Hi guys, how are you and where does this email find you?
Hi! we are all good thanks. In London at the moment, we just got back from our home towns where we all spent Easter with our families.
Tell us a bit about Vadoinmessico’s formation. I understand you all met while studying in London?
That’s correct. Me (Giorgio), Salvador and Stefan met at music college in London in 2006. First of all we became friends because we liked each other on a personal level. Then we discovered musical affinities and started talking about the band. By the summer of 2007 I had written a few songs and we decided to get together and try them out. We did, and we liked it. So we kept going. We played our first full band gig in March 2008, but we didn’t have a bass player at the time. After about a year my friend Alessandro was very bored in Rome and I invited him to move to London and play bass with us. So he came. I had been playing with him for years when I was living in Italy and we had always had a very special musical connection. A permanent drummer was the hardest member to find. After playing with six different drummers throughout the years we finally met Joe, who is an amazing musician and a great guy. So in a way it took us about 3 years before we could consider the band to be complete. It was a long journey, but it was worth it.
What kind of music did you grow up listening to, are there crossovers in musical tastes within the band?
I guess each one of us has a different musical background. In my home when I was a kid my parents would mainly listen to Italian music like Fabrizio De Andrè, Gino Paoli, Luigi Tenco, Paolo Conte.. I guess the only foreign music I would hear at home were the 1950s rock classics like Little Richard, Paul Anka, Elvis or Chuck Berry. Then at the age of thirteen I started borrowing cassettes from my brother, who is two years older, and my first conscious listening choice was In Utero. I guess that was the start of my music fan journey. After that I guess some of the most striking musical discoveries throughout the years have been Real Gone by Tom Waits, Tago Mago by Can, and Cardinal Rex by Jim Lawson.
Your musical influences are drawn from many different cultures and countries and you seem to have won a lot of success overseas. Has this been a surprise to you given you are based here in London?
I think the fact that we all come from different corners of the world has helped us being more open to music from different cultures. In fact, our inspiration does not only come from our home countries. We have all been listening to a lot of African and Middle Eastern music and I feel that’s been a big influence on our sound, especially from a rhythmical point of view. I guess in the internet age, where you are based makes very little difference on who listens to your music. Everyone has access to all music from anywhere in the world.
How does the songwriting process work in a band such as Vadoinmessico which seems very dependent on an array of sounds and instruments?
The songwriting process is usually a solitary moment for me. I often start from something that might eventually end up being a very marginal element in the song, like a kalimba sound, or an organ line. However that original idea might not even be included in the final result. I can get so excited about some sounds that I want to write a song just to have them in, but then things often take a different direction. So I might write four songs starting from the same idea without it being in any of the final versions.
This year’s going to be a big year for you with singles and EPs being released. Where did you record these, what help (producers etc) did you received etc?
Yes, we spent the last year working on the album which should come out in September. Salvador and I felt that we did not want to work with a producer but wanted to record it and mix it ourselves as we felt that was a crucial moment for our artistic development. We recorded everything in a studio in South Bermondsey, London. Although “studio” is probably not the most appropriate term, as it really is a just an empty industrial room where we set up our gear. Even though there is no oxygen and no heating in there, the great thing about this place is that we could literally lock ourselves in for weeks and record for 10 hours a day, without any time pressure (but with intense headaches due to lack of air). By doing so we really got to a point where we are 100% happy with what we did. After recording, we moved all our stuff to my place and started mixing the songs. Once we thought we where getting very close to finishing, the possibility of working with Craig Silvey came out and we decided to finalize the mixes with him. That added another 20% of extra quality that we hadn’t even considered to be possible.
How would you define your recorded musical selves from your live musical selves?
When we started recording the songs we intended to capture the way we sounded live. However, in the process of doing so we actually developed the music in a different direction, taking it somewhere we hadn’t really planned to go. By doing so we ended up affecting our live sound back, changing a few arrangements and modifying bits of the instrumentation. During this time for example we worked out the drums set up that we are currently using live. However, we developed the recorded arrangements further, especially on the percussive side. To answer you question, I think our live show is quite energetic and relies on the impact, while the recordings are more subtle and intimate.
Are there any new instruments coming into your repertoire this time around?
During the last year we’ve been developing our instrumentation quite a lot. In the beginning we used to be a totally acoustic band and people defined our music as “folk”. Through time we introduced electric instruments into our set-up. The first one was the bass-guitar (when Alessandro moved to London), then we introduced electric guitar, organ, toy keyboards, effects and, recently, a sampler. I feel our sound will always evolve as we write new songs, discover new music, meet new people and experience new changes.
You worked with Craig Silvey on your debut album, what was that like?
Great. First of all, he’s the nicest guy on earth. Second, he’s great at what he does. When we went into his studio in Shoreditch, we had been mixing the songs on and off for about two months and we were very tired. He wanted to work on the mixes alone (and that worked perfectly for us), so we played him the songs as we had done them, explained the idea a bit and left him to do it. When we came back and heard what he had done we realised that he had totally got the point of our music, pushing it further in the direction we had started to go.
How did the recording process go, where did the songs come from that comprise the record and did you achieve all you had hoped?
It’s been very intense. We worked hard from the beginning as our aim was for the album to sound good even before the songs were mixed. To do so, Salvador and I spent a lot of time finding the right spots for all the mics, recording a lot of the natural sound of the room. We felt that was essential for the album to sound as we wanted it. I think that first step has been the key moment to achieve what we have achieved: an album that we love 100%.
How do you feel the band has progressed since you started out to now. What three words would you use to describe early Vadoinmessico and the present band.
I think we have evolved quite a lot through the years. We started out as a duo, with me on guitar and vocals, and Salvador on toy keyboards, percussion and bits and pieces. After a short time Stefan joined in with his banjo and another friend was playing cajon. The music we were doing at the time, was pretty much folk, with a strong mediterranean quality to it. With time we built it up to the mainly electric set-up we have today as the song-writing developed towards a more experimental and psychedelic direction under the influence of the music we were listening to. I guess three words that could describe the early vadoinmessico could be acoustic, mediterranean, folk. Today I’d probably say liquid, archaeological, obsessive.
Which artists are you currently listening to?
My favorite music during the last few months has included: the compilation “Roots of Chicha”, “Guitars from Agadez” by Group Inerane, Piero Ciampi, Suicide, Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Marvin Pontiac, Os Mutantes, Skip James, Lester Young, Omar Souleyman, Bob Dylan, Sun Ra.
And what’s next?
We are releasing our first single “Curling Up Your Spine” on the 16th of May and we’re having a big party on Wednesday the 18th at the Dalston Boy’s Club in London. After that we’ll be releasing another single sometime in July and our debut album “Archaeology Of The Future” will be available in Europe in September.
Interview by Melanie McGovern