1.Introduce yourself and your band and tell us why we should listen to you.
Hi, I'm Manuel, the singer of Black Phantom, a Traditional Heavy Metal band from Italy. Our label Punishment 18 Records has just released on March 20th our brand new album "Zero Hour is Now", distributed worldwide. We love the roots of heavy metal, we're into bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, so if you like those kind of sounds then you will surely appreciate Black Phantom.
2.What do you classify your sound as, Who do you tell people you sound like?
As we said before, we grew up with Iron Maiden and Judas Priest in our ears, we write and play that genre because that's what comes from our hearts, and that's what we genuinely and sincerely write and compose. We can say that we identify with what nowadays is commonly called NWOTHM (New wave of traditional heavy metal).
3.With digital music in today's world would you vote to keep or eliminate physical media?
I think that the advent of liquid music has changed a lot the way to enjoy it, so I think it's a great opportunity for all underground bands to make themselves known. On the other hand, I think that the physical format will not die, at least as long as there are people like me who will collect vinyl and CDs! One thing that has definitely changed is the attitude of the new generations towards music: everything has become so fast and immediate, people have lost a little bit of the attention which is needed to really "listen" to music. Well, maybe the physical format can still represent the kind of attention to music that is necessary to appreciate it in its entirety.
4.What is the reason you decided to be a musician and has that reason paid off?
I started singing almost as a joke when I was 15 with my friends, we used to do crazy songs and it was a way to pass the time and have fun. Then over time things got a little more serious! With time and experience the bar has risen more and more and I try every day to improve both in technique and interpretation.
5.How do you feel about females in metal getting special attention? Do you feel it is fair?
I'm happy with women in metal! Joking aside, it's clear that seeing a beautiful girl sing is better than a fat bald guy, there's nothing wrong with taking advantage of all the qualities that mother nature has given. The important thing is that beauty shall not be not the ONLY one!
6.In the world climate with hatred being at an all time high and metal being an “angry” music. Do you think your music contributes to anger and hatred?
I don't think heavy metal in general is a music that generates hate or anger, on the contrary, for me it serves as an outlet valve, something to channel all the problems I have and get rid of them by listening to a good record or some song in particular.
7.Are you opposed to religious beliefs or politics being used in music?
I'm not against the use of religious or political themes within music, but you have to know how to use them. We as a band have chosen to be inspired by literature, movies, comics but also by more personal or human relations issues. It's a choice.
8.We have dive into some pretty deep issues here do you think your music sends a message and if so what is it?
As I told you before in our texts we convey positive messages inspired by movies, comics and personal experiences. We don't expect to give life lessons or try to make sense of things and shift the opinions of those who listen to us from one side to the other.
9.The market has changed and many bands believe that record labels are a thing of the past, with many labels now charging bands to “sign” how do you think a band can make it in todays scene?
Not only the market has changed but, as I mentioned before, also the way music is enjoyed. It's getting harder and harder to emerge and doing so without any kind of support is almost impossible. You're a drop in the ocean, basically. We make music mainly for fun and we have no intention of using formulas like "pay to play" or anything like that. We manage the costs through merchandise sales and concerts. We are very lucky with Punishment 18 Records, the label that follows and supports us.
10.Why with the thousands of options including netflix , sporting events everything on demand, Why do you think people should take the time to listen to what you have to say in your music?
Because our music is genuine, honest, entertaining and has nothing built in. We are really what you hear and it's not an attitude for pleasure or to sell an extra T-shirt or CD.
11.How do you feel about pay to play? Do you think it is fair for a band to have to pay money to play?
It is not a practice we have ever considered and I think we will never consider. It's not for me to judge the work of other bands, but as far as we're concerned you will never see Black Phantom pay to play in a certain situation.
12.It is fact that you are the talent and the entertainment explain what you think is the most important key to success?
As I told you, I think one of the most important things in music is the honesty of the proposal. If you play something you don't believe in, you hear it.
Then you definitely need talent, technique, experience, ability to write beautiful melodies and beautiful songs. And a lot of luck, especially in today's world.
13.In country music and even in some cases rock music is written and performed by different people would your band perform a song written by someone else?
I think that in a record there can be a cover of another artist, as a tribute or to try to make known a less known track of that band's career. In our first album "Better beware!" we recorded and included the cover of Iron Maiden's "Total Eclipse" exactly for these two reasons.
14.If you are pro female in music are you pro using sex to sell your music?
Yes, moderately! :-)
15.What is your view on the lawsuits against people saying lewd or unprofessional things to women or men and how does that affect an art described as sex drugs and rock n roll ?
I think the days of sex, drugs and rock and roll are more than over. I see instead that today's musicians are all very smart, prepared, serious and professional. Maybe also because the years we live in today are a bit different from when this myth was born and evolved.
16. Ok lets lighten up a bit. What is your favorite band of all time and why?
I think one of the greatest rock bands that's ever been on earth is Pink Floyd. They wrote melodies and created atmospheres that will remain immortal. They literally changed the way we make music, both in music itself and in the music business. And of course, Iron Maiden!
17.What would you be doing if you were not in a band?
If I didn't play, I'd use my free time doing sports. I'm not a sportsman but I like to think that if I had a little more time I could play a sport, like tennis.
18. Do you have a favorite sports team?
I really like watching football and I'm an Internazionale FC fan. Me and the guitarist of the band Roberto and I are opposed to Andrea and Ivan (bassist and drummer of the band) who are Juventus FC fans. Juventus and Inter are big rivals in the Italian football league, so there are always discussions and teasing around this, between us.
19.If you could get on stage with anyone dead or alive who would it be?
It would be great to do a duet with some great singers, for example RJ Dio, Bruce Dickinson, André Matos, Rob Halford.
20.This is your shot to let loose, Throw down your biggest complaint about the music biz
Less commercial bullshit and more music. I know money has always made the world go around, but we really need to make music the most important thing and not bullshit like pay to play or money-sucking agencies. I see bands that are very good but for a few chances they can't carry on their ideas... That pisses me off.