Fleshgod Apocalypse; the name just rolls right off the forked tongue. These Italian masters have had their own renaissance in 2019 with a change in lineup, a new album, Veleno, and a string of tours from cities and fans around the world wanting to sink their teeth in. Fleshgod begin their worldwide campaign in Australia this November so Sentinel Daily caught up with former drummer and now vocalist and lead guitarist Francesco Paoli to discuss the challenges touring Fleshgod, the fans and our insatiable hunger for Fleshgod…
Japan and Australia are kicking off the worldwide campaign both promoting and celebrating the band’s latest album Veleno. How do you guys limber up for such a big stint? “We took some time off – we wanted to release the album with a decent amount of time between heading off on tour. We wanted people to appreciate the album and learn the songs before we took it out on the road and also so we were a bit more confident with the material. And it was a good strategy because right now we have a lot of demand for the shows. So now starts the fun part. Going live. It can be stressful at times as we now have a lot of shows to compress into a very tight time frame – for example two weeks is ten shows. We have a little time to regenerate in Australia between shows and then some time off between our European tour with Whitechapel. So you have on and off but it’s good because it’s the moment when you face the album and face the reactions from the fans. The real perception if things are growing for real and it’s what every musician wants to know. The sale numbers are picking up well. In Australia we have sold twice the number of albums as our last album [King]. Which is great, it’s a good sign and we thank the people for supporting the band. The real thing is to go live, share that moment together and see if things are growing for real”. Truly rewarding experience when you can see your blood, sweat and tears are paying off.
In regards to rehearsing for a tour as big as this one – how long do you guys like to take to prepare? “We try to practice for ourselves. For a tour such as this, we take an intensive week of rehearsing, we practice and go through the whole set. Our show is also theatrical, so there are lots of variables to consider. It isn’t just practising a song. We aim to refresh the musical aspect and then the whole plan comes together – the show schedule and the theatrics come to life also. We do believe this is very important for the fans. The music is entertaining but the people want to be part of the story, they want to see something as opposed to just hearing something – I think this is the way the music is changing now and it’s a good thing as we like to do this. We are a lucky band. In a world where someone is looking for something different with death metal – sometimes it is very close minded, sometimes the music is enough – though things are changing, the fans are changing, the perception and the trail that we leave, many bands are trying to follow. We are defining a new scene, a new kind of audience and it’s a great thing to have all this fresh blood at the shows”. Standards are always getting higher and higher from fans, bands need to up the ante each tour as with each tour it is basically a first impression for this new blood.
When we were chatting back in April prior to the album being released – you mentioned you were going to use the summer to build on the creative elements of the live show – so without any spoilers, what does this mean for Australian fans? “This is the third time we will have visited Australian shores. The first time we played with Septicflesh – and even without us headlining – our introduction to the Australian fans was amazing. The second time, the tour was not big – though the turnout was great. I still have a fond memory of that Melbourne show – it was fucking huge! So it’s like ‘Okay, maybe Australia works’. As soon as the album came out we knew we had to book Australia again. We got a huge offer to play – it was beautiful! So as this is our third time we have tried as much as we can to evolve this new production. The songs on Veleno are exceptional when played live. Obviously carrying production on an Australian tour is very difficult and not just because it is very far away – you have to fly everything – there is no transportation from show to show, so everything is flying but we will do our best. For the first time we will be bringing a proper light show, which we’ve never done so far. So I guess, it takes time, it takes years. Though the dream is to have the full production there as soon as possible. But you need that foundation there first, the foundation with the fans, growing the shows; the band needs to be perfect, the material perfect – you also need to convince the bookers, the promoters and the people in charge of logistics and infrastructure that the tour will be successful. We are a young band – we have big expectations so we are looking to expand even more from tour to tour. I can say though, that our sets this time around will be longer as we will be playing material from the new album of course but also material from our back catalogue”.
In regards to the production – this is the most challenging aspect of touring Fleshgod? “Most definitely, it is very complicated. It all depends where you are – Europe and the US, we can drive all we need around the countries – sometimes it is just so expensive and so complicated to arrange. There is a but! You can make it happen with time, if you build an infrastructure – you can leave it in a certain country, build something for the shows in a certain country, some things we can fly – it’s a slow process but we can make it happen and we are always fine tuning the planning. For countries like Japan, Australia, China – it can be very complicated”.
This tour will be the highlight of the year – as Australia is so difficult for bands to tour, geographically, financially; fans were convinced that the tour of 2014 would have been the last for a number of years – but here you are about to embark on your third tour of the country and fans are very appreciative. “We are very appreciative of our fan base there too, sometimes you can play a city and then nobody calls you back because there is no interest. But Australia – there is something magical, a real connection. The fans love the music and the whole artistic proposal but Fleshgod is eaten up. We thank the fans for the support and the bookers and promoters for their interest in promoting all our albums. Get your tickets!!”.