Dark Quarterer

Dark Quarterer is one those well-hidden underground bands that have been around for more than 38 years. Their homonymous debut is a “cult” epic prog heavy metal album, originally released in 1987. Thankfully, the band decided to re-record, re-arrange & re-produce the debut anew. That fact gave us the chance to talk with Gianni Nepi (vocals, bass) and learn all about the first release, the band and their future plans…

Hi Gianni… I think it was a great idea to re-record and re-arrange your debut album. Finally, the people will have the chance to get it more easily and enjoy the updated & dynamic sound.
G: Hello Thanos. Yes, in fact we also believe that the idea was right. The first edition has a bad recording quality. Now finally the listener can appreciate every detail! In any case it was nice to taste the flavors of music that we did not play for 25 years... many memories of those years... every note is a picture of the past... believe me...
What did you have in mind when you started recording your debut back in the late 80s? How did you manage to mix all these metal elements and come up with a fresh and so “weird” result? Were you aware of you had achieved at the time being?
G: Three different minds can combine their musical tastes and their different energies. not always when this happens the result is good. but I believe, after many years, I can say that our ideas were good and that the end result was truly original and unquestionably unique. In those years we did not have the perception that our work would have been appreciated in the future... but we liked it a lot and that was enough.
Although it’s been 4 years since your previous work, someone would expect to see you coming with a new album. Instead, you decided to put time and effort on your debut that was released 25 years ago. Did you think about it in the previous years?
G: Yes! Absolutely! The last year we had already started working on new songs but Giuliano Mazzardi, our producer, has asked us to rework "Dark Quarterer" so we had to stop us. Now we will try to recover the lost time. Perhaps we will be able to finish the sixth studio album in 2013.
Hence, except for the participation of the guitarist Francesco Sozzi and the keybordist Francesco Longhi, who weren’t a part of the original recordings back in the day, what else has changed if we compare it to the first edition?
G: Francesco Sozzi, Francesco Longhi play with me and Paolo from 1999. Now we have found a form of musical communication that works very well. We are able to combine our ideas, solutions, musical phrases in a few moments. Our togetherness is now sure and without hesitation. It was easy to rebuild our first job because we know our roles and our musical affinities. As we play, any song, we have our own style that is very well defined and if we were to change our sound on the next album we will do certainly combining our ideas. You ask what has changed... our search for the sounds and atmospheres has become almost obsessive and we cannot create without being overly critical of ourselves.
By the way, where is the original guitarist, Fulberto Serena, and why did you part ways way back?
G: Fulberto has been away from music for nearly 20 years... a few years ago he formed a band called Etrusgrave, which presents his music maintaining the same atmospheres of 25 years ago. There has been a fracture between us that cannot heal easily… (i.n.: OK I see…)
Having heard the final result of the new work, what do you think? Did you actually made it the way you wanted to? Do you sometimes wish to have recorded it, the way you did now, back then?
G: Absolutely! We are sure to realize what was in our minds. It would be great if 25 years ago we had the same result, but unfortunately this did not happen!
I bet that promotion was an unknown word in the underground scene of the 80s, especially for countries like Italy where the scene was way smaller that it is now. What are those things you wish you had done then so as to have gained more popularity over the years?
G: We would have to play more. Concerts, festivals. The live music is our best sound dimension… critics often comment that we are more exciting live than on CD… we would have to take advantage of our prerogative.
Another thing is the weak and “buried” sound the debut had. I think that the sound and the lack of promotion were the two major reasons why this album didn’t make an impact on its time. After all, you can only find few albums that blend metal music with prog elements and that doomy feeling your debut has… right?
G: What you say is right! But we did not have a real manager & a producer. All we had to do was play and play and play. Unfortunately, just Paolo and I had this opinion while Fulberto and Duccio Marchi (our first manager) were in complete disagreement with us. The end result was total silence around our first album.
It may be a common thing to see/hear new prog metal albums with doom, heavy and power elements now but that wasn’t the case back in the 80s… was it?
G: In Italy there have been a lots of bands that sounded great progressive (PFM, Rovescio della Medaglia, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Area), but none of them had epic and powerful sound in their harmonies. We were the first to mix prog, metal and epic!
Do you feel that you managed to surpass your debut over the years? Can you actually say that any other album you have released to date tops your debut?
G: Every time we prepare for a new job, a new album, we believe to do better than the last. therefore, in our opinion, the best work is "Symbols"! maybe it's true! maybe it's untrue! but this is what we think. believe me!
OK, since we have the chance now, do tell us about the sculptured face on the cover artwork.
G: Duccio knew Maribruna Toni (she was a painter) and this picture has something dark and mysterious. Maybe the color, faces, one in particular, suggest something distressing. Among the many faces we chose the one that seemed right to represent “Dark Quarterer”. The title of the painting is prophetic! “The indifferent”. Just as the world was indifferent for 25 years to the sound of Dark Quarterer!
How did you decide to name the band Dark Quarterer?
G: Dark Quarterer can mean two things. Ripper in darkness (the one who kills in the dark) or ripper of darkness (the one who dispels the darkness to give the light). Anyone can choose what they prefer. However Quarterer is an old English word (the one who slaughters cows). It seemed to be a dark and mysterious name. You have to consider that in those years, no band had the word “dark” in their name. Today the word “dark” is really overused… (i.n.: Yeap, that’s true…)
Do give us a hint about the songs…
G: “Red Hot Gloves”: Gloves worn by the protagonist hiding a frightening truth. To continue to play the piano after an unspecified accident, the protagonist sells his soul to the devil.
“Colossus of Argil”: The “Colossus of Argil” is the power of a few men which dominates us and that seems indestructible. But if all the people united decided to rebel against him, even the greatest power could be defeated.
“Gates of Hell”: Be bad and want to be so bad to want to usurp the throne of Lucifer.
“The Ambush”: The instrumental track encloses various tensions that have suggested the tensions of an ambush. sudden, rapid. difficult to survive!
“The Entity”: The protagonist knows he is possessed by an entity but he would like to know more, his name and why the entity has chosen him.
“Dark Quarterer”: A man lives in solitude, and he seeks justice, also made with violence. the night he wanders in search of the next victim. During the day his life seems to be a normal life, but when it's dark the instinct takes the upper hand.
Of course, this time you paid the appropriate attention to the production. The album was recorded at Woodstock Association’s Studio in association with the “First Line Studio” of Alex Marton, where the songs have been mixed and mastered. It was also produced by My Graveyard Productions of Giuliano Mazzardi. Are you now finally, after 25 years, happy with the final outcome?
G: Yes, now we are really satisfied about the result.
Do you think that things would have turned out totally different for the band if your debut had made an impact in the late 80s, as it should have done?
G: I am convinced that everything, every story, every event happens when it’s time to happen. Perhaps if we had been successful in the 80s our story would end. But now we are here and we are proud of the progress made and we are convinced that we will have many stories to tell.
So, what are your expectations from this re-release? To make more people know about the band or claim a position among the pioneering heavy prog metal bands of the 80s?
G: Honestly, we have agreed to do this project because it seemed fulfilling both for us and for our fans. As always, we mainly try to do something qualitatively important. The consequences of anything done with the heart will be rewarded with the heart.  
Dark Quarterer bad pic
I’ve written: “…“Dark Quarterer” is without any doubt a cult heavy prog metal release of the 80s underground scene…”. Do you agree with that?
G: Epic prog heavy metal... (i.n.: No pro, have it your way…)
In other news, are you preparing to release a new studio work any time soon?
G: In 2012 we played in Athens, Rome. Livorno, Wurzburg, Cyprus, London and every time we have had great support. It was great! Now we stopped in order to work on the new album.
Are there any plans to go on tour or give any live shows in the future?
G: When the new album will be released, we will return to play. We’re looking forward to playing!!
What’s your opinion of people downloading free music from the Internet? What shall an artist do in order to avoid losing money and time?
G: People download everything from the internet. It’s inevitable. I believe that the return to vinyl might make it harder to copy an album. In addition the cover of a vinyl is beautiful and this would lead people to prefer the purchase of an original album rather than settle for only one audio track.
Is Internet a good promotion tool for every band out there after all or it has both helped and harmed bands and the music industry in general?
G: I think that the Internet has the great merit of offering a high profile at all the bands but I think it is equally important to have a good producer, a good distributor and a motivated manager.
How good is the fact that a whole generation learned to hear music via MP3’s (that have such a bad quality) and they actually believe that music is only in mp3 format… and nothing more? Maybe some of the younger guys won’t even own a single CD! That’s gonna be a boomerang in the end… what do you think?
G: I’m sure something will change. It’s a matter of culture and price. CDs are too expensive in Italy and the culture in the younger generation is scarce. But, I repeat, something will change!!
And some weird Questions now!! What are those things that you do not like in the music industry nowadays?
G: Too commercial products, easy listening, CD disposable…
Is fiction part of reality… or reality is fiction’s flaw?
G: The two things are confused and mingle in every moment of our life.
How can computers affect and help music? Will there be humans playing musical instruments in the next decades?
G: We never used particular effects generated by computer. We don’t like it. I think that there will always be humans playing instruments. Contact with a musical instrument is something indescribable that the man can hardly give up.
What do you think of the economic crisis that’s threatening people’s lives over the profit of some rich men? Do we need a revolution again?
G: It’s a false crisis decided by those who dominate the world and I believe that the revolution is the only way to take back what belongs to us. the world. there are other solutions?
Is the European Union condemned to fail in the end? That would probably cause a worldwide domino of destruction at any level…
G: This Europe, conceived and ungoverned, it will have a short life. if Europe was solid, united, ruled in the collective interest could become the greatest power in the world. We have a history of thousands of years. Experiences that we should remember. is our greatest wealth.
Who is your favorite philosopher and why?
G: Platone. The oral dialogue is the comparison. The written word remains, but is sterile and cannot be debated only with one other writing. In oral dialogue there are nuances, intentions, immediate expressions and sensitivities than ever no written language can never match.
Who is your favorite fantasy author and why?
G: Jules Verne. He has provided unimaginable things in his time. He was a prescient.
You have the opportunity to sleep with the movie-celebrity of your choice. Who would it be?
G: Why should I sleep? Too many.. I cannot decide…
Do married people live longer than single ones or does it only seem longer?
G: I’ve been married for 35 years. I'm still healthy in spite of all...
Which is your sickest fantasy that you haven’t satisfied yet… and you intend to in the next years?
G: I do not have sick dreams that I did not realize. I think I've tried everything. you try to imagine the weirdest thing ... well, I made it !!! believe me…
What do you think of Charlie’s quote: Beers, Pizza, Hookers? Which one is the most tasteful of all?
G: Pizza absolutely pizza!!!!
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react? J
G: The next day I would sell her jewel and buy again all albums… easy.
That’s all for now Gianni… Thank you very much... Please leave a note to Grande Rock readers… Take care!
G: If you want a note I can offer yourself a musical note.... I can even provide you with 7 notes: do,re,mi,fa,sol,la,si…do you like???!