INTERVIEW: Bella Morte

By Kim Kercil
Introduction & Editing by Mike Ventarola

Chain Border

Bella MorteIn the usual hype of the music world, some labels laud a particular band as being the hardest working showmen in the business. None could dare hold a candle to the tenacity and perseverance of the guys in Bella Morte. This band has made the road their life and their love. It is not unheard for them to drop what they are doing at a moment’s notice to travel for a gig. Such was the case as detailed later in this interview.

Bella Morte is what underground indie music is all about; create music that you feel and believe from the heart and soul of one's essence. They are not wrapped up in the pretentious trappings that notoriety often brings to a band. Instead they remain as humble and as close to their fan base as ever. This alone continues to endear them to so many fans across the globe.

If symbolism is any indicator, the bowling ball that rolled out of nowhere at the outset of their career was clearly a sign from the dark angels. What began as their now retired bowling ball collection was the universe telling them to keep at it because they will strike down adversity to win in this very difficult game called the music business. It is only fitting that we close out the year with a "strike" from a band who will be garnering more accolades and attention as time progresses.

KM: The last time I saw Bella Morte perform was in New Jersey at the Monster Convention. How did you become involved with this event?

Bella MorteA: Dave, the fellow who started the whole thing had seen us live in Philadelphia and thought we'd be a perfect fit for the convention. So I received an email from him and it all went from there. He was also the driving force behind hooking us up with Linnea Quigley for a song. She was great, and we're still in touch.

KM: I hear you are coming out with an EP due to be released in January. Originally it was supposed to be a full length. Why the change in plans? Are you still planning on releasing a new full length CD?

A: Actually, we will finish mixing down the full-length in January, and we'll finish mixing down the Death Rock EP 2 in January. So no plans have changed, we've just added a project along the way.

KM: I have come to understand that you used the topic of war as an influence during the creation process. What was it about this subject that affected you so much to want to incorporate it into your new material?

A: I've always had an interest in war, especially WW2. I guess having it in our face all the time on TV and in the news may have had an influence on us, but more than that I think it was a topic we stumbled on that fit at the moment. There are only a couple of tracks on the disc concerning war, but it was definitely a big part of the album's atmosphere.

KM: Will this EP be available through Metropolis Records? If not, how do you plan on getting this release into the public's hands?

A: We have spoken with Metropolis about releasing this one and they seem receptive thus far. It would be nice to make this one more available to the public than the first DREP was. As always, we'll certainly be selling it at the shows!

KM: How do you feel the new material will hold up to your previous release, The Quiet?

Bella MorteA: From what I've heard coming out of the studio, I think we're going to top the last release. I think that this album will sound cohesive as a whole. The Quiet was written over many years, so our sound changed during that time somewhat and our songs reflected the changes. This album was written (for the most part) over the last year or so.

KM: Unfortunately I missed your most recent NY performance at Avalon (formally known as the Limelight). How was it for you doing a show at a club that is considered a NYC underground landmark?

A: We had terrible sound that night and only found out about the show a few days before it happened, so it wasn't the greatest thing. But we had played there once before and had a great time on that outing! We'd like to give it another shot with some advance notice.

KM: At Avalon did you perform any of your new material? How was it received amongst the crowd?

A: We pulled off a new song called The Stranger at that gig and it seemed to go over really well. The new stuff is always the most fun for us!

Bella MorteKM: I watched The Last Dance(1) perform here in NY not too long ago and vocalist Jeff Diehm dedicated their cover of Dead Man's Party to Andy. How did the members of Bella Morte and TLD meet and eventually become friends?

A: We met when a booking agent had us perform together in Atlanta and we just hit it off! That's a really talented bunch of guys who are doing this for the right reasons. We've spent quite a lot of time at their house out in California and they've always treated us like brothers. I'd lose an arm for those kids.

KM: You recently acquired a live drummer named Jordan. How did you come into contact with him? How did you know he was the one for Bella Morte?

A: Jordan's one of those guys you just "know from around town." One day Gopal and I were heading out to see a film and we ran into him at the theater. We talked for a few minutes and drumming came up. We didn't get our hopes up at first because we'd had quite a few bad try outs with other folks. However, Jordan worked out great and things seemed to fit from the start. The rest is history.

KM: By having a live drummer now how do you feel this will enhance your live shows musically as well as in the studio?

A: We're going to have so much more flexibility now! We won't need to have our set-list set in stone before the show and we can play things by ear and take requests from stage with a lot more ease. I think that spontaneity is important in a live show.

KM: In between doing shows, Bella Morte is currently in the recording process as well. Can you give us a breakdown on how you manage to juggle both aspects of being a band?

A: Ummm. Hell, we just keep running. I mean, it's a matter of knowing that this is a busy lifestyle that we've chosen and are just enjoying the ride. I think that I appreciate my free time a lot more because of how busy we are all the time.

KM: Any plans on doing music videos to go along with your most popular club tracks?

A: Yeah. We're supposed to be heading for LA in the late spring to shoot our first pro-level video. The guy shooting it has a couple of videos in rotation on MTV2 right now so we're thinking that we'll have some luck in that area after the video is done.

Bella MorteKM: Being huge enthusiasts of horror movies, have you ever thought of doing an unscripted Bella Morte horror movie of your own – and you can show it on the cable access channel?

A: Oh yes! I've always wanted to shoot a horror film! It's definitely on the "to-do" list of my life. I'd love to have a BM video shot with the same camera that was used to film the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Gotta love that grainy look.

KM: I was perusing through an interview that appeared in Legends Magazine(2) (www.legendsmagazine.net) a while back and I noticed you were avid collectors of bowling balls. Does Bella Morte still do this? If so, how many have you acquired?

A: You know, we've retired the bowling ball collection as we started running out of room for the damned things. It all started when we were driving in Richmond once and a bowling ball came rolling down a deserted street in front of the van. We have no clue where it came from and it was rolling pretty slow as if at the end of some long, tiring journey. Anyway, we decided that fate wanted us to own the ball. In retrospect, maybe fate was telling us to bowl. Who knows.

KM: Do any of the members of Bella Morte have any closing remarks they would like to add in?

A: Keep an eye out for our upcoming EP Songs for the Dead and our upcoming full-length CD (to be titled) in 2004!

(1) Interviewed by Kim in Legends #139.
(2) Bella Morte was interviewed by oldster Rat Bastard way back in Legends #100.

Legends Online