Known from his former band Lost Area which split up in 2013, Matteo Fabbiani is now back with his very own project Hell Boulevard. As a multi-talent in creativity Matteo made everything from scratch by himself. We talked with the musician from Switzerland about his new band, creativity and about his company.
Hello Matteo thank you for your time. Hell Boulevard is your new project after Lost Area, since when are you working on the band and the music for it?
Hell Boulevard kinda started simultaneously with the demise of my previous band Lost Area. In that case I’ve joined the band on the run so with Hell Boulevard I wanted something to call my own from the very beginning, a project that reflects purely my idea of a gothic rock band. Since I had no tie or deadlines or pressure of any kind, I took my time to improve all aspects and sides of this one project, and I guess that explains why it took so long for us to release our debut album.
If I remember right you “released” a couple of songs as vDiva too. Why did you change the name to Hell Boulevard or are those two different projects to you?
These are definitely different projects. Under my own stage name vDiva I sometimes release songs that falls outside Hell Boulevard or any other project I’m running and help me explore all the music genres I like. Hidden into cyberspace (or not really, just check soundcloud) you will find echoes of my electronic/industrial past as well as a few countryish songs and covers from artists that have always inspired me.
I am pretty eclectic when it comes to music, and I don’t like to limit myself to one single genre. At the same time I would not want to infuse the band with a thousand different influences that do not necessarily match the main idea as it would make it confusing and, somehow, “diluted”. I believe those tracks are just something that runs in parallel to the band, with no real schedule or agenda nor beginning or end.
Your debut “Inferno” will be out by today (Sept 28). I guess you’ve already received some reaction on the album, are you satisfied so far? And what would you tell the fans, what can they expect from the album?
So far we’ve heard and read pretty awesome things. I sincerely couldn’t be any happier about the response until now. I guess a whole lot of hard work is paying back somehow and it feels amazing.
However what I’m really thrilled and nervous about is the response of the fans and the general public as that is what matters the most to us.
“Inferno” is somehow an upgraded extension of the path I was walking with Lost Area and I’m pretty sure old time fans will have no problem in finding themselves right where the old band left them with a few, hopefully relished, surprises. Also due to the “upgraded” musical side I hope this record appeals to a wider range of people, maybe even to some who did not like Lost Area in the first place, that would be a pretty awesome bonus!
Can you tell us who else is involved in the project? Are the musicians beside you only for live gigs or where they also involved in the song writing process?
I am kind of a lone wolf when it comes to composing and the whole writing process. Always been. However in “Inferno” there are a few hints and ideas coming from the other members, they had some pretty cool inputs and riffs etc. and I just did not want good ideas to go to waste!
There are 15 songs on the album, which is quite a lot for a debut album; which is the one you are especially proud of and why?
I am aware it’s a pretty “long” record but I’ve tried killing some songs off the final tracklist and I came to realize I just could not. Plus I know some people have been waiting for this record a pretty long time and it didn’t feel right to keep them waiting for a 9/10 album tracks. All the songs on the record have their own place and meaning, they’re like babies to me and I just cannot pick one.
Some have a very strong bond to my personal life since they were written for a dear friend who’s no longer here, others just came to me overnight and just stuck with me and other tracks took a lot of time and work to shape up and match the idea in my head.
If I read that correctly, you produced the whole album yourself, is that right? Do you work in your own studio? And what about the booklets and artwork, is that also something you do all by yourself?
Let’s start from the easy part of the question: booklet, artwork etc. Yes, I do that on my own. My company VDPICTURES does graphic design and I took care of the whole album concept personally. There’s no better way to make sure the music and imagery went hand in hand and I’m lucky enough to be capable of turning my ideas into graphics that completely mirror what I have in mind.
Concerning the whole production etc. you’re totally right. The whole album has been thought, composed and produced in my own studio, which is currently located in my living room at home, LOL. And yes, I am actually serious. Since Hell Boulevard is currently unsigned and only supported through our own resources, hence we had to reduce expenses to a minimum and, despite my burning desire to work at least once in a professional studio, it just was not possible. On the plus side, when you’re working 20 hours a day on a song, it’s nice to know commuting to your bed will only take three minutes!
Your debut album was mastered by Lord of the Lost singer Chris Harms, do you think his mastering lead to the fact that it sounds pretty similar to Lord of the Lost, or were they an inspiration to you while doing the song writing?
Both and neither, really. My love and appraisal for Chris and Lord of the Lost is old news. I’ve always declared it and in no way ever tried to hide it. I guess when you’re a musician and you have a whole lot of respect and appreciation for a certain band/artist, it subconsciously influences the way you compose your own music, but Lord of the Lost wasn’t actually the main/only influence behind “Inferno”. There are so many other bands that inspired the Hell Boulevard sound, such as The 69 Eyes or Deathstars, it’s kinda weird for me to see the only direct reference that pops up all the time is LOTL as, although I can clearly see the connection, there are a whole lot of differences to their sound and many clear homages to other bands.
Probably the mastering is also contributing to this whole feeling, the only thing I can say about it is that it sounds awesome and I’m totally satisfied with Chris and Benjamin’s job at Chameleon Studios. Just when I thought the record was finished, they worked their magic and took it up a notch, it was such a pleasant discovery.
You will go on tour with Darkhaus after the release of your album, what do you expect from the tour, what is the thing you’re looking forward to the most while being on tour?
Haven’t been on tour for over 2 years, so the thing I’m looking forward about the tour is the tour itself, I’ve missed it! I can’t wait to perform live and test the music on a real, unbiased audience, get the chance to meet old and new fans and friends and hear their honest comments about the shows and the record. AND, last but definitely not least, we’re going on tour with Darkhaus, in my opinion one of the more promising new acts from the scene, could I ask for more?
You don’t show your creative talent only in music but also in doing music videos, I guess you do all the artworks and music video production for your band than yourself, is that right?
First of all: thanks. And yes, that is correct. I personally take care of every single aspect of this project with more than a little help from my partner: from social network management to imagery to music and lyric videos up until merch design and ideas. Some may say I’m a control freak, I rather think of me as multitasking! 🙂
What bands have you been working with so far and is there a band you’d really like to work with?
So far I’ve been lucky enough to produce videos for great bands such as Blutengel, Tanzwut, Lord Of the Lost, Erdling, Liv Kristine and Darkhaus to name a few, plus a whole lot of talented pop and hip hop artists. In my ideal world I would like to direct a video for my all time fave band HIM and please my teenager self, or I’d totally dig working with the king of gothicblues Ledfoot (one of those amazing artists you’ve probably never heard of, well worth checking out!).
I know you are originally from Italy, is there something you prefer in Switzerland more than in Italy and is there something that you totally miss in Switzerland?
Food! I miss proper Italian food, and cheap Chinese restaurants!
Just kidding (sort of), the thing I miss the most from Italy is actually my family. I come from a lil’ town in the Northwest and it’s a pretty long trip from there to where I live now, so I don’t get to see my family as much as I’d like to. On the other hand, Switzerland gave me some pretty good opportunities I wouldn’t have had staying in Italy, such as starting my own video production company, so I’m grateful to be here.
PS: I really do miss cheap Chinese restaurants.
Thank you very much for your time and good luck with the release.
Thank you so much for taking the time to listen and review our debut album, as well as for your interest in getting to know a lil’ more about what happens behind the scenes!
Until next time…