By José Oliveira and Rosine Alleva- Rock At Night EU Editors
THE WATCH is currently one of Genesis’ best tributes. They are Italian (from Milan) and before their mini tour in Portugal in September they performed in Colmar, a concert organized by ZIK’INSIDE, which for a long time has bet on the value and success of tribute bands. RAN interviewed frontman Simone Rossetti before the concert. During this meeting, he amazed us, so bewitched by the world of Peter Gabriel.
Simone Rossetti (vocals, flute, keyboards, synthesizers)
Valerio De Vittorio (keyboards, synthesizers, guitar, vocals)
Mattia Rossetti (bass ,guitar, vocals)
Marco Fabbri (drums, percussions, vocals)
Giorgio Gabriel (guitar)
RAN – Can you briefly tell us about your background?
Simone Rossetti – Everything started from passion of course. Then as a child I got piano lesson, later I went on by myself and discovered the beauty of synthesizers. Passion and love for music brought me to learn more possible instruments but still focusing on synthesizers. Then with my love for Genesis I started to play some flute. In my teens I listened to music from the 80’s,TALK TALK, DEPECHE MODE, TEARS FOR FEARS and of course the BEATLES and GENESIS.
RAN – Having started your Band in 1997, you’ve made 3 or 4 albums on the Prog area but how do you explain this turn towards the Genesis World only after 2009?
SR – Apart from enjoying immensely GENESIS music, we also thought it would be a nice way to promote our own music. So people who were coming to our shows could listen to Genesis music and also hear our original compositions. It was kind of attaching both worlds. It turned out to be a working formula because we grew and grew more and more through the years. It is a great way to promote ourselves and have fun playing GENESIS music.
SR – As a live album it was different from the others. It was hard to sing what PHIL COLLINS did. Peter Gabriel’s singing is more natural to sing for me and my voice is very different from Phil Collins’. But the songs are so beautiful that it was a pleasure to sing them the best way I could.
RAN – What is for you the best GENESIS album?
SR – Very tough question…I would say I have special love for the way NURSERY CRIME sounds so rude and so nice at the same time. And the song “Harlequin” that I like so much. I really like all the albums, even Genesis music from the 80’s when they changed and improved in some way.
RAN – The main problem with all the bands that try to emulate PETER GABRIEL is the fact that they are all good at reproducing arrangements, voices and even mannerisms, but rarely their real soul is their stunning songwriting skill. I think you excel in this area and the fact that your voice sounds so close to Gabriel’s, gives you a lot of strength. What’s your vision?
SR – Well, if you’re true and when you have shivers on stage cause you really like what you’re doing, it’s just this, when people can recognize that you love what you’re doing so much. Even if sometimes we are so tired, travelling around, after all we’re a small band and looking at everything by ourselves, we just love to be on stage. For me personally it’s such a joy to share the stage with my son. Looking at him and enjoying his guitar playing, I feel so happy and lucky to have this chance.
RAN – Using real mellotron unlike many modern bands, gives you a particularly touch in the GENESIS universe and your arrangements are well done. But doesn’t that prevent you from having a space of musical freedom to go beyond the world of Genesis?
SR – I think our compositions sound different then the Genesis ones. We are using instruments that were available at the time. So we’re using more and more of these instruments but still we also love the way the old equipment sounds. Nowadays we are free to choose what we want in terms of sounds and instruments, always keeping an eye of course on the old mellotron or Hammond organ from that time for example.
RAN – Do you intend to continue to publish your personal works, with new albums, or do you prefer to continue to reproduce other Genesis albums ?
SR – I wish I would have more time to write music cause I love it so much…and it’s so rewarding and very nice to read when people send us comments on our music. But being totally involved into the band, with many concerts, looking for the organizing part, it’s a lot of time consuming. It’s a full time job. But it’s good being busy cause Covid proved everything could stop in just one minute! We’re very lucky!
RAN – Did you listen to this second track of Peter Gabriel’s latest album “The Court”. This song was partly influenced by the work of Lamartine, a movement that aims to advance social and environmental justice through people who know, use and shake the law. His power is still there, isn’t it?
SR – I didn’t have the time to listen to it properly but I watched a few of his videos. The way he talks about the environment and the danger we’re actually living, means a lot and is very good. An artist such as Peter Gabriel has of course a large impact. If you could read our lyrics on our album PLANET EARTH, I personally always cared about nature and environment. I also have a degree in sciences and studied geology and I am very worried about the global warning.
RAN – How do you explain that the best Tribute Bands come from Italy?
SR – Really? That’s great news! I don’t know much about other countries. What I can say is that in Italy there are many music schools and people tend to learn music before performing on the road for fun. Also perhaps because classical music is still important in Italy and the classical approach is more natural for Italians.
RAN – What do you think about this tribute new wave?
SR – I think it’s very nice because the original artists wrote this music, that’s why it’s so important and it’s very different performing or writing the music . Also, they are getting old and it’s great to keep their music alive through tribute bands . And it’s great for audiences to go to concerts to listen to music they like. Personally as a listener I’m grateful that there are many tribute bands to have fun enjoying the music I like and am related to.
RAN – MCLERIGE LDA (Manuel and Pedro DE MELLO BREYNER) are going to produce you again in Portugal. What’s your feeling?
SR – First I would like to say that Portugal is a very beautiful country, the nature is so fantastic, so wild. Last year traveling from Spain to Portugal was fantastic because the sky was so bright and the trees so green. Both Porto and Lisbon were very nice places. Manuel and Pedro are fantastic people and we really enjoyed staying together. That’s why we’re looking forward to seeing them again. They brought us to such nice places, to discover Portuguese dishes and tell us stories about Portuguese culture. It all was fantastic.
RAN – Manuel and Pedro really love music. All the bands coming are astonished….You know they are the only producers looking at the sound check!
SR – That’s the difference between promoters and promoters loving the music they produce. After all, when you love the same kind of music you are in some way linked with your soul. If you have the same music taste it means there is something in you which is close. It was kind of like discovering two friends.
RAN – Thank you very much for this interview and your kindness! I‘ll see you in Portugal in September!
Many thanks to ZIK’INSIDE.
- Highlights and interviews from the BALOISE SESSION indoor Festival - December 11, 2023
- BALOISE SESSION 2023, where musical eclecticism rhymes with geographical diversity - September 21, 2023
- Back to Hot Hard Rock 70’s with NAZARETH in Bad Krozingen – Germany - July 28, 2023