By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Between 2007 and 2013, Italian hardcore/metal act LOCKED IN were quite active across Europe.
After several tours, shows, festivals and releases, the band slowed down until they came to a full stop, but the embers still burned underneath the ashes and the fire came back, burning stronger than ever.
Some minor, yet substantial changes in the lineup – which includes Tommy, former member of Fleshgod Apocalypse – and the band has officially made their comeback after a seven-year hiatus, with the release of two EPs ‘Not Dead Yet’ and ‘The Solemn Leap’ via Epidemic Records in six months.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with band member Marco about what they’ve been up to lately and more.
Music Bugle – What makes Italy a good – or bad – place for underground music?
Marco – It’s hard to answer. The Italian scene went through so many changes and “returns.” Historically, the scene struggled to keep everything together and everyone under the same flag. This was – and still is – bad for some reasons, because everyone in the scene needed – and needs – to feel they are part of something, a specific moment in the history of music, of course. Luckily, there are so many “short circuits” that represented a chance for artists to create their fanbases, moments in which a good band could strike into the scene and excel, for example. This kind of disconnection led to the birth of some “golden boys” in the Italian music scene.
Music Bugle – What creative advantages do you feel come with being a band rooted in the DIY community?
Marco – Our lives as adults resonate with the influence of our background experiences and formation and we’re thankful for that. That kind of mindset never left us and works as a base for our choices in our careers and family lives.
Music Bugle – What was the most difficult part of returning, writing songs and being a band?
Marco – We actually found no difficulties, except for the restrictions applied because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We felt truly free to express ourselves the same way we did many, many years ago. We could write songs on our PCs and our mobile devices, but rehearsals and recordings were a real pain in the ass.
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your new EPs? What is your songwriting process as a band?
Marco – We put our ideas and riffs together in a chat for these EPs. We could not get together in a rehearsal room, so the chat became the pot where we put all the ingredients for the songs. We changed ideas often and threw away so many riffs or entire tracks, but eventually, we made it.
Music Bugle – What new ideas and old ideas can we find in your new EPs?
Marco – You can find our good old rage, mixed with a different perception of our skills and a more mature sense of what our music should sound like.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise? Any common listenings among the band members? Any extreme differences?
Marco – We are all different and of course, we all have different listenings. We even expanded our curiosity in these years. The band that we all listen and we all feel deeply influenced by is Comeback Kid, but we felt free to put so many more influences in these EPs, with no fear whatsoever and avoiding conventional solutions in our songwriting process.
Music Bugle – How else have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? Was it hard to plan and work on a release now that things are not yet fully resolved?
Marco – First of all, it is very sad to face the fact that we have new music out and it seems there are no real chances to play our songs live just yet. Of course, we had so many problems to get together in the rehearsal room, because we all live in different regions of Italy and at a certain moment, we couldn’t even take a car. Recordings were very difficult. We could not stay in the studio all together and sometimes, this represented a real snag if we wanted to make a decision on an arrangement or a riff change, for example.
Music Bugle – What’s the difference between the songs in ‘Not Dead Yet’ and those in ‘The Solemn Leap’?
Marco – We could say that in ‘Not Dead Yet,’ we showed more rage and an intense redemptive will, while in ‘The Solemn Leap,’ we wanted to pull out the strength that comes out from a choice and from the moment of clarity you must be in when making that choice. Music follows these contents.
Music Bugle – Did you feel any pressure to make music that people who are into your older songs might like?
Marco – None. No pressure at all. This time, we did not absolutely care about this aspect. We let ourselves flow with the ideas we had. That’s it.
Music Bugle – What do you hope for from the rest of 2021?
Marco – Basically, we wish to release our EPs on vinyl, as well as a music video for one of our songs. Honestly, we don’t think we will be able to join any tour or gig until next year.