ALL FOR METAL
We got a chance to sit with rising star of true metal – ALL FOR METAL right before their show in Zlin. In order for us to fight with putting the interview on paper even more, we weren´t talking with one nor two band members. Along with singer of the band Antonio Calanna, there was also the beautiful part of the band – guitar players Jasmin “Jassy” Pabst and Ursula Zanichelli. Tour, foundation of the band and reactions on debut album was base ground of the interview, but it definitely wasn´t all of it.
So let´s start from the beginning ang introduce us yourselves a bit as you are still kind of young band...
Antonio: Just three months old band. You can call us baby band actually. We are heavy metal band with a lot of influences. We mix into the genre some folk elements, some power metal elements and we put everything together in a low rhythm heavy metal. That is our music. That´s why our song „All For Metal“ is our manifest, our anthem. That is exactly what we want to give to the audience. We want them to raise their fists in the air and celebrate heavy metal and party with us. What I´d like to give to the people is 2 hours, one hour and a half or as today 45 minutes of entertainment because I think that nowadays, people need a little bit of time to just listen to the music and not to hear heavy topics in the music. The life itself is already difficult enough so what we want to do is to entertain people.
So we are here in Zlin just few hours before your show. What is the main thing you want to deliver to the crowd? What do you want people to remember you by?
Antonio: Our concept is basically built on cliché – that is also what we get to hear a lot – mainly from the ones interviewing us, you know? But at the end of the day, yes – basically we bring two guys – one singing deep and one in high making the party time and that´s our go to. But it´s not that easy – to actually do it. We are actually performing really difficult songs and it´s not just having fun or giving good times to the audience. It´s also performing difficult songs and be remembered to be skilled musicians as well.
Few times and also right here, you said that you want to offer some escape from the reality to the people. Can you elaborate on that?
Antonio: Well, nowadays, when ticket prices are getting so high, I think that metal business changed compared to 10 or 20 years ago. Back then, bands were wearing the first thing they run around, grabbed instruments and went on stage. I think that nowadays, crowd deserves to get an entertaining show, that means the lights, the costumes, the image concept with something that could not really be offered by just “normal band”. That´s also the image we are offering to the audience. It´s not just some random image. We are doing it because we want to deliver show as well. Not just a concert, a full show!
Whole image and the music as well is kind of build up on Manowar´s true metal…
… and you upgraded it with some modern elements, the armor, …
Antonio: Man, whoa, whoa! You cannot upgrade Manowar! You cannot upgrade the Kings of Metal!
… so you added the armor and stuff like that to the whole image. How important is the whole image and stage look for you as a band?
Jassy: I think it´s part of us and part of our identity and it´s part of what we want to give to the people. I mean, the way that we present ourselves with all the armor, we also make sure that we have all the funny details, you know? For example the masks for Florian – he´s playing the Joker type of personality – he really likes it and he is really thriving for that role and he is very happy to be the crazy guy on stage. His costume as his personality also needs to be here. We also have some kind of partner armor and our shoulder piece broke and …
Ursula: I needed to fix it while playing on stage.
Jassy: … and it looked like some warrior goddesses at some point.
Ursula: It´s fantastic! Yes! But we are imagining our character and we also act a little bit on stage. Nut we are also ourselves because we play our music.
Jassy: Also, we included the sound of hammer and anvil into the song. What is the first thing you associate with the sound of anvil? Metal plates, armor – and I feel like you just feel these elements in the songs and you also see the elements on stage and that´s why costumes totally fit the complete atmosphere that we are trying to create with our music and live performance.
Ursula: It would look boring with such music if we would be dressed normally like right now, in t-shirts, jeans, cap and stuff. The impact is completely different like this.
Antonio: Every respectable show has people on stage with costumes. Otherwise – it´s a gig. Which is not a bad thing, but what we want to give to the people is the show!
Jassy: You could also compare it to the video games. You wouldn´t play Skyrim with character in just t-shirt and jeans, would you? You have the whole imagery in games based on lore, on story you want to tell. And this is exactly describing us as a band. I think that this is the analogy we could use for that.
That´s hell of an analogy! Love it! Lyrically, visually and video wise it´s all about fantasy world, mythology and things like that in your case. What is your base ground in that – books, movies, games etc.?
Antonio: When we started the band back in 2021, we had this idea – me and Tetzel – well, few ideas. But first two songs we actually recorded were “Born in Valhalla” and “Raise your Hammer” which are the most folklore related songs that we have in our album. Then when we were continuing recording, we thought that maybe we should not just go to folk metal and that strengthen our vision. That´s when we decided to go more into fantasy world and I think that the concept of fantasy world where we ended up – whole Conan the Barbarian thing – it´s the non-existing fantasy world where you have actually not working fantasy armor, not functional weapons. Those are our clothes we wear on stage – kind of armor that no one would really wear. Tetzel´s shoulder are definitely going too far for example. Man, we are basically half naked. In a fantasy world, this could work…
Jassy: Yes, female armor in this world is mostly only breastplate and not much more.
OK. Understood …. And what are your personal “entry gates” to the world of fantasy. Any specific book, movie or something like that?
Antonio: Video games! The first video game I played were Dungeons & Dragons, Baldur´s Gate and then, 20 years later …
Jassy: Baldur´s Gate 3! (Everybody´s laughing)
Antonio: And 20 years later, I found myself on stage with armor and sword.
Ursula: I am old enough to say that for me, D&D is not a video game. I played D&D the old school way. But for me it´s the same.
Antonio: But that was The Dark Alliance. But that´s where we came from. Also we all are fans of Lord of the Rings, Conan the Barbarian, TV shows like Xena and Hercules. These exactly were our basics. It´s super cliché, but we don´t really hide it. (Laugh) But we are having fun with it and we´re taking ourselves seriously in what we are doing but not that much.
I mean, I am coming from the same roots, except when it comes to games, I wasn´t really fan of Baldur´s Gate, but for me it was Diablo and Sacred.
Jassy: Ooooh, Sacred was amazing. Maybe Gothic as well?
Nah, I was enjoying Diablo II for way too long to have time to play anything else.
Jassy: Gothic is getting remake these days, you should totally check it out.
As soon as I found some time between wife, work and other games, I promise I would check it out. But let´s get back to the business … you are past the release of debut album, you are past the “critics phase” and right now you are bringing whole album to the people. Or almost whole album.
Antonio: Whole but one song. Somehow out of 30 minutes of music, we are playing 45 minute long show.
Yet you had to scratch one song out. What impact do you feel it had on the audience so far?
Jassy: It´s freaking crazy. We can just take a look at RockHarz where we had the autograph session – the queue was endless.
Antonio: They had to close it because we had only half an hour.
Jassy: Yes and when the time was out and we had to close it queue didn´t get any shorter and it was just crazy.
Antonio: Thankfully we were able to move them to Hot Shots tent and they could have some small chat with us and I think they were pretty grateful because many of them were like “We´ve been standing there for such a long time and they closed right in front of us”. All the emotion you see evolving around the people when they hear the song and chanting along – it was just our third show and we´ve seen people standing in the front row already knowing the lyrics. That´s something so incredibly touching and we honestly didn´t expected it to be like that.
Antonio: And this was two months ago and then since we started the tour it got amplified. People are singing the songs, they are jumping, they are just really there. We are now here in Zlin, and I hope I pronounce it right. (Yes he did J) And our very first show was in Pilsen on 2nd of June. There are people coming here because they´ve seen us in Pilsen before and they came for us!
I compared your “introduction” text on AFM (label) website and on your official website and there is one small difference. Before you introduced musicians surrounding you as “nameless band members” and now – on your website – they are introduced by names. When and why did you decide to change that specific concept?
Antonio: It happened on the end of February … actually the 3rd of March this year when we released the music video for Fury of the Gods. Before that – during 2022 – it was a long period of brainstorming and recording of the songs and trying to put everything together. It was a lot of work to do. In the meantime, we were also figuring out what people we want to work with and then we started to look for the band members and we came with these two beautiful ladies here and Florian and Leif and another two amazing girls that are our showgirls – Cristina and Luisa. You´d also be able to see them tonight as they are actually part of the band. When we actually put everything together, we told the world that “Hey, this is the band!” As you are telling me now, that means that AFM´s official website forgot to change the band´s bio. We probably have to tell them. (Laugh) I am confused that it´s updated on our main page as nowadays not a lot of people go to the official page of the band. Our social media are normally super updated. We try to post as much as possible and keep the fans updated over everything but when it comes to the website it´s a bit more complicated since you have to send something to some guy and he is changing it so the whole process takes much longer. There suddenly is that chain of command, you know.
The band was kind of born in …
Everybody: VALHALLA! (Laughter)
…. The band was born in the era of COVID and it was pretty hard and bands had to communicate just through the social media, which looks like you did really good. Do you have any advice for people who might be starting the band just as you were not that long ago?
Jassy: I think you just have to have a vision and common goal to be there for the people with the music you want to present to the crowd. Also the passion – so many people think nowadays you can just write some songs and play them, but I think people would notice when you only play music and you are not passionate about it. Having a common vision, having a common goal you work towards to – it keeps you fueled up with everything, it keeps you super focused. Also, you should try to re-invent yourselves at some different stages and deliver the best you can. If you feel you are together with right people, this automatically stacks up. We get inspired by some input we get from the showgirls, we get inspired by some input Tetzel is giving or Antonio, Flo is giving, he is also very critical. We all thrive for different expertise and every single one of us is contributing to the band and in our case, it´s just something organic that grows over the time and you couldn´t really feel otherwise if you are with the right people. Having that vision, that drive, the passion and different kind of perspectives from each of us gives you that what you need.
Ursula: I could just agree. You just couldn´t add anything that could possibly make it any better. This was actually perfect,
Antonio: Truly amazing!
You are already on tour …
Antonio: Yeah, for three days. That´s why we are still fresh and full of energy. (Laugh)
… have you already build up some kind of touring habits?
Jassy: You could go really vertigo if you won´t fill yourselves with enough water. That´s very important. Me, for example, I pack my bag every day to get just the stuff I really need because, for example, yesterday – we had that really small backstage and you don´t want to be annoying to the other people. You really need to focus on the most necessary items to bring with you. Also what is becoming the habit is that little game of ours called “How to load the trailers”. On our first day, we had an issue that our trailer was overweight and we had to re-distribute the stuff and no one was taking care of how to effectively pack it. We were like “Stop! We cannot do it like this.” So we were re-distributing everything as we all need not only travel, but travel safely.
Ursula: It all differ from day to day. If you´d ask same question 10 days from now, the answer might be completely different. We are changing little things, tweaking them.
Antonio: The good thing is that we arrive to the venue in the morning so we could do whatever we want, even solve any problems that come out. We finally found a little piece of peace and also, I finally found some time to work out which was really important to me – to find time to work out as for last two days, it was just crazy.
I like to do this, time to time – I´ve written some of the comments under Youtube videos, under some reviews or some stuff from Facebook comments and I would really love to hear your reaction on few of those… and let´s go straight to the first one: “Album Legends sounds like lovechild of Doro and Sabaton.”
Jassy: Awww, that´s actually cute!
“I´ve never thought that Angus McSix would have competition in cheesiest album of the year. I love it!”
Ursula: I´ve read that one!
Antonio: Damn, now I am curious about who would win! (Laugh)
Jassy: We should have voting to decide!
“All for Metal is true masterpiece of all of the metal clichés! They are so metal that I bet they are magnetic!”
Jassy: I really like this one! But not all metals are magnetic so the physicist in me is like “eeeeeh”.
Antonio: This answer is so German.
“This is exactly what you get when you level up bard skill on your Barbarian”
Ursula & Jassy: Yeeees!
Jassy: Some people get really creative on those! This is just so nerdy! This is just awesome!
Aaaaand the last one …. “Bring us the next album ASAP!”
Jassy: This was also someone messaging me like two weeks after we released “Legends”. I was like “What the hell, duuuude, we just released the album!”
Antonio: We released the album two months ago, men. But I got to say we are already working on upcoming album. We already have ideas and we just want to win and in order to win, we got to keep running, you know?
Ursula & Jassy: (Singing) Run run better run run better run …. (*song by All for Metal – Run)
In case of first album, there is a lot of songwriting done by Hardy Kerch. Do you plan to continue with this collaboration or do you have your own songwriting ambitions?
Antonio: It´s gonna be different this time because we have a bit more time, we already found out how the band works so it won´t be like we are rushing it. We don´t have to think about everything – like putting band together. We have more time for that and want to input our creative contribution.
OK. So you formed the band, released the album and right now you are touring Europe at pretty big venues, you also played some of the greatest festivals in Europe. All within what – a year?
Antonio: Actually the first release was on 7th October 2022 and our first gig was here in Czech republic on 2nd June. You might say we are three months old. We needed to be baptized before we could properly be called the band.
Jassy: Yes, otherwise, you are but a project. You are just playing together.
Antonio: You are just a Netflix movie. (Laugh)
Jassy: You have to be proven worthy in front of the audience.
OK. With all said, what are your plans for the future?
Antonio: We are working on that. In upcoming future, we want to finish this tour and we are playing on Metal Hammer Paradise in Germany and Rock Out and Knock Out festivals. For the next year, we are already working on really great stuff, we have a lot of requests and we are already working on new album, new music videos, new ideas in general.
Jassy: There will be some surprises coming as well, you can expect those.