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Interview  by 
Matthew Haumschild





by Matthew Haumschild

Daniel Botti, former frontman and guitarist of the band Node, had to leave his home country, Italy, due to academic commitments. He shared the stage with bands like Exodus, Anathema, Anthrax, Kreator, Sodom, Slayer, Fear Factory, Agathodaimon.

In the  USA, in the summer 2012, he got the idea to ground Polarized. Time for him to buy a new guitar  and to write music again. Then it was time for our American editor Matthew Haumschild to investigate.

Daniel Botti speaks about very interesting themes (for examples, the new methods of music appreciation) and about his project with great competence and passion. This interview must be read by all who believe that  Metal is a way of the past as well as in the future.

      link review Node_ Das Kapital at GryphonMetal

Eye-centered standardization of the musical experience.

 "I don’t think we need to bring metal to the masses. If the masses do not listen to metal — that is, if the market does not reward metal — it simply means that metal (as many other genres) is not made for the masses. Insofar as metal remains a form of artistic escape from the mainstream, it will necessarily avoid massification."

 "Marco and I have been working together in Node for years; Dino and Lars worked together in Carnal Forge; Marco, Lars, and I have worked together during the recording sessions of Das Kapital."


Who’s idea was it to form Polarized?

The idea to form Polarized is my own. I left Node, my previous band, on March 2009, when I knew that I had to leave my home country due to academic commitments. A tough decision to make, after 12 years spent in a band. But I had to go, I felt it was the right thing to do, and I do think it was.  After a couple of turbulent years in New Haven (2010–2011), I started experiencing heavy music withdrawal symptoms… Moving to the US on early 2010, I left all my guitars and gear in Italy, for it would’ve been too expensive for me to ship everything overseas. Had riffs in mind but no strings and wood to put my fingers on. It was time to buy a guitar… I had stuff swaying in my head, I just needed to throw it out, share it with others, and make it real. The monicker —  Polarized — came in my head after a while, I guess in the summer of 2012.


            What do you think about bands that label themselves as a “grind-core” “Groove-core” “Power-Metal” or the overly complicated-made-up genres such as, “Progressive,-electronic-death-metal.”

I think labels serve descriptive purposes up to a certain extent. They serve writers more than musicians. If you have to let your reader get a sense of what’s in a record, then these labels might prove useful for you. But that’s it. I think musicians shouldn’t waste too much time labeling their own music. It’s someone else’s job. I am quite sure people have different things in mind when they use terms like “core” or “progressive” or “death” or “thrash” or even “metal.”  Let alone when they use hyphenated labels… Once I tell you that Polarized sounds “thrash” or “thrash-death,” your brain might associate these labels to many different bands, records, songs, etc.


            On that note, how about bands that are some-what classified by country, such as, Black Sabbath, Priest, Iron Maiden being these bands from England and I think they’ve incorperated that into their music, same with In flames, Dark Tran, and Soilwork that they have (had) that Gothenburg sound, do you think that matters much any more?

This issue is somehow related to the previous one. Once you say “this band has a Swedish sound,” you might refer to a record like Colony — by In Flames — or to a record like Wolverine Blues — by Entombed. And I have to ask you what do you mean by “Swedish sound.” On the other hand, however, there are historical reasons behind this nationality based way of labeling bands’ sounds. It is no wonder that a certain way of playing metal developed in a certain way in the Bay Area of San Francisco across the 1980s, or that a quite different way of playing metal developed in the Bay Area of Tampa in late 1980s / early 1990s. The same thing can be said about Gothenburg and other places around the globe. I live in an area of the US which is well known for its “hardcore” metal acts (Hatebreed are from New Haven/Bridgeport). New England is generally recognized as a hardcore metal zone, but I can tell you that two of the most interesting bands I discovered here in Connecticut are (the quite Sabbathian) Curse The Son and (in my opinion, the not-so-hardcore) Kali Ma.


            If you could consolidate the band on one continent, where would that be and how much of an affect do you think it would it have on the sound of the band.  

I would say — to start from the last part of your question — that I don’t think that living in the US affected my way of playing and writing songs. The fact is that I grew up listening to thrash and death metal, so I think I got my dose of American vibes in my teenage years. My current band mates are all from different parts of Europe. I think it would be easier for everyone — at least to record our debut album — if I move back in the Old Continent. But I can’t do it right now, and I don’t know if they will be part of Polarized in the future. I’d love to, of course, but it’ll be up to them. Talking about which continent I would choose to consolidate the band, it’s likely the case that one of the two continents will choose for me, not the other way round! I know, this is a non-answer, but I can’t actually say “I would prefer this or that.” It would be great to go on with Polarized on both sides of the Atlantic. That said, it’s been a great time for me in the US so far. I’ve been lucky, I met great people, and I’d be happy to stay here if that will be the case.


            Do you have any specific ideas or any kind of direction when you conceived the band?

No, I didn’t. Lacerated by the withdrawal symptoms above mentioned, I headed Brooklyn to buy the guitar I needed. Back home, I grabbed it and started throwing out what I’ve been chewing in the previous two years. It’s been a therapy, and a relief. Didn’t think about a direction. I just realized it when the riffs came out. I am not used to think what to play. I just play what I am in that moment.


What is your prediction about Cd’s, how much longer do they have left before everything is transmitted electronically.

That’s a tough one. Don’t have any idea. If I’m not wrong, it seems that vinyl market grows again well after its alleged death. It’s hard to say about CDs’ future. Technological progress in music is great, insofar as it serves music.


            Do you think that’ll have a positive or negative effect on music or even your band’s sound?

I won’t tell you that I feel nostalgia for the “good old times.” I just say that I still need to touch things, but I do not need to watch things while I am listening. My generation grew up touching and smelling booklets and, of course, reading lyrics while discovering the content of new records. Younger generations might have developed different ways of music appreciation, they might have experienced different paths now possible due to technological progress. I can live with that, and I won’t claim that the old way was better than new ones. My only concern is about conformity. Internet somehow pushes artists to show up very often with something — even something unrelated to their musical activity — just to let people see them on the internet. It’s marketing. All bands give their fans a huge amount of visual material in connection with their music. But the way eyes work is not the same as ears’. I am just afraid of an eye-centered standardization of the musical experience.


            Being that Polarized is split up between two continents, how is the band going to operate for rehersals? Something on-line?

At this stage, the three Euro-based guys are working on 10 songs I sent them as audio files. They’re laying down their own parts solely based on my rhythm guitars. Marco will propose drum arrangement shortly, and we’ll move on from that. Of course, there’s no (and there can be no) actual rehearsal session for the moment, but we know each other quite well: Marco and I have been working together in Node for years; Dino and Lars worked together in Carnal Forge; Marco, Lars, and I have worked together during the recording sessions of Das Kapital.


            Ever thought about singing in Italian?

Not really. But I respect those who try this experiment in my home country.


            Any chance of an East Coast US tour in the near future?

Not in the near future. We haven’t booked the recording studio yet. But we’ll keep you posted on this.


            What do you think the state of metal is now? Do you think it could get better?

I don’t have a clear view on the state of the art. I’ve never had it. I think a plausible way to face this question might be by looking at it historically. Metal inherited the rebellious character of late 1960s / early 1970s rock music, when older generations were fighting for civil rights, social justice and real freedom, and against conformity, censorship, paternalism, war. Metal reinterpreted this character into darker colors, perhaps because darker was the perception of that age — that of the late 1970s / early 1980s. The rebellion turned into more individualistic and nihilistic terms. Metal, I think, is about freedom from judgment; its nature is anti-paternalistic, anti-moralistic, anti-judgmental. But metal is also about unity and honesty. I think that the need of individual expression — on the one hand — and the call for unity in this artistic act of riot against a corrupt and hypocrite social world — on the other — are blended in the attitude of metal. The last verse of the last song of Metallica’s first record, Kill ‘Em All (1983), runs as follows:  We are as one as we all are the same / Fighting for one cause / Leather and metal are our uniforms / Protecting what we are / Joining together to take on the world / With our heavy metal / Spreading the message to everyone here / Come let yourself go.” The last sentence of the chorus of a more recent song, a song called “Without Judgment” (from the album Symbolic, by Death — 1995), says: “Without judgment / Perception would increase a million times.” These words, I think, well represent metal’s momentum. No doubt, metal is not a political movement. However, it might be plausible to say that it stemmed from social malaise, it’s informed by discontent with the status quo, or, if you want, by a perception of injustice. Metal is just one of many creative efforts in the quest for individual, social, aesthetic emancipation. If we block this way of inquiry and creative investigation, we kill metal in its spirit. That’s why I tend not to be dogmatic or sectarian when it comes to talking about new technologies and ways of interpreting metal. My only concern is about conformity, standardization, insincerity.


            What do you think is the best way of bringing new metal to the masses?

I think we simply should not undertake this crusade. As any other genre, metal is there, it’s already on the market. It offers itself in many different forms. The “masses” already have (at least potential) access to all of its forms. I don’t think we need to bring metal to the masses. If the masses do not listen to metal — that is, if the market does not reward metal — it simply means that metal (as many other genres) is not made for the masses. Insofar as metal remains a form of artistic escape from the mainstream, it will necessarily avoid massification. This is not elitarianism. If you claim you are alternative to the mainstream, you cannot expect to sell a lot of your stuff to the mainstream: “Don’t want your number / Don’t want your name / Don’t want your color / Don’t want your politics / Don’t want your cause / Don’t believe what you believe / Don’t want to wear your emblem / Don’t want your cult or sect / Don’t want your faith / Don’t want your respect / Don’t want your love / Don’t want your praise / Don’t want your stupid fashion / Don’t want your phase.”


            Name that festival you have yet to play that you would do anything to perform and who would you perform with?

I had the privilege to share the stage with important bands like Exodus, Anathema, Anthrax, Kreator, Sodom, Slayer, Fear Factory, among others. I’ve never played at Wacken and I’ve never played at any festival in the US. I’ve never shared the stage with Carcass, Obituary, Testament, Megadeth, among many others. It would be great if Polarized will have the occasion to play in front of the fans of these bands, one day.


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interview  by Matthew Haumschild


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