Chain D.L.K.: Hello H.U.G.O., please tell us about the characters that make this amazing band!
H.U.G.O.: Daniela:We are 4:Daniela, a.k.a.Zebra, is an ex-borderline girl who sings in order to connect to others and disappear among them. She’s called Zebra because, like zebras, it’s not so easy to catch her. She runs through the jungle camouflaged by her stripes and confuses you.Rocco is a strange guy, hard worker, painter, guitar and bass player. He composed many of the songs that H.U.G.O. reinterpreted and remixed.Marco is a visual artist, drummer, and also very good with programming. He’s a balance for the band. He has an olympic taste that keeps us from falling apart in useless drifts.Ale is a lone wolf. He talks very little. He’s a joker and creates unpredictable nice arrangements and sound effects. He plays bass and a magical double bass. His passion is Mac.Marta is a full-of-energy percussionist: seeming to play with 6 hands. She played on our record Equilibrium. She left to go live in Spain.
Chain D.L.K.: Tell us about the story of this band, past and present.
H.U.G.O.: Daniela: We met in different moments: first Marco heard my record of psychedelic rock Echidna and a work of sonic poetry that I made with Massimo Arrigoni. We decided to play together and we asked Rocco to play the bass. In the beginning it was very hard, we’ve had plenty of technical problems and my singing in Italian wasn’t really satisfying. We tried several guitarists live but at a certain point we decided to avoid guitars. I started to sing in English, it sounded much better and allowed us to talk to a broader public, even if still invisible.Our lucky chance came when we met Ale: he’s a professional bass player, he played with the Davide Van des Froos band and with Eggs, he’s also an excellent sound engineer.We played live several times and we improved each time in mixing midi and analog instruments on stage; last year we were disqualified during an Italian emergent bands competition because our PC broke down while we were playing live. We’ve learned a lot from that experience!.
Chain D.L.K.: What are your projects for the next future, new albums, tours?
H.U.G.O.: Daniela: In May our first record Equilibrium will be published by Fridge Records and distributed by Goodfellas in stores and online. We plan to play as much as possible in Italy and abroad. We’d like to play in the US. Meanwhile, we’re anxious to start creating new songs.We played with fantastic guys from San Diego, ANTIQUARK. We felt really at ease with them and we’d like to tour with them.
Chain D.L.K.: What is the source of inspiration when you write and how does the writing process happen? Do you write all together or it comes mostly from one of you? Are there any musicians or bands that were influential in your music development? If you could pick any producer in the world with no limits for your music who would it be?
H.U.G.O.: Daniela:In general, it’s been Rocco who proposed electronic basses or guitar tracks on which I sang.Then Marco added electronic drums and Ale bass. We all participate at arrangements and sound research.Inspiration comes from everyday life. We have many influences of course: Massive Attack, Bjork, Brian Eno, Squarepusher, Trilok Gurtu, and many many others. The lyrics are all about the interior life and relationships, they refer to the difficult balance between internal and outer world, private life and world life.We wouldn’t choose an ideal producer(outside of the band) because we want to be homemade and independent. We learn and improve our sound research through our experience.
Chain D.L.K.: What kind of instruments do you use analog/digital? Any special effects?
H.U.G.O.: Daniela:We use a mix of analog and digital: Ableton live as a live software which we also use as a host for the voice effects and the virtual instruments in real time (keyboards and electronic drums). Then bass, double bass, drums, acoustic guitar and, of course, voice.
Chain D.L.K.: Where are you from and where do you live? Are you happy in the place you are right now, or you wish you where somewhere else? Is there a music scene in your town?
H.U.G.O.: Daniela:I live in Milano. Marco and Rocco live in Merate, 30 km from Milano – a very green place. Ale lives on the lake of Como. We’re all satisfied. In the end a lot depends on how you feel and what happens to you. I need the metropolitan neurosis, I need to be in direct contact with the city news: I want to be aware of the ongoing tendencies (but doesn’t mean that I definitely know them…).I guess in any place there’s something you like and something you hate. Consequently, the musical scene is not particularly alive in Milano, especially because the city closed some Social Centers and Arci who spread alternative culture. There are a few places where the program is interesting but it’s still too sparse to say there’s a music scene. There’s a wonderful place called Orto Sonico with interesting concerts….but it’s near Pavia (not far from Milan).
Chain D.L.K.: Do you have any other hobbies, interests, things you enjoy doing beyond music?
H.U.G.O.: Daniela:Yes, we have several interests. I just graduated with a degree in Peace Studies from the University; I love art, reading and dancing…simultaneously.
Ale: I like Informatics (Linux in particular), martial arts, tango, a good kitchen, Ducati bikes.
Rocco: I love literature, drawing and painting, photography, bricolage.
Marco: I love video-editing, photography, I do websites as a hobby. I hate bricolage and Ducati bikes.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you like eating? What are your favorite foods?
H.U.G.O.: Daniela:Decidedly, we’re Italians! And the 3 men are very good cooks! Me: I prepare mainly sweets and I try to be vegetarian – even if I still feel the need for meat. The tortures we inflict to animals are intolerable.
Rocco:My guru is Pellegrino Artusi. I like to cook and to offer my guests Lucani plates (from Lucania, a region of Italy), anyway I adore eating anything from the wonderful Italian kitchen.
Ale:My psycho-dietary disorders force me to eat only food not vegetable origin.
Marco: I like nearly everything. I prefer strong tastes such as rotten cheeses, spices, sweets with very high caloric content. I love wine very much, I have a huge supply of it.
Chain D.L.K.: What about films? Any film experts among you? What are your favorite films of all times? And TV? do you watch TV? Do you listen to the radio?
H.U.G.O.: Daniela:I really love David Lynch and David Cronenberg.I haven’t got a TV, I hate it, I think it’s dangerous. I often listen to the radio: radio 24, radio popolare, RAI 2-3, radio DJ.
Rocco:I like Kieslowski, Kusturica, Jodorowsky, Fellini, the Italian Neorealism.
Ale:I like Tim Burton and Jodorowsky. Fellini sometimes, but Amarcord forever.I listen to web radios, high quality and big choice.
Marco:I love Cronenberg and Lynch, Nolan, Boyle. Among the italians: Gabriele Salvatores.I hate the Italian Neorealism.
Chain D.L.K.: What is the thing you like the most and the one you hate the most?
H.U.G.O.: Daniela:I hate indifference. I like nature.
Ale:I hate egoism, small-minded persons, greed, incompetence. So I love generosity, irony, accuracy.
Rocco:I hate hypocrisy and arrogance, stupidity, oligarchy and conservative politics. I love intelligence, loyalty, frankness and coherence.
Marco:I hate arrogance, stupidity, hypocrisy, superficiality, violence in any form…most of all I hate football. I love the sun: it created us, it will save us and one day will destroy us.
Chain D.L.K.: What is the main thing you would change in the world and the one you would keep the way it is?
H.U.G.O.: Daniela:Change: Egoism. Keep: Barack Obama.
Rocco:Change: the mentality of destructive men. Keep: magic nature which we belong to.
Ale:the world is good the way it is, it’s just necessary to remove the humankind.
Marco:I would erase the Vatican. I’d keep chocolate.
Chain D.L.K.: What is the thing you couldn’t be without?
H.U.G.O.: Daniela: Electricity.
Rocco:Music, comfortable shoes and a dog.
Marco: passion for something.
Chain D.L.K.: Ask yourself a question and answer it!
H.U.G.O.: Daniela:Are you happy? Happy or dead now!
Rocco:Why do Italians keep voting for Berlusconi? Because they’re lazy.
Ale:Will you ever stop feeling bad for any injustice? No, never!
Marco:Why are Italians so lazy? Because of Berlusconi.
Chain D.L.K.: A message for our readers?
H.U.G.O.: Daniela:Search for the TRUTH.
Rocco:Love the others as much as you love yourself….if anyone should do it…….
Ale:I totally agree with Rocco, and to be curious and to establish your personal opinion about everything.
Marco:…..Arrgh! I wanted to say what Ale said: think with your own head!
To buy our record go here.
[interviewed by Ant Dakini] [proofreading by Sergio Ordonez – photos by Laura Visigalli]