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dimanche 3 décembre 2017

Album de la Semaine

His Electro Blue Voice
Mental Hoop

Interview de His Electro Blue Voice, par Psychedelic Baby Mag

What’s the current lineup of His Electro Blue voice?  Has this always been the lineup or have there been any changes since the inception of the band?

Frances:  Right now the band is focused on live shows and yes, the line-up has changed for different reasons.  His Electro Blue Voice is Francesco Mariani: guitar, vocals and Andrea Cantaluppi: drums while the bass player is constantly changing.

Andrea:  I used to play drums in His Electro Blue Voice.  I was the drummer from the very early days until 2013, when we put out our first album.  After that I suggested Francesco get another guy to play the drums ‘cause I couldn’t be there for the band like I was supposed to be, and I didn’t want to be an issue for live shows.

Where are you originally from?

Francesco:  We’re all from Como, Italy.

How would you describe the local music scene where you grew up at?  Did that scene have a large or lasting effect on you, and or, your music?

Francesco:  We started the band because no one around us was playing what we wanted to listen to back then.  So, we picked up our instruments.  There’s plenty of punk rock bands where we’re from, which is good to see, loud guitars and banging drums in the classic spirit of the thing, although often without the noisy, psych part of it.  If we’d been born ten years earlier things would have probably been different, with other creative needs to satisfy.

Andrea:  Most of the bands have a pretty classical approach to whatever they do.  We’ve always tried to push things a little farther.

Was your house very musical growing up?  Where either your parents or any of your relatives musicians or extremely involved/interested in music?

Francesco:  Not particularly, at least in a music-freak way, no.  The fact that my mom used to have some vinyl at home surely brought me closer to music.  Throughout the years I’ve checked out almost all of those records.  When I was ten I listened to Queen, The Beatles, Elton John, Simply Red and Cat Stevens and my father used to have this Greatest Hits tape cassette by Rod Stewart, which I still listen to to this day as it reminds me of him driving me around back in 80’s.

Andrea:  My parents used to have a lot of vinyl records, mostly Italian folk singers and rock bands from the 60’s and the 70’s.  Obviously, that marked the first point of interest for me growing up in that house. No wonder I got into heavy-metal when I was eleven.

What was your first real exposure to music?

Francesco:  Along with classic aternative music on MTV, I’d say brit pop and euro dance.  Hip hop was the very first subculture I found myself involved in.  From there I started picking up spray cans and drawing letters.  It’s the reason I met Andrea Napoli and Mattia Sfondrini a few years later.  Both of those were the original His Electro Blue Voice lineup back in the early 2000’s.

Andrea:  As I just said, my first exposure to music was heavy-metal as an eleven year old boy.  A coupla years later I found out about punk rock and hip hop.

If you had to pick one defining moment of music in your life; a moment that changed everything, the way you looked at the world, heard music and opened possibilities to you, what would it be?

Francesco:  The late 90’s.  We got bored of rap music and we wanted something musically closer to who we truly were.  Sonic Youth, The Smiths, Nirvana, Joy Division and many more opened our minds and we started writing small quotes from their songs aside our graffiti instead of classic tags like on the NYC subway in the 70’s & 80’s.

Andrea:  My high school years were probably the period where I got the most info and inspiration, everything was new and there was a lot to be discovered.

Where is the band currently located at these days?

Francesco:  In Como, where we still go and pay for the same practice room as ten years ago.

How would you describe the local music scene where you all are at now?

Francesco:  There are new bands going on of course, punk rock’s still big, there are a lot of young rappers, some DJs and some indie bands.  We’ll see who’s left in a few years.

Do you feel like the local music scene has played a large role in the history of His Electro Blue Voice or do you think that you could have done what you did anywhere?  Do you feel like it played a role to any extent in the evolution of your sound or the evolution of His Electro Blue Voice?

Francesco:  I dont feel like I belong to any scene, either local or national.  Here in Como we all know each other and everything’s cool.  Everyone does what he thinks it’s best with their own band, like he’s supposed to.  We hope to expand our contact network in the near future, maybe with live shows.

Are you very involved with the local music scene?  Do you book/attend a lot of local shows or help record or release music locally at all?

Francesco:  We dont have many venues with good music to offer here.  A lot of clubs just open and shut down in the blink of an eye.  You might find the big party with electronic music and DJs, which brings a lot of different people together or you have the small, intimate night with selected audience who’re hopefully into that.  To find concerts we have to go to Milan, almost a hour by car from here.

What led to the formation of His Electro Blue Voice and when exactly was that?

Francesco:  It was my idea in the early 2000’s in Como.  We used to hang out and do graffiti together but when things got bad with the law we thought of a plan B which eventually turned out to be His Electro Blue Voice.  Not one of us could play a real instrument.  Andrea Napoli used played bass during the very first sessions and Mattia Sfondrini was on keys.  We found all the equipment at the youth center where we practice.  I still have the vast majority of those jams from that period recorded on tape.  We recorded everything and then listened to it over and over again.

It’s extremely interesting, and for a reason I’m unable to quite put my finger on, your name is really intriguing as well.  What does the name His Electro Blue Voice mean in the context of the band?  Who came up with the name and how did you go about choosing it?

Francesco:  Yeah I get it, you’re not the only one skeptic about it and some people will probably never check us out because of our name.  Here in Italy this shouldn’t be a problem though, you just have to accept it.  Anyway, “electro” and “blue” and their opposites: sadness and revenge, melancholy and fresh energy.

Andrea:  Francesco came up with it one night, probably after too much pot and booze, which we shared so we all agreed.  That was it, it was done.

While we are talking so much about the band’s history let’s take a moment and discuss some of your musical influences.  There’s some pretty obvious stuff knocking around in your music but the deeper beneath the surface that you dig, the more you find so I’m very curious to hear who you would cite as your major musical influences?  What about major musical influences on the band as a whole rather than just individually?

Francesco:  I think it’s all about knowing how to mix your influcences without having your music sounding like a total rip-off.  Sometimes you do it right, sometimes you don’t.  Those who just crank out pale copies won’t last, at least if you ask me.  By the way, here’s a list of classic shit: Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Joy Division, Christian Death, Flipper, Husker Du, The Wipers, Pink Floyd, The Velvet Underground, The Gun Club, Neu!, Can, Faust, Red Crayola, The Smiths, Big Black.  They all released great LPs.  But we also have influences I don’t even know where they come from.  Stuff from soul, garage, house, gangsta rap, jazz, funk, jungle, latin, 8-bit and African records.  We like to listen to almost everything.

And what’s His Electro Blue Voice’s songwriting process like?  Is there a lot of jamming and exchange of riffs and ideas, sounds and rhythms or is it more of a situation where someone will come to practice or to the rest of the band, with a riff or mostly finished idea to work out and compose with the rest of the band?  Or more a combination of both?

Francesco:  In the very early days before the first 7” came out, we used to jam and work together.  After that Mattia left the band and it all went in one constant, obsessive direction between myself and Andrea Napoli.  I bring the ideas to the table and then he has his say.  We arrang the songs and see if they’re material for His Electro Blue Voice.  Doing it all by myself obviously creates a more one sided style, but it’s always good to re-shape it according to other people’s opinion.  Only when you trust them though of course, when you do their opinion really matters.

Andrea:  We spent years working by e-mail, Francesco sending me his latest demo cut and me checking that out to let him know what was working and what wasn’t.  I’ve been living in another town for years now, so that’s really been the only way we could keep the band alive, and it’s also the reason I can’t play drums at this point.

Do you all enjoy recording?  I think that most musicians can appreciate the end result, there’s not a lot that beats holding an album in your hands knowing that you made it and it’s yours.  Getting the music actually recorded though, getting into the studio or recording at home either one, can be a little stressful to say the least.  How is recording with you all?

Francesco:  One thing we never do is to re-record a song once it’s done.  After the song is recorded and paid for there’s no turning back.

Andrea:  Another thing I’ve always done is support Francesco while we’re in the studio, especially with vocals.  You can’t always find a studio guy who knows the band and how to deal with stuff, so it’s really important to have a constant back-up to stay focused.

Do you record in studios or is it more of a DIY on your own turf and time deal?  Is there a lot of preparation that goes into recording sessions?  Do you all spend a lot of time working out fine details, hammering out changes and compositions before you record or is it more of an organic thing when you get into the studio where things have room to evolve and change during the recording process?

Francesco:  Right now, with live shows I like to reshape the songs but I don’t ever want to record them again in any better way.  That would be disrespectful to me and to the song.  It would mean killing the song.  We chocked some of our songs and now they stay choked, it’s what they are now.  I take responsibility if I did it wrong but when I play live I can give new life to it.

Andrea:  Everything, and I mean everything, is ready to be recorded when we enter the studio.  Some parts are already recorded and we just need to transfer them onto the studio computer to get the best sound and mix it with all the other tracks.  The bigger part is before that.

Speaking of recordings, let’s take some time and talk about your back catalog a little bit.  Your first recording that I know of is the 7” split release on AVANT! Records with Nuit Noire from 2007.  What are your memories of recording that first album?  Was that a fun, pleasant experience for you?  Where and when was it recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?

Andrea:  The split release with Nuit Noire was the first release by my label Avant! but it wasn’t actually His Electro Blue Voice’s first release.  That was the Fog 7” on S.S. Records, the only recording with Mattia on bass.  We were really inexperienced, we just left our ideas lead us which was hard for the studio guy to get sometimes.  We showed up with broken violins, cans, even a bucket of walnuts and stones to record noises.  If we don’t do that anymore, it’s just because Francesco records everything at home now, so that we don’t have to carry around the noisy stuff we need anymore.

Francesco:  I still feel very inexperienced.  When I enter the studio the only thing I can do is to adapt to the machines there, to bring in my home recordings to give them a better sound.  Basically, we pay to save some time.  It took me thirty days to record stuff properly with my two hundred euro recorder, some of them sound just as good as if they were recorded in a two hundred euro a day studio.  That’s what you need to do when you reach for your own sound.  So, I’d say I’m half-satisfied.  It’s also our fault if we’re not understood, it’s because we don’t wanna spend too much money on the studio and we’ve learned to live with that.

You followed up the Nuit Noire split single with the Fog 7” on S-S Records the same year.  Were “Fog” and “Das” written and recorded for this single or were they from the same session(s) that produced “Call” for the Nuit Noire split?  If they were from a different session can you tell us about the recording of that material?

Francesco:  As Andrea just said, the very first recorded material was the “Fog” b/w “Das” single back in 2005, three-piece live recordings plus vocals.  That was the easiest thing for us back then.  I had my Fender amplifier and my SG Epiphone which is still my one and only guitar.  The drums were the ones that were at the studio.  Mattia has this ultra-cheap bass guitar which blew the amp out while recording the final part of “Das” and that was the end of us recording that song with the studio guy pretty pissed off about the damage!  It was perfect.  We actually managed to record some shit over the takes like tambourine, flute, violin, a trash can we banged on, broken glasses and a carillon all in one afternoon.  “Call” was recorder by me and Andrea Napoli alone, later on in the spring of 2007 for fifty euro, and you can tell!  The owner of the studio used to record a lot of local bands and kept his prices low to gather folks around the studio, that was just what we needed.  Some might say they sound like a lo-fi demo recording, but I think there’s plenty of professionally recorded stuff that sounds so bad it doesn’t even make sense.

Andrea:  Yeah back in the day we were pretty wild, mostly because we were really just improvising and we wouldn’t take no for an answer.  Now I guess we’ve learned how to deal with people who have a totally different mentality or musical background, we just don’t drive them crazy anymore.  Sort of.

You started off 2008 strong with the release of the Duuug 7” on Sacred Bones Records.  Were those tracks written and or recorded specifically for that single?  When and where was that material recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?

Francesco:  We pretty much used the same equipment as the previous recordings.  I wrote the songs, Claudia played bass here for the first time.  We just got a message on our Myspace page by Caleb from Sacred Bones who asked us for a 7”.  Obviously, we went for it.  We didn’t have any other offers and we wanted to release some new material.  That single was going to be catalog number 011 and at the time I didn’t even know what Sacred Bones from New York was.  Five months after that we delivered the master recordings for the release.  Speaking of those two songs, we didn’t want to push it too hard, we just let some room for the band to grown up in.  This was surely a crucial release for us and seeing what Sacred Bones is doing today makes us proud to be a part of what has become a very strong force in independent music, even if it’s just in our own minor way.

Then in 2009 you released the “Worm” b/w “Seed” cassette tape single on Ammagar Records.  Was the recording of that material very different than your earlier recordings?  Can you tell us about the recording of that material? 

Francesco:  The Ammagar label gave us twenty-two minutes on tape; A-side, B-side.  It was the perfect way to experiment with some ideas we had in our heads.  One month earlier we’d recorded “Dead Mice” and “Zum” which eventually got released on the Dead Sons EP two year later.  We were already exploring new perspectives, tired of the classic three to four minute songs and were eager to go back to the crazy sounds of “Das”; long jams, dilated by krautrock-like tricks.  Nicola Ferloni joined us on the noisiest part of “Worm” playing synth.

I know Ammagar is based in Naples and mostly puts out cassettes, but they’ve also released a documentary and at least one 7”.  Was that release limited, if so to how many copies?  Is that release still in print?

Francesco:  There were only fifty copies, not sure if you’d be able to find one around these days.

A year later in 2010 there was the Bat Shit Records 7”, “Animal Verses” b/w “Black Veils” limited to 500 copies and out of print at this point I believe.  Can you talk a little bit about the recording of the material for that single?  Where and when was it recorded?  Who recorded it and what kind of equipment was used?

Francesco:  Francesco:  For this we went to EDAC Studio with Emil; very in-the-red recordings, noise-driven, harsh shoegaze, still in the vein of “Worm”.  The songs play out with verses and tail end, like we’ve always enjoyed, plus there was flute, synth and insane home-recorded vocals.  “Black Veils” is about me being a little boy at this Catholic school, one of the worst periods of my life which led me to make friend with solitude and social alienation.  It was in that school I realized I was going to be always a prisoner, a watcher of my self.  But I hope I’m wrong, I swear I’m not such a pessismist all the time.

Andrea:  These two songs, along with the “Wolf” b/w “Worm” 12” are our most extreme and savage recordings, no doubt, the master mixes are pretty rough.

I absolutely love Bat Shit Records.  They put out the second Sunflare album last year which happens to be one of my favorite bands of all time!  How did you get hooked up with them originally?

Francesco:  Francesco:  Just like with every other label, we’ve got an email from them.  “Do you wanna put out a 7-inch?”, “Sure thing!”  We’re always open to any new offer.  To us it’s very pleasant to be appreciated and to see what we can achieve each time.  All we care about is writing new songs and I think “Animal Verses” and “Black Veils” are two of our most inspired  and genuine tracks we’ve ever created.  If we weren’t so into short-running releases we would already have released our first LP and filled it with songs like “Dead Mice”, “Zum”, “Animal Verses”, Black Veils”, “Wolf” and “Worm”.

Later in 2010 you were back at it with your 12” “Wolf” b/w “Worm” EP on Holidays Records again limited to only 500 copies.  Were those songs written or recorded specifically for the EP?  Why a 12” two-track EP?  Where and when were those tracks recorded?  Who recorded them?  What kinf of equipment was used? 

Francesco:  When Stefano from Holidays Records approached us we thought “Worm” deserved to appear on vinyl as well after the Ammagar tape cassette.  He was down for that.  We hit the studio with our friend Freddy  and we recorded “Wolf”, another eight minute cut with African/Eastern-Europe-like flute, cans and drums, there’s even a toy accordion I used to play with when I was a kid.  We added one soft outro to each side; melancholic feelings recorded with bass, lot of samples and one Bontempi air organ which some friends of mine gave me as a present after a ride in a landfill.  Only after ten years did I find myself using that gift!

Andrea:  It’s always been fun to see how studio people react when we come in with cans, toy-instruments, flutes and shit.  They really enter a new territory where their know-how matches the band’s delirious aspirations and anything can happen.

2011 brought about your second 12” EP Dead Sons, this time on Brave Mysteries Records and limited to only 250 copies.  Were these tracks from an earlier session or sessions looking for a home?  If not can you tell us about the recording of “Dead Mice”, “Eat Sons” and “Zum” the three tracks features on that EP?

Francesco:  As we said, we’d already recorded “Dead Mice” and “Zum” in Milan with Davide.  Those songs where originally supposed to be released by another label.  Same bad luck for “Eat Sons”.  So when Brave Mysteries got in touch we put this all together and we had our longest record to date.  At some point we even thought of releasing a double-vinyl record with “Dead Mice”, “Zum”, “Wolf” and “Worm”, but that never happened either.

Andrea:  I have the feeling, if not the certainty, that this has been our most overlooked release, and I think it’is one of our finest.  People should check it out.

2012 saw the first year without a His Electro Blue Voice release since you started putting stuff out in 2007 and almost two years later Bat Shit Records released a second single for you “White Walls” b/w “Abuser” this time limited to 300 copies.  Were “White Walls” and “Abuser” new tracks that you had been working on or were they from either the Ruthless Sperm or sessions leading up to Ruthless Sperm?

Francesco:  Originally the single was supposed to be “White Wall” b/w “Red Earth” but due to constant delays we changed the B-side to “Abuser”, which was recorded during the Ruthless Sperm recording sessions.

You also contributed the track “Kidult” to the Sub Pop 1000 Record Store Day double-12” release limited to 5,000 copies earlier this year.  What about that track?

Francesco:  “Kidult” was written and performed entirely  by me at home, I just went in to the woods to record the vocals so I could yell as much as I wanted without bothering anyone.

This August you put out your first full-length Ruthless Sperm album and on none other than the legendary Sub Pop Records!  What can our listeners expect from the new album?  Did you try anything new or radically different when it came to the songwriting or recording of Ruthless Sperm?  Has writing and recording changed much since your first release back in 2007?  If so how?

Francesco:  Ruthless Sperm is a pure continuation of what His Electro Blue Voice has always been doing.  Each song’s got its own identity, there’s we don’t tend to do one thing over again and again.  We always try to evolve, and also not kill the fun of being creative.  What might be different from the past is the quantity of overdubs.  You’ll often find guitar and key lines that I easily recorded at home, stuff it would be hard to get done in a studio.

Andrea:  I think Ruthless Sperm is just one more complete, albeit extended, work by His Electro Blue Voice.  It’s like the main  ourse after a ton of appetizers.  You’ve been introduced to it by previous EPs so you know the taste of what’s coming your way.  It’s just a bigger picture.

Can you tell us about the recording of Ruthless Sperm?  Were the session(s) much different than those for your earlier singles and EPs?  When was this material recorded?  Who recorded it and where was that?  What kind of equipment was used?

Francesco:  We recorded Ruthless Sperm in seven days and after that I came back to the studio to adjust this and that.  It took two months before it was completed.  We recorded at New Mood studio, in our own town.  The production is totally by us.  The songs had been ready for a few months already.  I spent the entire winter recording demos and checking them out with Andrea Napoli.  We worked on something like thirty songs before we got the seven that eventually ended up on Ruthless Sperm.

Andrea:  Yeah, we worked a lot on demos.  I spent so much time checking out what Francesco was recording at home, like a new one everyday for weeks.  That was the only way we could make it.

Does His Electro Blue Voice have any music that we haven’t talked about yet?

Francesco:  No, we’ve covered it all.

With the release of Ruthless Sperm not long ago in August, are there any other releases planned or in the works at this point?

Francesco:  Right now there’s nothing new planned, I’ll have to fix my new ideas first.  I’m more into the live thing right now.  After years of only recording I can’t neglect it.

Where’s the best place for our US readers to pick up copies of your albums at?

Francesco:  I’m really not familiar with America so I couldn’t tell you.  I just hope people can reach our records in as many places as possible.

Andrea:  I’m pretty sure it won’t be hard for people to find our album.  Sub Pop is very well distributed.  For previous EPs the related label should be contacted.  I’m not sure who’s distributing the “Wolf” b/w “Worm” 12” though.  Avant! has got all the His Electro Blue Voice records for sale by the way.

What about our poor international and overseas readers?  With these insane postage rate hikes this last year I try to provide people with as many possibilities as I can for buying physical music.

Francesco:  Yeah that’s harsh.

Andrea:  Again, since most of His Electro Blue Voice’s releases have been put out by American labes I’m kinda confident US kids will have no big trouble in finding them.  In Europe people can buy from the band at gigs or via Avant!’s e-shop.

And where’s the best place for fans to keep up with the latest news, like upcoming shows and album releases at?

Francesco:  We run our Facebook Page and you can also find all the info you might need at Sub Pop’s site.

Does His Electro Blue Voice have any major goals that you are looking to accomplish in 2014?

Francesco:  I’d love to play live in some cool venues and write some new songs.

What, if anything, do you have planned as far as touring goes for the rest of the year?  With 2014 right around the corner, what about the New Year?

Francesco:  We take it one step at the time.  We’re glad we’re getting out of Italy in early 2014 when we’ll be in France, Holland and Germany.  The rest will come by its self if you deserve it.

In your dreams, who are you on tour with?

Francesco:  Even if it’s not going to happen, I’d love to tour with Big Black, The Wipers and Flipper.  I like to think of an audience really ready for our sound, maybe forty to fifty year old guys talking about the good old days.

Do you have any funny or interesting stories from live shows or performances that you’d like to share here with our readers?

Francesco:  Not so far.  But I like play live.

With all of the various mediums available to musicians today I’m always curious why they choose and prefer the particular methods that they do.  Do you have a preferred medium of release for your own music?  What about when you are listening to and or purchasing music?

Francesco:  We obviously prefer vinyl.  We as His Electro Blue Voice were of the opinion we wouldn’t need anything else except for the online stuff.  After all these years, the only CD we’ve ever released has been Sup Pop’s Ruthless Sperm.  A lot of friends have asked for CDs, they took it for granted and wanted to know when it was going to be available.  That’s one perspective but I’ve never cared about people wanting the CD.  I always thought that if someone cares they can go online and maybe buy stuff on Bandcamp.  In the end I ended up doing a favour for my friends and burned them some CDRs with all of our previous songs…  Some of them even bought the vinyl records despite the fact they don’t have a turntable.

Do you have a music collection at all?  If so can you tell us about it?

Francesco:  in the 90’s and 2000’s I used to buy a lot of CDs.  I discovered the internet quite late.  I started downloading stuff in 2007 and I’ve gotten a lot of stuff since then.  I’ve been able to find stuff I couldn’t find otherwise such as soul, funk, northern soul, old school hip hop.  I’m telling you, if people download His Electro Blue Voice stuff I can live with that.  It means they care about our stuff, even if I don’t earn a thing out of it.  There are bands I love I that I don’t own any of their releases too.

Andrea:  I do have a record collection and running a record label I do have a specific point of view about it. That said, I download stuff for free everytime I can.  My rule is simple but often not so popular: I wanna listen first, if I like it I’ll buy it.  Otherwise I’ll just live with my mp3s.

I grew up around a fairly substantial collection of music and over the years I’ve grown addicted to physical music.  There was something magical about being able to just walk over to the shelf and pull of something random, or at least random to me, that I’d never heard and put it on while I read the liner notes on the CDs and stared at the cover artwork.  Over the years I’ve grown accustomed to having the luxury of physical music around the house, there’s something indispensable almost magical about physical music products to me.  It offers a rare glimpse inside the mind of the artists that made it and makes for a more complete listening experience, at least for me.  Do you have any such connection with physical music?

Francesco:  While I do download music for free, I’d love it if we could go back to those times where music could only be bought or home-dubbed to tape.  Back then you wouldn’t dub a tape for everybody and not just anyone dubbed a tape for you, it took some kind of trust.  If someone asked you to dub a tape for him you knew he really wanted it.  It was like, “This time I’ll dub this for you, next time you’ll buy the CD or the LP and you’ll dub it for me.”  It was a way to make friends too, and you still have to buy records from time to time.  I’d like to go back to that kind of thing.  That way you wouldn’t hear people talking trash, myself included sometimes.  People into this kind of stuff would be the same.

Andrea:  I do have this physical connection with music media.  It doesn’t matter if most of the time I listen to mp3s of burnt CDRs in my car.  I still need to have the vinyl record when I feel an album has become part of my life, even if it’s just as a back-up, instead of the actual source which they’re supposed to be.

As much as I love my collection there’s always been a portability issue with every format.  I just couldn’t ever seem to take what I wanted to listen to with me on the go.  I’d always end up wanting “that one album” over the course of the day ha-ha!  Digital music has remedied that problem, but as with everything the good comes with the bad.  When teamed with the internet digital music has revolutionized the way people experience music and exposed them to a whole universe of music that they otherwise would never have been exposed to, while on the flipside illegal downloading runs rampant these days, undermining decades of work and infrastructure and rapidly changing the face of the music industry to say the least.  As artists during the reign of the digital era, what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?

Francesco:  I get it.  Since the first day I had my car, my main concern was to have tons of cassettes to choose from, and hundreds of CDs now.  Before I even turn the car on I have to pick out the right sound.  I have a lot of records but I never know which one to go with, so you’ll see me looking through my CDs at the traffic light, and then changing them again and again until I find the one the works for that moment.  Right now my car player is really messed-up, so I’m planning about buying a new one with one USB flash drive.  Having the band names and the record titles showing up on the display won’t be the same as browsing through my collection but…  It’ll also be cool for the people who might be with me in my car to be able to check out my collection…

Andrea:  Digital music is not something you can stop, it’s hardly something you can ignore either.  I mean yeah, you could rely on the few printed zines that are left to find out about new music, but what’s the point of knowing about a record when it might already be sold-out?  I think one should learn how to manage the medium.  I really need the whole digital thing, running a label, and I try and use it as a source, sometimes an overwhelming source, I’ll give you that, but it’s up to you to cut the crap and find what you care about.  The bad thing is that most people just adapt to this fragmented way of thinking, and they don’t end up knowing anything anymore.  Working in bits and pieces like the Internet does it’s good to have a preview, but after that it’s up to you to reach out for the entire thing.  If you don’t, you’re choosing the easy, hollow way.

I try to keep up on as much good music as is humanly possible.  I spend more hours than I would like every week trying to dig something new and interesting out of the bins at the local shop, talking to the employees there and god knows how many hours a week messing around online listening to everything under the sun.  It’s ridiculous how many of the best tips that I get come from musicians though!  Is there anyone from your local scene or area that I might not have heard of that I should be listening to?

Andrea:  Depends on who you’ve been listening to already and I’m not actually the biggest fan of Italian music, but if I had to drop a couple of names I could say Area for the 70’s prog/psych thing, Indigesti for the early 80’s hardcore-punk, Disciplinatha for the late 80’s/early 90’s industrial-rock stuff and Sangue Misto for the golden era 90’s hip-hop.  Recently we’ve had this circle of bands somehow gathered around the moniker of Italian Occult Psychedelia like Father Murphy, Heroin In Tahiti, Cannibal Movie, Mai Mai Mai and more you should really check out.

What about nationally and internationally?

Francesco:  There’s way too much stuff going on to give advice here.  We’ll talk if we ever meet in real life.

Andrea:  There’re actually way too many bands, but I can give you a few names of labels I do like and support: Boring Machines in Italy, Järtecknet up in Sweden and Blind Prophet in NYC.

Thanks so much for taking the time to make it through this behemoth of an interview, I know it can’t have been easy but I hope it was at least a little fun for you.  Is there anything that I missed or that you’d just like to take this opportunity to talk about?

Francesco:  I loved doing this interview, it gave me a chance to think back on the good things that have happened in the past, so thank you!

Andrea:  First of all, hell yes thank you!  And then one message to whom this might concern: please spend your valuable time getting to know things better and in a deeper sense, don’t just accumulate scattered bits of random information.  In the end, just buy some good records.

Line Up :
Francesco Mariani
Andrea Napoli

Label :
Maple Death Records

Tracklist :
Side A
Pool Cleaner
Ice Skull
Scum Rat
Crystal Mind
Side B
Pool Painter
The Wizz