пятница, 13 мая 2011 г.

DDb Interview Series (1005) - Luca Massolin

Here's one more great chat.This time with Luca Massolin. Luca plays mezmerizing electrinocs and electro mandolin as Golden Cup and runs fascinating 8mm records.
Many thanks to Luca for his time and very open questions.

First of all, thanksfor showing up in Moscow.
How was it? Tell aboutyour impressions, about places, about the audience.
Will you come back?
Moscow (together with Saransk) was the besttime I had in years of touring: fantastic venues and amazing audiences. I really wanna come back to Russia as soon as possible. Our first day there was kind of insane actually. Me and Gemma (Woodpecker Wooliams) arrived at Moscow station after a crazy bus ride from Helsinki – St Petersburg, to a nice dinner with Sergej (Bedroom Bear) and the first of a series of fantastic rides into sleepover trains. So beautiful and inspiring my time there. I will never thank enough Ivan and Anya from Love Cult for the great job they did organizing this tour and the fantastic group of people that are the band Arabian Horses including their girlfriends and friends. They gave us such a great hospitality in Moscow, picking us up at the station at 6am, hosting us, feeding us, showing us great sights and finally taking us to this soviet restaurant where I got an amazing borsht. I realized that Russian food can be delicious, which for an Italian is a big deal to admit, believe me.

8mm is not the strangest name for the label but still it’s a bit strange. What does it mean?
When I started the label, back in 2003, I wanted a name that could be easy to remember, not necessary to translate it, applicable to any genre of music. That’s probably the first reason why I picked it: 8mm was supposed to last forever, so I wanted a name that could grow old with me without sounding obsolete or limiting in the future.
The other reason is related to the visual aspect. At the time I was really into underground movies. Studying Cinematography at the University, I got introduced to the work of Jack Smith, Stan Brakhage, Maya Deren, Ira Cohen, Kenneth Anger…I realized that a lot of underground and experimental directors were using 8mm films, I was totally inspired by those analog rough and visionary artifacts… I thought it could have been interesting to create a link between that attitude towards visuals and the sounds I was going to release through my label.

Tell about your music background. What did you listen to in your childhood?
Did you study music onacademic level?
The First record I ever owned was The Police’s ‘GreatestHits’, on LP when I was8.  Then I got the Cure’s ‘Whish’, bought after hearing thesong ‘Friday I am in love’ on a Tv show. I was pretty disappointed when I discovered that all the other songs from the album were in the opposite mood,super sad… I was lucky enough that my father was into good music, especially folk singers from the 60s-70s, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and this great Italian guy called Fabrizio de Andrè. But the album that really changed my life was acopy of Deep Purple’s ‘In Rock’ that my father used to keep hidden in the bottom of a pile of LPs. That was something truly revolutionary for a 10 yearsold kid! When I listen to ‘Child in Time’ I still have shivers down my spine!At the time I was already studying classical guitar, My first concert was thelast day of school before the summer holiday in June 1993 or 1994… I played some concerts also at the local church during the Sunday celebration, that was great. I studied classical guitar for 5 years, but the seed of rock was already planted and I decided to study with another teacher, who introduced me to Blues and Jazz music, taught me a lot of scales and tabs that I still use when I play guitar today!

How did you decide to launch the label? And what is the difference between 8mm of the time of thefirst release and 8mm now?
When I first started, the main idea was todocument the work of local bands and artists, through releasing records and organizing small concerts and festivals. I come from a tiny village in the north east of Italy there was definitely not much going on there, so after the first three releases I started contacting artists I liked from all over theworld. When I started touring and travelling with my bands more intensively, it became natural to release some of those recordings I was actively involved in as a musician. Now I feel like I am entering in a new phase: I realized that I like the idea of having other labels to take care of Golden Cup’s music, while I am trying to keep the spectrum of the 8mm releases the widest as possible. Right now I am working on 2 series of records. The ‘standard LP series, limited to runs of 300 copies with pro printed album covers and then a more limited one-sided LP series of 100 or so copies with handmade numbered artworks, mostly focused on rare improvised live sets, which is supposed to be an open laboratory for new musical languages.

Next question I will ask to every person in DDb interview series.
What have changed in independent music world with the developing and spreadingof the Web? Any positive improvements? Anynegative repercussions?

Well, I couldn’timagine doing 8mm without the web, it’s hard to figure a more efficient (and cheaper) way of getting in touch with people from all over the world. I can only see this as a benefit for the underground community. That said, I have nothing against the download thing as long as it’s free, in fact I am happy even when people download my releases, or they upload them into music blogs when they go sold out. I think it’s a great thing to be able to share your music with people that are genuinely interested or just curious to check it out.
The only thing I don’t really get is the idea of paying for downloading music, what’s the point in spending money for mp3s files, when you can get them for free (and hopefully save your money to buy the Long Playing format which is more personal and with a better sound quality)? I guess that is what they call the ‘compulsive’ aspect of the internet buying: having things immediately (no matter what they are) just with the click of a mouse. That stresses me out. I think 8mm operates in the exact opposite direction: the friends who support the label are normally patient people beside passionate music lovers, who are willing to wait even a few weeks for their limited edition LPs to show up (this happens when I am on tour, not always of course!)

When did you start Golden Cup project? How did it appear?
Golden Cup startedin summer of 2006. I was about to leave for a tour in Europe with one of my previous bands, but my friends bailed last minute so I found myself alone with these upcoming gigs already set up… I decided to put some tape loops, a radio,a harmonica and a keyboard in a suitcase, and then I flew to Spain to play the firstshow of the tour. That was the beginning of Golden Cup.

What music do you prefer to listen to when traveling?
I normally download digital versions of the LPs from my collection and I put them in the i-pod theday before leaving, in order to recreate the feeling of being at home listening to my favorite tunes…Pretty nerdy, I know. On heavy rotation now I have a lot of old Finnish stuff: Esa Kotilainen, The Sperm, Edward Vesala, Pekka Airaksinen…Perfect for travelling through the forest! And of course I don’t go anywhere without a good selection of jazz albums. I don’t even start making a list because it could be endless…

Tell about the independent scene in Portugal? Is it fertile in terms ofexperimental artists, labels, clubs, fests? Can you advise anything/anyone for checking out?
There is definitely a nice scene in Portugal, especially if you consider that it’s such a small country. Definitely not many musicians and labels, but those who are active are well consolidated, and most important, there is a lot of respect among the music community. My favorite place in Porto is called Culturgest, it’s a cultural center, financed by the government. There is always some great exhibition going on there, and great shows once or twice a month. Lisbon is very active culturally as well, and even smaller cities like Leiria are kept alive through the work of great associations like a9))). Speaking of music from Portugal, this year I fell in love with the work of this amazing musician, Carlos Paredes, master of the Portuguese guitar. I recommend everyone to check his LPs and the great documentary about him called ‘Guitarra cum Genio’.

What are your plans about 8mm and Golden Cup?
8mm is coming up with a new update later this month, with two new albums by Japan’s Suishou noFune (Anya from Love Cult did a great artwork for this), and a new liverecording from my friends France, who already released a tape on 8mm in 2010 and enchanted everyone at last Kraak festival in Belgium.
Speaking of Golden Cup, following the release of ‘Sogno Elettrico’ on Blackest Rainbow this year, there will be two more releases coming out soon. Each record is in fact part of a trilogy, the second one is basically ready, it is a fourtet recording featuring myself, Maurizio Abate, Jeremie Sauvage and Mathieu Tilly. That was recorded last December, it is very different from the first album, but still you can find a certain continuity. The third chapter has been in the works for a year now and is just myself, it is about the future. I hope to have it finished before next fall, because lately it has been a serious strain to my mental stability.

If you had a choice togo to one of the planets in solar system which one would you choose?
I would definitely choose Saturn.

What is the best placefor playing Golden Cup music?
Saturn, that’s why I wanna move there.

What is that thing thelost of which will make the gig impossible? I mean: technical equipment,amulet, cloth, anything.
Nothing honestly. After I forgot my old electric mandolin on a train to Tilburg last year in the middle of a European tour...I think now I can do a Golden Cup set in every kind of situation. Especially lately when I play in trio with Mathieu and Jeremie, we are trying to focus a lot on acoustic instruments in order to be flexible to every kind of situation, even to open air jams!

What country is the leader in ordering stuff from 8mm?
It used to be the United States, right now I think most of the copies splits equally between UK/US/EU distributors….

What do you enjoy most in releasing process and in playing/recording music?
I think the thing that fascinates me the most about creating something is that sense of mystery and that feeling of total uncertainty that invades your brain from the beginning of the process. You know (sometimes) where you are starting from, but you never know where you are going to finish. I love being lost and disoriented, it’s something I would recommend for everyone to experience in life. You go through so many emotions: excitement, anger, joy, and frustration before finding a way that sounds right…

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