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01/10/2007 – Interview with THE ORDER

The Swiss Hard Rock / Heavy Metal band THE ORDER (official website) released their second album, "Metal Casino" two months ago via Dockyard 1. You can check out the review of the album at this location.

As a result of this release I sent a couple of questions to the band to know more about this release, their music, and other related things. Gianni (vocals) answered all the questions and since he also fronts PURE INC., I fished for some info regarding the band's third album... to no avail. :(

The Order logo

The cover art for "Metal Casino" is based on an existing lightpole for a casino, right? Did you travel to the States to shoot some pictures or were they taken elsewhere?

Travel to the states? No way, man. We can't spend money on that, it would be totally insane. Mr. Spring did the cover artwork. He downloaded the picture somewhere. Nowadays it's quite easy, though I think it would have been a great experience going to America.

How did you come up with the title "Metal Casino"? (I'm not asking about the lyrics yet. ;-))

It was something that came up in our minds while having some beers and some spliffs. I guess the whole thing started with the idea of doing something special so anyone (especially media people) would ask us why we called our album that way - I think we made a very good choice. "Metal Casino" is a fucking great album title, don't you think so?

The Order - Metal CasinoA related question, but now more about the lyrics/subjects: is there a connection with the album title and/or did you also include non-casino related songs? For example, is "Mama, I Love Rock 'n' Roll" autobiographical or more of a tribute to this music?

Anything I write lyrically is based on a true story that happened to me or to someone I know. That's the thing that makes more sense for me writing about my life, my world's view or about you and those and them. I like the reality, can't stand the future and the whole tales stuff.

The production is much better (or should I say different?) than on "Son Of Armageddon". Was this one of the elements that were on your list of "to change/improve/tweak"?

Well I guess we improved, like anyone would the more you play together. It's a logic thing, but furthermore I think on this release everyone brought his own ideas in the music and so it became, for me, a compact album. The production was this time easier, because we worked again with V.O. and Franky. They knew what it had to sound like. :-)

Although technology has improved a great deal over the past tens of years, that doesn't always guarantee a perfect sound/production. Since drums are my favourite instrument, I find it important that they sound as powerful/realistic/(add anything else) as possible (although I realize there should be a difference between Hard Rock and more extremer Metal), but in many cases you end up with a very polished, but also plastic-like sound. Snare, bass, toms - with the bass drums sometimes too weak or to clicking (probably also due to triggers). What's your view on this (i.e. modern productions) and how important is this aspect for you?

I know what you mean, man, but it depends on which kind of music you play. I like it the way you like it - rough and smooth at the same time -, but I understand that some people prefer to work faster or try something different. So they use a drum computer or triggers for their style. It's always a matter of taste; some like it some don't. I prefer the real Rock kick ass drum when the snare hits you in the face , the cymbals are high as hell and the bassdrum goes straight to the heart.

How satisfied are you with the result on "Metal Casino"? And how did the recordings go? No particular problems?

No problems at all. We've spent 2 weeks for the whole record and I'm very happy with the result. I think the more you try to change and make it better, you're going to ruin it and make it even worse. Keep it simple, because Rock'n'Roll it's a simple thing. Not an easy thing, but simple and it's all about groove and the pause in the beats, like AC/DC: ta-tatata-tatata t.t.t-tata..."Highway to Hell". :-)

The Order - Gianni PontilloWhen did you start writing the new material? And were there any leftovers from "Son Of Armageddon"?

We actually started right after we finished the "Son of Armageddon" sessions. We were looking for a deal and because that took quite a while, we got nothing better to do. So we wrote more songs and, yes, "Broken Days" is a leftover song from the old sessions and I think you can hear it and I like it this way.

Speaking of leftovers: do you always compose enough songs for an album or do you make sure you have more than needed to make the selection easier, or perhaps already have material for the next album(s)?

We write maybe one or two songs more, then we rehearse and try to make everyone as good as the other, but before we enter the studio we have a clear idea of which song we're gonna put on the record. That makes things very easy, because time is money and if we're not totally into a song, we leave it out and concentrate on more important things.

Musically, on "Metal Casino", there are similarities with e.g. SHAKRA, JORN ("In The Heat Of The Lonely Night" chorus), and even some ICED EARTH ("Forever" and "Broken Days"). These are things that cannot be avoided when playing similar-styled Hard Rock/Metal, but do you pay close attention to it to prevent plagiarism?

Really, we don't give a damn and I tell you why: If you listen to any kind of music, you will always compare it to something you know. But at the end every band has its own character and the more you listen to it, the more all your comparisons will vanish. For example, I used to listen to CREED and Scott Stapp in the begin really sounded like Eddie Vedder, but that changed the more I listened to him and recognized his own style or another example, I mean GOTTHARD and JORN is very much like WHITESNAKE or RATT or Y&T etc., but they both sound very unique. The vibe is the most important thing and not if a part of your song sounds like a song that already exists. I mean it's clear that you can't take the same riff or melody from another song, but sometimes you can't avoid it.

If you would compare "Son Of Armageddon" and "Metal Casino", what change or evolution is there (as musicians, way of working, recording, ...)?

The first album "Son of Armageddon" was for the biggest part written by Spring on his own. I added my lyrics and the voice melodies/lines and we entered the studio. On "Metal Casino" things were different: Although the main things were from Spring, the band worked together on every song. The way of recording remained the same and as musicians we've learned and tried to take other paths to write a song or make an album, which is always very exiting.

Since more than a year you're signed with Dockyard 1. How's it going so far? Are you satisfied with the work they do for THE ORDER? And for how many albums did you sign? (in case the conditions of the contract are fulfilled, are you thinking of a renewal or maybe other labels?)

To be honest with you, the biz today is very hard, it's not easy to release an album and do the promo work. In this case we wished we have had a bit more promotion for this album, but on the other hand I understand that's difficult, because it's all about the money and I know that if Dockyard 1 had the chance to do more, they would have done so, because we have a good relationship together. About the contract: I think they have 2 options for the next 2 albums, If they decide to take them, we will gently take the offer. :-)

In general, what inspires you for the lyrics? And on a musical level?

I always try to give to the listeners part of my life and my life is very simple, because I'm a man with a day job. In this case the lyrics are based on true stories and sometimes the way I see the world, a bit political.

Can you write/compose at any time of day or do you need to be by yourself, empty your head and focus only on your work for the band?

Well, actually you could write a song at anytime you sit and try, but if it's gonna be a good song is very much up to how you feel that day. The mood is important and a good dose of luck too. :-) I guess the best song comes out in an instinctive way during a jam or a try-out.

The Order bandAny touring plans for THE ORDER?

We play a lot here in Switzerland, because there's a region here that is very much into this kind of music. I guess we would have good responds in Germany too, but it's all about money again we can't go on tour for 2 weeks, because we've got to pay all the costs ourselves and we simply don't have that money, so we try to play some support shows and whatever comes around with bigger bands.

How easy is it to combine your work for THE ORDER, dayjobs and maybe other things you're involved in?

It's quite a stress, but I was born to Rock, so that's my mission and I will do it for the rest of my life or I hope so as long my voice is fine. I even think that's a good thing having a day job; you're around the whole day taking impression, reading newspapers and meeting people. I can imagine that being only a musician, you're a bit alone and maybe living in isolation.

Gianni, you also front PURE INC.. Any updates regarding a new album?

We are working on a new album, that's all I can say. :-)

After a day's hard working or gigs, how do you come to rest/recharge your batteries? Go for a walk, do some sports, reading, ...?

Well, my girlfriend and me enjoy spending time with our dog Sheena. We go for a long walk or take some time off and relax somewhere. I'm not much into reading, because I don't find the time. Maybe when I'm a bit older I will.

That's it for me, for now. Many thanks for the replies and all the best to you with things to come. If there's something I forgot to ask or something you just want to add, go ahead.

I wanna thank you and all the team and especially the fans and all the readers. Enjoy life and Rock'n'Roll.

Lots of greetings
Gianni Pontillo

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