Dead Rituals is a band with roots in New York and Melbourne. Their music blurs the lines between various genres, including post punk, shoegaze, and pop. It started out as a side project when singer-songwriter Andrea Caccese was busy playing with other bands. He was just writing songs for himself when he realized he had enough material to release an EP. After a few recordings and sessions as a solo artist, Andrea recently moved back to Italy (after about 15 years abroad!) and hooked up with some old friends to make some new music happen.
We had a deep chat with him…
Is there a hidden message behind the band name?
Some people might find the name a bit off-putting and maybe even macabre, but the actual meaning behind “Dead Rituals” is fairly innocent. I always think about how people and the world around us change. Not too long ago, the only way to listen to music was to purchase a vinyl record or wait for a song you liked on the radio. Even earlier in history, you had to light a candle if you wanted a bit of brightness in your home. Now, we turn on a lightbulb with the flick of a switch.
As we progress, all the little “rituals” surrounding these mundane practices die along with new things coming – hence the name, “Dead Rituals” – a little tribute to all the little things that aren’t really part of our lives anymore.
How has the traveling aspect of your life impacted your music?
I spent many years of my life traveling through the world and playing in bands – First in Sweden, then in NYC and Australia. I had the opportunity to meet and work with so many musicians from different backgrounds, which I think really informed my sensibilities and background as well.
Another consequence of traveling so much is that I’ve always found it a bit difficult to form a proper band. This is why Dead Rituals is sort of an open-ended project, constantly evolving and ready to welcome new ideas, new people, new approaches.
Can you tell us about the alternative scene in Naples?
In a way, I’m relatively new to Naples even though I was born here. I moved back shortly before the COVID-19 madness, so I was barely able to get a real glimpse of what’s going on here. My impression is that the music scene is particularly strong when it comes to jazz and funk-inspired music. There is some good psychedelic stuff going on as well, but not much in terms of post-punk and similar styles.
I really look forward to the world going back to normal and maybe try to dive deeper! My current bandmates are all friends from way back, including the talented Mattia Santangelo (drums), Stefano Granato (bass), and Guido Minervini (guitar). My wife Brita Penfold also sings and plays keys on some of the songs!
Let’s talk a little bit about your songwriting process. How does that evolve and where do you start?
I always try to start every song differently, so I don’t get caught up in the same thinking patterns. As a guitarist, I don’t like to write songs from my guitar. I’d rather come up with a rhythmic pattern, maybe a bass-line or something that I can expand on with the guitar rather than starting from it and limiting the possibilities of what to do with it.
I like to give myself some limitations, almost like homework assignments for each song, so I can keep the songwriting process focused and create a definite identity for each song.
How do you occupy your time when you’re not doing anything music related to inspire yourself musically?
I spend 99% of my time focusing on music. When I don’t play, I manage the band – when I don’t do Dead Rituals I work with other artists as a mixing engineer and producer. I definitely get inspired by trying to be involved with as many projects as possible and I try to listen to as much music as I can!
I recently started a Spotify playlist called “The Noise Cult,” featuring some of my current favorite tracks, as well as some of the artists that have influenced Dead Rituals!
Outside of music, I really enjoy dining out & cooking. My wife and I watch a lot of food shows and we nerd out about this stuff!
Why did you decide to Cover “All Apologies” among all Nirvana songs?
I’ve always loved the haunting atmosphere of that track, one of the most beautiful songs ever written, in my opinion! In addition to that, I felt that it really was conducive to give it a bit of a Dead Rituals spin. I don’t like to do exact copies of songs when I record covers, so I always try to pick songs that feel natural to play in my style. Not that I could ever improve on the original, but at least it’s something different, another perspective on a timeless song.
How much attention do you put on the choice of your music gear?
I am a huge gear nerd! I run a small project studio, @hideout.recordings, and I have a nice collection of equipment. I love old rack units from the late 50s and 60s, and have a few of them at my studio, great for recording and adding vibe to any sound. I use Pearl Drums, Remo heads and cymbals from Zildjian and Istanbul. Love Vox Amps on guitar, and I have a large collection of effect pedals (too large, I need to downsize!)
I have a dozen guitars and basses in my collection of instruments, and they all get frequent use, depending on whether they are appropriate for any given session or sound.
I love analog, but at the same time, I also love digital! Today, the sound is as good as ever and the flexibility is unparalleled, so you can’t go wrong with it!
Ph from their website