We were contacted by 'John Doe' who sent us some music that had such a weird atmosphere, we just really thought it should be passed on to you to experience for yourself.

We asked Nino (bass) some questions so we could shed a little more light on what they were about and how they came having a band with no guitars...

Please explain to us the origins of the band ? you have very few members and a unique appeal in the sound you create - what is the idea of John Doe ? Who is John Doe ?

The band originates in the last months of 2006. Giodee (the drummer) and I, Nino, played together since two years with another band, where I played clarinet and he played drums. Then we decided to change our style and give more possibilities to our influences to express. We started with a two members formation (bass and drums) to put down everything was in our heads.The result has been totally impredictable, and the need to have a voice came out soon. After some experimentation the choice has been Giuseppe, with whom I shared some experience in the past. And now we are these.

Our idea is to create a correlation between tough rythms, sound, melodies and words, in order to give birth to slow and continue musical processes that fit in each other.There are no rules, no prejudices when we write our music. It's a continuing research of what we think about soundscapes, and the balance of the parts is fundamental. The name "JohnDoe" is the same given to anonimous corpses, and has been chosen in the period in which me and Giodee were researching our music identity...so we thought it was perfect.


Your sound is quite ambient and technical with it's rhythms (like the mellow parts of Opeth) and vocal melodies (at times like Mike Patton). Overall the sound is hard to describe, so please tell us your influences for the music of John Doe ?

Hehehe...good question. The influences are several...and not only musical. Naturally there are many bands that influence our sound, from prog movement of the 70's (King Crimson, Area, Hawkwind) to the grunge of the 90's (Alice in Chains) , passing through the dark wave... We also love bands like Cynic,Tool, Meshuggah, Isis and some good italian bands.


You have taken a brave choice of ignoring the use of guitars (which is generally thought of as "essential" to most bands), yet you create a full atmosphere without it - what is your reason for this ?

I think it's not a brave choice. It's been inevitable. The way I play bass is not classic, it's like it's in the middle between a guitar and bass. I don't know how to explain, but we immediatly understood that a guitar would shift too much the basic characteristics of our sound. That's why we give to synth the task to complete our sound. We have reached our balance, it's like we swiched on the light...and we don't want to turn it off.

There seems to be quite an eccentric tradition of experimental rock / metal in Italy - do you feel a part of this ? Is John Doe definitely Italian ? Or does the sound transcened the borders or countries ?

Well...I dont' know. I think we don't mind very much about movements or traditions. It's hard to say that we feel inside a particular movement, especially here in Italy. That's the reason why we've chosen english as our language.
I believe that we are more involved in the stranger musical movement, the American and the English one...even if we are not part of it.

The use of keyboards is an interesting one - at times reminiscent of the music of years gone by. Are you inspired by the 70's space rock of Hawkwind ? The self-indulgent progression of Pink Floyd ? The seeming insanity of King Crimson ?

Yes. There's no doubt about it. The psychedelic progression and sounscapes of the 70's are the most important page of the whole music history. But, even if it's hard to believe, the synth parts are most influenced by movies soundtracks and by the noises of everyday's life. The idea is to create a sort of musical carpet made of an infinity of details, like the background of a painting.

It looks like you play live quite often - what kind of audience do you play too ? What kind of music do the audience generally listen to ? How are your live performances ? What should an audience member expect from seeing the strange entity known as John Doe ?

The audience is always very various, and we are very proud of it. It signifies that our music arrives to people with different musical taste. At our live concerts we often meet people with every kind of musical preferences, from metal to jazz, from prog to alt rock...I think it's positive. Our live performances are for people with an open mind, you can find different kinds of atmospheres...Naturally most of the audience is near to that kind of music, but we often find surprises...we just try to show our feelings and hope audience can receive them. Besides there are always images and videos on a big screen at our shoulders, in order to link the music with iconografic aspects.


How do you find the music industry these days ? What is your opinion on D.I.Y net-labels like Death To Music ? What is killing modern music and the industry surrounding it ?

The musical industry is really sick. The bands are exploited. They make the rules and you have to accept compromises if you want to diffuse your music. We've been very lucky with Seahorse, our new label. It's one of the few honest label in this moment, with no restrictions or compromises of any kind. And we're really proud to be in the Death To Music project. When I found out about it, I immediatly understood the importance of this project and, reading what are they doing for the bands all over the world, and listening to these bands, I immediatly agreed with this net-label.
Anyway I don't know what's killing modern music and the industry surrounding it. We're overwelmed by tendencies. It's not important the real value of what you do.The only fundametal thing is the economic aspect. How much you can sell? How many people you can lead on? This is what majors consider relevant. They don't give to the audience the opportunity to choose, they impose their rules, not only to the bands, but most of all to people who listen to music.
And don't forget about piracy...

 

Tell us what you intend to do with John Doe in the future ? Any plans to record more material ? Any last words for these great people reading this ?

The future is really near.We will be in studio on March 2009 to record our next album.It will be out for Seahorse Recordings on December 2009.In the meantime we compose new music and we will be on tour around Italy. Hope to find many people at our shows. Thanks you to all.


Visit JOHN DOE's official website @
http://www.myspace.com/listenjohndoe