ENTREVUE / INTERVIEW

The Watch

With Simone Rossetti

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ALBUM REVIEW HERE

Serge Marcoux - September 2021

Profilprog (PP): Hello Simone and thank you so much for giving us time to answer our questions. It is real pleasure for me considering that I have been following your musical path since The Night Watch.
SIMONE ROSSETTI (SR):

PP: Should we consider that the band has been created in 2000 as The Watch or in 1997 as The Night Watch?

SR: We should consider The Watch was born in 2000 yes... that’s the band who survived till today and still plan to go further.

PP: Why was there such an early change?

SR: A totally different line up first of all, that was a band just for fun, I wanted to start The Watch to become a pro musician or at least to try to while the others preferred to take other directions

PP: If I am not mistaken, it is the first time the Watch have been making three records in a row with the same exact line-up. It must be a big plus for you, especially that you consider it the best line-up ever.

SR: I think it’s normal in musical groups to have different line ups through the years... it’s hard to pursuit a musical career and so it’s normal that often some people decide for a change quitting the band and starting something else in their lives… and this happens in every field…

PP: MATTIA ROSSETTI plays bass guitar for THE WATCH. It must feel very special to play and create music with your son?

SR: he he yes, it is... in general I’m happy that he can do something he likes, and he does it well by the way. I feel like I have given him a chance to do something with music than just playing in a rehearsal room with friends (which is something great already and I wish I could have the time to do myself with some friends of mine) and I’m happy for this. in the band we help each other with everything so it’s also a great experience to be part of a team when you’re so young like him.

PP: The new record, The Art of Bleeding, is your first concept album. Please tell us about it and why now?

SR: This wasn't the idea from the beginning. During the composing process there was something in the melodies that made me discover some sort of common line in most of the new compositions. It felt like there was a theme that changes from one track to the other but leaves the listener with the same perspective. I've been always attracted by the idea of trying to write some music that might evoke some sort of dark/scary atmospheres, so I engaged in this. In this pandemic period, we all have experienced something scary… musicians' lives were totally upset by this situation and I kind of took the occasion to experiment to write in these conditions. At the end of the music writing process, it was easier to add lyrics on top with a common background - violence in this case.

PP: Was that choice inspired by the international events related to health and politics?

SR: No, it wasn’t... health would be perhaps a too much important topic for me to write something very meaningful... politics... well better not to comment.

PP: I have read that there are five stories in that concept album although there are 8 songs. Can you give us the key to the link between the songs and the stories?

SR: Yes, because musically we decided to include two previously released songs (The Fisherman and Howl the Stars Down) which of course are not linked to the album main subject.
An Intro and Red are the same story, we just divided as we wanted to use Red as an album single.
It’s not the same story that goes on through the songs, but all the 5 stories have the same subject which is violence... seen from different angles.
In general, there’s a lot of aggressiveness in our society today. Today's violence can be much more subtle and hidden than the raw violence of history. Now, people expect to have everything right away, and there's no patience for things to happen naturally. We want everything to be quicker because we want more out of everything. We want to force what's around us, other people, or nature, to behave like we want them to behave. That is an unhealthy form of violence.

PP: I am curious at why you chose a German name for the song Abendlicht?

SR: Hehe, perhaps because we used to spend so much time in Germany before the pandemic for concerts that I was missing it.

PP: On your very first album, Twilight, there was the song The fisherman, why choosing to use it on this album?

SR: That song was among the very first songs I’ve ever written... on that album it was blended with some other material, still nice by the way, but I wanted to have a shorter and acoustic guitars-based version. Giorgio is just magic on acoustic guitars, so he arranged the parts and played along with Mattia 12 and 6 acoustic strings on it.

PP: Given the concept of the album and it’s dominating red colour, I thought that some moments on the song Red is deep reminded me a little of Dario Argento musical universe in his movies. Very great song by the way! Was he an influence for the song or for you at some point?

SR: Yes, it was. I’m a big fan or Dario Argento and I’m happy he’s such a great consideration worldwide... so talking about violence to me would have meant to touch that universe in some ways... and the red color so heavy or purple in some 70ies movies was something reminding me of some scary atmospheres... to me, a small child in the 70ies, I’m from ’71, some of those Italian movies that I could see later as I was too little to see them at the cinema when they came out, gave a lot of deep feelings. They were scary and can still be scary now for people watching them nowadays, even with those old-time video effects, but it was the great ideas around them more then video effect to make them scary and this is genius behind great directors like Dario Argento or Pupi Avati.

PP: Were you able to reunite for the recording or did you do like so many musicians nowadays and exchange files and ideas via Internet?

SR: more than ever it was done in distance... of course due to the Covid mostly... well, except for drums, where Marco and I met somewhere on the lake of Como near where I live and recorded drums parts... and even bathed in the lake he he... which was very relaxing after long recording sessions.

PP: And if it was done via Internet, how was it to work remotely?

SR: if ideas are already more or less precise, then it’s very easy and this was the case. if instead you have to write parts in the distance, then it’s a bit messy, at least for us.

PP: The new album is a dream come true for mellotron lovers. Tell us about your fascination and use of that magical instrument?

SR: it’s a magical instrument yes, I confirm he he... well my fascination is the same of many prog lovers I bet. It’s just that sound and tuning (which can be a bit of a nightmare at times) that gives a touch is nostalgia that I personally love so much. To me it’s instrument for “passional” music… I also like when instruments are a bit detuned and well Mellotron is a master’s in it he he.
We also used some samples actually when our tapes didn’t have the sound we need... still great.

PP: For more than a year now, many artists have used the social medias to perform, promote or communicate with their fans. Have you done the same thing, and do you have a few examples for us?

SR: yes of course, we started with this idea of quarantine videos... and we discovered we liked so much to make them, and we even had responses from people we didn’t expect at all... for example this version of The Lamia from Genesis or Can Utility and the Coastliners with our good friend John Hackett on flute. We also made a version of Dnalien from our Ghost album.
These are the links:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_3HkGkYFZo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK9WdLeB0l0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sypvNKH94WY

PP: The Watch is well known for the beautiful rendition of the Genesis repertoire. How do you manage both sides of the reality of the band and what make you choose to go one way or another?

SR: Genesis music is the music we love and that inspired us since the beginning and a pleasure to perform live. So, it’s very easy to manage both... and it gives us a chance to let much more people aware of what we do in terms of original music.

PP: Has there ever been clash, or difficulty related to those two sides of the band?

SR: No, everybody likes what we do and what I wrote above is the same for each one of us. We can have arguments on other subjects instead but in general, we all get along very well.

PP: I was wondering if you have you ever thought about doing a solo record?

SR: Well with The Watch I write music and look after most of the arrangements, so I do a lot for the band, and I don’t feel the need of releasing a solo album of original music. But I might do it with non original music… I’m working on something actually, but I will tell you more on our next meeting he he…

PP: What does the future hold for The Watch?

SR: I hope we could go on from where we left in February 2020 after a fantastic evening in Unna, Germany, where on our way back we heard about this virus for the first time. I personally don’t think the world will be the same again after Covid. So, if I should with something to The Watch I would say, good health first of all, which is something that I wish you too and all those who are reading us. And then to have to chance and the honor to perform live in front of people who pay a ticket and share the same love for music and keeping the inspiration to write more original music which is still the main point of all this to me and to us…

PP: SIMONE, thank you so much for your contribution to prog music and this great new album, The Art of Bleeding. I’ll give you the last word of this interview.

DC: A big thank you Serge for your time, your interesting questions, and your consideration. It’s a pleasure to me having the change to explain in words what is around the band from time to time and with this interview you gave me this opportunity.
All the best to everyone.