Italian heavy metal legends Hocculta recently conducted an interview with Metalzone's Lampros Tennes, giving us a glance into the band's past but also keeping us up to date with the recent activities of the band. Here's what came up:
Hello Massimo and thank you so very much for this little interview. Is an honour for Metalzone. gr to feature Hocculta on our web - site.
Well, Let's start with a small introduction. As many would already know Hocculta is one of the earliest Heavy metal bands to come from Italy, along with bands like Strana Officina, Vanadium and Vanexa. Please give us a short bio of the band from the early days till today
Hocculta formed in 1983, heavy metal bands in Italy were flourishing at that time. In our early days we were playing small clubs, mostly covers and some originals that became part of our first album later on. Actually Hocculta appeared on the first Italian compilation of heavy rock with the song “In The Vault” (Italian Metal Vol. 1 - Flying Records - 1984), that was the beginning of a magical time. In 1984 Warning Games came out, it was our first full length album and for us it represented the beginning of a long list of memorable moments: many live shows, big festivals… I remember when we played with Vanadium: amazing, crazy show! It was the best of the Italian heavy metal scene right there.
Hocculta then kept going for a couple more years with Luca Trabanelli and Marco Bona on guitars, Tony Chiarito (bass), Floriano Buratti (on drums) and me, but in 1986 Luca left the band and soon after Marco… It was a big shock for Hocculta. The power of their riffs was (…and still is) a very big part of “Warning Games” success.
But that very year guitarist Roberto Broggi came in, and Hocculta became a “one guitar” band. The Tony and Roberto duo took the music towards a darker and eerily attitude. After a couple of years of sporadic live shows the second album was released: “Back In The Dark”. It was a rushed and poor production that unfortunately did not follow the success of the first album. It was the end of a story that started at the speed of light. The band broke up and for 17 long years all that remained was the memory of those fantastic days.
In 2005 a friend of mine asked me to get Hocculta back together, I was reluctant because meanwhile I got involved in a completely different scene, mainly jazz… Eventually I let him talk me into it and with a new group of musicians I’ve rearranged few originals, a Scorpion’s cover (Black Out) and released an EP: “Taste The Return” (2006).
From that moment on, Hocculta was getting back together almost by accident. I found Roberto and Floriano and with a new bassist (Mirko Voltan) we started a new path for the band. In 2013 the single Lonely was released, we played some festivals in Italy but the times were not quite ripe. Roberto eventually left together with Mirko in 2014.
At this point I’m not giving up. I got in touch with Marco Bona (guitarist on Warning Games) and Daniele Pobbiati (Hocculta’s drummer 1985-1987) and, to make a story short, we decided to start a new era… I picked up the phone and called two old friends which back in the days were part of the band Brightlights: Siro Burchiani (Bass) and Gianmaria Scattolin (Guitar). They were not involved in any major project at the time so… That was it: Hocculta was born again.
The new band is formed. Each one of us, during all those years, has grown and has experienced different things, we all have gone through different musical paths, but we all know where we’re coming from and all those experiences are now the ingredients that we’re mixing in the new compositions.
So we came back testing the waters with some live shows in Milano, a couple of festivals with many local and international bands and we realized that Hocculta is still a band with a lot of amazing fans, so this time I didn’t want to rush things… Finally the time is right for writing and recording a new full album.
How Difficult was back in the day for Italian bands to get a contract with big records labels that would offer them things like a worldwide distribution , live shows outside Italy, etc
It was difficult back then when selling albums was still possible, today even though all the social media makes getting out there much easier, technology makes recording and producing way less expensive and much faster, CD sales are next to nothing because everything goes through the digital market and earnings are minimal. The only possible source of remuneration left are live shows and merchandising but finding good promoters and booking agents is very difficult… Even for Italy alone. If you can get to work with somebody that is really willing to help you out, maybe in Europe, then things might get much better. It seems that yesterday the problem was the cost of the trip, today is finding good venues to play original music.
I have a little tricky question for you. Even from the first album your voice resembles (probably unintentionally) the voice of Klaus Meine. Was that an advantage for Hocculta or a disadvantage.
This similarity has generated amazement but also criticism. The strongest criticism came from the German press: many of them really thought that I was intentionally trying to imitate Klaus Meine. Not true, I was very young and that simply was the sound of my voice. Now I’m a few years older, the new Hocculta songs are very different, it’s a much modern style, and I think the new melodies are more refined, it’s a completely different sound that has nothing to do with Scorpions. Anyway Hocculta neither benefit nor was harmed from my vocal sound, our strength has always been the teamwork.
So, back to the present now, Hocculta are active again with two original members in their current line up, Marco and yourself (according to "The Metal Archives" website), Is there any new material on the way? Is there any new unrecorded material that already exists? If So, can you describe us the sound of the new material?
Definitely so! Besides the singles Lonely and Don’t Be Afraid we have a lot of new material… actually we’re having a hard time trying to decide which song will make it to the new album.
Many years of musical contaminations and different musical experiences allowed us to “play” with our new songs. It will not be a return to the past, on the contrary I would say we’ve been looking ahead, we used and mixed all our experience to carve the music we really like, we mixed up sounds, genres, musical tastes and at times, we even went farther… But I’m not going deeper in the description, you will have to wait for the album I’m afraid.
Any live shows at that point in Italy or aboard?
No, we’ve suspended all live activities. We’re totally concentrated on the writing, recording and production of the new material. Instead of offering bits and pieces of new stuff live, we decided to wait and go for the big surprise. We actually sadly declined a few interesting offers but everything will be moved after the release and by then we’ll be super excited to play all the new songs for our wonderful and very patient fans.
Well, Massimo it's been a great honour to have this little talk with you. I hope our next interview will be about a new album from Hocculta. Please end this mini interview the way you like.
Sure… Next time I will be honoured to discuss the new album in details with you and, to tell you the truth, I really hope to meet all the readers and you guys in our future live shows. Thank you so much and… Stay Metal!!!