If you like your doom to be neoclassical, dark, romantic, yet with vocals like rumbling thunder, then Tregor Russo is your man. Releasing three ornate, multi-textured albums of hypnotic doom-death with his band DIONISYAN so far – the latest being 2021’s Last Millenium, ( self-described as atmospheric melodic death doom ) – multi instrumentalist and arranger Tregor is also a teacher, writer, Sicilian historian and TV / video producer. He seems to me to be a very serious, yet likeable chap. I only wish I had his energy, as well as his confidence! Here we take a look at some of his work, and ask – as a purveyor of the old musical arts, and a self-confessed traditionalist, how does Tregor see the modern world? And get your acoustic guitars out – we’ve also included a free fingerpicking tab!
Hi Tregor, how is life in Palermo?
Hello, my typical life in Palermo, at least in this period is to promote the first Lyric Video “Predictions” taken from the song of my third album LAST MILLENNIUM by my DIONISYAN, as well as being my last seventh album in my career. I promote my second short film and my latest third non-fiction book entitled Le Ferite Dell’Essere, through television, radio and journalistic interviews.
I was immediately attracted to the music on The Mystery of Faith as it felt like it was ‘tricking my ears’, and it is a little disorientating, part monophonic, part polyphony….am I over-analysing it, or did you intend that in your writing?
The first work of my Dionisyans was deliberately written, composed and arranged in polyrhythmic contrapuntal polyphonic, throughout the album a great musical innovation dawns where together with progressive melodic death metal and atmospheric doom metal, I combined classical music, music baroque, Gregorian chants, traditional Middle Eastern music, creating a unique masterpiece of its kind, among other things playing all the instruments being a multi-instrumentalist.
The videos you made for that album – Torment and Ecstacy and Chain of Thorns were the first time I heard your work. I immediately bought the CD. Did you enjoy the video shoot, watching Alyssia Cicero running around the graveyard?
I had never done and made video clips for any of my other professional bands before my DIonisyan. In fact, for the first album The Mystery Of Faith I had chosen two songs on which to make the video clips.
I enjoyed myself in the role of director and actor, things that are also in addition to being a music teacher.
I wrote the story telling, the plots of the two video clips and chose both the locations, models, balelrines and extras.
I am really satisfied with the productions and the final work of the two video clips.
Alessia Cicero does not belong to the metal world but she was the same in the role of her and to escape from death in the trees.
Delirium and Madness is like a mini-opera. Did you write all the vocal parts for that album? How do you feel about it?
The second work of my DIONISYAN was Delirium And Madness, a true Opera Metal but in the key of Baroque Music, in the full style of the Concerto Grosso of the first half of the eighteenth century.
I composed, arranged, orchestrated all the music and played all the instruments in the recording studio, I directed the two singers who took part in the recording of the album of which an opera singer and a modern singer, alternating their voices and vocal techniques , with a great result.
There is a lot of nationalist thinking in European metal music…..seeing Italy and southern Europe has such a rich cultural history, with Byzantine and Arabian influences, how happy have you been with the reception of your music, which seems to represent these influences ( to my ears )?
Well in the first album The Mystery Of Faith I played some scores of traditional Arabic music reinventing it in a metal key, played with 7-string guitars and 5-string bass, with great sound power, a perfect, clean and crystalline recording to enjoy of the stellar production he had in the recording studio, mixing different styles of music, compositional styles and arranging everything with a hallucinating result
You have studied music at three academies…
Yes, I studied in various academies and became a first-level teacher of music, as well as composer, arranger, orchestrator and opera singer.
I love music since I was practically born and from an early age I was a child prodigy, destined to take this path that would lead me to realize my professional career.
Surely DIONISYAN are the never life as I love DOOM METAL especially the extreme one, rich in techniques, complex, intricate and complicated in the compositions.
Catholicism is a fascinating religion, and I guess it is very much a part of people’s lives in Italy. But coming from a very Protestant country ( England ), I see Catholicism as open to many interpretations, and is pagan at its root – almost polytheistic – and ornate in its art. Very much different to new religions like Protestantism and Islam, which are rather plain. Would you agree it affects your art, and if so, what do you think about it?
You know religion has no weight and does not revolve around my life and neither in my art. yes in Italy people live in Catholicism but it is completely subjective.
Everyone lives religion on the basis of their beliefs, their mentality, the standard of living, the type of rank to which they belong, traditions, customs and so on. Certainly I speak of Christian religion in DIONISYAN because I am fascinated by many aspects that I like to analyze and examine in my albums, especially in the new third album LAST MILENNIUM by my DIONISYAN
What do you use for composing – do you always write parts in notation? Maybe Sibelius? What is the process of creating a song, or piece of music?
Sibelius was one of the composers I studied and I played some of his works when I was in the Academy, finding something in common with him with my ways of composing music, but mine is extremely different from the others, over the years I have created my own. style, making it unique for the richness of the details that I put in each of my compositions to make my works very fascinating and mystical at the same time.
My way of composing usually follows the realization of a score of the main melodic line of a rhythm guitar, on which I then compose everything else in superimposition.
The Italian Altiero Spinelli wrote the Ventotene Manifesto, which is a forerunner of the EU. Many people think that, all things considered, European political unity is necessary in order to defend its tradition and values from modern capitalism. I think you are a traditionalist, so maybe you have an opinion? How do people see the EU in Sicily / Italy?
For what concerns me I am a true traditionalist and I would like Italy to come out of the EU, it is useless to be part of this fake union, in reality it has only weakened Italy commercially, culturally and artistically, dismembering it of its Made in Italy and many other things.
Are you doing anything with other bands – Sortilegium? Untory? Leper Divine?
As far as both Sortilegium and Leper Divine are concerned, I don’t think I will do anything more with these musical projects of mine, but with Untory I am creating the new innovative compositions and arrangements for the Third Studio Album, with which I will record all of them in the Recording Studio the solos and rhythms of 7-string electric guitars, as well as 5-string bass. the genre will be technical brutal death metal.
You have many job titles – I guess that you want to achieve as much as possible in life?
I am also a professional writer and photojournalist, in this period I am dedicating myself to the drafting of my fourth book in my career which will talk about 44 villages that I have chosen out of 391 that are in Sicily, talking about ancient history with photos and various documents that I have written in 17 months since my grand tour of the hinterland of Sicily.
Tregor, thank you so much for this interview. What would you like to say to fans of your music?
In the meantime, I want to thank you for having interviewed me and let both my old and my new fans know what I do in my artistic and cultural life.
I invite you to book your copies with the postcards and t-shirts of the new third chapter of my DIONISYAN entitled LAST MILLENNIUM with the first promotional video “PREDICTIONS”
Here is the first lyric video “Predictions”, taken off upcoming Third Album “Last Millennium” which will be released Worldwide on December 30th via Decibel Productions.
Pre-order “LAST MILLENNIUM” to get limited edition jewel case CDs, postcards and T-Shirts…
“Stellar production with amazing music compositions and arrangements, melancholy lyrics of the factotum and mastermind TREGOR RUSSO for his Third DIONISYAN’s Metal Opera” .
At long last, the first song from our upcoming album is finally out!!!
Play it loud, and tell us what you think of the song in the comments below …