Interviews > Stigma
Interview by Athena Schaffer

(Insert the signature Cryptkeeper laugh here, then try to imagine the following in the Crowgrrl’s best imitation of the Cryptkeeper’s voice….) Welcome, Kiddies! Stigma are inviting us to descend with them into dusty, cobweb laden sepulchers to find a hidden underworld of frightful fun. You’re guaranteed to have a fangtastic time, banging your heads until the first rays of dawn frighten vampires back into their coffins.

The band’s sophomore release, Concerto For The Undead, (Pivotal Rockordings) not only has Tales From The Crypt running through it, it also has comic book art (by Andreas Berton of Corefolio Designs) for each track instead of lyrics in the album’s booklet. This Extreme Metal Horrorfest features anthemic vocals and choruses, a contagion of great guitar riffs and solos, blast-beat drums and thunderous bass. Awesome album! It also features guest vocals by Jamie Hope (ex- The Red Shore) and Jon Hunt (ex- Dead To Fall ).

Hailing from Italy, Stigma are: frontman Stefano “Vlad” Ghersi, guitarist Andrea Beilo, bassist Flavio Magnaldi, and drummer Stefano Ghigliano. Concerto For The Undead was recorded at Fear Studio. It was produced by Bring Me The Horizon guitarist Jona Weinhofen, and mixed and remastered by Scott Atkins ( Cradle of Filth, Sylosis).

The Crowgrrl tracked down frontman Vlad to further explore the entrails of this body of pure fun music.

Why the Tales From The Crypt theme for “Concerto for the Undead”?

Because we're all big fans of that comic! When we started to talk about a new record I remember telling them about this idea and everyone was very excited about this, we all put down our favorite stories and started jamming right after!

Are the songs based on actual segments from the comics or just written in that general vein?

Sure! We chose our favorite stories out from lots of comics, then while the band was working on writing music I tried to "translate" the story into a lyric! In some songs I just focused on some aspects, like in "A Monstrous Feeling", in others, like "Chop His Head Off!" I simply created a lyric out of the complete story!

Which came first, the lyrics or the music?

We had some riffs, but nothing already melted in song form, so we decided to work in a different way compared to what we did with our debut When Midnight Strikes! where I wrote lyrics after we had nearly all the record written, this time I came with the idea and this influenced the song writing! I think you can actually feel the connection, it's way better this time!

Who does most of the songwriting for the band?

Melodies and riffs often comes from Andrea, then we work as a team on structures and of course single instruments parts as well!

I love the incendiary musicianship in “The Undertaker”! Can you tell us more about that song?

It's one of my favorites, nice choice! That is the very last song we wrote before entering the studio, at the beginning we were not even sure if putting it in the album, cause we had a really short time to work on it! The lyric comes from the tale "Fitting Punishment", and tells about a cruel undertaker and his orphan nephew... As for the song itself, I think this has the best melodies of the whole record, guitars are really insane!

”3000 Years And Still Keeping It Real” is a fun song! Any stories behind that one?

Yeah, that song features Jamie Hope, ex singer of Aussie shredders The Red Shore, and the lyric is inspired by a tale entitled "This Wraps It Up". It's one of the heaviest on the album, we started playing this song live during our European tour last summer and people in the crowd really liked it a lot!

”….And They Died Happily Ever After” is another awesome song! What are your thoughts behind that, both lyrically and musically?

This one is the really first song we wrote for this record, it's the one I think is closer to the style of our first album, at least on the structure and general vibe, but it's very good, the lyric comes from a tale entitled "The Craving Grave" and it's all about vengeance ahah!!

What’s your personal favorite song on the new album?

Mmm hard to say, I have more than one for sure! I really dig "The Undertaker", "Chop His Head Off" and "Prove You Are A Man", they're all pretty different from each other, but all killer in my opinion! I really like the fact this record has something for everyone, there're very heavy songs, some others more melodic and close to the typical Swedish sound, others more intricated typical Stigma songs... I love this record ahah!

Any video plans for any songs?

Yeah we're in talks with a killer director, but I doubt we'll be able to shoot a video before summer time. Not sure on the song as well, but we'll keep everyone posted as soon as we'll plan things!

How did you get Andrea Berton to design artwork for each song?

It was a hard mission! For at least two years I felt in love with designs from an artist working with our favorite bands, no way to discover his name, then one day I managed to find his contact talking to the manager of The Black Dahlia Murder. I got in touch with him, and then discovered he's Italian ahah!! He's one of the best artists we had the fortune to work with, very professional and easy to work with, plus he's a great "Tales From The Crypt" fan and collector! For the people who will buy the record, get set, ‘cause the artwork is really stellar, there's a big surprise in the booklet eheh!

How did you get Jona Weinhofen to produce the album?

Well, back when Jona was still playing in Bleeding Through we were the openers of their Italian shows with Throwdown and 36 Crazyfists and he came after the show and said he really liked our music, so we became mates and when I approached him telling about this new songs we got he was really into helping us out and working on the production of this album.

Tour plans?

We're in talks now for a European tour, for a UK one and then of course we're planning Italian gigs as well! We don't know yet if we'll make it to the US with this album cycle, but we really hope on that!

What is your live show like?

Imagine a bunch of funny guys playing evil music and having a great time! That's it ahah!

Does your live set list contain mostly songs from “Concerto” or your previous album?

Our new setlist has just two songs from our old album, all the rest are "Concerto For The Undead" songs!

What kinds of merch are you bringing with you this time?

We've two killer designs done by Corefolio and a few more coming, in the last couple of weeks we worked really hard on this subject, ‘cause we really want to have some great merch, better if connected with songs or themes from the album!

What do you do on your “down-time” on the road? Do you bring movies or videogames? If so, which ones?

We travel in a small van, so we can't play videogames in there, except some PSP!! Movies? Yeah usually we bring some good horror stuff, lately some Italian horrors, and then blockbusters with sick special effects to enjoy on a 10" screen ahah!!

Have you filmed any shows for a possible DVD in the future?

Yeah in the last few months we're filming nearly all shows, but just with our own camera, not professional filming so far! We'd love to get the chance to shoot footage for a DVD to release in the future, maybe it's still too early but it's something we all want to work on soon!

How Hands-On are you with your Website and Myspace pages?

We put a lot of effort in our My Space page, as well our website, ‘cause that's one of the best ways to show your fans you really care of them. We love to talk to everyone and chat, just send us a message and we'll get back to you asap!

Is there anything that I didn’t ask that you want to tell our readers?

Thanks for this cool chat, give us a chance to "Concerto For The Undead", we promise it's worth your money!! Keep safe! V