the ITALIAN VERSION of this article can be read at the following link
Festambiente has hosted artists who for various reasons have excelled in their path, including the group Massimo Volume, led by singer-songwriter and writer Emidio Clementi. Among the more established members of an independent rock scene of the mid to late 90’s, working in a design research and in-depth content and never predictable, Massimo Volume have a sharp musical character where texts have a great importance and are interpreted in a more recited than sung way. Their most recent album is called “Aspettando I barbari” and takes its title from the book of the Nobel Prize John Maxwell Coetzee. Emidio Clementi as a writer has published many books and is currently on tour with a reading titled “Notturno Americano” made with Corrado Nuccini and Emanuele Reverberi from group Giardini di Miro dedicated to the Italian-born American writer Emanuel Carnevali.
Next tour dates:
04 set 2014 (gio) SENEGHE (Oristano) – Settembre dei Poeti festival (reading de La Ragione delle Mani)
05 set 2014 (ven) MANTOVA – Festival della Letteratura
12 set 2014 (ven) ANGHIARI (Arezzo) – Festival dell’Autobiografia – a cura della Libera Università dell’Autobiografia
16 set 2014 (mar) VILLACIDRO – Premio Letterario Giuseppe Dessì –
09 ott 2014 (gio) CHICAGO (USA) – Instituto Cervantes
18 ott 2014 (sab) FROSINONE – Cantina Mediterraneo (reading de La Ragione delle Mani)
You disbanded in 2002 then reunited in 2009 a period that went through a quite decisive decade in contemporary society. In an interview you said that you think that the sound you found when you have reunited was still current. In the arts cycles that recurs often follow one another periodically, how can someone distinguish modern sound from one passed? A sound out of fashion cannot be read as a historical reconstruction or a tribute?
Emidio Clementi : “I talk about what you notice at the moment you release an album at concerts, the fact that maybe you find an audience that is younger or much younger than you and in some way you can pass down through the generations, in that sense it seems to me that our sound is still able to be present, because there is a cross audience that comes to our concerts. “
You said: “doing albums for enjoyment or as a presenting card.” How should a professional artistic project be structured, but mostly: how do you recognize it? Can a commercial product can be very valuable even if the contents are very light, if not trivial or useless?
“Well, if you are trivial or useless I find it hard to believe that it is a serious project. If there is passion in, if people who listen to it are able to read in it something that goes beyond the intentions, if it can go through what is the limit of who wrote it, maybe everything gets a sense. I think it’s hard to even grasp what is quality and what not, then, you know, when you bring out something, it transforms when in contact with the people, that’s when you know if something is alive or not. I also think rock ‘n’ roll, even the simplest one which then had 100 facets and somehow had a different life, a life that even those who had written it expected , had the freshness that a project is able to have. “
You treat very different themes, especially in this last album the characters you refer to, the musician Vic Chesnutt or the inventor Richard Buckminster Fuller or even the Nobel Prize for literature John Maxwell Coeetze from whose book you took the title for your album: what is the common thread between
apparently very different contents?
“What binds the characters is that I liked a bit that it was a tribute to utopia: they are all the people that moved in their lives with good sense, however, has expanded human knowledge and that’s what I liked. Everything that eventually binds all these characters, from songwriter Chesnutt, to architect Fuller, to contemporary musician John Cage, it was precisely this idea of going beyond the limits. “
Considering as a possible form of theater, how do the characters of the songs express themselves comparing to those of the novels and reading? The novel read in private is lived very differently than the reading on stage.
“Well, in the the music you have the power of sound as a weapon to your advantage, which allows you to use few words in the songs and yet being evocative. Instead, in literature this works less, you have to tell things, there is a more dense use of the word. In the songs it’s the sound that sustains you, and it’s a lot. ”
in reading there is the sound of the voice.
“But it’s a sound that puts itself more at the service of the word and the word in a concert often struggle with the music, it has to make itself room.”
Do you think the character has more strenght when it is summarized in a song or when it is described in a book?
“It depends, it depends on how you describe it, on books, on records: they are two different languages that are touching here and there, however, they remain different languages. To me it is never easy to switch from a language to another, writing down the page of a book and the lyrics of a song is not so immediate. “
The lyrics are very recap and minimal, without necessarily sacrificing the poetic form. Writing novels there is much more “literary space” available: how do you manage the organization of contents, expressing yourself both detailed and summarized forms?
“The problem is right there because on one hand you still have to tell, you cannot play on those gray areas that can work instead in a song so you have two different times. Me, to express, then I’m never able to, I like to dedicate myself to lyrics for a period and another period to tales or novels, then need to mix it all but at least I need that during the day there is a precise moment when I work with the texts and another when I work to the written page. ”
Also because you often make references to books in your songs.
“Yes, of course, because whatever material is good to be told.”
Songs declaimed and many readings, a theatrical form of fiction: would it be possible some kind of abstraction in a proposal like yours, quite similar to teatro canzone ( something like “acting singing” – EDD note)
“I don’t know, I have a pretty bad relationship with the imagination but I have a very close relationship with reality: what inspires me is what I see around me. Then it is always a fictionalized reality, revised and passed through my experience and it is my point of view, but everything I do, my poetic feeds on reality therefore find hard a kind of abstraction then. ”
Have you ever thought, or there have been times, to some kind of irony or sarcasm? Very often it is said that the tragic has an opposite wryly face also.
“There is something ironic especially in the more literary part of me of the novels, sometimes even with humor, there is also some irony in some lyrics of Massimo Volume, but it is also true that it is more difficult to be ironic or to operate with other ranges in a so dramatically structured form as our music is. ”
Your new play is inspired by Emanuel Carnevali, a writer who had a very troubled history of immigration in United States. As Massimo Volume you dedicated to him a song in your album released in 1995. What of this author did strike you?
“That in certain parts his biography could be a bit superimposed to mine and he gave me an awareness in my looking, that is, in the end what he saw it was a much more tragic world, he had a very tragic life, however, it was what at the time I couldn’t see: that what I had around was enough to be told, telling a life and existence. I thought that for writing it was necessary a different life or most fascinating of mine, instead I had everything aside and I just needed to see it. “
The points in common between you and the author?
“He has done an even more obviously far escape than mine because he went to America then he made a life of marginal jobs, he has been poor for a long time, he was also an unknown author, however, he said that around him, and this helped me to find my voice and my eyes. ”
You have a sound that once would be have been part of the new wave circle. Do you recognize yourself in the atmosphere of the groups of those years? What were the characteristics of this kind of musical trend and culture that have influenced a certain kind of high quality pop music, becoming a cult as they could be Bronsky Beat, Marc Almond, Alison Moyet from Yazoo?
“We grew up with the same music dies, those of the 80’s and new wave, post rock. It is the music that has shaped us that somehow we have overtaken but it remains in our musical self-taught education. “
What were the bands you liked most at that time?
“So many: from the Gun Club to Joy Division, the Clash, the American punk as Fugazi, Black Flag, Germs, X but I could name a hundred; but you know, the influences diminish more and more going forward in time diminish more and more that you have the ability to absorb them because at a certain point, when you are able to have your style, it’s that u take inspiration from. ”
video of track “la cena” from album “aspettando i barbari”
track “Il primo Dio” dedicated to poet Emanuel Carnevali
track dedicated to Vic Chesnutt