Black Mamba drummer Federico Maragoni grilled!
Black Mamba is a female fronted Rock trio from Viterbo (Centre of Italy). Coming from different music backgrounds, the band has developed on stage a unique kind of Rock performance building a high energy shows extremely technical and musical. When it’s not on stage playing songs from Led Zeppeling, Deep Purple, Foo Fighters, the band is working on the production of the first unreleased album.
The band: Irma Mirtilla (Guitar and Vocals), Cecilia Nappo (Bass), Federico Maragoni (Drums) is endorsed by Vater Drumsticks, Mezzabarba/Masotti Guitar Heads, ATS Bass Heads, IQS Bass/Guitar strings.
How did you first get in to music? Who turned you onto rock/metal?
Was a natural process. When I was young I approached music with Queen. In medium school I started listening to Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Iron Maiden, Metallica and after tons of progressive music PFM, King Crimson, Genesis.. Incredible influences!
How did you become a drummer? Are you proficient in any other instruments?
I play drums but to be able to arrange songs I learned a bit also keys, singing, bass, and guitar.
Were you forced to go to church as a youth, if so, did you sing in the choir or participate in some other ways?
Fortunately not 🙂 My vision of the world is a bit agnostic, I think cause-effect and butterfly effect are the rules who guide people through the whole life.
What was the local scene like in the beginning, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?
I grow up in a very little town in the middle of Italy, not too many bands.. When I moved to Rome yes a lot of bands but at the end, I was not so close to the local scene. I tried to compare my work every time with the international bands, especially for arrangement mastery and promotion attitude.
How did the band form and how did the band name come about? How did the band meet and how long did it take to finalize this lineup? How stable is the current lineup?
Black Mamba was an all-female band at the beginning. Name? Well, girls at the beginning thought to the nickname of Uma in Kill Bill. Something which is truly lethal. The band was born in 2010. I joined the band after Cecilia joined my other metal band, Adimiron and Black Mamba ex-drummer left the job at the beginning of 2016. The current formation, power trio, was born at the end of 2016 and we did about 35 shows till now 🙂
You recently put out a full length “Heritage”? Have you released everything you recently recorded What kind of obstacles did you have to overcome to get it out?
Yes, Heritage our first and latest album of Black Mamba and will be out December the 14th. Before I focused on band promotion releasing cover videos for a whole year through Youtube and Facebook and songs release on Spotify, iTunes etc.. We grew up our fan base from 6000 fans to 29000 fans and now we got the right audience to sell our music and bring the band to next level with original music.
Do women in Italy and European music scene, face the same kind discrimination, we in America have been hearing about, so much in the news lately?
As a male drummer in a female band, I can say there is a lot of discrimination. Yes! We live a world where the normality is to find on stage male musicians and at least a female singer. People don’t expect the same talent from female musicians but they are curious and this is the other side of the medal. We got more visibility for sure but also a more focused listening. But when you play with some stunning female musicians as Cecilia and Irma you should not be scared!
What other bands are you in?
I play with Adimiron, a progressive metal band with Cecilia, bass player of Black Mamba, and several bands as a session drummer.
How would you best describe your sound?
Black Mamba sounds like a mixture of old rock and roll from the 70s and modern/alternative rock/metal. Each band member is coming from a very heterogeneous music listening, so the result expected will be definitely very hybrid.
Is doing ticket pre-sales the same thing as pay to play?
It depends. I don’t really like pay-to-play but sometimes is the right investment to give the band the right exposure. Ticket pre-sales at least give you the possibility to bring your fan base to show and to cover expenses.
What ACDC riffs or songs can you play?
We can play Hells Bells, Thunderstruck, Back in Black, TNT and Highway to Hell 🙂
What was the first music you bought and what have you bought more than once?
Rush, Deep Purple, PFM, Iron Maiden and RHCP
Who have been some of your favorite bands you’ve hung out with and shared the stage with?
We shared the stage with great international acts like Carl Palmer, Blaze Baley. With the other band, with Meshuggah, Opeth, Anathema.
Whats the biggest show you have played so far and do you still get nervous before a gig?
The biggest show for Black Mamba was at Ficulle Rock Fest very huge stage and a very big crowd. Nervous? Well, a bit. But I try every time to focus on setlist and every time it goes awesome 🙂
Does the current political climate in America scare you or make hopeful?
A bit yes, but I hope the situation will calm down in future years!
What kind of references or influences do you take from other mediums? Is there any particular book, or other artists that you are inspired by?
Book yes! Asimov, Lovecraft books are my favorites
Could you please explain the title, Heritage?
The message of the album title is, ten characters, ten songs flowing through the river of experience. All of us are carrying something like an indelible heritage. Sometimes these experiences are bad, and the only solution is to scream and throw them out like a swarm of butterflies coming out from the stomach. We can represent instrumentally the album and how the Black Mamba conceive their concept of the band, as two large gears formed by bass and drums that rotate and run tirelessly with syncopated rhythmic joints that put the listener’s feet well glued down to the ground while the world around is collapsing. The guitar arrangements will stick you in the real world while a tornado is disheveling the landscape in the distance. The vocal parts are like a mermaid singing while all these things happen and the concept of this album is burned into listener’s skin. Bass, guitar, and drums solos color this painting and enrich the tension and resolution music effect of the entire album of the Italian female-fronted trio.
Out of all your songs which one excites you the most when you perform it?
Loop, Never Obey and the Golden Cat
Are there any political or social issues hidden in Black Mamba songs?
Not too much at this time, but we are already thinking about the 2nd album meaning and maybe there will be.
Who does the songwriting for the band? Where is inspiration found?
True rock and roll attitude dude mixed with a bit of music theory, in our recording studio. Each one of us proposes a riff or a melody and we arrange it thinking every time on lyrics and if the kind of playing is good for vocal parts or not. Inspiration? Well, from listening to a lot of music 🙂
What is the writing process like and the putting of songs in order?
As I said in the studio, playing and playing and trying to focalize on each part of the song. The songs order is a kind of emotional stuff, I try to keep listener attention high from the beginning to the end of the album.
Do you still buy cds or mostly use streaming sites? Which sites do you use? What do you like about them?
Yes, CDs from the bands I love online and a lot of music discovery on Spotify. The best!
Top 5 albums or songs released this year so far?
1) PFM – Emotional Tattoos
2) Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold
3) Prophets of Rage – Prophets of Rage
4) Mastodon – Emperor of Sand
5) Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls: Live Chapter
How much time do you spend on social media a day? Which do you hate the most but can’t live without?
I manage social promotion for Black Mamba and also for other bands so I need to work on social media about 3-5 hours a day. It’s a very important part of a band, we collected a lot of live shows and we sold a lot of CD pre-order thanks to social networks.
What endorsements do you have and what endorsements do you still want?
Black Mamba is endorsed by Vater Drumsticks, Mezzabarba/Masotti Guitar Heads, ATS Bass Heads, IQS Bass/Guitar strings. We hope to get some sponsors for in-ear monitors and instruments also!
Bands you would love to tour with on a dream tour package and musician or artist you would like to meet and interrogate?
To get the right audience would be a pleasure to open band like: Paramore, Royal Blood, Biffy Clyro, Faith No More, Mr. Big, Winery Dogs but also Dillinger Escape Plan!!!
Song to be played at your funeral or creamation and 3 albums to take to your grave?
Song: Impressioni di Settembre – PFM
Albums: 1) Images and Words – Dream Theater, 2) Fear of the Dark – Iron Maiden, 3) Blood Sugar Sex Magic – Red Hot Chili Peppers
What does rock n roll mean to you?
Rock and Roll is a way to be free in life and in music. Rock and Roll is an attitude!
What can we expect from Black Mamba in 2018?
A lot of live activity in the summer. We have a headliner tour in the UK in June, a festival and some shows in Hungary in June, some live shows in France and in Italy already booked for the first part of the year. The aim is to tour and play the whole album opening a super rock band in late 2018.
Final thoughts, shout outs, dirty jokes?
Just two words on Black Mamba album. We will release the first video the 14th of December, the same day of the album release. Cheers from Italy to each supporter of Capital Chaos TV and we hope to be in the US playing and meet you! Ciao