Italian heavy prog band Ornithos was formed in 1999, but due to the employment with other projects and bands they released their first album in 2012. Unlike many other bands cominng from Italy, with „La Trasfigurazione“ Ornithos brough different approach to a genre emerged in their home country during 70’s, employing heavy factor in their music. This year brings another release, single called „Invettiva al Potere“, from which we featured a song on our new Progstravaganza sampler. That was a reason to talk with the band’s flutist/saxophonist Eva Morelli.
Your music is largely based on heavy groove with tons of other elements coming from different genres. Heavy (even thrash) metal crossed with progressive rock, I would say it’s pretty inventive. How do you maintain cohesion on these diverse music styles?
We have a very eclectic musical character, and in the compositions we tried to merge the different kinds of music mainly based on the content and what we wanted to tell.
The cohesion comes from the mixture of the sounds of each of us that engage in the compositions of Diego Petrini, the union between the seventies prog, soul and jazz, metal and funk and the new sound of modern rock is our main goal!
It’s interesting that Ornithos predates Il Bacio Della Medusa, but your first album „La Trasfigurazione“ appeared in 2012. Why did you wait that long with the release of your debut, knowing that the band was formed in 1999?
The band is the brainchild of Ornithos Diego Petrini and Federico Caprai, with the desire to create music based on improvisation and experimental sound.
After several collaborations from 1999 to 2002, the project was temporarily shelved for the birth of the band Il Bacio della Medusa, which unlike Ornithos did not have an improvisational character, but united rock, prog songwriting and compositions typically Italian.
In 2007, the project was finally taken Ornithos with the entrance on the staff of me on flute and sax. Following a number of auditions come to work in the project Simone Morelli (guitar), Maria Giulia Carnevalini (vocals) and A. De Caesar (lead guitar on La Trasfigurazione).
The band brings us to the recording of the album La Trasfigurazione (2012) and the single CD Invettiva al Potere (2013).
How much of RPI heritage you implement in your music? It seems unavoidable for a band coming from Italy not to include elements of this genre that emerged back in 70’s. What is your take on it?
The musical legacy of the great experimenters of Italian progressive rock was accepted and absorbed into our musical DNA.
Area, as well as Arti&Mestieri, Dedalus, Allusa Fallax, Goblin and Pholas Dactylus have contaminated our musical taste; however, a large swath of influences comes from listening to the great American music (from the blues and jazz roots up to the big Zappa) and of course the English Prog of Camel, Affinity, Colosseum, King Crimson… and the whole school of Canterbury!
The Ornithos logo includes the ibis, which symbolizes Thoth, the Egyptian god of knowledge, music and time. How does this reference to your music?
Knowledge, Music and Time are the pillars that support our music will inspire and most of our lyrics and compositions.
In particular, the search for inner awareness was the first theme of La Trasfigurazione, and continues to be of great importance for us. Music and Time then are our lifeblood!
Would you introduce us to the concept story of La Trasfigurazione“? The interesting fact about this concept story is, to paraphrase my colleague Raffaella Berry,unlike many albums that share similar features, the concept is mainly conveyed through music rather than singing. Why did you decide to abandon this conventional way of telling the story and change it for a soundscape attitude?
Since our main interest of musicians has always been to tell images in music we preferred to create a musical texture that accompany the listener, guiding on our journey through the development of of instrumental compositions.
In it you embed the gems of lyrics that enhance all of the musical path, without removing the possibility of imagining to the listener…
More and more bands are searching for the ways to consolidate traditional music styles with modern, but there are not many of them that actually succeed in it. However, Ornithos proves opposite. What is your secret?
Secret? We have no secret! We only want to play our music with energy and above all expressing our style!
It’s very difficult today to think about creating something totally new, so the only way forward is to create its own sound and a personal… And we believe we have succeeded!
2013 brings a new music in the shape of “Invettiva al Potere“, single comprised of three songs in total, with title track in two versions (short and long) and acoustic version of “This is What We’ve Got – The Flute Song“ extracted from “La Trasfigurazione“. Where do you think this new music is taking you, in terms of the band’s evolution?
The sound of „Invettiva al Potere“ was, in our opinion, the perfect way to express our outrage at the degeneration of Institutions and Society.
In the first part, “La Caduta dei Giganti” the music is bloody and tight, while in the second part of “Meritocrazia” the sound changes dramatically, becomes more progressive and experimental with quick changes of time until you get to the climax, where flute and guitar cry a willingness to change!
Anything you could tell us about “Invettiva al Potere“ song which is the part of our new Progstravaganza sampler? What are you talking about in its lyrics?
The lyric of “Invettiva al Potere” says primarily the desire to destroy the current system headed by the “Giants” (symbol of the established power and untouchability of those who continue to move the Economy and Wars for centuries).
“Emerge from the mud the Death squads
The death of the masterminds behind the Wise revealed
It ergon masters and false political…”
The second part of the text is a message of hope: remove the old political order with a new global reality, incorruptible, meritocratic, that encourages artistic expression and that does not stifle the individual taking it or to isolate themselves or to comply with the mass …
“Giants fall from their residences
It restores the artist and with him his dignity …”
I can’t not mention Il Bacio Della Medusa, with whom you released “Deus Lo Vult“ last year after 7 year break. How are you satisfied with the album’s reception?
In our opinion Deus Lo Vult is, without detracting from the previous ones, the best record of the BDM, as it captures the spirit of the rock band.
Lyrics and music are perfectly balanced and there is no voltage drop across the concept! In response to some criticism made to us on the duration of the album that we believe are often used in the field of musical wanderings prog unnecessary, often harmful to the ultimate success of the work, which aim only to increase the playing time but not the content. Quality, not quantity!
Recommend us some new progressive rock artists from Italy that we should check out.
Well, I don’t know, really… The problem is that many groups emulate those who have preceded us in the Golden Age of Music. Most often stifle the personal character of the bands of today.
What are your future plans with Ornithos?
We are laying new compositions for the next album, but the main goal is to present our songs around the various festivals and live music club! Even in the context of progressive rock has exploded the phenomenon of tribute bands that clog the market live and do not contribute to creating musical innovation and new perspectives of cultural growth. The ones who manage the live music events should think a lot about all this.
Is there anything you would love to add that I didn’t cover in my questions?
I just want to underline the great value that we have always given to the artwork of our album: Federico Caprai care pictorially the execution of each cover, as I have always worked on the graphics, both in Ornithos that in BDM.
For printing of the CD Invettiva al Potere my brother and guitarist Simone Morelli and I have collaborated on the layout, while the artwork (fusion between painting and photography) is the work of Federico!
Thank you very much for taking the part on our compilation. Keep up the great work!
Thanks to you all and enjoy our music!