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Chain D.L.K.: You´ve been released on Load, a label that´s quite popular at the moment…did it change anything in terms of your popularity and/or did it influence the behavior of Italian (and international) media?
Ovo: Not so much on the Italian media, I’d say. Not even on the European ones. Load is a cult label, and all us freaks that love it probably think it’s bigger and more well known than what it actually is. I think most of the freaks that like Load in Europe already know us. We had more feedback from the US though. We already had a better audience in the US, so it’s making it even better. We’ll see. We’ll go back to the US in October and we’ll be able to judge the situation better. We toured Europe in May and we had some great shows but also some failures. But it didn’t seem that Load was the reason people showed up. Anyway we’re absolutely proud to be on Load, in my opinion it’s the best label worldwide at the moment, and it took the place of Skin Graft in our heart.

Chain D.L.K.: Is there a different reaction to your live set in Europe and in the States? I mean your live show is kind of weird with the use of grotesque/funny masks/costumes. You put the audience in a strange situation…
Ovo: The reaction is completely different, and it’s definitely better in the US. It seems like in the US people get into the music very quickly, they WANT to get into it, be surprised. They love to be challenged, and I think this is the reason why bands like Wolf Eyes are being successful now. In Europe people don’t like to be challenged. As soon as you start doing something weird they build a wall, which can be built up by indifference, negative reactions or things like that. Of course there are many differences, but, speaking generally, this is my experience. Consider that OvO played about 200 concerts in the US and 300 in Europe, so we kind of know what we’re talking about…

Chain D.L.K.: …from what you say one may think the American audience is better…and it shows one of the many cultural differences between the old and the new continent. By the way, I´m sure some people could complain that this all is related to the medium of a rock (meant in the most open way) background/crowd/show, isn´tit? Don´t you think the European crowd probably is just more (or even too much) intellectualized?
Ovo: For some people this is probably the reason why they can’t let their feelings go. They are afraid to appear uncool, or just stupid, dancing and going crazy in front of 2 masked freaks playing the shit we play. But even non-intellectuals have the same problem. When they feel challenged they hide their feelings behind a hard shell instead of giving in to the feelings responding to the music.

Chain D.L.K.: …but on the other side it´s also true that many bands from the U.S. have good exposure or get more attention for directly/indirectly following the clichés of a “rock performance.” I mean sometimes it´s really sad, if put into a “non rock” context, where a performance is strictly based on music rather than on “the show”…
Ovo: …and it is true also that many American bands have a better response in Europe…it’s really hard to say, if there is a actual rule about all of this I guess we would’ve found it…

Chain D.L.K.: Those more skeptical toward Ovo say you´re the one who knows how to play, and you´re also the one who pulls the strings behind the scene. It would imply Stefania is a secondary figure in the whole thing. As far as I’m concerned this theory is proved false when we see you live…so let them/us know what you think…
Ovo: Ah ah ah, I wasn’t aware of that, of course no one had the balls to say it to us… You know, I think it’s just ridiculously sexist thinking. You know, people that want to see how hard you play your instrument. Stefania has got a really amazing technique. It’s just not the standard one, it’s something she found by herself, and she’s pushing it very far… I think she would deserve an article on Guitar Club or shit like that. It’s something ancient, archaic. Her technique is actually pretty close to the ancient approach at vocals and strings. You know, I play drums in OvO, and it’s really easy to play with such a natural talent.

Chain D.L.K.: Any interesting tour stories? You toured with Cock ESP and other freaks like them so I´m quite sure you have lots offunny things to tell us.
Ovo: Uh, so many tours and so many different stories…what about touring Macedonia during the war? What about touring Turkey, or Mexico? What about playing with the Murder Junkies? What about being on tour in the US with 14 people in an RV on Sept 11th 2001? What about sleeping in freezing containers? But, as you mentioned Cock ESP (by the way, OvO was born in order to open the European tour for Cock ESP in 2000), what about them taking up old drunk people from the street to be part of the band (this happened in Missouri)? Or even a wrestler? That time with the wrestler we played in Oakland and during the show he beat the shit out of them so badly they had to get medical attention and couldn’t make it to the following gig…

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Chain D.L.K.: Ovo on Load, Stefania put out her first solo album, I’ve heard rumors about Ronin on a major label.. .without doubt a good period, isn´t it?
Ovo: It is a good period, even if the Ronin contract with Warner Chappell is just an editions contract. They will use our music for movies and things like that, but the CD will still be out on an indie label (hopefully Ghost again). It is a good period anyway. You know we quit our jobs many years ago and we worked hard on our music all this time…in particular I’m happy for Stefania, she’s also doing well with her art work, we keep things rolling…

Chain D.L.K.: To collect all of these contacts and to pursue your dream to live by your music have you had to face many compromises?…I know you´ve always been into ethics.
Ovo: I try to be as honest as I can. I mean honest to myself and my ideas. And I really don’t have much to complain about the way we’re doing what we’re doing. I’m still helping the squat scene as much as I can, I live with my music but I’m still free in every decision.

Chain D.L.K.: …so what´s next?
Ovo: Uh, that could be a long list… the short list: OvO have some new splits out (with Cock ESP, Sikhara, Smut) and some will be coming out soon (a CD with Inferno and Psychofagist, a split with Mr Natural), we’ll be on tour in the US again in October. Ronin will have a new CD out in November, I’m very proud of it, and I’m also proud of the new Bachi Da Pietra CD. We still have to mix it but it’ll be a killer, it’ll be out in early 2007 I think. Stefania is very focused on her solo project. She’s keeping Allun just for special events and performances. I just made my first sound installation and I think I’ll do more of that, and I want to work on some movie soundtracks too. Lot´s of music…

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[interviewed by Andrea Ferraris] [proofreading by John Gore]


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