Could we start with a short overview of how
the project came to life and what you had in mind at that point?
Nothing particular I'd say. When we noticed Ras Algethi
no more reasons to exist, convicted in a self-limiting cage, we
decided to put an end to the band and start playing in a new project
that could allow us a larger freedom in experimenting new ways of
composing music. Canaan
was officially born in late 1995
as a 3-member band (me, Luca and Matteo). With this line-up we recorded
our first album "Blue fire" in 1996. In May 1997 we picked
up Anthony Duman (former Monumentum
member) as bass player
and with this strengthened formation we recorded the double cd "Walk
into my open womb" in 1998 and the recently released "Brand
new babylon" in March 2000, after signing a contract with German
Canaan formed shortly after the demise of Ras Algethi, who were
much closer to a Doom Metal sonority. Do you still see a link between
Not really. We do not deny the past, but Ras Algethi
just the first step in the evolution of Canaan
, and it must
be considered and regarded as such. Anyway, what's past is past,
gone and buried, and I see no reasons to concentrate upon it.
Would you consider Canaan somewhat of a follow-up to what you
started with Ras Algethi back then?
One thing is for sure: Ras Algethi
established the right
mental link between me, Luca and Matteo, and as such entitled the
birth of Canaan
as you all know and hear nowadays. We found
ourselves being kindred spirits, and this connection was the one
and only base Canaan
is built upon. Under a strictly musical
point of view, the two projects are miles away from each other in
both complexity and depth.
You are also involved in Weltschmerz. Could you tell me a bit
about this project and are the other members of Canaan also taking
part in other parallel activities?
is the long-time existing project Anthony Duman
formed after his departure from Monumentum
. Until a few months
ago, it was a one-man band, with all the limitations this brings
to composing music. After the successful CD "Symptomes de Ruine",
Anthony decided to turn Weltschmerz
into a real band, and
therefore needed members to complete the line-up. The decision of
choosing me came as a natural consequence of our mutual respect
and admiration. We are the two Canaan
members playing in
the band - two other musicians (Andrea on drums and Alberto on keyboards)
are completing the rite.
In a biblical sense, Canaan was the land that God promised to
Abraham. How does this name adapt to the essence of the project?
In NO sense and NO way. I was fully aware of the "religious" implications
of the name when I decided to pick it up, but please take notice
has N-O-T-H-I-N-G to share with the cancer called
religion. I deny the essence of religions, and the band must NOT
be misled for any kind of religiously involved people. The choice
was rather based upon my love for the German progressive band Amon
, one of whose songs was called 'Kanaan'.
One of Canaan's strongest points is that it manages to appeal
both to audiences into the more melancholic spheres of Metal, but
also to those into Darkwave or even Ambient-ladden music. How did
you came up with this?
The approach simply came out by itself. We never planned anything,
and never said: "ok, it would be good to appeal to this and this
and this audience". We started playing, and saw things were freely
taking a form with space for experimentation and for a melting of
different elements. It's just our natural way to convey and freeze
feelings in music, and I sincerely don't know how the next Canaan
album will sound like. The challenge is open, and the creature is
still in evolution.
Are there any particular artists that you would consider as major
influences? Names like Monumentum, Lycia, Katatonia, Anathema or
Cocteau Twins tend to pop to my mind when listening to you material.
Would you consider these to be good references?
Not really. I appreciate most of those bands, but I don't think
any of them had a role in consciously influencing us as musicians.
Samplers and keyboards play a very important role in your music.
How was the process of adapting to this material after you experience
with Ras Algethi?
Keyboards were very important in Ras Algethi
as well. Moreover,
I have been listening to experimental/industrial music since the
early 90s, and this passion of mine clearly showed up when composing
material. As far as I know we were the very first
ones trying to mix dark and ambient, and according to the final
result, we achieved our aim in a satisfying way.
The ethereal mood in Canaan's music seems to suggest a very peculiar
state of mind. How do you achieve this in your composition process?
It is a very strange feeling... Sometimes it's like if our instruments
are playing us rather than us playing them. On a more general level,
the switch turning on our creative impulses is still unidentified.
Quite often alterated states of conscience (either chemically or
naturally) are helpful to turn visions into reality, but other times
it's just a question of capturing that strange moment when we know
exactly what's going on in each others' hearts and minds. And when
we succeed it's very gratifying.
There's an inherent sense of isolation and sadness that is quite
obvious in your music. Is Canaan your way to deal with these feelings?
is something more than the usual "band" - aka a group
of people playing just to "have fun". None of us play to have fun,
but rather to convey inner emotions in music. Isolation (and more
in general what is called "depression") always played and still
play a very important role in my life, and it is the one and only
loyal companion of mine. It is then natural that Canaan
music evokes some kind of "liquid" atmosphere with feelings such
as the ones you depicted being predominant. The band has a meaning
that words alone can hardly frame. It's more a kind of "lifestyle",
if you know what a mean, a closed circle of kindred spirits who
try to mantain things under control by sharing images, words and
How does your music relates to you as individuals? I mean, do
you have an outlook on life as dark and dismal as the one portrayed
in your creations?
Of course. I could NEVER play a music that wouldn't reflect myself.
We are all dark people, but please do not misuderstand me - I don't
mean the childish wanna-be vampires and pretend sons of satan, the
spikes and the grotesque corpse paints & pseudo-gothic clothing.
We are people with some serious troubles in our working environments,
in our interpersonal relationships, in our daily tasks. And these
troubles ARE so serious they are conveyed directly in Canaan
music, with the band acting like a kind of valve to discharge the
tensions we accumulate. Consider the band like a kind of self-exorcism
rite directed against all that's negative and all that poisons us.
'Deception' is also a very common word in Canaan's lyrics. Is
there a particular event that prompted this or is this generated
by an accumulation of different things?
Life is a continuous deception. Of ideals, morals, behaviour, codes,
rules, so-called friendship, of your own life. These things slowly
pile up inside you until the load is too heavy to be beared. Every
small deception accumulates like a single dose of poison. Somebody
learns how to take advantage from this slow poisoning. Others succumb.
It is still uncertain to which category I belong. (I would say
turning it into music is a good way of handling it. - Ed.)
Suicide tends to be a rather comfortable solution when one has
to deal with such matters. How do you feel about this option?
I hope you won't mind if I do not comment too much on this. It is
a very dangerous subject, as I feel my psychic equilibrium is not
strong enough to think deeply about it. I am very vulnerable to
many forms of self-inflicted damages, and suicide is one of these.
"Walk Into My Open Womb", Canaan's second album, was curiously
a double CD release, which isn't all that common to see this early
in a band's career. Why this decision?
While recording "Walk Into My Open Womb" we improvised three tracks
we never rehearsed before. We decided to record them with the option
of keeping them for a subsequent release, yet they turned out much
better than we expected and we then decided not to leave them out
of the album as they fitted perfectly the atmosphere and the general
concept of "Walk Into My Open Womb". The only way to have all the
material released without cutting off anything was publishing a
double cd, and this choice came as perfectly natural..... I know
the format is unusual, but this is a very positive thing after all,
as people tend to remember easily a strange release, isn't it?
Can we talk about a conceptual album in this case or when referring
to "Brand New Babylon"?
Both yes and no. If you mean "concept" as a thing based upon a precise
philosophical theory or any other kind of generalized behaviour,
than the answer is no. There is however a red-line throughout the
album that binds all the tracks to each other, and it's a line made
of self-deception, pain, isolation, loss. The negative feelings
influencing and poisoning me and my life are the guiding line of
"Brand new Babylon" and as such I can call it a strong conceptual
There is a fair share of lyrics written in Italian alongside
the commonly used English language. We don't really see that often
Once again, all I can say is that we compose music and lyrics in
a very impulsive way. Some songs have melodies that adapt perfectly
to English language. Some other ones require Italian. Some other
ones need to be wordless and completely instrumental. We NEVER plan
anything before, but just let words and music come out freely. Italian
language is very beautiful and musical, and often seems the perfect
choice to complement music...
You have been working with producer Paolo Sannazzaro since your
debut album. How important is his contribution for what you've achieved
with Canaan's sonority?
Paolo played an important role in our first two albums. He is a
very professional sound engineer with both a perfect knowledge of
technological means and a very good taste for sound and melodies
in general. His help was precious in giving a definitive form to
the sound of our previous CDs. "Brand new Babylon" was however recorded
and engineered by myself and Luca with the help of a new engineer
called Max (who worked mainly on drum sounds). Paolo was unavailable
for personal reasons, and we thus decided to go on alone. The result
is very satisfying, thanks also to our previous experiences. I do
also have a small home-recording studio where we recorded and pre-produced
all the samples, and me and Luca have good knowledge of recording
techniques and this helped us out in giving "Brand New Babylon"
its ultimate form.
"Brand New Babylon", Canaan's third album, is your first
on Prophecy Productions after having released the first two on your
own label, Eibon Records. Why this move?
Because we were a bit tired of self-promoting ourselves. Prophecy
is a good label with a good taste and a good approach to music.
When Martin shown interest in releasing the new Canaan
we thought it would be good to try this new way. And so far I can
say we are satisfied with how things turned out. We are currently
discussing the chance to repress our now deleted first album "Blue
fire" via Prophecy as well.
How do you regard this album in Canaan's career, now that you've
moved to a new label and all that?
We haven't moved to another label. Our contract with Prophecy was
just for one album, so I can't say anything changed drastically
in our "career" (?). We consider "Brand new Babylon" as our darkest,
most complete and mature work and surely as a very important step
in our musical evolution. There will be more in the future, though
nothing is sure and nobody knows what will happen in the future...
How has the album been doing so far, by the way?
I don't know. The first 5.000 copies should have gone by now. But
you'd better ask Prophecy guys about the album, as "Brand new Babylon"
is mainly a release of theirs.
Although you have a complete line-up, there haven't been any
live performances by Canaan, if I'm correct. Why is this?
We do not like concerts. We do not like drunk people going to a
gig just to "have fun". We do not like performing in front of an
audience who is NOT listening to music but just to the chaos surrouding
them. We do not like what happens when the MASS gathers. We would
accept to play only in the right place, with the right audience
and under the right circumstances. Which won't ever happen I guess.
Tell us a bit about the Eibon Records. What's your policy for
signing a particular artist?
I sign only bands with a strong personality and only bands whose
music appeals to my own tastes, no matter what they play... I'm
tired of seeing FAKE musicians being considered masters and I'm
sick of seeing CRAP labels releasing hundreds of CDs for the crap
human mass, and I'm trying to keep Eibon above the miasms of this
The label roster is quite varied, hosting some peculiar Metal
titles alongside Dark Ambient or Goth/Darkwave artists. Is it easy
to work with all these different genres as a label?
Why shouldn't it be easy? (I asked because the distribution outlets
might differ for either genres in some places. - Ed.)
anything appealing to my own tastes, and I don't care how people
will react. Those who approach Eibon products generally know of
the quality and of the efforts behind each and every release, and
even though the stylistical diversity could be initially misleading,
those who possess the necessary intelligence to UNDERSTAND and not
only LISTEN TO music, discover good music. To my own eyes, there
are just 2 categories of music: good one and bad one...
Each of your releases is presented in quite exquisite form. Doesn't
this turn things excessively expensive?
Yes. Definitely yes. Though I have a far too strong respect for
music intended as ART to care too much about financial issues. My
profit margin is reduced to the bone (it also happened me to sell
things under cost and loosing money on a release....) yet I don't
care, as long as I can enrich my cds with the best possible packaging
and material. EIBON is heading toward a full quality approach, and
if this means earning no money at all, then it's ok...
To wrap things up, could you tell us a bit about your plans for
Eibon in the near future? Is there anything relevant happening in
the Canaan field in the meantime as well?
As far as Eibon is concerned, the next releases will be Bad Sector
"Toroidal Body" and Murder Corporation
"One Life By Murder".
Shortly after I'll have the pretty much anticipated This Empty
album "Nowafter". As for Canaan
, the band is currently
under ice until new rehearsals will take place. We will probably
start composing new material in the middle of 2001. A new album
is 100% sure at this point. Thanks for the interview.
interview by João Monteiro