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Moon of Steel Interview

Moon of Steel Interview
By: Sam Grant
With: Sarah Bonetti of Moon of Steel

Interview Info
By: Sam Grant
With: Sarah Bonetti of Moon of Steel

Sam:  Where did the name Moon Of Steel originate?

Sarah:  Our name joins the nocturnal and mysterious character of the moon with the physical nature of steel. That pretty sums up the essence of our music. The moon represents the fluid path, our blood, where all our passions are boiling.

Sam:  How would you describe the band’s sound?

Sarah:  MOS sound is difficult to describe. Personally, I don’t like to put labels on anything, because you end up missing the small pieces that build up the Whole. It has a metal basis, but stretches itself beyond the classic boundaries. We tried to add our influences, ambient and jazz flavours, and syncopations, which, in the end, go far beyond the metal canon. We developed our songs without relating to any cliché, following our pace, the voices of our souls. To some extent, we created our own, passionate, personal, unique sound. We are very proud of this work! 

Sam:  Moon Of Steel had already been around for many years before you came to join them. What was it like to join such a respected band?

Sarah:  I felt a deep thrill at first, but I soon realized I had a great responsibility. So I thought it was better to start working instead of simply being gratified. On the personal side, we are restless and passionate when it comes to defending our personal point of view; but after four years of working together, we managed to find a way with each other! We a re a very tight unit now!

Sam:  Who or what would you say has been most responsible for the band’s progression in sound over the years?

Sarah:  Moon is still the main writer, together with JJ, with whom he arranges all songs. But Zingro and myself have given a significant contribution to the evolution of our sound. On the spiritual side, we are all equally involved with passion, enthusiasm and a deep commitment.

Sam:  The tone of MOS’s music is very dark, intense and rich. What does this intensity of the music reflect?

Sarah:  With ID we tried to express what we feel inside, our doubts and uncertainties towards a world which is evolving too fast, leaving no room for real feelings. Being a little “dark” by nature, I can let my soul speak out in the most dramatic songs, like “Details 3” and “The Wave”. Melancholy is some kind of intimate bridge between the memories buried in the past and the future knocking at the door… one of the many sides of life that you can dramatize in a song. Another fundamental aspect is the fusion of male harshness with female sweetness, which combines together quietness and action.

Sam:  On listening to Insignificant Details I find that I keep discovering new layers to the sound. How hard was it to put together such a structured album and how long did it take? 

Sarah:  It all comes down to these great musicians, JJ, Zingro, and above all Moon. He is THE Moon, the mind behind the band! Drawing inspiration from the moon itself, he would and could experiment, using my voice as an instrument. And I used all my vocal extension to follow him between the extremes of every song. All in all, we displayed a great effort in the composition an rhythmic asset, with complicated and yet mellow bass lines, which add to a sophisticated sound. We put a lot of care in every single detail, especially when we were working on the final mastering.

Sam:  Did you have to make a lot of sacrifices in your daily lives for the album to reach its potential?

Sarah:  We spent entire nights rehearsing to make ID sound better. Zingro and I would drive for about 65Km back and forth, and would be back home by 3.30AM. Consider that we had to wake up for our daily jobs a few hours later! Moon and JJ locked themselves in the studio… and went out a month later! We had to labour a lot, but finally ID came to see the light!

Sam:  How successful do you feel the songs are in conveying the messages you want to convey?

Sarah:  Writing and performing ID was a labour of passion and responsibility. Being able to deal with matters that came from our hearts made us think… we feel very responsible towards our listeners. We tried to express what we had in our hearts. All the songs are united in one long message intended to involve the listener. We’d like them to stop running and find a moment for reflection. Because our troubles are all the same, either you’re standing in front of a microphone, or watching a computer screen, with the stereo on.

Sam:  There are parts in Insignificant Details that could almost be described as similar to slow jazz. Have you ever been interested in jazz, and if so which musicians have interested you?

Sarah:  I’m a big fan of Cassandra Wilson, she’s the quintessence of modern jazz. Then, of course, the classics, Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald. But I listen to a little bit of … Tool ,Filter, A perfect Circe, All about Eve, Cocteau twins, Porcupine tree,   Depeche mode, everything that is out of the mainstream and that reminds me of the underground of the early 90s. I sometimes listen to classical music (Paganini e De Falla above all). Outside the rock field, my choice goes to Stephan Micus and Sahinko.

Sam:  If you could sum up the moral of the album, what would you say it was?

Sarah:  The spirit behind this work is focused on details; we do care about lyrics and the way they are linked to the musical canvas. The title ”Insignificant Details” has an ironic edge. The lyrics really speak of what matters the most to us. Without pretending to give ultimate answers to core issues, we only express our opinions and ask us questions, convinced that, very often, the real meaning of things lies in small details. Moon got the idea looking at a tree in his neighbourhood: its roots had grown beneath the pavement and had broken the concrete surface, and you could see them through the cracks. We thought Mother Nature was trying to tell us something…maybe that she will overcome man’s stubbornness in the end… 

Sam:  What other bands do you admire?

Sarah:  First of all, the early Queensryche, then Gathering, our national glory Elisa, and on top of all A Perfect Circle. Their “Two Libras” always gives me strong emotions, the same I’d like to communicate in ID!

Sam:  What education and training have you had as a vocalist? From what age did you start taking music seriously?

Sarah:  I’ve been singing since I was 18, and i don’t make any difference between singing as a professional or not. I still have a lot to learn, who doesn’t want to get better? I consider singing as an impulse from the inside, a feeling that fills you completely. I don’t think I have a special role, distinguishing me from other people; I accept my talent and try to grow it, to be a better person.

Sam:  What interests you the most about the music you write?

Sarah:  Life itself, the enchantment in everything. Simple feelings, the countryside, the clouds, the graveyard, the noises at night… all distilled and mingled with care and passion. And the night with its wonderful, shiny moon!

Sam:  What do you feel when performing a song?

Sarah:  All the things I already said, with some emphasis on the theatrical side, which is always helping when you’re on stage! I like being psychomotive: it helps people understand what you’re singing, and helps me to live inside the song. Every song is like a theatre play to act with some energy.

Sam:  What can we expect from Moon Of Steel in the future? Where do you think your sound will go from here?

Sarah:  We’re can’t wait to start creating again, and, by the way, Moon and the other guys are already working on new material. I wish we could grow, as musicians as well as persons; and I wish to reach all the hearts of those who are still running too much every day, and wrap them up with our songs…

Greetings to all readers of Sonic Cathedral… a big hug from Moon Of Steel!