Interview: Torre di Fine
After listening to ‘Girl on the Shore’ I’m honoured to have you here in the Sanctum! Let me start with my classic question: Why ‘Torre di Fine’? What is the story behind the band’s name?
MR: It’s the name of a very small seaside town close to Venice where my family had a summer house. I spent there pretty much all my summers growing up, as every year my parents shipped me there like a package from June to September. It’s a place filled with tons of both cozy and mellow youth memories laced with melancholy. Nowadays it’s quite a stark representation of that “80s Italian shit-sea tourist trap” slowly falling apart, a winter ghost town where all thoughts die in the fog. It all fit perfectly with what we were trying to convey; plus it’s such a cool name! I think you could roughly translate that to “End’s Tower”, I’m still surprised that no other local hardcore band took it before us.
MT: My point of view it's a bit different: I live further south, in an even more depressed area, if possible. But I love small towns where time seems to have stopped 35 years ago: that kind of atmosphere (lonely beaches, old bars, cheap home-made wine, a handful of good friends) perfectly matches my feels when we play our songs. So Torre di Fine is a sort of safe space, which keeps me connected to the good part of me. although I've been there maybe 2 times.
May we have a brief introduction of all three of you and your roles? Also, how did this union happen?
MR: Matteo and I used to work together at the same company, had similar musical tastes and played in several bands, fallen projects, etc. We started hanging out in his flat after work, sharing some beers, messing with synths, and making random noisescapes to give some background to our work-related ramblings before I gradually began to bring a few voice/guitar demos I had been recording alone. To this day our workflow hasn’t really changed that much: I disappear for a few months, write some notes, and when I’m tired of crying over them because they suck I take them to Matteo and we try to give form to the madness. So far he’s been the only one able to do so, king of patience indeed. With Ginger the story is a bit different: we actually grew up just a couple of blocks from each other, but I don’t think we ever spoke before the age of 20-something. We met thanks to a former girlfriend of mine, recorded some stuff together, decided to start some kind of electronic project together, but life paths split us for a couple of years. Then one day we casually met right under where I live! I begged him to record the drum parts for INTERLAGOS and, being the best drummer I’ve ever met in my life, he nailed it the first time. He’s back on the album and hopefully for way more than that.
Is music a full-time job for the members of Torre di Fine? If not, what else keeps you occupied?
MR: Not really for me, thank god it isn’t. I used to be a full time producer and hated every single second of it, it drained me to the bone and left me without any creativity to do things I actually like. I still do quite a lot of sound design for movies, games, art installations, pretty much wherever noise is needed, but only if the project itself interests me. The Pro AV market is what brings food to my table.
MT: In the past I was involved in the studio recording madness, I built my studio around my band. It wasn't really a job, but it gave such great memories and so many crazy mics. Now I'm dealing with tech support in the Pro AV market. You can tell that something is always playing around me, but not always my bass or my synthesisers.
What was your vision behind your 2021 self-titled debut? Do you remember how it felt for the band to release their first full body of work out there?
MR: Feels so far in the past even if it was barely two years ago… The self-titled release was definitely a big relief: I wrote the bulk of the album after a complicated breakup, and I was left with an empty house, -1 dogs, a cabinet of regret, failures, and VERY cheap liquor. Reading those lyrics now, you can clearly tell they were written by someone taking refuge in nostalgia, trying to paint a picture that never really existed. It was more coping than grief acceptance, standing on the edge of change even though those events already happened. But it was all very fast, I don’t think it took us more than 5/6 weeks to go from demo to final version.
Now, let’s get to my main point: ‘Girl on the Shore’. Please express yourself freely on how you feel about this beauty. What does it mean to you?
MR: The title is directly lifted from Inio Asano’s manga of the same name: it’s one of my favorite art pieces of all time and shares a lot of themes with this album. They are both works about perceived absence, addiction, and how we fill spaces with meaningless thoughts to overcome fear and solitude. The album reflects on the present as a suspended bubble, without dwelling on melancholy, on past or future; I forced myself to write bleakly, to be sincere with my thoughts, and we pushed in a similar direction during production. It gets to the outer boundary where there’s no compromise in Girl on the Shore, no direction, no bright light, or anything resembling reconciliation. Then again, I basically grew up alongside the Adriatic coast; the most tender and cruel memories of my life all took place on an empty shore.
Can you please elaborate on the stories behind my personal favorites, ‘Vanta’ and ‘Thirst’?
MR: Wow, you picked both the last and the first track we recorded for this album! Vanta started from a bass feedback loop Matteo recorded during our early jams, all fed through a pretty long eurorack patch; the rest came out quite organically, the guitar arpeggio too when I wrongly put two B-strings on my guitar. We then sat on a string arrangement for a couple of months, I got pen and paper out, asked my two good friends Federico and Vittoria to make sense of those incorrectly written musical staffs, and recorded both cello & viola in my bathroom! Six or seven layers of noise after that, and you have the full track.
Thirst went pretty much the opposite way: I was still deep in a very bad creative hole, and everything felt empty for months and months, so we started from square one. 6-chord structure, single modulation, bass following the fundamental and relative arpeggios. I wrote a vocal line that was way out of my league and we were almost ready to scrap the track in its entirety; that’s when I found Liliia’s contact online, we sent her the draft, she sang it and nailed it. As soon as I heard her singing “nobody’s there” it lit a fire under my ass, I went back and re-recorded everything we had done up to that point. A song literally saved from the bin.
They are all your children, I know, but I’d love to know if there are tracks in your latest album that are a bit more special to you.
MR: Hard to pick, for me it’s gotta be Kenopsia, the track I wrote with FREITAS. She’s such an amazing talent, almost didn’t make it in time to record her part, but I’m so glad we got it and she had the chance to write her own lyrics. It’s the primary establishment of all aforementioned themes, dependency and choice. I think the two sections gel pretty well, they dance on a narrow line without ever touching and complement each other. It was an interesting challenge to write a track about loneliness while featuring, well, two people, but I think we cleared that part pretty well.
Are there artists that might have inspired the sound of the band? What are your influences?
MR: Too many to count: I think I was listening quite a lot to Ben Frost, Swans, Boris and Nine Inch Nails while writing the bulk of music and lyrics, I can see some parallelism with them in our latest material. Production-wise, we most definitely got influenced by Steve Albini (all the sounds you hear were recorded from real cabinets, guitar amps, cabinets, etc), BJ Burton and Visconti’s work on Blackstar. It’s tough to make electronic instruments sound organic, quite hard and time consuming, but in the end it was worth it.
Please name some artists/bands from the contemporary scene that you’d like to recommend.
MR: I mean, just subscribe to Ghost City’s Bandcamp and you’ll be set for life. There’s some cool stuff coming up from LEEU, Geometrie Territoriali, Swollen Skinny, Rhino Diaries and other incredible artists.. Our friends Bosco Sacro released their first album a few weeks ago as well and you should check it too. Ginger’s main band Unethical Dogma is also coming out later in the year too.
MT: I support Monoscopes, the band of my brotherly friend Paja, and InTheBottle Records, the best independent label
What are your plans now that Girl on the Shore Is out?
MR: One way ticket to Costa Rica for me, new name, new fisherman life, new cheap booze. Before that, we are going to perform a one-time-only live set here in Italy.
MT: Stop buying modular synthesisers
Where do you see the band 10 years from now?
MR: Dead, as all bands should be after 10 years.
MT: “They were cool, who knows what happened to them…”
Find Torre di Fine here: