By Alberto Zanetti
We must thank Facebook if today we can enjoy the fruit of a collaboration between Giorgio Tuma, one of most appreciated Italian talents abroad, and ex Stereolab Lætitia Sadier, who recently gave her voice to two songs from This Life Denied Me Your Love, fourth Tuma’s album. A shadowy, folk acoustic/psychedelic jewel, sometimes on a soft electronic carpet, with collaborations like Michael Andrews, Matias Tellez, Matilde Davoli and Populous.
The meeting between Tuma and Sadier happened through the web but next Wednesday 23rd November, in Reggio Emilia, Red Noise presents the first live together. So, waiting for their concert at Circolo Arci Tunnel, we took the time for an interview.
With Giorgio we talked about songs born by mail, about Salento,Pharrell Williams and soundtracks. Whereas Laetitia threw out right away a not very bad idea: let’s start a revolution and let’s begin it from Reggio Emilia.
Lots of collaborations in This Life Denied Your Love were born “by mail”. Fate, necessity, a sign of the times?
Giorgio Tuma: All three assumptions are correct. Obviously, if I had the chance to collaborate with Michael Andrews directly in Los Angeles, or with Matias Tellez in Bergen, well, I would have done it at once… eh eh, the whole album is made with mails and files exchange, let’s say moreover 50 studio and 50 delivered files.
You come from Salento. “Lu ientu, lu sule, lu mare” (local dialect: “the wind, the sun, the sea”): hate and/or love?
Giorgio Tuma: I can’t answer to your question. As a child, for different reasons, I suffered with living where my home was and is. Even though economic, social and environmental problems go on, nowadays life’s quality is improved, I can’t deny it. But frankly I must add that if I would have had the privilege of choosing, then I would have prefered to born and to live in North Europe.
Beside all artists usually connected to you (Nick Drake, Sufjan Stevens, Jim O’ Rourke, etc.), what kind of idea of music marked and shaped you?
Giorgio Tuma: I never had problems with listening to any kind of music. For instance, I adore Pharrell Williams as a great musician and producer, theorically different from my musical approaches but if you see things more carefully, it’s not so different as it could seem. We both have a passion for Stereolab and you can hear it very well in some Neptunes’ productions and N.E.R.D.’s albums, exactly like into my songs. Music is a matter of personal perspectives and feelings to disclose.
According to a very famous and moustached philosopher, beauty “is a soft evening weariness” laying down on nature’s face… What does melancholy mean for you? What kind of relationship does it have with your music?
Giorgio Tuma: It’s something that lies dormant inside, whether I like it or not I bring it with me and it’s part in all I have been writing.
Many of the lyrics of your songs are written by Alice Rossi? Can you talk about her? How does your collaboration work?
Giorgio Tuma: I know Alice from high school. Collaboration started almost by chance, I asked her to try writing English lyrics on some vocals I had previously recorded, from there some kind of magic and natural was born between my music and her words, a magic that went on four albums and three 7″.
You play folk, but you’re a great Piccioni and Morricone’s fan. What sort of connection do you have with them? Would you like to write a movie soundtrack?
Giorgio Tuma: As I discovered the music of Italian composers, a wonderful world showed itself to me. I remember I was just twenty years old and one of my main worries at that time was to find enough money to order the coming number of Easy Tempo, a collection of ten releases with the best Italian library music inside and some jewels picked up from soundtracks with a unique care and love. But if I really have to tell you one name, then I tell you Piero Piccioni. I can recognize his strings right after a couple of seconds, I listened almost for all the strings he wrote, his musical sensiteveness is one of the dearest things I own.
You record for a Spanish label, you are an object of worship in Japan, you sing in English… sorry, what about Italy?
Giorgio Tuma: With This Life Denied Me Your Love something happened, if I compare with previous three albums, but it’s definetely not enough, for music takes time, money and an incredible devotion and I can declare so far that the effort is not worth while. You can’t live only with rave reviews, alas, and for Heaven’s sake, I wouldn’t even dare thinking of “living on music” (“one over a thousand can manage it”, someone would say). I just say that the whole matter is pretty mortifying and that’s it, over.
While we were writing these sentences, we heard the news of Leonard Cohen’s death.
Giorgio Tuma: 2016 has been a dark year for music, a year to forget.
It’s not the first time for you in Emilia… Do you like these misty places?
Lætitia Sadier: It will be my third time in Reggio Emilia. I liked it the first and second time I came (at REC festival in 2007 and at Teatro Sociale di Gualtieri in May 2016, Ed.). It is a very appealing little city where revolutions can best work! Well of course the political history would help that a lot. And do we know how much we need healthy politics today, to bring some sense to the absurd worldly situation we live in. Reggio Emilia would make a good starting point, from there, the semi lost idea of revolution could spread to the rest of world.
How did you meet Giorgio Tuma and his music?
Lætitia Sadier: Giò sent me a request to sing one of his songs on FB. The same week, his label had sent me a big bag of many CDs of their artists… Gio really stuck out for me. I was immediatly seduced and wrote him that I would be available to sing Anna My Dear, the first song he wrote me. There were 3 more to follow to this day. Through You Hands Love Can Shine, Release From The Center Of Your Heart, Maud Hope, which we will perform live together on the 23rd..
Which direction did your music take in the last years?
Lætitia Sadier: I don’t know exactly. I want my music to reflect me, and find myself through it, and it through me. It gets deeper and deeper I guess. It’s an exploration rather than a direction.
Your songs are often about politics and society… How do you feel about the present situation?
Lætitia Sadier: If you ask me today… I think that maybe now that we’re facing Brexit and Trump as Us President, basically two catastrophical political events… I see that people are waking up a bit from their state of hypnosis, and thinking about reacting to the situation and taking matters into their own hands. We have to operate deep changes in the way our societies are run, and humans only react to things when there is a deep crisis, a shock. Maybe now is the time for the “ordinary people” (as in not financial elites for instance) to turn things around and take responsibility for our future.
The first song of yours I’ve heard after Stereolab was Bonnie & Clyde by Luna. 20 years have passed… What do you remember about that wonderful version?
Lætitia Sadier: I hear it this summer on a french local radio station. It was such a surprise to hear how fresh and dark it still sounds. I don’t remember much really, apart from going to a studio in Nycity, somewhere dark and dingy, when ny still had a little bit of edge… Luna and Stereolab were label mates at the time…
(Monday 21 November 2016)