Darmstadt, June 2016 – Interview
– Original English version –
– Deutsche Fassung hier! –
THE DEVILS hail from Naples, dress up as a nun and a priest on stage and light up said stage with their garage-trash-rock’n’roll inferno. The duo has just completed a four-date mini tour through Switzerland and Germany – with their last gig at ‚Bessunger Knabenschule‘ in Darmstadt on 11 June. After the show, Erica Toraldo (left, drums & vocals) and Gianni Vessella (guitar & vocals) agreed to meet us for an interview.
You seem to share a common interest that is quite particular, i.e. „Earbleeding Minimalistic Blasphemic Guitar Wall Blues Rockabilly Noise Trash Rock’n‘ Roll“. How long have you been playing together and how did you get to know each other?
Gianni: We met in a mental hospital almost two years ago, we started playing together just last year.
Your stage outfit is, how can we put it, ’special’… What made you come up with the idea of dressing up as a nun and a priest for your shows?
Erica: When we started playing together we watched a Ken Russell movie called ‘The Devils’ that completely fucked up our minds, that’s also where we took the idea for the name of the band.
Gianni: I have to tell you, I’ve never heard of this movie, but I’ll definitely check it out.
You come from a region with a strong Catholic culture. Have you ever taken any flak for your costumes and your blasphemous lyrics?
Erica: Not yet, haha. At one of our first gigs a real priest came by the club where we were playing, we saw him clapping his hands, in a ironic way of course.
Is there a message in your lyrics that you want to get across?
Erica: Not at all. We just don’t like to take things too serious, we wanna get rid of the obsession of reason.
I noticed the six-fingered hand tattooed onto your left arm, Gianni. What’s the story behind it?
Gianni: In a period of my life blues saved me, Hound Dog Taylor is my favourite bluesman and that’s his hand I’ve got tattoed on my arm. He was born with six fingers on each hand.
Your tour with four dates has just finished and saw you play in Germany and Switzerland. What was the reaction to your shows and were there any unpredicted incidents?
Erica: It was just awesome! People in Germany and Switzerland completely overwhelmed us, we can’t wait to go back there and play some more gigs.
Gianni: Accustomed to the anarchy and the hell of our streets back in Italy, we had a bit of troubles at the beginning… but then we got used to the swiss and german civilisation.
What’s the garage/trash/rock scene like in your homeland, the South of Italy? How many people would normally come out to watch you there?
Gianni: In south Italy there are several trash scenes: trash in the streets, trash in the underground, trash people… haha… I think it doesn’t exist a proper garage/ rock/trash scene, so the people who come to our shows are less then all the people who came to see us in Germany or Switzerland.
You’ve landed a deal with the renowned label Voodoo Rhythm for your soon-to-be-released album ‚Sin, You Sinners!‘ How did the contact come about?
Erica: We were in Montpellier recording our album with Jim Diamond, and the same day we finished the recordings we went to a one man band festival. At the end of the show we met Reverend Beat-Man who was playing there too and we gave him our album. A couple of days later he contacted us asking if we wanted to be part of the Voodoo family, and here we are! We believe in miracles 😉
The track list of your first album features several songs named after horror movies – are you fans of the genre?
Erica: Actually just one of our songs is inspired by a horror movie, we are more into erotic movies about nuns!
At the end of your show at the Knabenschule, you were joined on stage by the support act, the NEW YORK WANNABES. Do you often do that kind of thing, having a bit of a jam at the end?
With what artist – dead or alive – would you like tour one day?
Gianni & Erica: We wanna tour with THE MONSTERS!
Gianni: We are brother and sister, sons of the same nun but different priests.
We’re nearing the end of the interview. Any final remarks for our readers?
Gianni & Erica: SIN, YOU SINNERS!
Erica, Gianni, thanks a lot for the interview!
Interview: Stefan & Marcus
Photos (taken on 11th June, 2016 at the Knabenschule, Darmstadt): Stefan