Leo Stivala of Forsaken - Back
1. How did the band get started? How did you meet and how long have you been together?

Leo Stivala: Simeon (the drummer) and Kevin (our first guitarist) formed a band called Blind Alley. This goes back to 1989. I was doing nothing at that time so I did some rehearsals on vocals and I was in. Our music was already very doom oriented. Then our bassist Tony left and Albert joined in and we changed the moniker to Forsaken. We've been together for 12 years as FORSAKEN. After a series of changes in the lineup throughout these years, our latest line up to date is me Leo Stivala on vocals, Sean Vukovic on guitars, Albert Bell on bass, Simeon Gatt on drums and Mario Ellul on keyboards.

2. How would you describe your music?

Leo Stivala: I describe our music to be Epic Power Doom Metal. I feel there are also progressive and thrash touches in our music whish are a result of our different influences.

3. What are your biggest influences?

Leo Stivala: Our biggest influence are Black Sabbath. But we are also very influenced by the giants of the doom metal scene namely Candlemass, Trouble, Pentagram, Revelation and St.Vitus. Thrash and heavy metal are also genres of metal which really influence us.

4. What influence do you think your bands has in music and metal today?

Leo Stivala: I think that there are really good bands around nowadays even in the doom metal scene like Doomshine, Thunderstorm and Mirror of Deception. But we're absolutely not into nu metal and very extreme metal. We are very bound to the roots of metal at its early form.

5. What made you want to be in the band? And if you weren’t in the band what would you be doing now?

Leo Stivala: I always had the idea of being in a band from my early days attending gigs here in Malta. I was always a big Sabbath fan Forsaken is my ideal band. I hope to remain in Forsaken. Its such an integral part of myself. If I wasn't in the band ...........I don't know maybe I would have my own boat and go fishing 3 times a week. Its my favorite passion after Heavy metal and Forsaken.

6. Are any band members in side projects? If so what are they, and explain a little about them.

Leo Stivala: Me and Albert used to be in a doom band called Born Too Late but it only lasted for a couple of weeks. Then Simeon joined us in a thrash project called Amethyst but due to various circumstances this failed too. We prefer to concentrate fully on Forsaken now. Sean is in a blues band called Filletti and friends and Mario has his own band too called Weeping Silence. They play romantic atmospheric doom ala Gathering and My Dying Bride.

7. How would you feel if a band took their sound from yours and became very well known?

Leo Stivala: This is a bit exaggerated but if it happens........well I guess good luck to them. At least we can say that we have influenced some one in our lives.

8. What current bands do you like or respect?

Leo Stivala: I personally really respect all Black Sabbath members as being so true to what they believe and for being so charismatic and influencing in our lives in metal. I also like Candlemass and Trouble very much. They have such a strong and unique sound. New emerging bands which I also really like are Forefather (UK), Twisted Tower Dire and Doomshine.

9. How many demos/albums do you have? Tell me about them!!

Leo Stivala: We have 1 demo called Requiem self released in 1991, 1 12" EP called Virtues of Sanctity released by a French label called Arkham productions in 1994, a full length album called Evermore released in 1996 by a Maltese label called Storm Records. The latest mini cd called Iconoclast released in 2002 by a Scottish label called Golden Lake Productions.

10. What demo/album do you like the best?

Leo Stivala: I don't really have a favorite. I feel the backlog of our material is really a load of hard working and I appreciate every single note in it.

11. What is the meaning behind the songs?

Leo Stivala: Our songs reflect our innermost feelings towards different circumstances in life. Basically we write on everything. We have songs about love, religion, Mysticism, sadness, good and evil. We write on very personal terms and its always on things which arouse our interest and beliefs.

12. What are the bands favorite songs?

Leo Stivala: That's a difficult one. I really don't have a fave song but one which really drives me crazy is Martyr's Prayer which is featured in the Iconoclast mini-cd. Albert likes Carpe Diem which will be featured in our next release. Mario is really enthusiastic on Via Crucis also featured on Iconoclast. Sean really likes a new song called The Eyes of Prometheus which will be featured on our future release. Simeon doesn't really have a fave song he' s into everything.

13. What does the future hold for the band?

Leo Stivala: Presently we are in studio recording our new album. The will be released by Golden Lake Prods. The Scottish label which released our ICONOCLAST mini cd. The album shall be titled ANIMA MUNDI and it is scheduled to be released later this year or in the beginning of 2004. We are also trying to consolidate contacts to play abroad around Europe. But this is still in a very early stage so nothing is sure about it.

14. If you could play with any band who would it be and why?

Leo Stivala: Candlemass definitely because they are so bloody brilliant.

15. Who writes the majority of the music?

Leo Stivala: It is a very collective effort. We mix everyone's ideas in a whole concept around which the song is built. Lyrically Albert writes the majority of the lyrics but I also contribute every now and then.

16. Who has been the favorite band you’ve played with and why?

Leo Stivala: I think Revelation. We played with them at the Doom Shall Rise Festival in Germany last February. On stage they were brilliant and we got to know them personally. They are really honest and good guys.

17. Where did you get the band name from?

Leo Stivala: When the band was called Blind Alley and we consolidated our style as being doom metal, we thought that the Blind Alley title was too soft for a doom band's name. We wanted something stronger. Our first keyboardist Cay came out with FORSAKEN. It sounded great and we said that's it. Forsaken was born to stay.

18. Describe what the band is like live?

Leo Stivala: We head bang a lot . We get so intense. We change personally on stage and love it when we play live. As a front man I try to get a good sense of communication with the crowd and let the people sing with harmonies etc. Basically we let our passion for metal flow on stage on to the crowd. Its great.

19. If you are gonna do any kind of video what would be in it?

Leo Stivala: Once we did a video of Where Angels have Fallen. Nothing special but it was ok for a first try. I don't what a video would be like. Maybe very religious and dark. Who knows maybe filled with crosses. Its difficult to say.

20. Are there any touring plans made; if so tell me about them?

Leo Stivala: As I told you before nothing is sure yet. We would like to do a small European tour but its difficult to get contacts from Malta. We hope to have positive results as regards touring.

21. Where do you think the band will be 20 years from now?

Leo Stivala: I hope the band will be still going on although we will be at our fifties. If Forsaken is still going on 20 years from now it will still be doomed and heavy for sure.