Gathering various elements of metal, post rock, psychedelia and taking inspiration from a wide, complex kaleidoscope of sounds and feelings, “Del fuoco”, the newest offering from Milan based act THREESTEPSTOTHEOCEAN takes the opportunity to get experimental with its influences by implementing multi-layered soundscapes and forward-thinking, huge cinematic structures proving some serious creative forces behind the project. Today, we’re celebrating the upcoming September 4th release of the album on Antigony Records, Tokyo Jupiter Records, and A Thousand Arms, with a special first hearing, the band’s track by track commentary, their take on local music scene amidst pandemic, and special “Top X Weird Live Situations” list to keep you entertained.
Threestepstotheocean is an instrumental band born in Milan in 2006. Since then the group has released four albums, collaborating over time with several Italian and international labels and following a mainly DIY mode. Over the years they have played more than 150 concerts across Italy, Europe and Japan, drawing a lot of fans.
For fans of: Grails, Yob, Russian Circles, Goat, Mogwai.
Asked about their connection with their local independent music community and the current pandemic crisis and its impact on independent music, the band commented: “We probably felt part of a music scene only at the very beginning of our story as a band, from 2007 to 2010 or so, for several reasons, contextual to those years and what was on the move in our country and territory in that period.
Then something happened, probably connected to the epochal digital revolution of the past 10 years, and never felt the same. I think we all felt lonelier since then and, ironically, disconnected from one to another.
Today we’re not really into a scene, honestly I don’t think we have any cultural or intellectual interest in being part of a music scene or – worse – a music genre.
𝐼𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑎 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑐 𝑠𝑐𝑒𝑛𝑒? 𝐼𝑛𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑎𝑑, 𝑤𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑐𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑝𝑡 𝑜𝑓 “𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑐 𝑠𝑐𝑒𝑛𝑒” 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ “𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑦”.
We do have interest in community, it’s probably our main interest actually, and music must be considered an essential part for a healthy community, cause it works as a cultural, resonating shaker of the processes inside a community, providing the most various space of expression.
Covid-19 pandemic and the current cultural challenges – the fight against climate change and BLM movement in primis – show that communities are the most important social entities to be protected, to invest time and energy in.
𝑇𝑜𝑑𝑎𝑦 𝑤𝑒 𝑠𝑒𝑒 𝑛𝑜 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑐 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑛𝑜 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑐, 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑐ℎ 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 𝑏𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑠𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑎 𝑠𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑠𝑜𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑔𝑙𝑢𝑒, 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑏𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑘𝑒𝑒𝑝𝑠 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒 𝑡𝑜𝑔𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟.
We’re involved in that, as a band and individually, at various levels.”
Track by track commentary:
“Canto ai vivi” – We wanted the listener to feel ‘Del fuoco’ musical environment from the very first seconds of the record, as if he/she suddenly woke up from a tormented sleep. We tried to create a haunted habitat through feedback, distortions, and screaming into the guitar pickups. This brief song, which might sound like a sort of intro of what’s happening next, has been entirely made in studio, starting from a simple, linear structure. ‘Canto ai vivi’ means ‘Chant for the living’, we really feel this musical texture as an archaic chant.
“Dal deserto” – It’s our favourite song on “Del fuoco”, and the one who represents the whole record for us. We changed the structure of it so many times, then we found bliss in the hypnotic, obsessive dirge that this track brings. We do our best to evolve musically and not sitting forever in our comfort-zone, and we feel ‘Dal deserto’ as a good experiment for bringing world influences to join our sound also by using other instruments which are not exactly conventional for us: eastern strings, shakers, rattles, darbuka. It’s something we want to keep doing, and we’d love to take those instruments, and additional musicians, on stage with us sometimes in the future.
“Fiori immortali” – We wrote this song in 2015, right after releasing ‘Migration light’. It passed through minor changes, but today, 5 years later, we think this song has drawn a line for how ‘Del fuoco” would sound. It’s groovy and somehow ritualistic, but also feels like a solemn, gloomy hymn to us.
“Profezie dalle rovine” – We wrote ‘Profezie dalle rovine’ (‘Prophecies from the ruins’) without thinking too much, quite instinctively, although we’re not that kind of band. Anyways, the track once again gathers different elements and influences together. The central part of the song is a groovy transition from a furious beginning to an epic, orchestral end.
“Dispersi” – ‘Dispersi’ brings some metal and math-rock elements in ‘Del fuoco’, layering a heavy, ripetitive, monochord riff on distorted keyboards and progressive drums. But it also carries that feeling of change and passage we tried to re-create throughout the record, with a long, unstructured final. The audio sample at the end of the song is taken from an Ohuokhai dance: a traditional dance of Sakha people from Jacuzia, north-east Russia. This dance strengthens relationships inside the community, symbolizes the circle of life and it’s an ode to sun and natural forces. We liked how this gets tied to the title of the song, which means “scattered”, but also “dispersed” and “missing”, we liked how different inputs can create an image, a visual translation.
“Notte in pieno giorno” – “And now for something completely different.” ‘Notte in pieno giorno’ is a sort of turning point in ‘Del fuoco’, even though it’s almost at the end of the record. We’re fascinated by dark folk and primitive blues and we tried to take those atmospheres in the first part of the song, which sounds very uncommon compared to what we’re used to play. Then the track has a gradual shift into a sinister, esoteric crescendo. ‘Notte in pieno giorno’ is the darkest and most desolate song in ‘Del fuoco’.
“Arcangeli con le trombe, diavoli coi tromboni” – We always tend to do a grand finale, and the last song of ‘Del fuoco’ makes no exception. It’s probably a sort of standard composition for us, what we do best, and that’s probably why we enjoy playing it live so much. It’s a long, complex, heavy, emotional, sweet ride. We hope the listener enjoys getting lost into this track as much as we do.
TOP X WEIRD LIVE SITUATIONS, by Threestepstotheocean
A sort of random list of venues and live situations that, for some reasons, we will never forget.
Tiny stage maximum gain – Roma, Italy
We really love little venues where there’s no separation between band and audience, something like Lightning Bolt sets…in our band life we played a lot of shows in these kind of venues but we have some of these deep inside our hearts. Dal Verme in Rome was one of these, unfortunately it no longer exists. They had a super cool, little bar where you could have amazing drinks made with selected spirits and, at the bottom of the room, there was a very small and leaning stair that took you to the concert room. Getting down the stairs with all the equipment wasn’t fun at all but the shows there were amazing. We have to mention at least two other little venues that we remember with love: Astra Stube in Hamburg and Checkmate in Genova.
Tiny stage maximum Gain…no one inside – Somewhere in Fabriano, Italy
Sometimes things get weird. We were in this very little venue, just one room and a bar, waiting to play. There were many people hanging around and listening to the other bands. Therefore, we were confident about the evening. We set up our stage and then we started playing in a very intense way as we always try to do, but…at the end of the first song, the room was almost empty. We were disappointed but we tried to do our best for the few guys in front of us. At the end of the show, we asked ourselves if something got wrong and we went outside and we found the merch desk surrounded by some fans. We discovered that almost all the people were outside looking at the concert from a window because we were too loud. Touchè!
Just for a weekend – Tokyo, Japan
Nothing else to say…10.000 km for two shows. We couldn’t book other shows due to working troubles, but we decided not to miss the opportunity to participate in the shows we had been invited to. Therefore, we left Milan on Thursday and returned on Sunday. It was an amazing experience and we really could talk about it for hours. We will always say thank you to Kimi of Tokyo Jupiter records to make it possible and we’re working to make another tour in Japan…next time longer, hopefully.
A bunker of noise – Kiel, Germany
This is for sure the weirdest place where we had ever played.
We arrived in this parking area with the van and wondering where the venue was.
We call the promoter and he comes out of some kind of cabin in the middle of nowhere, and took us in the underground through some stairs into some old bunkers (probably from WWII). Downstairs there were many rooms divided by these huge, lead doors, we felt like we were in a weird submarine-squat, or a sort of labyrint. In the room next to the one where we played there was this hot hip-hop DJ set with crazy volume, and we’re quite used to high volumes, so when I say crazy I really mean CRAZY. The show was really cool. I remember that I punched the wall during the set for no reason and that we played with a guy who became a friend and helped us to book some shows in north Germany the following years (Kevin we love you). PA was made of two rave-style audio columns with way over-sized subwoofers. Fun.
Drunk guys – Prague, Czech Republic
Every band has stories about drunk guys in the audience, we have a lot too, more than we can remember.
Dealing with this is not always fun but sometimes something unforgettable dumb comes up, like what happened in Prague almost ten years ago, where two drunk guys were standing at the show just in front of my pedalboard. They were totally uninterested in the clean and soft parts, drinking beers and talking aloud, but they would go insane, doing furious headbanging and screaming when distortions were on. A kind of multiple personality unleashed by fuzz. At the beginning, I was a little disappointed but later I started to laugh every time I put my feet close to the big muff. Mention of honor to the guy in Hamburg who decided, totally drunk, to become our new keyboardist…during a concert…What did I say before about no separation between audience and us?
Kebab Attack – Wien, Austria
Long story short: 2015, we play in an awesome little club in downtown Wien, with a couple of local bands. No money guaranteed, door-deal night, 5 euros entrance. Club gets packed, we’re having fun, so far so good, right? Well, the promoter forgets to set an entrance desk for ticketing. We get a “symbolic” amount of money at the end of the night. We invest that money in 5 top-class doner kebab and we take the most glorious pic ever as a band with the kebab guy inside the kitchen, everyone in the pic is holding a huge knife. We get really pissed off but can’t stop laughing. End of the story.
Beach rave – Cecina, Italy
A few years ago we got invited by our friend Matteo Barsacchi (from stoner band Mr Bison) in Cecina, Tuscany, together with our good friends There Will Be Blood. The weekend turned out to be a long party, we all played directly on the beach, went swimming, the pickup with all the backline got stuck in the sand at 4 am, slept in a cabin in the middle of a maritime pine woods on the seaside and went swimming the next day too. Just felt so good and blessed.
Glorious stoned – Bulle, Switzerland
Ebullition in Bulle is one of the best clubs we’ve ever played at, it’s an old movie theatre, a very fascinating place. We’ve been there a couple of times: had great shows with great bands, huge sound, great food, sold tons of records, had much fun with a lovely staff. And we got drunk and stoned every time. We had such a good time there, except once, due to a strange watermelon-taste-weed when – in our miserable conditions – it was time to move to the accomodation: we got lost, with no kind of capabilities of doing anything reasonable, at the mercy of our mental demons. We survived anyway, we have a lovely memory of that place and we are still wondering about that watermelon weed taste.
We lost Otto – Berlin, Germany
2015, third gig of the tour at legendary Scharni38 in Berlin. Good loud show. After that, our soundguy Otto disappears for no reason. He gets back the next morning, tired and confused. He wants to leave, then we leave. But he forgets all his baggage in Berlin, doing the rest of the tour (a week) with nothing but himself. Hardcore hero. Happy ending: Otto would get his bag back several months later.
Hardcore Pride – Milano, Italy
No fun facts happened in Cox18, it is just one of the best spot in Milan. Cox 18 is a legendary place, the oldest squat in Milano, self-managed since 1976. Thousands of amazing bands walked that stage. This is enough to mention Cox in this list but it was also the first concert with Giacomo after the quit of the two Andrea (Menandro and Galliverti). We were pretty sure about Giacomo’s skills and the show at Cox18 was a confirmation. Amazing night. Talking about all these live shows made us want to go back on stage, hopefully we will start touring in 2021. Can’t wait.
Extra: Spotify Playlist:
“During lockdown we made a playlist on Spotify. We haven’t actually shared our taste in a unique list, but each one of us made his choices. Comes out a pretty wide range of different sounds, form heaviest hardcore to dark folk, blues, world music, electronic, punk, indie rock, ambient and noise stuff. This is interesting to us, because it’s really a kind of mirror of what some of our musical influences are as individuals, and somehow we turn them into our sound as a band.”
Threestepstotheocean are: Davide Logrieco – drums, Giacomo Rogora – bass, Andrea Sacchetti – guitars, Francesco Tosi – keys