We’re all on a pilgrimage in life – Interview with Pilgrimage (Malta)
By Rainer Kerber
Pilgrimage is the name of a new band project. The musicians behind the band are well known. Bassist Sean Pollacco (ex-Weeping Silence), guitarist Eric Hazebroek (Vetrar Draugurinn, ex-Stream of Passion) and drummer Dino Mifsud Lepre (Victims of Creation). The trio is supported in the studio and also live by singer Dario Pace Taliana (Weeping Silence). For live shows, guitarist Darryl Portelli will also be on stage. In 2018, the musicians worked on the song material for the debut album. The songs were recorded in the Maltese Spine Splitter Studio. The release is scheduled for fall this year. The first sound samples that were provided to me sounded very promising. The Death Doom I heard reminds me a little of two bands that I saw live at the last Metal Over Malta, Victims of Creation and Abigail. However, the growls sound much more brutal. That was reason enough to ask the three musicians.
MHF: Hey, I’m Rainer from Metalheads Forever Magazine. Thank you for letting me do this short interview with you.
You are still a new band, please introduce yourself to the readers.
Sean: Hi Rainer, thanks for having us here. Pilgrimage is, as you say, a new band. However, it has been on the agenda for some time and it came together in the form of three old-timers in search for some more Doom-Death Metal to dish out. The band’s core members are Eric, Dino, and myself, who as already noted, come from various bands’ background. After the first compositions we decided to rope in Dario on vocals. We know Dario well and it was obvious to us that he would make a great fit. The Pilgrimage sound is destined to be strong on guitar work, which is composed by Eric. To ensure that that element comes through on stage, we decided to recruit Darryl for live shows. Again, Darryl has been a friend of ours for some time and his axe-man qualities make him the second guitarist we were looking for. Pilgrimage plays Doom-Death Metal. To be more precise, a style that will have several slow and dreamy passages, interveined with an aggressive edge, deep growl vocals and several clean spoken parts too.
MHF: Pilgrimage is a rather unusual band name. Why did you choose this name? What is the mission of the pilgrims?
Sean: Pilgrimage is a fitting name for this band. We’re all on a pilgrimage in life. Music is a big part of our life, and this moniker fits with what we have been doing and are still doing to this day. The pilgrims we gather on the journey will accompany us on our quest for Doom Metal, which we celebrate every breathing moment of our lives.
MHF: Sean, the collaboration with musicians from Malta is nothing unusual. But how did you come into contact with Eric? That’s still quite a large distance.
Sean: I knew of Eric from his time in Stream of Passion, and then again in Vetrar Draugurinn. We have been cyberspace friends probably since our appearance on this virtual space haha. Then we met in person at FemMe in Eindhoven some years ago when my former band Weeping Silence was also on the bill with VD. Eric and I got talking about our passion for doom of course, and we struck a friendship. Early last year I floated this band idea to him, and he was immediately on board. We then met in November 2018 in Amsterdam to iron out some details, and soon after roped in Dino as the third member. We never looked back since then.
MHF: Eric, how did you come to work with two musicians from Malta? That’s still quite a large distance.
Eric: Like Sean said, I knew him for a bit already. And after our meeting at the FemME festival in 2017 we kept contact. When he posted on Facebook about his ideas to start a doom metal band I offered my help. We didn’t actually think about the distance, to be honest. We live in times where you can overcome these restrictions with a lot more ease than back in the 90s, so we just started this adventure and cross any bridge when we get there.
MHF: You live in different regions of Europe. How does the cooperation look like at these great distances?
Sean: In today’s world it’s not that hard. It’s just a mindset you must embrace. Everyone must work at home, and come together in short bursts for maximum delivery. We are lucky enough to have some experience in other bands and so we are not starting from scratch. Normally, the band also meets up on occasion without Eric to put together some ideas, many times on groundwork that was done by Eric already. I also write the lyrics for all songs and work separately with Dario on each track way in advance. Darryl and Eric communicate to sort out their live sections too. Earlier this year we also met up together for studio rehearsal sessions over a weekend, which practically cemented the band into a live-ready act.
Eric: The digital age made working on music over great distances possible without taking loads of time and money to send ideas back and forth. I already owned the right equipment for demoing ideas, so as soon as I caught the creative flow I needed to write the right music. I bombarded Sean with tracks. Of course it is all different from working with a band in your direct neighborhood, getting into rehearsal rooms and fiddling around with spontaneous riffs and beats, but if you have the right attitude and discipline you make that reach out across borders. You can make it work.
MHF: You are currently working on your debut album. What should the future of Pilgrimage look like? Is this a full band or a temporary project?
Sean: This is a full band and we are indeed working on songs for an album. We hope to release it in 2020, although it is a bit early to say for sure. In the meantime we have just put out our first shirt which is available from the band.
MHF: Will we be able to experience the band live soon?
Sean: Yes, that will happen! The first show is scheduled at Metal Gates Festival in October, alongside Dark Tranquillity, Officium Triste, Eye of Solitude, Marche Funebre and many more bands TBA. We also have other yet unannounced bookings, so eyes peeled on that.
I thank you for this short interview. I wish you much success with your album. Do you want to say something to the fans at the end?
Sean/Dino/Eric: Thank you, Rainer, and everyone reading this interview. We hope to bring you more Doom very soon! In the meantime, prepare yourself for a pilgrimage of doom as of now.
MHF Magazine/Rainer Kerber