Interview with Poison Garden

Poison Garden banner
Poison Garden banner

Poison Garden are an Italian steampunk band that have spent the last year and a half touring Italy and parts of Europe to get their sound heard. Here. Madame Anais Noir, the quite lovely lead singer (and co-founder with her husband, Sir Damian White) of the band talks to Steampunk Journal about their expression of steampunk, their future plans and how travelling for too long can make you disorientated.

According to your biography on your website, your music is a fusion of modern rock and metal with steampunk elements. Could you define those elements?
We translate this concept in music by mixing the most modern tendencies in rock (scream vocals, downtuned instruments for example) with classical instruments and soundscapes that auditorily recreate specific settings.
In fact, when composing, we always keep in mind that our music should sound like the music that a gramophone would have played if rock was born in an “alternative” 19th century where future had arrived earlier.
This is our personal way of translating Steampunk in music. We believe that wearing a top-hat or a brown corset cannot be the only way of expressing steampunk for a Band.
Of course aesthetic is important but a Band aiming to be considered as Steampunk should also try to find its personal way of translating it into something you can also “hear” not only “see”.

The band Poison Garden
The band Poison Garden

Did you have a large part in steampunk before you started the band?
It’s years that Damian (my husband and guitar player) and I are under the spell of steampunk aesthetic.

Our interest began years ago when we started to notice steampunk hints in mainstream movies as for example Back to the Future III, Wild Wild West, Steamboy or Hellboy.

We then deepened our interest in the following years but we cannot say we had a proper part in Steampunk before starting the band. We were just Steampunk lovers who used to visit comic fairs and watch retrofuturistic movies.

Poison Garden
Poison Garden

How has the band grown in musical style since you began?
In order to respond to this question we have to make a brief introduction about how Poison Garden was born.

The idea actually took shape in 2012 when Damian and I attended a show of Emily Autumn in Florence. We remained really impressed by the expressive potentiality of the Victorian world that she recreated on stage so, inspired by our passion about Steampunk settings, we decided to create a Steampunk band.

Firstly we started to write new songs by our own but then we decided to involve two well-experienced musicians we already knew (the drummer and the other guitarist).

Of course their entrance in the band made our style grow as they started to take part in the composition bringing along their personal expertise.

Do you have an interesting story about a gig or the band?
We lived a lot of different moments together in this first year of activity but maybe the funniest happened during our first tour.

When you are on tour you literally loose the sense of orientation: you wake up in the morning in a place, you have a few minutes to get ready to leave, you spend the all day on the van and then, eventually, you reach another place without having the time to realize that you moved for so many kilometres!!!
That’s why when ending our show in Verona I said “Goodnight Torino!” instead of “Goodnight Verona!”
The band and the audience started laughing!

Madame Anais Noir by Luca Cesaroni
Madame Anais Noir by Luca Cesaroni

Who are your inspirations in the steampunk community?
We really appreciate the job of those Steampunk associations that organise festivals, meetings, concerts and other kind of events with the aim of spreading the word about Steampunk culture and increasing the interest towards it. For example here in Italy we have Steampact, Alcabhiti, Steampunk Italia and OttoEventi.

We also appreciate people who are trying to create kind of an Italian Steampunk community by supporting the whole Italian Steampunk scene as for example our friend Augusto Chiarle (writer and musician), the modeler Stefano Marchetti, the event organizers Daniele Rea, Alessio Lucio Mannaro and Roberto Cera.

You’re all quite enigmatic, but the Professor and Pilot seem to be the ones with most mystery shrouding them. Can you tell us something about their history?
We guess you are curious to know more about ourselves so let us solve the “mystery”:we have no histories to tell as we decided not to bring on stage imaginary characters but only “alternative” version of ourselves!

In fact, every band member represents who he/she might have been if he/she had lived in an alternative 19th century where future had arrived earlier:

Anais (singer) and Damian (guitarist) are married not only in the band but also in real life. In their alternative past Madame Anais Noir and Sir Damian White might have lived in their “Maison Noir” which is the living-room we recreate on stage, indeed.

Raffaele (guitarist) is actually a biologist and Matteo (drummer) drives small aircraft for real; that’s why in our steampunk version of the world they become respectively the mad scientist Professor Ψ and The Pilot.

Do you have any plans to tour outside Italy in 2014?
Yes of course. In 2013 we played in Austria, in 2014 we will perform @Aethercircus, a Steampunk festival which will take place on 3-4 may in Amburg, Germany.
We are planning to add a few dates in Germany too so… Stay connected!

Can you tell us anything about your next album?
We are planning to record and release a full-length album by the end of 2014.
It will be made up of 8/9 tracks telling the stories of two lovers, a mad scientist and a pilot living in a retrofuturistic world.

To learn more about Poison Garden, follow this link: Poison Garden website

Or have a jaunt over to the Facebook page: Poison Garden Facebook page

Sir Damian White by Amarillis Cargnin
Sir Damian White by Amarillis Cargnin
The Pilot by Amarillis Cargnin
The Pilot by Amarillis Cargnin
Professor Ψ by Amarillis Cargnin
Professor Ψ by Amarillis Cargnin
Madame Anais Noir by Amarillis Cargnin
Madame Anais Noir by Amarillis Cargnin
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