Neutered by Facebook and done-in by its functional and cosmetic faults, Myspace was once the place to be for finding new, unsigned bands. By our own estimation, the span between 2004 and 2009 were the glory days, allowing bands to expand their social reach and gain exposure in ways that once seemed unfathomable. There are no actual figures in terms of how many bands were discovered via Myspace, but there are notable stories, including Italy's Gianluca Divirgilio-led Arctic Plateau, who were discovered on the 'space by Les Discrets mainman Fursy Teyssier in 2009. Teyssier proceeded to pass along two of Divirgilio's compositions to Prophecy Productions, who quickly snapped up Arctic Plateau for the release of that year's A Sad Sunny Day. Teyssier would continue his show of goodwill by compiling the artwork for the first two AP albums, and partnered with Divirgilio for a late-2011 split.
While A Sad Sunny Day is formidable in its own right, it is this year's The Enemy Inside that should effectively thrust Arctic Plateau into the upper-echelon of the dark rock/metal annals. Divirgilio imposes his magnificent songwriting will via a bevy of awe-striking, emotionally captivating songs, including opener "Music's Like," the dreary "Abuse," optimistic-sounding "Big Fake Brother," and harmonious "Of Loss and Love." Divirgilio has a reserved, yet confident appeal to his voice, and it makes the bulk of these songs both immediate and intimate. And in spite of its non-metal nature, The Enemy Inside is sure to register with those who fawn over any of metal's darker shades and tones...there's no subsitute for impeccable songwriting.
We snagged Divirgilio for a round of questions, a lot of which focused on The Enemy Inside, the man's approach to putting songs together, and his relation to the metal scene. As you will find below, Divirgilio is certainly not at a loss for words and insight...
Blistering.com: We’re three years out from A Sad Sunny Day. In what ways have you grown and progressed as a songwriter?
Gianluca Divirgilio: To be honest, I have always written music in this way; I think it is natural and inevitable that someone can feel the difference between first and the second albums. The latest album contains a greater amount of lyrics... in fact, on On a Sad Sunny Day I consciously chose to publish more instrumental tracks because it needed more music and not many words.
Too many albums of famous bands are also full of useless words. I also think it's useful sometimes to keep quiet. But in a real band the singer is usually the “first lady” and he doesn't easily accept to be quiet, listen and stop; this is not a post-rock glorification of, but only sane good taste and sometimes it's much better to listen a good record of classical music rather than a useless lyric. The Enemy Inside is definitely a step forward, my songwriting is definitely better than before, but The Enemy Inside needed more lyrics and I have given voice to the meaning of music that accompanied my arrangements. Every word is functional to the music and every word is true. That's all. I'm not a rock star, I'm just an author, a musician.
Blistering.com: Most musicians make statements as to how they spend most of their life writing their debut album, making the sophomore effort harder to compose. Was that the case for you with The Enemy Inside?
Divirgilio: I never had to struggle to write music and the lyrics are born independently, if the music is ready, usually for lyrics you must wait patiently. I always write music, even when I don't write music, because my music is expressed through my life, even when I get up from my bed in the morning. When I die you can say that I stopped writing music, but before I want to make many more productions and at least one child.
Blistering.com: As a one-man band, who helped you out with the recording of the new album?
Divirgilio: Massimiliano Chiapperi [drums] has a formidable approach to my rhythmic stuff; he works on my ideas and he adds precision and timing on each Arctic Plateau pre productions. I'm very satisfied of our collaboration because Massimiliano has a good sense of humor and he is also a good friend and a real Arctic Plateau fan. Fabio Fraschini has played also in On A Sad Sunny Day; he is a professional and so always much busy and I don't know if he will play again in Arctic Plateau. I need a fixed bass player, especially for preparing a good live set, in fact now I'm searching for a new bass player. Fabio is a good musician and a good engineer, if he wants, maybe in the future, we could collaborate together in the studio.
Blistering.com: Is it difficult for you to trust and/or develop working relationships with other musicians in a regular band context?
Divirgilio: Yes. I know that I'm so volcanic that it's very difficult for another musician accept the role of simple executor, but I can't pay another musician, I'm not rich, I work on my music and various aspects of it; you can accept [it] or not. Arctic Plateau was born in this way, it is not a band; really I can play each instruments but I've choose other musicians can execute my original parts using their feelings and they can adds their touch to my stuff using their instrument in the studio. Massimiliano for example, can play each Arctic Plateau sequence and he knows that while I compose my songs in my operative room, I must use my rhythmic phrases, for open my creativity and close a good song I must apply what I listen in my head in that moment. Massimiliano after my songwriting process will elaborate my sequence through his personal experience and he can adds all his creativity using my guidelines. He should accept my guidelines because he knows very well my songwriting process and he respect the original idea, but you can make these things only if you are really in love of music that you're playing now.
Each brings its expertise to the others, but you know, I can't change my original project, this is really my personal thing, a reason, not is simple music, this is not only music. You can't play in Arctic Plateau only for your personal convenience or your personal curriculum vitae. Arctic Plateau is a different reality - musicians that play with me have also their personal benefits, sure, but you can be honest and I'll be honest with you. As I said I'm not a fucking rock star and I don't wanna be a rock star, I do not want be recognized at all costs when I leave my home in the morning or simile bullshit!
Blistering.com: Your writing style is very simple, but the songs are very lush and involved. To you, how does a song make the cut for Arctic Plateau?
Divirgilio: I haven't a real method, I haven't a secret; an AP song can be born in whatever way...