Venice Hardcore Fest is one of the biggest underground festivals in Italy. This year the line-up was insane with so many different bands from all around the world. One of them was THE SECRET.
Originally from northeast Italy, THE SECRET signed with Southern Lord Records, and recorded at Kurt Ballou’s Godcity Studio to produce great albums like Solve et Coagula and Agnus Dei. After three years from their last show, the band is back with a new EP that will be out via Southern Lord Records during this year and a bunch of new gigs around Europe. Before their show in Venice, I had an interested chat with Michael Bertoldini (guitar) and Lorenzo Gulminelli (bass) about the future of THE SECRET.
We are at Venezia Hardcore Fest and tonight is the first time you’re going to play in three years. How do you feel?
Michael: Quite great. There’s a lot of people that we haven’t seen in forever. I’ve seriously just met with a bunch of people that I hadn’t seen in like 10 years. We’re super excited just to be on stage again with the band. It’s been forever. It’s been a quite complicated time, so it feels very good. It’s quite amazing.
What does someone expect when they attend one of your shows?
Michael: Quite a loud, aggressive and psychedelic show.
Are you going to play a particular set tonight?
Michael & Lorenzo: Not really.
Michael: We’re just like going to play a bunch of songs off of our last two records.
Michael: Yeah. We’re slowly going to start announcing a few more shows. There’s not really going to be a lot of stuff. We’re playing in Munich with Converge, it’s a very good lineup. It’s Converge, Dark Buddha Rising and Kringa. Fuoco Fatuo is playing too. It’s a very diverse but very, very good lineup. It’s like a bunch of bands from the whole spectrum of heavy music. So some black metal bands, more doom bands and Converge, of course.
The last The Secret Album was Agnus Dei from 2012. Are you working on anything new?
Michael: Yeah, that’s kind of supposed to be a secret, but people know about it anyway. We just finished recording a three-song EP. It’s about 20 minutes of music. And Southern Lord is going to release it.
Michael: Yeah, hopefully soon. It’s supposed to be in July. It’s super unofficial, but fuck it.
Lorenzo: Everyone knows. Now it’s official.
Michael, you are also the owner of the label Argento Records. What do you think about the metal music scene these days?
Michael: It’s very, very diverse. There’s so much stuff coming out that I think it’s quite great. There’s a lot of stuff moving in the underground. I’ve been living in Amsterdam for five years now and I’m kind of focusing on the Dutch black metal scene at the moment. Yeah, there’s a lot of great stuff. There’s so much. It’s even kind of hard to wrap it up in like a second. There’s a lot of great black metal, a lot of great death metal coming out and a lot of great experimental music, a lot of doom. A lot of great, great stuff.
Do you think it’s hard to pursue an independent record label like Argento Records?
Michael: Yeah, it’s super, super hard. It takes a lot of time. I love vinyl, so you know, that’s like our main focus and it’s really awesome but it takes a lot of commitment and you need a lot of time. Production times are very, very long and it’s fucking expensive and you never know when a record is going to do very well or not sell at all. But it’s just something I do like, for passion, you know.
Have you recently added any new bands?
Michael: Yeah, actually, I just had a co-release with another label from the US. It’s another Italian guy, Mattia (Alagna). You probably know him. So we had this co-release with Sentient Ruin Laboratories, which is his label. It’s a French black metal band called Novae Militiae. It’s like super, super, super good. Very aggressive, kind of apocalyptic. It sounds very French, like very Antaeus, Blut aus Nord, a bit of Deathspell Omega. Like really, that super crazy, mega, aggressive maximalist type of black metal.
Do you have any new releases this year?
Michael: Yeah I have a bunch of stuff scheduled already. I have new Verwoed record coming out. It’s another band I play with. I only play live with them.
I missed you at Roadburn!
Michael: Yeah, I know. At Roadburn there’s so much stuff and if you don’t get there like a half hour before the show it’s always very hard. I have a very good friend called Eric, and he’s an amazing songwriter. We got in touch and he was doing everything on his own, kind of like a bedroom project, and then it developed. He wanted to play live so we gathered a bunch people and we started playing live. So far, so good.
All The Secret members have side projects. You play with Verwoed, Lorenzo plays with Hierophant, Tomaso plays with Slowmotion Apocalypse. How do you feel as a band right now?
Michael: I don’t know. I think that Tomaso hasn’t been playing with Slowmotion Apocalypse for quite a long time now because I think they broke up a few years ago.
Lorenzo: Yeah, they did.
Michael: But Hierophant plays a lot. I think they’re the most active band of the bands you mentioned. I don’t know, the band is really like a creative outlet and it’s something that we all feel we really need to do. I don’t know, it’s a hard question to answer.
But you are alive..
Lorenzo: Yes, we are.
Michael: Yeah, definitely. We stopped for a few years. And now we’re going to play some more.
Lorenzo: But we never quit, actually. We never said to people that we quit.
Michael: We kind of told each other that we quit, I guess ahaha
OK, so we’ll see you on stage soon.
Lorenzo: Yeah, in a couple of hours and then around Europe.