Stearica are an instrumental trio from Italy; their new album, Fertile, will be released next week, but we’re streaming it exclusively below!
The album features several guest appearances; multi-instrumentalist Colin Stetson plays flute, French horn, tenor and bass saxophones on “Shāh Māt,” and two vocalists are heard on other tracks. “Amreeka” features Scott McCloud of Girls Against Boys, and Ryan Patterson of Coliseum appears on “Nur.”
The band’s multi-instrumentalist sort-of leader, Francesco Carlucci, answered a few questions via email:
It’s been seven years since your last studio album; what was the reason for the gap in between?
During these years we have been playing extensively throughout Europe. For us, playing live is the essential dimension in which we find our full identity. In 2010, we released an album together with our Japanese family Acid Mothers Temple—Stearica Invade Acid Mothers Temple—at the end of a long and stunning tour whose peak was when we destroyed the stage at the Villette Sonique Festival in Paris playing with three guitars, three voices, two basses and two drum kits!
Stearica lives and exists only when we feel it necessary, only then we lock up for months shaping songs after endless hours of improvisation, just like it happened in the gestation of Fertile.
What was the process of working with Colin Stetson for “Shāh Māt” like? Did you send him the track and have him add to it, or were you all in the studio together?
Colin was the first musician we’ve worked with without having met on tour. Regarding collaborations, for us, everything has always revolved around those emotions that sincerely arise sharing the stage and that then transform into friendship—just like it happened with AMT, Dälek and more recently with Scott McCloud from Girls Against Boys.
In this case we played away and we were the first to throw the stone. We were planning to orchestrate the last track of the disc and we were considering different possibilities until one morning we were literally electrocuted by a live video where this alien produced the primordial sound we were looking for.
Some common friends let us rapidly get in touch with him. Colin immediately accepted to be a part of this record and, after a few daunting weeks when Mr. Stetson seemed to have disappeared, one day I got an invitation to download several gigabytes of material: Colin had composed twenty tracks—including flute, French horn, bass and tenor sax—which followed with such care the evolution of “Shāh Māt,” that you can almost imagine that he has been playing with us since forever.
Did the guest vocalists on “Amreeka” and “Nur” write their own lyrics? Did you suggest concepts to them, or just let them run wild?
We always leave a lot of freedom in all collaborations, moreover we love to play with musicians who have a strong identity and we propose them to cross our way because we are in search of their stamp. With Scott and Ryan, we just gave them some ideas about the imaginary that hit us in the period in which we wrote the album—those images of the Middle East revolutions filtered by Western channels—but we left them total freedom in writing the lyrics and we believe that the result is awesome.
Why did you choose these particular guests? How do you feel they change the group’s sound?
All of them were exceptional in interpreting the songs, intense during the actual recording and even more intense in the strength of their respective contributions. They respected the land into which we invited them and at the same time they have strongly enriched it, or—if you prefer—they fertilized it.