By Jay Rollins
Italy is a breeding ground for metal, I have spoken with 3 drastically different bands from Milan alone. Iím sure most are familiar with Lacuna Coilís roots stemming from Italy but, as die hard thrash fans know, you have been on the scene since 1985 creating some of the worldís best thrash. Throughout the years as the popularity of metal ebbs and flows can you always rely on your home country to show support?
One of our old agent, an American guy based in Germany, told me once that Italy is for sure the country with the higher number of Metal Bands, most of them unsigned and not known on the international market. Extrema has been around for more than 30 years, Started in 1985 as thousands of other bands, I also remember the young Lacuna Coil playing along side us before the worldwide success coming in for them, we’ve survived some really bad period, also thanks to our home country fans that are always there for us and our determination to never give up. Also to have been probably the biggest Metal Act in Italy in the mid 90’s helped too.
The aptly named Old School EP, which came out in May, is a collection of songs that were written in the late 80ís and very nearly forgotten forever. With all due respect to your other albums, I sincerely hope that every thrash band from the 80ís has secretly held on to five songs from the era that could arguably be their best work. What made you revisit these songs and realize people should have access to these tracks?
The story behind “The Old School EP” it is funny, all this songs were never been second choice, all of them were part of our set list in the late 80’s early 90’s shows, also, all of them were recorded as demo tapes. when we entered the studio to record our ’93 full length debut “Tension at the Seams” we’d to choose which songs we had to record and which not to and we decided to record other songs more recently. Than the years passed and those songs somehow ended in a drawer until the end of December 2013. We had just ended our 2013 European tour and Paolo Crimi, our drummer since 2005 told us that he don’t wanted to tour anymore, he wanted to stay more home with his family so Francesco La Rosa has been chosen as new permanent member of the band. In the meantime I was home thinking from where starting writing new songs and, listening to some really old tapes searching for some inspiration, I come up again on those songs so I propose to the Band to try to record those songs today and seeing how they sound. The result is “The Old School EP” it’s awesome to see how those old songs sounds fresh and vital like they were written today. The reviews and the overall hype around the EP is a confirmation of this. Please Note that the songs are exactly the same, except for some really minor arrangements, to the original versions.
Extrema is also business savvy in the way that you produce and own all of your material through your company Extrema Team and then shop the product around to different labels to license the album. How long has this been the way Extrema has operated and would you suggest this business model to bands on the rise?
We’re Self producing our music from 2005 when I started my own company Extremateam, the first album we released with that formula has been “Set the World on Fire”. In the meantime I’ve bought all the rights of our previous records and started to license directly our entire catalogue. we’ve been first licensed to V2/Universal then we signed a seven year license deal with Scarlet Records. Actually the contract has expired and so we’ll try to find a label who might be interested to release the new album and possibly the entire back catalogue. Today I think this is the only business affordable for Bands. The music business has changed a lot today, it is very hard to find a label who wants to sign directly a Band and produce their music. There’s too much music offer that most of the time is bush league.
Since the Old School EP was written years ago, can fans expect any new material from you guys anytime soon? With Alpha Omega Management backing you what are the chances of a full tour in the near future?
We are already writing new songs for a new Album, actually we have five songs ready at a demo level. We are planning to release a new album end of 2017. With the guys of Alpha Omega Management we’re looking for the right chance to book a new extensive tour, and this time we’d like to go and play in countries where we haven’t been before. We’ll see what tomorrow’s bring.