Nick of Awake For Days – “I’ve sold my PlayStation and bought my first electric guitar”
Sardinia’s Awake for Days are an alternative modern metal band of pure heart, unwavering talent and unrelenting drive on the bleeding edge of creativity and performance in the genre. Based out of the island paradise of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Italy Awake for Days bring a positivity and strength to their songwriting and lyrics that is desperately missing in the current status quo of bleakness in heavy music.
How did you first get into music? Who or what turned you onto metal?
Lukas: I was 13, and I listened for the first time “in the End” of Linkin Park, everything started at that time. Hybrid Theory became the starting point, the thing that definitely turned me onto metal. I remember that I melted that Album by listening to it.
Nick: I was 14 and i saw Marilyn Manson’s “The Dope Show” on TV. Followed by the live video of Antichrist Superstar. That, compared to what I’ve considered “music” until then, give me a very shocking and addictive effect
Nino: I’ve been into music by my family with a vast discography of old blues, rock reggae and funky music records. A old band mate introduced me into metal with Cowboys From Hell, this was love at first sight.
Mick: I started listening to music at the age of 12 buying a CD of Metallica that I had already heard on the radio, after I bought one of the Iron Maiden and then other dozens of metal groups.
What got you started playing music and how old were you?
Lukas: I started playing the electric guitar at 18, and singing at the age of 21.
Nick: I’ve sold my PlayStation, saved ANY cent for like one year and a half, and bought my first electric guitar, followed by my first bass guitar in order to play with some friend and form my very first band
Nino: I first started playing guitar thanks to Darrel and Chuck Shuldiner at 12.
Mick: The first time I played the drums it was 14 years old, I remember playing with some friends anthem part two of Blink-182, without ever having tried it and it came out fairly well, from there I realized I had to play the drums.
How did you become a player? Are you proficient in any other instruments? Have you always been creative?
Lukas: I began to sing when I realized that it was not easy to find a singer who dedicated himself to music as I did, and tired of wasting time trying out singers who did not have the same passion as me. Since I started taking up my first instrument, as soon as I began to play it well, I started writing tons of songs.
Nick: I’ve been inspired by Twiggy Ramirez, of wich i loved the style and the stage presence. So i decided to play the bass. I’ve played electric guitar with other bands and i often play acoustic guitar too.
Nino: Answer above, I also play bass and try to sing (laugh). I’ve always been creative and I always try new solution, I lately found my way of composing well and solid also thanks to Eddy the producer of the band who helped me a lot.
Mick: I decided to start studying drums at 20 years after experiences with different bands of my city and I studied with one of the best professionals in Italy: Giampaolo Conchedda. Unfortunately I can’t play other instruments except for the transverse flute!
What was the local scene like where your from, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?
Lukas: The metal scene that I loved here was represented for me by two bands, and when I saw them playing I thought “I want to be like them” and they were “Grey Summer” from my hometown and “Skasiko” from Olbia. Now the scene in our city is non-existent, and in the rest of the island now there are no bands that excite me like them.
Nick: In Sardinia we had a strong punk scene. Also we had few metal bands, and until 10-15 years ago the rock scene was alive and for sure the best act was Kenze Neke, a Metallica-based sound with lyrics in Sardinian and a strong politic engagement. Right now the rock scene is very poor, kids are more into dj’ing or hip-hop and there are no great bands kicking up the stages. What a shame!
Nino: Nuoro had a great local scene in the first 2000, lot of bands and events. Politics ruined and destroyed everything, now there’s only few bands and less than ever youngsters playing an instrument, what a shame.. There was a band back then whom I followed and really appreciated, Grey Summer. Such great memories, thank to all the guys in that band forever.
Mick: The musical scene in our city was very active until 2005, after there was a generational change and unfortunately many guys have decided to follow other paths for which the scene has emptied a lot until it almost disappears. The most representative band were Grey Summer, with which today we are very friends.
How did Awake For Days come about? Where did you develop the name? Where is it derived from? What other band names were considered? How would you best describe your sound?
Lukas: The Awake for Days are born from the ashes of an old project created by Lukas (Anthems Of Steel), then after some years together with Nino they founded the Awake For Days after having developed a more refined sound.
The name Awake for Days comes from a non-sleeping month we had to face producing and promoting the first album Magnificent Disorder.
I define our new sound (Multiverse 2019) a well-balanced mix of Alternative modern metal, which induces to try many conflicting emotions: hardness, sense of liberation, sadness, happiness, anger & serenity. Enclosed in a final message of positivity.
Nino: This story is really simple, back in 2012 me and Lukas were composing “Magnificent Disorder”, and we lost literally nights of sleep to take to perfection that album. Obviously the story repeated again with the upcoming album, but now we were not alone in this task since Nicola and Michele joined the band. The sound.. Mmmh… I don’t know, I prefer others describe our sound, we have our vision but I think the listeners could better choose the right word to describe the sound, we just do what we feel.
What is the plan for recording new music, where, when and with who will be recording you? Will there be bonus tracks, cover songs, vinyl and cassette?
Lukas: The plan to record new songs for us is as always to treasure our stories and our emotions and bring them back to life in our notes, lyrics and music. As we did for the new album that will be released in April 2019. In the new record there will be no bonus tracks or cover, but we can tell you that we will publish soon in our social networks covers of songs that have struck and marked us. We have also planned to make vinyl versions of this latest album.
Nino: As usual the plan is: opening pro tools and letting the emotions come in, then we ship everything to our producer Eddy and we work together to shape the ideas. We are already evaluating many aspects of the final release, you’ll see.
Who are your original influences and who are your current inspirations and admiration’s local and or national?
Lukas: My main influence was Chester Bennington, Jonathan Davis and Corey Taylor for sure. Currently I found inspiration in Ivan Moody, I love the way he plays his songs (Five Finger Death Punch), I find it very personal and emotional
Nick: Marilyn Manson is my godfather! That said, i’m inspired by many musicians, from Pixies to Rancid, from Korn to Sigur Ros. In Sardinia we have a great genious named Paolo Angeli, he built a weird guitar, played like a cello, with pedals and distorsions. Go on YouTube and find him, he’s great!
Nino: My original influences are Pantera, Black Sabbath and Death, if this is the question. Now I look to what bands like Stone Sour, Papa Roach, Shinedown, Bring Me The Horizons, 5FDP and others do and I feel metal is more than ever at the top melting different sound and genres and innovating their sound. Surely Lacuna Coil is a band that have my admiration and respect for all the great things is doing.
Mick: I was inspired by different drummers of different genres, I do not have a favorite one, I have so many for example Gene Hoglan, Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta , Chris Adler, Thomas Haake, Chris Coleman, Derek Roddy and many others. in Italy I like very much Federico Paulovich Christian Meyer and Giampaolo Conchedda.
Whats the biggest show you have played so far and do you still get nervous before a gig?
Lukas: I think it was when we opened the “Testament” concert in Cagliari (Sardinia). Personally I never get nervous before a concert, I find it as a moment of pure joy where I can be myself
Nino: The opening for Testament in Cagliari was sure my biggest show, I always try to give my 100% so keeping high the level of my performance is something that gets me a bit nervous but it all disappears after the first song as the crowd goes apeshit (laugh).
Nick: I’m more scared by little audiences, maybe full of friends (or ex-girlfriends). With Lukas we often do acoustic shows in pubs and bars, and keep the attention of a small audience that is there for a drink with a friend is sometimes a way bigger challenge than play in front of 20,000 people in a gig where you are the rockstar.
Mick: I think the biggest show I played was the opening at the Testament here in Sardinia in 2014, and yes I get a little nervous but it goes right after the first song.
What makes a good Awake For Days song?
Lukas: The fact of throwing down all our emotions with passion and dedication.
Nick: Of course the best thing is the mixture of rage, emotion, riff control and groove!
Nino: Good question, I like most of the songs of the band so I really can’t say whats the right things, it’s more a matter of moods. If we are angry we compose straight and raw, if we feel that something needs to be smoother to help the lyrics come up we make songs like “With you”.
Mick: I think our songs are mainly focused on lyrics and this makes them unique.
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?
Lukas: I love music production and the work of the producer. It may seem strange but I find inspiration in different Producers, which I consider the additional components of the bands, they are an integral part of the band. The records that we listen to not only have the imprint of the band but also of the producers. That’s why I find a great source of inspiration in Kevin Churko, Ross Robinson and Rick Rubin.
Nino: More or less we are inspired by the place that surrounds us, the facts we hear and see shapes the vision of a song and its lyrics. It’s always a matter of what we feel and want to communicate.
How much time do you spend on social media a day? Which do you hate the most but can’t live without? Which do you like and why?
Lukas: We spend too much time on social media, and I hate it, I’d rather just dedicate myself to play and create new music, but nowadays this is not possible. The social that I hate without a doubt is Facebook, but it is not possible not to use it since we all find ourselves in that platform and we use it as one of the main communication tools; instead I find very interesting Instagram, I find it less aggressive and friendly. And I noticed with pleasure that even for music it is much more effective than facebook.
Nick: Fuck that shit, let’s go rehearsal
Nino: I hate social media but it’s the world we live in, so I cannot underestimate the value of a communication through them to reach new listeners and help the music not to stink in our hard drives or a Youtube link. Facebook is surely my most hated.
Mick: I do not spend much time on social media center right now. I only watch the updates or when I publish something and certainly my favorite Instagram for how it is structured.
Who living or dead is in your dream 4 piece super group?
Lukas: David Silveria, DimeBag Darrel, Fieldy, Corey Taylor
Nick: Let’s make it weird! I’d say Dave Grohl/Twiggy Ramirez/Steven Wilson/Corey Taylor
Nino: Even if it’s not the perfect match I would say, Ronnie James Dio – Darrel – Steve Di Giorgio – Mario Duplantier. This would be sick to see!
Mick: In the band of my dreams unfortunately Chris Cornell, Buddy Rich and Jaco pastorius have died, but Tom Morello is still here!
What kind of gear is bringing us the Awake For Days sound?
Lukas: oh man….my vocal chords!
Nick: I’m playing a fine Warwick Dolphin II, 5-string setted with C tuning.
Nino: For the guitar part we made with Eddy the strange decision to use Vox AC-30 amps and they absolutely nailed the sound of the band. This is a hell of an amp. We used ESP guitars and Schecter Guitars. Now live I’m taking with me a Solar 7 strings that sounds amazing. Hey Ola 😉
Mick: i play a Ddrum reflex series and Istanbul agop cymbals Xist
Name the one album that epitomizes alternative modern metal over all others?
Lukas: Five Finger Death Punch – And Justice For None
Nick: I’m in love with Karnivool’s “Sound Awake”
Mick: Obviously “Multiverse” by Awake for Days.
Nino: Breaking Benjamin’s “Phobia”
Top 5 albums or songs released in the last 12 months and/or all time?
Lukas: Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park / Iowa by Slipknot / Follow the leader by Korn / American Capitalist by FFDP / Phobia by Breaking Benjamin
Nick: I’ll name the albums that i listened more in my life, because in the last year there’s nothing i will remember forever.
Marilyn Manson – Mechanical Animals & Antichrist Superstar / Pearl Jam – No Code / Jeff Buckley – Grace / Pixies – Surfer Rosa / Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power
Mick: Iowa by Slipknot, Toxicity by SOAD, Meteora by Linkin Park, Masterplan by Dave Weckl, Chocolate Starfish by Limp Bizkit
Nino: Death – Human / Meshuggah – ObZen / Dream Theater – Images and Words / Fear Factory – Demanufacture / Ghost – Opus Eponymus
You’re on a desert island and only have three albums to listen to for the rest of your life, what are they and why?
Lukas: Hybrid Theory, Iowa and Follow the Leader because even today they did not tire me.
Nick: Well, i bet i will have time to think about and enjoy every single line of every single instrument, so that’s my choice:
Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King
Opeth – Blackwater Park
Nino: Black Sabbath because is a masterpiece, Dark Side Of The Moon because why not, and I want to go completely out of the genre with Space Oddity.
Mick: definitely on a desert island I would take with me Follow The leader of Korn, Toxicity of the System of a Down and Meteora of Linkin Park, because these are the albums that I still listen with pleasure from beginning to end.
What does metal mean to you?
Lukas: For me, Metal has been an integral part of my life since I was a boy. Without I would not be the same person, and I’m grateful to metal for making me what I am.
Nick: It can be associate with so many words…i’ll tell you some: strongness, refuge, identity, power, will.
Nino: For me it’s a way to communicate things that has to be expressed in an aggressive ways, you will not leave the hall without listening to what I have to say and if it hurts good or bad I happily hit the target.
Mick: Metal is a way of expressing oneself and a way of interpreting emotions, on the contrary it also represents a way to be able to let off steam when I play and when I listen.
Awake for Days is:
Lukas – voice
Nino – guitar
Mike – drums
Nick – bass