Friday, 28 October 2011

Vittorio Mazzoni

Like a hypnagogic soundtrack to a retro-future of disjointed voices, lost guitars and haunted dub, the Vittorio Mazzoni cassette is the one thing I would urge you to purchase this year. They're a two-piece, and they create their music hundreds of miles apart. Dan lives in London, and Josh lives in Cumbernauld- a town recently voted the worst place to live in the UK- yet this geographical juxtaposition seems to suit their creative process perfectly. This interview took place on the afternoon of Josh's 20th birthday.

If you got reviewed in the Wire, what section would it be in? Assuming they're going to change it back to the old catagories...
J: Possibly somewhere inbetween 'Avant Rock' and 'Outer Limits', I'd like to think. 'Avant Rock' just because it's so guitar driven and influenced via not-just-guitar-playing but offcut noises, and the tape experiments used. 'Outer Limits' mainly because I like to think that the project of the tape we made was more of a one piece thing. We used a lot of field recordings and noises and voices ripped from films and whatever else we could find. We didn't want there to be any silence unless it was intentional. In the same mind, we put all the pieces together so that it was like a smooth trip through various atmospheres or imaginings. 

Have you ever met each other?
J: Yeah, we hung out in the summer and did some rioting... We tried to do some music then but it's hard to force stuff out, especially when we mainly only had a mate's Jen SX1000 synth which makes mostly terrible noises. But we had fun trying to make Eurotrance on it anyway. Plus it was easier to get distracted by dodgy mixing and drinking Rubicon. 

What were you listening to when you started making music? Have your influences changed?
J: Probably a lot of Not Not Fun records. And Ghostbox releases interested me, and made me want to explore that sort of aesthetic. The warped atmospheres that still had an interest in being pop influenced.
D: I love really drums-based music so with everything I make I'm always trying to jam in loads of different percussive elements. So I guess people like Sabu Martinez, Art Blakey and people on the Hessle Audio label might have all influenced me in some way.
J: Plus when we started doing this we were both really into lots of French and Italian library records, mixed with the score work of Ennio Morricone and Piero Umiliani. Which we've sampled a few times, and obviously been influenced by in the name... In terms of 'have these influences changed much since then?', then no, probably not that much. We've actually thought about trying to go deeper into our jazz influences and trying out what Underground Resistance and James Stinson could do with electronic jazz, but still mix it up with our previous influences and some sick Grant Green guitar lines. Haha! 

Kaiser Chiefs just won a Q award for 'Innovation in Sound'. Pretty cool, don't you think? What's your favourite era of Kaiser Chiefs?
D: I'm so chuffed for them. I can only see them as modern-day prophets after so accurately predicting this year's riots. Ricky Wilson is something of a messiah. 

Josh, how the fuck do you cope with life in Cumbernauld?
Ahaha! I don't. Although it has the best undercover skatespots in Central Scotland in my opinion. 

Do you get a chance to see much stuff live?
J: Yeah, as much as I can afford anyway. Lately it's mostly been clubs, the recent highlight of which has been DJ Stingray. He pretty much just played solid 140BPM bangers all night, was crazy. Gig wise it's been sort of quiet this year for some reason... Thinking back, the best think I've seen has- surprisingly- been Ducktails who was just unbelievably tight and super fun. Mega hyped for Actress soon.
D: Since moving to London I haven't been going out too regularly, but I got to see Ben UFO play all night at Plastic People the other night, where I really got my groove on. He started off playing Herbie Hancock on Blue Note and ended several hours later playing some pretty hype dubstep and grime. I like eclectic DJs. I also saw Trim recently, which was a laugh. In terms of live music I havent seen anything recently, but there's lots on. I should go out a bit more. Oh, and over the summer I saw and really fucking loved DJ Stingray too, that was something special, I'd never really heard much Detroit electro like that before.

Practicalities aside, do you have any plans to play live?
D: I think we would both love to do something live together, even to DJ together would be fun.
J: Yeah definitely, I think it could be a lot more impressive live too if we worked it out right. A lot of the sounds- and the general vibe- of a lot of our stuff lends itself to a more volume-expressive and bassy environment than it does within what we can record.
D: Yeah, It's just a logistical nightmare, but it's definitely something I've always wanted to do, and we will figure out a way of playing somewhere, sometime, be it in London, Glasgow or Manchester. 

What's coming up next from you?
J: We're both chilling on working together right now, but with winter incoming we'll probably get going again.We seem to work together most then.
D: Yeah, plus we're both working on other projects just at the moment. Hopefully sooner or later Josh will be able to move down here for a bit and we can do some stuff in one place.
J: Hah, yeah. I just need some of dat cash.

Tell us about that your solo stuff then.
J: Well I'm always doing little bits on my own, but I struggle to fully get into something that way too. The band I'm getting going with some friends is gonna be a sort of 60s/80s/90s sort of indie pop affair, mostly based on guitar jams, which I'm gonna try and make as weird as possible but it's hard when the other people ain't into doing that stuff as much as you. I'll see what can be done whilst mostly trying to jack Felt tunes anyway.
D: I've been trying to make dance music for quite a long time now. I've only just started to put out a few things I like onto my Soundcloud, and I'll be self-releasing a CD-R very soon. Haven't been trying to nail down any particular sound with this stuff, I'm just making stuff I would dance to myself, so it's all quite rhythm based. (Listen to Dan's stuff at 

Anybody you'd want to collaborate with? Who do you think is on the same musical wavelength as you just now?
D: I'd love to do something with Konono Number 1, they seem to have a pretty amazing array of homemade instruments. It'd would be a dream to have access to all those sounds.
J: Umm... We're open for collaborating with anyone willing to send us stuff to be honest. Even one of the tunes we made, it was all based on a song we liked by another friend of ours. I'd like to think it's a pretty open project that anyone can get in on. Although if you want a highly masturbatory fantasy level probably Actress who is pretty much the best dude in the world. On a slightly less fantasy level maybe Moon Wiring Club, or anyone who's released something on Housecraft Recordings.
D: Yeah, I'm also pretty open to collaborations, it's fun seeing what other people can do. On a realistic level I'd love to do something with Panabrite, that stuff is really deep and textured, plus they have some lovely synths.
J: As for wavelength, I'm not sure, we take inspiration from lots of stuff so we're hyped on anyone trying to pan over several influences with no money. 

Where can people get your tape?
J: Gis ya money please.

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