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Italian Metal Band Black Hornets To Tour India

Frontwoman Gianna Chillà tells us everything you need to know about the next international band set to Indian shores later this year, from their upcoming full-length release to working with virtuoso guitarist Michael Angelo Batio

Rolling Stone India Jun 14, 2016
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Italian metallers Black Hornets.

Italian metallers Black Hornets. Photo courtesy of the artist.

One listen to Italian metallers Black Hornets and you’d think they’re pretty much dabbling in the space between heavy metal and hard rock. But there’s so much more between vocalist Gianna Chillà‘s seething-soaring vocal combination – from death metal drum rolls to the chaos of prog. Interestingly, the Rome-based quartet released their debut album titled Soul In Sight, a collaboration with guitar shredder and virtuoso Michael Angelo Batio in March, and are already working on the follow up. “I must say that it’s never happened [where] I have had the chance to take my time to release an album,” jokes frontwoman Gianna Chillà about the hectic schedule.

While Batio took on most of the songwriting for Soul In Sight, the band [comprising Chillà on vocals, Don Roxx on bass, Titta Tani on drums and Nazza on guitar] has written most of the songs for the upcoming LP, which also features darker themes.“[It] will experiment ways to explore all those human limits that we impose on ourselves,” says Chillà.

With the release date of the as-yet-untitled album set for September this year, the band are packing up production and planning a massive world tour that includes India. “We should be in India between November and December 2016,” says Chillà. “I really hope we can join the big audience that awaits us there.”

In an exclusive interview with ROLLING STONE India, Chillà talks about life on tour, the hectic but rewarding process of recording an album with Batio and finally getting to work with one of her idols.

Tell us about your upcoming single “Blindfolded” and your second album. Did you start work on it with any particular theme or concept in mind?

“Blindfolded” is a song that I wrote a long time ago, when I was not yet in the band. The theme is deep, it explores sex and limits of what we consider normal, decent or possible, without taboos. [It’s] a really powerful song and we are projecting a video clip suitable for the impact of the theme and of the song itself. Hope they’re not going to censor it! The album will experiment with ways to explore all those human limits that we impose ourselves for fear or decency, or maybe sometimes just to conform with others.

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What was it like working with Michael Angelo Batio on your first album Soul In Sight?
The work on the album with Michael had all been recorded and released in the distance, between Italy and the United States, in a very short time. So in order to confront, match and collaborate we talked daily on Skype and clearly this, even if not in a standard way, gave us the chance to know each other. Michael is a great artist, but what surprised me the most about him was his human side. I don’t think I ever had the chance to collaborate with an artist that gave me more freedom [while] releasing a collaborative album. After the first demo of the single “Gotta Run,” Michael gave me complete trust and freedom in vocal arrangement and in [the] song’s interpretation. He pushed me to be only and exclusively myself. I am very grateful to him for this, and I think that my freedom and my enthusiasm can be clearly heard and found in the album.

Are you planning any more collaborations with other artists?

We are planning big collaborations for this album. There’s a beautiful ballad named “By My Side,” that will see the participation of [American guitarist] Jennifer Batten. Each and every time she came to Italy, to play with Michael Jackson or simply [to conduct] clinics for guitar players, I could never miss one. Having the chance to collaborate with her is a very big experience, also a huge satisfaction. It’s something that I could only dream of when I was a little one. [Neo-classical guitarist] Neil Zaza, an exquisite artist and person I had the luck to get to know some time ago, will [also] join the adventure of this album. And we are planning on having one of these great artists with us in some live performances.

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What are some of the hardest and greatest things about life on tour?

Life on tour is almost something normal to me. I have always been used to this reality, since I was 17. That kind of life is fun, deep, and very stimulating… It brings you exactly into the reality where every artist longs to be; on the stage and in contact with his audience. Probably the most beautiful thing about being on tour is the experience of common life with the band and getting to know from time to time different realities of the countries you come in contact with. The most difficult thing about tour life is being separate from the ones you love for a long time and the growing stress. It often happens to me to wake up in a hotel room and have difficulties in understanding exactly where I am, but that often happens to anybody who has lots to do with travel and moving frequently, not just to musicians on tour. Anyway, it is an experience that I find incomparable. That is my life, the one that I chose for myself, and the one that I love. I wouldn’t change it.

Do you think you will play a show in India in the near future?

The schedule is not complete yet, so I cannot tell [you] exactly all the live performances that the band will have. But we should be in India between November and December 2016. The Black Hornets have really much to give to the world audience and the album we are releasing is a huge work of love towards rock.

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