LAST MINUTE TO JAFFNA (Interview)
The Italian band Last Minute To Jaffna have released “Volume III” in January and after almost a year, people still talk about them. They don’t fit in any particular genre as their gift is to experiment every time a new work is launched. The next lines are precisely about “Volume III” and some news are whispered about an upcoming record.
What made you do an album like “Volume III”? I mean, far away from metal…
Well, it’s a long story. We had a question ringing in our brains for a long time, “How would our tracks sound if they were stripped to bare music, without effects and distortions? Would them still sound good?”; then three years ago we had the chance to open for Scott Kelly and since he was doing a solo show – just him, his voice and his guitar – we decided it was time to bring to life our idea. We didn’t know how the audience would have reacted, it sounded pretty weird to think of us without amps and effects, but in the end we felt comfortable with it and all the people liked it, so we decided to do some more work rearranging our tracks (we didn’t really want to do an unplugged version of LMTJ) with a couple friends and record all the stuff. It took some time, but we came to a result which we really liked and made us proud.
The album was released in the beginning of the year. How’s going the promotion and acceptance?
Promotion is going pretty well, almost one year has passed and we’re still getting feedback. The best thing in all of this is that almost everyone was surprised to hear such an album from us, like nobody was expecting this; we’re always trying to do something different, and if we’re still able to surprise our fans then it means we’re doing it the right way.
About the reviews, many of them are good, but there are also many disappointed ones: “There are no electric guitars, how is it supposed to be ‘heavy’ or ‘metal’?”. We knew in advance this record would be confusing for some people, but anyway there are many metal bands which did some acoustic records, like Opeth, and there are many bands which are heavy without being metal at all, think of Swans, Atari Teenage Riot or Tarantula Hawk…
Being it said, how will be 2015?
We’re releasing our new album Volume II in February, so we hope it will be full of gigs and good times.
Is this more experimental and non-metal side to be continued or was “Volume III” a single shot?
We like to play with our different influences and we don’t like to make the same thing two times, so our experimental side will be continued for sure but in different ways. Can’t spoil anything yet, but I can say Volume II will contain some of our heaviest stuff ever, but also some of the most atmospheric and experimental. We definitively love to mix things up.
Why do you use a chapter nomenclature to title the songs instead of ‘real’ ones?
We don’t have “songs”, our tracks are all kinda part of the same music stream. Hence the choice of using volumes and chapters nomenclature.
I felt some Leonard Cohen in this album, especially due to the vocals. Can we say that he was a source of influence and inspiration?
First of all thank you for the nice comparison. Indeed, among the singers closer to our music until now some benevolent listener had counted Peter Murphy, Tom Waits and Michael Gira. But actually the imperfect and broken voice of Mr. Cohen maybe better fits to this album, although always unworthily for us.
I’d call Last Minute To Jaffna a searcher of music and emotions. How do you describe yourselves?
That’s a good definition. All of us listen to different kinds of music, and even if some of our influences are clearly audible, we try to do our own thing. About how we would describe ourselves, certainly any of us would say something different; for what I’m concerned, I’d say we’re a heavy and atmospheric band – don’t really care if we’re metal or not.