. Sorry.
We invite the listener to think about unknown, uncertainty, intuition, relationships, thoughts, knowledge. To just change perspective and search and think out of the norm, out of trends and the usual schemes. We guess this is the best form of rebellion.
– Fuzz or distortion?
Distortions. Even if we use it less and less.
– Analog or digital effects?
ANALOG. I know we’re slightly turning our heads to digital effects but for now the sacred fire remains almost untouched.
– Sabbath or Zeppelin?
This is a very difficult question like choosing between your father or your mother. But probably Zeppelin is where our heart is: we often play a cover of “No Quarter” during our live set and all three of us feel very connected to the musical vision of the Zeps.
– Heavy riff or mind-bending solo?
Heavy riff, even if we like more to create a slow moving power that builds on the layering of sounds.
– Vintage gear or modern equipment?
Halfway, we like to use both. But nothing beats the warmth and power of a giant Mezzabarba tube amp and the eternal rocky sound of Ludwig drums.