-You’ve recently released your EP ‘The Alto Nido Sessions’ by Sergio Messina & The Four Twenties. Tell us something about this new project (where the guitars are still very present).
I play guitar since I was a kid, but never really used in my music: my instrument until 2010 was the sampler. But at one point I felt the need to change my music, so I started playing string instruments again, relearning the guitar and bass, rand ecording on a multitrack, using the computer only for post-production. Reducing the possibilities enhances creativity (I often say that having thousands of presets is like having none, too much choice). Also, I wanted to explore different styles of music. I've played Funk for most of my life, but Funk has a problem: it's a rhythmic prison, and it forces you to use rhythm elements always in the same ways. What I do now (slow boogie/shuffle/swinging beats) can have a Clave and a matchbox for drums. It's more organic music, blissful and emotional. I am very happy about where my music is today, the main reason being that I don't sound like anyone else, despite the fact that my music is full of influences. I consider this a major personal achievement (but again, not something that leads to "success").
-During the first lockdown you started your daily radio appointment
called 'Sergio Messina Racconta Cose', which has been for many
of us a delightful routine. In relation to that, how much do you think
is important, in this day and age, to build loyalty with your
listeners/readers? How crucial is to create an archive that people
can tap into whenever they want, especially in an era of volatile and
SMRC is part of one of the great loves of my life which is radio, and
specifically talk radio without music. It's something I've already done in
the past, on an actual FM station. Radio is by nature a streaming,
volatile, non archivable medium. But today we have the internet, where
everything is saved, retrievable, available. So I put the 58 SMRC shows
(30' each) on my website, but I still think the best way to hear them was
live. As far as loyalty building, I've always felt that having a direct line
with my people was the way to go, and thankfully at one point the web
came along. My email address is public since 1997 (at the top of my
page on Rumore magazine), I have a personal website since 1999 and
I've always used these channels to be there, to interact. In almost 25
years I have received (and replied to) tens of thousands of messages,
questions, comments, a few "vaffanculo" even from celebrities. I
consider this to be an integral part of my work, as my business is not
music, teaching or writing: it's communication.
-One of the working experiences that characterises you is your
incredibly accurate activity as a researcher of the world of
Pornography/Softcore. How do you see it progressing? Do you still
find some new oddities in this field today or you reckon people lost
their ‘creativity’ as time went by?
I came up with the word Realcore to describe user generated
pornography (not of the soft type) freely distributed online for fun. This
kind of porn is still going strong, as well as what I called "Cottage
industry porn", or Pro-ams (professional amateurs that make some
money out of their passions). What didn't happen is something I had
really hoped for: a general improvement in mainstream porn as far as
sexism, variety (of shapes and performances) and awareness. It would
be a crucial change, as many people learn what sex is through
pornography. The whole Realcore work (which was presented in a live,
stand-up anthropology show with 100 pictures, subtitled "The Digital
Porno Revolution") had a strong political side - which is another relevant
aspect of some of the things I do.
-You’ve been traveling a lot throughout your life and you’ve lived in
many different countries. Tell us what’s the best thing of each and
every place you’ve lived in, in terms of habits, culture, food etc. It
can be anything.
Let's do cities: Amsterdam is the perfect size and it's great for music.
Chicago for me is the most beautiful american city, it was the inspiration
for Gotham and you can still tell, and the locals are really nice, decent
folks. LA has that unique light that we know from movies, but you're
actually in the picture: it makes me smile every time. My favorite city is
Naples, the one I would love to live in is Mumbai (both have my favorite
food in the world, along with Bangkok). In the early 1990s, Milano had
perhaps the most vibrant alternative scene in Europe. Rome, where I
grew up, is the most beautiful, annoying and unforgiving place I know.
-Any future project that you want to share with us?
I have an album on hold since 2019 because of Covid: Sensual
Musicology (again with the Four Twenties) should come out later in '21
for Hell Yeah! I also have compiled the first of a series of archival album
issues (digital only). Not a "best of", not leftovers, these albums collect
sound work I have done in the past 35 years that have not been
available to the public in this form: radio art, installations, live tracks,
soundtracks for theater, library music. The first, A Fistful of Flies
(1987/2001), six unreleased tracks and two B sides remastered in 24
bits, will be out next christmas. In the past 3 years I have been
fascinated by the topic of Autism, and I've done quite a lot of reading,
interviews, etc. The idea is to create a live presentation of this research,
but it might become a book, a series of articles or even a podcast.
-Thanks a lot for your time Sergio. It’s been a true pleasure to chat
with you on our imaginary couch and we hope to see you around
as soon as possible!
Stay safe and thank you.