The Secret | Interview with Michael Bertoldini

Italians The Secret are back with their fourth and second album for Southern Lord Records “Agnus Dei”, a blistering effort that blends the best elements of black metal, crust and hardcore with an impressive and raging fury. We caught with guitarist Michael Bertoldini following their European trek with Converge, A Storm of Light and Touche Amore to know more about recent stint in the road and their touring habits.

First things first, how are things in The Secret camp at the moment? You have just got back from a European tour with Converge, Touché Amoré and A Storm Of Light. How did that go?

Things are great, we're at home being lazy for a little bit after the tour but we should start practicing again in few weeks since we're gonna play some headlining show in Italy in February. The tour with converge has been very hard because of the drives but all the shows have been killer and it's been an awesome experience. We were all sick, tired and sleep deprived at the end of the tour but I think it's still been the best touring experience we ever had so it's been totally worth it. 

I believe this was the first time you toured with Converge, who’s the band of your producer Kurt Ballou. What was like touring with them?

Converge is one of the best live bands around at the moment and playing with them has been very stimulating. It's incredible how a band that has been around for so long is still able to play with such intensity every night, it's very inspiring and i'm very proud of sharing the stage with them.

What were some of the good things and bad things you come across on tour? I heard that the Croatian authorities denied you entry into their country, what was that all about?

The best part has been having the chance to play in front of a large crowd basically every night and sharing the stage with very good bands. The worst part has been following the tour with a van and leaving pretty much every morning/night without sleeping or only sleeping for 3/4 hours. I remember that during the UK leg of the tour I’ve only slept for less than 12 hours in 5 days. We toured a lot before but this has been the most challenging experience we had so for.

Besides that unfortunate event, what’s one of the craziest, most fucked up thing that’s happened to you guys on the road?

Fortunately that episode has been the only seriously disappointing thing that happened during the tour. We tried to enter Croatia from Hungary and Croatian cops made us wait for more than 3 hours there before rejecting us, it seemed a kind of entertaining situation for them. They basically made us understand that they could do whatever they want, whenever they want. Very frustrating. We ended up driving to a very small Slovenian village, booking a room in a weird hotel and eating pizza at a spot that advertised hemp based pizza doe.
The morning after we all woke up around 8:30 since the hotel was unexpectedly hosting a Christmas Song Piano Concert in their hall. Weird experience.

How does the band get along on the road? I often hear bands complain that it can be quite stressful to share a van with other guys for days in row.

Spending a whole month in a van with the same people can get a bit frustrating at times but we all learnt how to deal with it. I think the most important think is trying to respect each other, it's the one and only basic rule for touring. I'm pretty good at isolating myself through reading and listening to music, it makes me feel like I’m having a little of privacy even if it's just an illusion. It's not really a lifestyle for everyone but I still enjoy going on tour since having the chance to play my music every night really gives my life a sense and make me forget about everything else.

What about the crowds, was there a place in particular where the fans receive you guys best?

It's kinda hard to tell, we really enjoyed playing everywhere during the last tour. Every country and every town are different and interesting in different ways. I think that Italy is probably still the country where we're doing best, fortunately we got a positive feedback since the album came out.

What’s next for The Secret, is there a US tour in the works?

We're making plans for 2013 right now, it's gonna be a very busy year. As I said we have some Italian shows on the way and then we have another Euro tour coming in April/May but I still can't say much more about it. Touring the USA again is definitely something we want to do but I don't think we'll be able to fly overseas before next Fall/Winter.

Following this interview The Secret has announced a new European tour, this time with Deafheaven. Check out the dates below: 

18.04.13 Germany Karlsruhe @ Stadtmitte
19.04.13 Belgium Durbuy @ Durbuy Rock Fest
20.04.13 France Rouen @ 106
21.04.13 France Paris @ Le Fleche D'or
23.04.13 Germany München @ Feierwerk
24.04.13 Italy Bologna @ Freakout
25.04.13 Italy Milano @ Lo Fi Club
27.04.13 Hungary Budapest @ Dürer Kert
29.04.13 Germany Berlin @ Magnet
30.04.13 Denmark Lyngby @ Templet
02.05.13 Sweden Stockholm @ IOGT-huset i Skarpnäck
04.05.13 Holland Arnhem @ Willemeen
06.05.13 UK Nottingham @ Rock City Basement
07.05.13 UK Glasgow @ Ivory Blacks
08.05.13 UK Leeds @ The Library
09.05.13 UK London @ O2 Academy Islington
10.05.13 Germany Köln @ MTC 

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