Where to even begin with Inutili? How to begin to describe the freeform madness and lo-fi rumble that invade your brain like carnivorous earwigs devouring their way out the other side? I suppose those are as good a place to begin as anywhere… It’s definitely lo-fi and freeform, improvised madness created on the spot, with sporadic explosions of deranged maniacal noise breaking the veil of hypnotic repetition and dronage that loops back on itself like a Möbius strip. Crashing distortion and feedback are the name of the game here, and while the band may see themselves as twisted parodies of the modern rock star image, they make some damned good tunes if they aren’t taking it deadly seriously. With songs that clock in at ten and fifteen minutes at times, it would be easy to get repetitive or boring, but instead Inutili manages to power through all of that to craft, hone and even perfect their unique brand of heady proto-metal, freeform, psychedelic acid-jazz that’s so heavy it literally threatens to toss the needle out of the groove! Building like great waves, like the ebb and flow of the ocean, these dudes just hit ‘record’, lock into a groove and ride the tidal wave into oblivion and back apparently. Addictive, hypnotic and original, there’s not a lot more I can say about Inutili. For fans of Can, Hawkwind, and Neu; Inutili will not disappoint. After their latest release, and debut album, Music To Watch the Clouds on A Sunny Day, which along with their Satori EP peeled my skull cap back and replaced what was left of my brain with a magnificent, fuzzy explosion of smoke, euphoria and adrenaline, I not only managed to track these dudes down but got them to answer a gambit of questions for all you lucky readers out there! Drop a hit or two, smoke a fat one and kick back with these tunes ‘cause this shit is gonna blow your mind, Psychedelic Baby style!
Listen while you read: https://www.youtube.com
What’s the lineup in Inutili right now? Is this the original lineup or have there been any changes since you all started the band?
Abarth: At the beginning of 2014 our bass player Giancarlo di Marco left the band. We’re a three-piece right now: Pietro Calvarese – guitar/synth, Danilo di Francesco – guitar, and Alessandro “Abarth” Antinori – drums. I must say, however, that we very often switch instruments... We’re now looking for a new bassist to perform live shows.
Are any of you in any other bands or do you have any active side projects going on at this point? Have you released any music with anyone in the past? If so, can you tell us about a little about that?
Danilo: We aren’t involved in any other projects outside Inutili, but I'm happy to tell you what the other members have done because they were part of some of the true cult bands in my area and my adolescence… Abarth played in the early wonderful years of Brainsuckers, who were then called Tito and Thee Brainsuckers. He left the band because everything was just becoming too demanding and stressful. After that he disappeared and this has increased his fame over the years, until reappearing now. Before he disappeared, he recorded a couple of CDs. Pietro was a member of Ghettoraga, whose ashes Brainsuckers was born from, one of the best bands from our area. I can only remember a self-produced and very rare cassette by Ghettoraga, before the band broke up due to drug problems. Then, Pietro was a member in a couple of punk rock bands and a much appreciated wacky music band called Passo Falso.
How old are you and where are you originally from?
Pietro: We’re all from Teramo, Italy and quite old. The average is over the age of forty.
Danilo’s the “youngest”, he's thirty-seven.
What was the local music scene like where you grew up? Did you see a lot of shows or were you very involved in that scene? Do you feel like it played a large role in shaping your musical tastes or the way you perform at this point?
Danilo: Yes! There was an amazing music scene thanks to the previously mentioned bands and attending a lot of their shows influenced the way I play today for sure.
What about your home when you were growing up? Were either your parents or any of your close relatives, musicians or maybe just extremely interested or involved in music?
Danilo: Nobody from my family.
Pietro: Nobody plays music in my family, but my brothers are music addicts and they made me fall in love with music when I was a little kid.
What do you consider your first real exposure to music to be?
Danilo: When a friend of mine gave me a Best Of Jimi Hendrix cassette, I was completely astonished.
Abarth: When I was a kid my uncle gave me and my brothers a turntable and some LPs, and ever since that day I've been in love with music.
If you were to pick a moment, a moment that seemed to change everything and opened your eyes to the infinite possibilities of music, what would it be?
Danilo: When I first listened to Arab on Radar's “Soak the Saddle”… And all the stuff on Skin Graft Records.
When did you decide that you wanted to start writing and performing your own music and what brought that decision about for you?
Abarth: We never decided. We just met and played music.
What was your first instrument? When and how did you get that?
Danilo: When I was a child my parents bought me a trumpet and I took some lessons, but I wasn’t exited about that. Years later I realized I had made a big mistake.
Abarth: My first instrument was the drums, because my friends and I formed a band and we need a drummer.
How and when did you all originally meet?
Danilo: We knew each other because I was a fan of theirs and we live in a very small town, but we started to play together at the beginning of 2012.
What led to the formation of Inutili and when would that have been?
Danilo: A strange power, above our wills, compelled us to enter Pietro's rehearsal room and without a word, we started to play and the band was born at that very moment. No joke!
Is there any sort of shared creed, code, ideal or mantra that you all have or the band lives by?
Abarth: Freedom of expression, self-irony, and fuck the rest.
I know the word Inutili roughly translated from Italian means unnecessary, useless or pointless. What does Inutili mean or refer to in the context of your band name? Who came up with it and how did you go about choosing it? Were there any close seconds that you can think of?
Danilo: Self-irony is the key point of our project. We chose the name as a way of parodying the stereotype of the modern rock musician. We’re trying to be a parasite on this system. We didn't have a second choice, so we all agreed quickly.
Where’s Inutili located at these days?
Pietro: We live in Teramo, Italy and our base is in Torricella Sicura, near Teramo.
How would you describe the local music scene where you all are at right now?
Danilo: We have a lot of active bands, but they play very different music styles and genres.
Because of that, we don't have a real music scene, but a lot of these guys are involved in organizing live shows and events in a town that appears to be dead... It's very hard here!!
Are you very involved in the local scene in your opinion? Do you book or attend a lot of local shows or anything?
Danilo: Unfortunately we’re not involved in our local music scene, because of lack of time. We all work and have a family, but sometimes we manage to attend some shows, when it's worth it.
Has the local scene played an important integral part in the sound, history or evolution of Inutili? Or do you all feel like you could be doing what you’re doing and sound like you do regardless of where you were located or what you were surrounded by?
Danilo: I think I’m influenced by our local scene, past and present. I couldn't be what I am, or play the way I do, if I had grown up in a different place.
Pietro: I don’t agree with Danilo, I think we would have been Inutili wherever.
Your sound is an absolute sledge hammer to the skull and I absolutely love it but I do a lot of these interviews and every time I do I have to describe how a band sounds. Well, I only do interviews with bands I seriously dig and I spend a lot of time worrying about what to call stuff and how to describe it to people; always worrying I’m putting too much of my own perceptions and ideas into my descriptions. It seriously keeps me up at night sometimes, man. Rather than feeding my neurosis how about throwing me a bone here? How would you describe Inutili’s sound to our readers that might not have ever heard you all before?
Danilo: Very hard question to answer... It's hard to judge ones self. We don't really know how to describe our music because we go through very different phases, in different directions. We could say, “Extremely noisy, while at the same time, easy pop or experimental electronic music. Sometimes long sometimes short, more or less low-fi for sure. You can never tell what our next album will sound like.
Abarth: It's psychedelic baby!!!! Ha-ha!!
Like I said before I seriously dig your sound and it’s incredibly intense stuff! I’m really curious who you all would cite as your major musical influences? What about influences on the band as a whole? I can hear a lot of different stuff in the music, the more you listen the more you hear, and not all of it is very apparent on the first couple of takes.
Danilo: I know it's not always easy to understand, that’s because we sometimes try to explore fields and genres we’re not necessarily always familiar with. I have to personally cite Dinosaur Jr., Arab on Radar, Miles Davis, Stereolab, and U.S. Maple.
Abarth: AC/DC, Rush, and Black Sabbath.
Pietro: The Doors, The Stooges, The Ramones, and The Miracle Workers… But I have to say that Giancarlo was a key component of our sound on our early releases and he has always loved krautrock and psychedelic music.
What’s the songwriting process with Inutili like? I know you all are pretty well known for doing improvised jams in the studio according to what I’ve read about Music To Watch The Clouds On A Sunny Day and Satori. Do you all get together as a band and just kind of kick ideas back and forth until a riff or particular melody sticks, or does one of you usually come up with some sort of idea, a riff or melody or something that they bring to the rest of the band to jam out on?
Abarth: We don't have a specific way we write our music. We’re completely free. We usually go to the studio and one of us starts playing until something good comes out.
What about recording? I’m a musician myself and I think that most of us can appreciate the end result of all the time and work that goes into making an album when you’re holding that finished product in your hands. Getting to that point though, getting stuff recorded and sounding the way that you want them to, especially when an entire bands involved and you’re improvising can be extremely difficult to say the very least. What’s it like recording for Inutili? Do you all enjoy it?
Abarth: We’ve experimented with different kinds of self-recording, but we haven't come to an ideal way of recording yet. We always agree to try something new and experiment.
Do you all head into a studio and let someone else handle the technical aspects of music so you all can concentrate on getting the best performances possible out of yourselves, or do you all take a more DIY approach to recording where you like to handle things more on your own time and turf?
Abarth: We love self-recording in a totally DIY style! For the Aagoo Records LP release Cory T. Hanson of WAND helped us with the final mastering though.
Do drugs of any kind play a part in the songwriting or performance aspects of Inutili? Do you all utilize psychoactive substances at all or drink a lot when you’re in the studio?
Danilo: We usually drink a lot and sometimes we smoke weed... But, that’s just to relax ourselves and better enjoy our time in the studio.
In 2013 you all dropped you first release that I know of, the 12” Satori EP for Goodbye Boozy and Aagoo Records. Can you tell me about the recording of the material for Satori? When was that recorded and where would that have been at? Who recorded it and what kind of equipment was used? Was that a fun, pleasurable experience for you all?
Danilo: To be precise the Satori EP was released by Goodbye Boozy and Bat Shit Records not Aagoo... That was an extremely good time for us. We started recording live in the studio on tape using a single microphone. We loved that sound and went on for a while recording that way.
You started off 2014 right with the 7” split with Wand again for Goodbye Boozy and Aagoo Records, contributing the track “Easy Leaving” to the release. Was “Easy Leaving” a track that you all had left over from the recording of Satori or was it written and or recorded specifically for the single? If it was recorded for the single specifically, can you tell us a bit about the recording of “Easy Leaving”?
Danilo: Actually, our LP Music To Watch the Clouds on A Sunny Day was released before the 7'' split with WAND. We recorded “Easy Leaving” in 2014, but not specifically for the split. It came from Pietro's mind and some improvisation. It was a good first take and I finally tried adding vocals for the first time in my life. It sounds a bit different from our first recordings because we used a PC and some more microphones. We love that track a lot even if it is different.
You also released your first full-length album this year in the form of the Music To Watch the Clouds on A Sunny Day 12” for Aagoo Records. Was the recording of the material for Music To Watch the Cloud on A Sunny Day very similar to your earlier session(s) for the EP and or single?
Danilo: Yes, extremely similar as they were part of the Satori sessions.
When I was chatting with you all not long ago you mentioned that you had split in the works for Goodbye Boozy and Aagoo Records. Are there any details about that release you can share with our readers here? Is the material for it recorded at this point? Is there any projected release date for that? What can our readers expect from the upcoming album? Did you all try anything radically new or different when it came to the songwriting or recording of the material for the new split?
Danilo: We have plans to release a split 7” but can't say exactly when that will be. We’ve already recorded and chosen the song to be included on the split. I can only say it will be explosive. It's from the “Easy Leaving” session, but it’s not so easy!!!
Does Inutili have any music that we haven’t talked about yet, maybe a song on a compilation, single or a demo that you all released I’m not aware of?
Pietro: No, nothing that you’re not aware of.
Abarth: Check ourBandcamp page out. We sometimes upload unreleased tracks.
Danilo: Maybe we’ll add an unreleased track just for you… In the meantime Paolo Surgi recently used one of the tracks from our upcoming CD as the soundtrack to one of his short films Il rinforzino.
With the release of Music To Watch the Clouds not long ago at all at this point, are there any other releases from Inutili planned or in the works at this point?
Pietro: We’re going to release a CD in the autumn, containing the best of the stuff recorded before our bassist left the band. We hope we can release a new LP in the future, containing our new stuff… If Aagoo Records keeps loving us…
With the completely insane postage rates that just seem to keep going up and up, I try and provide our readers with as many options as I can for buying music. Where would the best place for our US readers to score copies of your albums be?
Danilo: In the USA I think it's easy to find them on-line or in stores, of course only the best ones! Anyway, check the following link out: Midheaven.com.
What about or international and overseas readers?
Danilo: In the UK code 7, in Italy Goodfellas, in the Netherlands Sonic Rendezvous, in Spain HOLYMOUNTAIN RECORDS, and in Japan Nat Records.
And where’s the best place fro interested readers to keep up with the latest news like upcoming shows and album releases from Inutili at?
Danilo: Our officialblog.
Are there any major plans or goals that you’re looking to accomplish in the rest of 2014 or in 2015?
Abarth: Just keep having fun playing music!!!
Do you all spend a lot of time out on the road touring? Do you enjoy being out on the road? What’s life like on tour for Inutili?
Pietro: At the moment we haven’t been on tour because we don’t have enough time.
Abarth: Damned jobs!
What, if anything, do you all have planned as far as touring goes fro the rest of the year (2014)?
Pietro: We’re planning a mini European tour following the CD release in the autumn.
Who are some of your favorite bands that you’ve had a chance to play with over the past few years?
Pietro: Unfortunately we haven’t the chance to play with our favourite bands…
Danilo: …I'm playing in my favourite band.
In your dreams, who are you on tour with?
Danilo: Without any doubt, Arab on Radar.
Do you have any funny or interesting stories from live shows or performances that you’d like to share here with our readers?
Danilo: Abarth loves to play completely naked and once during a show he fell off his stool and got a drumstick stuck in his asshole… Ha-ha-ha-ha! Unfortunately, I'm just joking, but it that would be hilarious.
Do you all give a lot of thought to the visual aspects that represent the band to a large extent such as fliers, posters, shirt designs, album covers an that kind of thing? Is there any kind of meaning or message that you’re attempting to convey with your art?
Abarth: No that’s useless!!! There’s no meaning at all, we just design what we like; usually pretty girls.
Pietro: This doesn't mean we’re stupid. We just shrug certain things off.
Danilo: I don’t think you have to give everything a meaning or message; you can let everyone feel free to interpret.
Abarth: We’re pretty pessimistic. We don't think there are any messages left to send, people know everything is fucked up, we don't need to remind them it.
Do you have anyone that you usually turn to when it comes to your art needs? If so, who is that and how did you originally get hooked up with them?
Pietro: We usually do everything by ourselves, but for the LP cover, Alec from Aagoo Records asked Bas Mantel of Rev. Lab. in Amsterdam to design that for us. Bas did an excellent job!!! Let's hope our next cover art comes from his hands as well.
With all of the various methods of release that are available to musicians today I’m always curious why they choose and prefer the mediums that they do. Do you have a preferred medium of release for your own music? What about when you’re listening to and or purchasing music? If you do have a preference, can you tell us a little bit about why?
Danilo: We prefer vinyl because we think it has a magic you can’t find in digital music. However, we have tons of CDs and we don't dislike listening to them.
Do you have a music collection at all? If you do, can you tell us a bit about it?
Danilo: Yeah, I have a lot of LPs, CDs, cassettes but I don't believe I'm a collector. I've never cared about the rarity or value of a record, everything I care about is on the record itself. Sometimes, I think they’re like photos that can make you look back on past moments in your life, including certain feelings; sometimes they can even make you dream and send you to the future.
I grew up around my father’s enormous collection of music and I was really encouraged to listen to anything that I wanted to when I was around him. There was always something magical about kicking back with a set of headphones, reading the liner notes, staring at that cover artwork and letting the whole experience carry me off on this trip to another time and place! Having something physical to hold and experience along with the music always made for a much more complete listening experience for me, and I think I’ve grown a bit addicted to it in my older age. Do you have any such connection with physically released music?
Pietro: I think that's inevitable... All the things you described are key components to enjoy the music you are listening to in my opinion.
As much as I love my albums there’s no denying that digital music is here and it’s changed things. It’s not all good or bad or anything, though. I think every situations has its up and downs. With digital music teaming up with the internet you’ve got people who would never have been exposed to music being given instantaneous access to just about anything they can imagine and they’re finally being exposed to the literal world of music that they’re surrounded by, not to mention it’s facilitated unparalleled communication between bands and fans and eliminated geographic difficulties and boundaries almost overnight. As I said before though, nothing’s ever one sided. While people may be exposed to more music they’re not necessarily always inclined to pay for it and illegal downloading is running rampant right now, not to mention many people feel as though music is becoming a disposable form of entertainment to be used and then discarded and forgotten once you’re done with it. As a musician during the reign of the digital era, what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?
Danilo: I think everybody needs to know how to use every resource and mean we have at our disposal today the right way. I think that every kind of art, or beauty, must be shared with everyone, not just those who can afford it. Beauty is the property of humankind. An artist, a real artist, is just a vehicle by which beauty or art comes out. I come from a poor family and I know how hard it was for me to buy some CDs when I was a kid, and even today I can’t afford to buy much more even though I have a job. That's why sharing, legal or not, is absolutely a good thing! Illegal download gives me the chance to know if that music is worth the cost, very often it is, so I very often buy those records. Is it right that a kid has to spend everything he has to buy a record without knowing if he likes it or not? Is it right that a CD costs 20 Euros in Italy? Is there a reason for that? I believe it's a conspiracy, a fraud. Lots of people say an artist should be able to live off their art, which is true, but I think there are a very few real artists in the world. Most of the so called “artists” are just a rotten expression of the art business. I don't believe that having a lot of fans is enough to make somebody an artist. We all know art might take a long time to be understood. People who have always bought records always will. Those who never have, never will. Going back to your question though, I would never buy downloadable digital music, because people like us love and need a physical connection with music.
I try to keep up with as much good music as I possibly can but sifting through all the amazing stuff that’s out there right now just isn’t possible! Is there anyone from your local scene or area that I should be listening to I might not have heard of before?
Danilo: Yes, there a lot of different, very good, and very interesting bands: Starslugs, Pre-cog in the Bunker, Antonello Recanatini, Wide Hips 69, Delawater, A Minor Place, Singing Dogs, Zitoxil,Glum... This site includes most of the local music scene.
What about nationally and internationally?
Danilo: I don't know if you already know about them, but I like these bands from Italy: Father Murphy, ZU, Movie Star Junkies, and Rippers. I can advise you of a local label that just started called In The Shit Records. They’ve released a lot of good stuff, everything on cassette. The founder is Antonio Masci, a really good guy, who’s involved in the local scene and creator of the crazy fanzine called Mimetics. I'm sure you already know about the mythic GoodbyeBoozy Records, it keeps releasing masterpieces. Aagoo Records releases are more and more exciting. I believe Alec’s a really special man, and maybe one of the few real artists in the world.
(*Editor’s Note: In The Shit released the Racket Ghost cassette tape)
Thanks so much for taking the time to make it to the end here, I know this wasn’t short but I hope it was fun for you all getting to look back on everything you’ve accomplished and it probably jogged your memory for some stuff, hopefully brought back some good, funny memories for you. I swear I’m finished no more inquisition but before we call it a day I’d like to turn the table over to you all. Is there anything that I could have possibly missed or that you’d perhaps just like to take this opportunity to talk to me or the readers about?
Danilo: I just want to add a special thank you to you Roman, Alec from Aagoo, Gabriele of Goodbye Boozy and Antonio from Welcome In The Shit. I consider people like you heroes, because of believing in and your efforts to promote such strange and unusual music, like Inutili, I know how hard it is. Bye!!!
(2013) Inutili – Satori EP – single-sided 12” – Goodbye Boozy/Bat Shit Records (Goodbye Boozy 12” limited to 100 copies, Bat Shit Records 12” has different cover limited to 100 copies)
(2014) Inutili – Music To Watch the Clouds on A Sunny Day – 12” – Aagoo Records
(2014) Inutili/Wand – “Easy Leaving” b/w “Self Hypnosis In Three Days” – 7” – Goodbye Boozy/Aago Records (Limited to 250 Black Vinyl copies and 50 White Vinyl copies)
Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
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