More and more bands are taking things into their own hands, fed up with the music industry and wasted cash flow. WITHIN TEMPTATION are doing it and now also Italian melodic metal band SECRET RULE are running their own show. With their new album “UNInVERSE“ ahead on November 24th they got an axe to grind and prove they made the right decision. SECRET RULE already gave you two good arguments, the singles “Disorder“ and “Shards Of Time“. We had a talk with singer Angela di Vincenzo about the new album.
INTERVIEW BY: HENK VAN NIEUWENHOVEN
Ciao Angela, come stai? How do you fill your days prior to the release of SECRET RULE’s new album “UNInVERSE”?
Hi Henk, I’m pretty good, and it’s a pleasure to speak with you. How do I fill my days? Well, actually, I’m filling my nights too; time is never enough! I personally manage our social media, and that, in itself, takes a lot of time. You know, there’s a lot involved — thinking of content, creating it, and responding to our fans, among other things. Additionally, we’re gearing up for our upcoming tour in the UK, where we’ll be supporting Rage in a few weeks. So, I’m keeping myself vocally and physically fit. You see, with metal music, there’s a lot of jumping and movement on stage, aside from singing. Sometimes, I wish the day had more than 24 hours! Nevertheless, I’m super excited about the album’s release and can’t wait to share this precious work with the world!
A proposito, the title of the album needs some explanation because of the extra “n” in it. Are you trying to make a point here?
“UNInVERSE” holds a special significance for us. This unique title represents our personal universe, a place that, in a way, stands in contrast to our reality. When we thought of this word, we combined ‘Universe’ with ‘Inverse,’ and that’s how ‘UNInVERSE’ was born. The concept behind it is to take the vast expanse of the Universe and bring it back to its origins, as if retracing our steps to find a harmonious equilibrium between humanity and the cosmos. It’s a way of expressing the idea that, sometimes, we need to return to our roots to rediscover balance and connection in a world that can often feel chaotic.
The first time I laid eyes on the cover art, I immediately noticed that bassist Nick Pedron (on the right) has no arms. When you saw the photo, did you see it as well and have you considered to make another one?
I can assure you that Nick still has both his arms, LOL. In the picture we selected for the cover artwork, he has his arms positioned behind his back in a way that creates an optical illusion, making it appear as if he has no arms. We did notice this effect, it was a strange pose, so we thought of having it on the cover, LOL.
In February 2023 you joined LUCKY BOB Music Agency and “UNInVERSE” will be out on Lucky Bob Records / SPV / The Orchard. Who’s doing what?
Lucky Bob Records is responsible for both the physical and digital distribution of our music. They organized the production of our Limited Box Set for pre-order and manage promotions within the GAS territory. Lucky Bob Agency also serves as our booking agency, overseeing our tours and festival participations. They are fantastic people, we hope to work with them for a long time. As a band, we take on various responsibilities ourselves. We produced the new album in its entirety, writing all our songs without external collaborations or ghostwriters. Personally, I created my vocal lines and crafted the lyrics, consulting with my bandmates for suggestions and comparisons. Andy, our guitarist, played a crucial role in ensuring the album’s sound matched our vision through his work in mixing and mastering. In addition to the music, we also handle the creative aspects, such as designing the cover artwork and booklets for all formats (CD and vinyl). We’re responsible for managing our social media pages, newsletters, and merchandise designs. We take care of our image, capturing our own pictures and producing and filming our music videos. Promotion beyond the GAS territory also falls under our purview. The entire process represents an immense amount of hard work, and we hope our fans can truly appreciate the dedication that goes into creating our music.
On August 22nd you wrote on your Facebook page: “Earth 2023. Something had changed in the past when they returned in 2023. Earth is facing a new threat…” and one week later: “Earth 2023. The humanity is facing the last battle. Everyone shares the same fate, expected for….” Is this the general concept of the whole album or was it just for the first single and video “Disorder”?
For the release of our first single, “Disorder,” we decided to create a storytelling concept to spark curiosity and generate hype around our new chapter, “UNInVERSE.” This concept was specifically designed to provide brief sneak peeks related to the visual elements of the music video, offering a glimpse into the theme of the new single. If you remember, in our initial concept for “Transposed Emotions,” our first album, we crafted a narrative centered around me. I brought a secret from the future, combining it with the knowledge of the ‘rule’ possessed by my bandmates. Together, we aimed to save the world from a virus spread by a pharmaceutical company, causing people to fall into depression and manipulation. This storyline gave birth to our band name, ‘SECRET RULE.’ This time, the guys have come back to the future to ask me to help them in the present (2023). In the concept of “Disorder,” the storyline highlights the irony that all individuals become accomplices only when united by the same cruel destiny. Our underlying message emphasizes the need for unity before it’s too late.
In a video you explain the symbolic meaning of a planet crashing into Earth. It’s a wakeup call for mankind to take care of this planet. How worried are you that we really are on a collision course, figuratively speaking, and how long do you give mankind before we have destroyed ourselves?
I’m deeply concerned about the direction our world has taken in recent years, and this extends beyond traditional climate-related concerns, which I personally don’t believe in. While we’ve always written songs advocating the importance of taking care of our planet, it’s disheartening to see this essential message being co-opted for other purposes, often driven by the interests of multinational corporations. We’ve witnessed significant global changes, and it feels like we’re heading in an unsettling direction. Human rights often seem to be deprioritized in favor of addressing ‘natural events’ and the fears instilled in people. International relationships have shifted, leading to a heightened state of tension. We’re also contending with an inundation of information, including misinformation and fake news (some even from sources that claim to be official), which has further contributed to uncertainty and chaos in our lives. This ongoing state of chaos and the erosion of human rights genuinely worry me. I can’t predict the exact timeline for how much time we have left on this planet, but I’m sincerely concerned about the path we’re currently on.
There will also be a Limited Box Set of “UNInVERSE” available with a green colored vinyl, the digipack, a two-sided poster, a signed card and a powerbank. Since you are doing everything on your own now, who came up with this and how is it selling so far?
Actually, this is the first year we haven’t created our special pre-order package. The suggestion for these items came from our label, Lucky Bob Records. The most unique item is the vinyl since we haven’t released it before. In the past, we received requests from our fans for a vinyl, so we liked the proposal and decided to create this package. Currently, we’re halfway to our target, but we still have almost a month to reach our goal. Keeping our fingers crossed!
Early October you announced a second single and video for “Shards Of Time” on your Facebook page, that was eventually released on October 13th. You also wrote: ““Shards Of Time” is a unique song inside the tracklist.” What makes this song so unique?
“Shards Of Time” marked a distinctive addition to our album’s tracklist. What sets “Shards Of Time” apart is its unique character and distinctiveness when compared to the other songs on the album. It’s also the first song that originated from an instrumental concept, with the vocal line added afterward. This is quite a departure from our usual creative process, where I typically create the vocal line first, and then the guys build the arrangements around it. Of course, we made adjustments to both the vocal lines and arrangements as we fine-tuned the song until it was perfect for us.
“I believe, deep within our hearts, we sense our
immortality; we’ll exist forever in various forms,
as we’re energy connected with the Universe,
born from the stars”.
– ANGELA DI VINCENZO –
Can you lead us through the story in the video? The meaning of the phrase “It’s my Universe what you’ll never get…” at the beginning, your own part in it, the burning candles, the hourglass that is reversed and the end where you meet the rest of the band?
The lyrics of the song delve into profound themes encompassing existence, personal exploration, and our connection to the universe. They draw a striking parallel between the evolution of life and the persistence of dust and dark matter in the cosmos. The very title, “Shards Of time,” serves as a poignant symbol for our memories and life experiences. Over time, these shards can become lost or fade away into the vastness of the universe, exemplifying the ephemeral nature of human existence. This evokes a sense of urgency to preserve meaningful moments within the grand tapestry of the cosmos — a desire to construct a meaningful narrative before the final curtain falls. At the narrative’s heart lies an existential quest, an innate yearning to comprehend one’s place within the universe and the purpose of existence itself.The line, “I can see my place inside this space, I exist here,” illustrates the inner journey of self-discovery and the pursuit of meaning. This sentiment is beautifully visualized in the music video, where I embark on my journey, entering a symbolic tunnel. As the journey unfolds, viewers encounter various objects strewn along the path. These objects are not only a testament to the fact that others have traveled a similar path but also symbolize how personal transformation can resonate with and influence others. It’s a poignant reflection of the interconnectedness of humanity within the vast cosmos — how our individual stories are inherently linked. The quest for answers concerning one’s origins and the search for a personal mission in the vast expanse of existence mirror the journey that every individual undertakes at some point in their life. When I reach the mirror and confront my own reflection, holding an hourglass, it represents a symbolic juncture in the process of self-transformation. This journey often necessitates personal sacrifices for rebirth, which is symbolized by the objects left by previous travelers in the tunnel. My encounter with my mirrored self and the act of turning the hourglass signify the passage of time to the new me—a fresh start. When I emerge from the tunnel, I rejoin my bandmates, happy to see me, though they remain unaware of the profound experiences I have undergone. This narrative encompasses the essence of human existence: a quest for meaning and self-discovery, as well as the interconnectedness of individuals in the grand symphony of the cosmos. My journey signifies transformation, resilience, and the timeless human pursuit of understanding our place in the universe. We truly hope that this narrative, with its message, has touched the hearts of our amazing fans.
You also asked your fans on Facebook: “would you like another single before the release of “UNInVERSE”? If so, what kind of single would get you pumped – a headbanger, a power ballad, or something totally unexpected?” Have you decided yet what the next single will be? Will it be the title track?
Absolutely, we value the input of our fans, and we’re excited to confirm that our next single will indeed be “UNInVERSE.” We believe it’s the perfect choice leading up to the album release. This song captures the essence of the album and brings an intense metal ballad that we can’t wait to share with our fans. We’re always thrilled to involve our fans in these decisions because their feedback matters so much to us. We hope they’ll enjoy what we’ve chosen!
I want to discuss a couple of songs from the new album with you, starting with opener “Disorder”. At first I was afraid SECRET RULE had gone disco, but when the choir, the guitar and your voice came in I was reassured, this is still SECRET RULE. It’s also a tremendous trendsetter for the whole album, isn’t it?
Electronic elements have been a part of our albums from the very beginning. We have a genuine affinity for these sounds, and their prominence may vary from one album to another. However, we consistently enjoy blending our diverse musical influences while preserving our distinctive trademark. “Disorder” is one of the heaviest songs on the album, and it features numerous symphonic elements that you’ll find throughout the entire album. 😀
Then “Time Zero”, perhaps the heaviest track on the album with male vocals as well. Who’s responsible for them? Tell us something about “Time Zero”, what is it and when did that or is that going to happen?
I love this song! The song was born from a vocal line I recorded on my phone, as I always do when an idea comes to mind, so I won’t lose it. The guys worked their magic with the arrangements. At the start, the bass line you hear was initially played on a guitar. However, during the mixing process, after hearing Nick‘s bass sound, we decided to retain it as the song’s introduction. On the special part, to create a different atmosphere, we thought to add also Nick‘s and Andy‘s voices and we loved the result! In the first verse, we’re talking about “birth” and how we arrive on Earth to walk here until our end. Despite knowing that our existence is not eternal, we carry a fire within us that drives us to live and strive for our best. I believe, deep within our hearts, we sense our immortality; we’ll exist forever in various forms, as we’re energy connected with the Universe, born from the stars. When we witness a bright star’s apparent death, it’s not the end but a return home. The same applies to us. “Time Zero” represents our transition back to energy in the cosmos. This concept also echoes our song “The Song Of The Universe.”
“From Null To Life” is a very catchy song and could also have been a very good single. And again, it has male screams. What is it about and how fast can you go from null to life? 😁
Picking the singles was a challenging task for us this year, but we’ll certainly consider your suggestion, who knows! 😁 By the way, whenever you hear screaming, it’s always Andy – he has a penchant for screaming, LOL. The song’s concept revolves around the themes of control, the pursuit of immortality, and their consequences. It tells the story of someone who desires power and control over everything, but ends up losing themselves in the process. Observing this self-destructive behavior, my instinct would be to intervene, save the individual, and change their future. The lyrics also touch on the possibility of rebirth and transformation, emphasizing the importance of empathy and assistance when someone has lost their way. The song conveys a message of struggle, redemption, and the imperative need to escape the flames of self-destruction. There’s a movie that had a profound impact on me, “The Butterfly Effect.” It’s remarkable how a single sentence, spoken at the right moment to someone, can permanently change their life. We also encountered a similar concept in the new Netflix series “Bodies,” which I highly recommend watching if you haven’t already. So the message in our song is clear – we should always strive to help others find their way back, as there’s always hope. The transition “From Null To Life” can also be a swift process if the right catalyst triggers a positive change in someone’s life.“UNInVERSE” ends with the beautiful ballad “Black Hole”, but as an encore I got a breathtaking piano and vocal version of the title track. Are you going to do this version live as well?
Our label asked us for a song to release exclusively on Spotify, so we decided to record an acoustic version of “UNInVERSE” with Nick playing the piano this time. I was quite pleased with this experience because it required me to explore a different dimension and work on a new interpretation to convey the same feelings through this version. We are also considering a live version of this song, but it would likely make more sense in a longer setlist, where such an intimate moment can be even more impactful. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
When the album is out on November 24th, are you planning to go on tour?
Yes, we’ll be on tour in the UK, supporting Rage and COP UK for 7 consecutive shows from November 27th to December 3rd. Additionally, our booking agent is currently arranging more dates across Europe for the upcoming year. It’s been a while since we had a full tour in the UK, so we’re looking forward to seeing many familiar and new faces in the audience. We’ll be performing new songs from our upcoming album, so you definitely don’t want to miss it! Thank you for the interview and for these so interesting questions!