The reunion, the new album, the death of Luciano Ghezzi and Italian rock: Gigi Cavalli Cocchi of Clan Destino, the historic band of Luciano Ligabue, tells us about the return to the scene of the Italian rock band par excellence.
You have declared that “L’Essenza”, an album that will be released in May, is “out of business logic”. He explains a little.
“In this project we have freed ours essence, without confronting ourselves with the recording reality of the moment. We started playing in the rehearsal room and recording what came out, without thinking about what would come out. We simply released a wild horse that had been locked in a paddock for too long. And that link with the past came out, with that sound that characterized us during the productions with Luciano Ligabue, but also with that sound of our solo records. In addition we have put into it all the experience of our 25 years of activity and therefore everything that we have musically assimilated. It was a letting go of creativity and the end result is a very representative record of the band ”.
In other words, you said to yourself: “To hell with the consensus and market logic, we want to rock and who cares about the rest”
“When we got together, we put individual experiences on the plate. Each of us has made important ones on a record level. The backbone of the whole affair was discovering that the old affinities had not been lost. It was very easy to get there and write. The single from the album, which is titled ‘Manifesto’, is the practical test of what I was telling you: a song that fully represents us. There is that rock matrix with a rough, slightly grunge sound that has characterized our solo albums. It comes close to the sound of today’s rock bands, a little less vintage than our classic sound ”.
Speaking of “Manifesto”, I was just wondering if you had chosen it as a single because it musically represents the entire recording project.
“’Manifesto’ is very much the album. All the ingredients are there: the power of the sound, with the guitars dominating but not crushing the voice. He thinks the other songs have an even more aggressive sound, with tight rhythms and faster beats in some cases. There are also a couple of ballads, but the other songs all have the characteristics I was telling you ”.
The project takes shape following the death of Luciano Ghezzi, founder and bassist of Clan Destino. Perhaps the best way to remember it.
“The triggering reason that allowed us to find ourselves was precisely his loss, two years ago. It was important to meet again to remember it, but also to pick up on something that had remained suspended. There were never the conditions for this meeting to take place and, incredibly, this loss made it possible. We also intend to put on a concert to remember him. It will be held in June and the proceeds will go to his family for charity, because Luciano has three small children ”.
What was it like being in the recording studio?
“We realized that the songs were coming out freely. We wrote a lot of material which then ended up on the album ”.
You also stated that Luciano Ligabue supported you throughout the project.
“He gave us his studio, giving us all the time we wanted to put the pieces together and finish them. His son Lenny was our sound engineer. His contribution was important in the making of this album. It was his first experience on some levels, but he enjoyed it as much as we did. We involved him in the work, we asked him for his opinion. As for Luciano, it happened that he too gave us opinions regarding a passage. We then went there to rework it in a different way. He was then close to his son during the recording of the voices. From this point of view Luciano is very good at giving advice. Compared to the writing and the arrangement, that’s it, that’s all our own flour “.
Let’s talk a little about rock: in recent years an emulative phenomenon has taken hold, that of tribute bands. It seems there is more interest in emulating one’s idols than in creating something original. Do you think tribute bands risk weakening rock?
“Tribute bands have certainly taken the place of groups that made their own proposal. This is also due to the public’s inability to deal with something they do not know. The attitude of listening to artists who do not know each other has been lost. And this is still happening now in the rest of the world. Less from us, but because in our country there is a younger club tradition. In America or England, on the other hand, you can find artists in pubs who bring different musical proposals. We lack this fabric. Here in Reggio Emilia, our city, from the end of the 60s until the 90s there were places where you could go to listen to music. In the last ten years these ‘places of worship’ have lost much of their splendor, so much so that today they have disappeared. A sign of the times. And tribute bands certainly don’t help ”.
A pity for our local rock.
“In the 90s there were great bands and soloists in the rock world. Paolo Benvegnù, Marlene Kuntz, Afterhours come to mind. Let’s say that all that movement there exploded in the 90s and then at the end of the 90s it faded away, at least in large part, because the attitude of the public I was talking about earlier was lacking “.
However, there are those who have managed to get around the problem. If we move to the United States, bands like Greta Van Fleet have reworked and reworked Led Zeppelin rock to create something new, even if not quite original. Could this be the new frontier?
“If I have to look abroad, I don’t look to the United States, with all due respect. I’m more interested in the Nordic scene, where there are extraordinary groups unknown to the world, but who manage to have space and possibilities. Norwegian, Swedish bands. Poland also has a musical world that is incredible. Iceland then comes to mind. There is a band, for example, called Agent Fresco. They are young musicians in Iceland, while the rest of the world barely knows them. And these bands don’t make a fool of historical groups, like Greta Van Fleet do. I think that’s not the way, but they were still good at clearing a bit from their beginnings, in which they were really very Led Zeppelin. The last album made us feel something more interesting ”.
Looking at our house, the Maneskins immediately come to mind, who have managed to get noticed especially in the United States. Perhaps, I venture, also because of their distinctly glam attitude. The overseas public recognized something familiar, close to their culture. What do you think of the Maneskin phenomenon?
“But look, I’m happy with this anomaly. I was expecting an opening to follow, more for record companies, a bit like what happened for trap. After the first artists it was all about putting young authors who were trapping under contract. The Maneskins are doing a great job. They are showing that you can go a long way with talent, ideas and a very strong image. They led the way, but that same road remained empty behind them. And this is a real shame. There was, however, a positive twist. I have heard that sales of guitars, drums and basses have increased. Only a few months ago, however, it was all about making music with computers ”.
Apart from Maneskin, our home rock doesn’t seem to have a huge appeal abroad. Removing some bands (the PFM above all), Italian rock is not a product that we can easily export. What are we missing?
“There are actually bands that have a lot of following overseas. For example, Lacuna Coil comes to mind, but I assure you that there are many others that we don’t even know. There is one of my city, the Dumbo Gets Mad, which in Reggio Emilia has not managed to do even a concert and which is touring in the United States. There are so many bands in the metal field and something in progressive rock that can have their say, but we are still talking about small numbers compared to what it could be. There are agreements between the majors (I do not mention names, but one is as good as the other) according to which the American major that has its own branch in Italy is not interested in Italian music if this is not typically Italian. And this explains why abroad gives value to our melodic music. So there is also this ostracism. We Italians, on the other hand, are very open to foreign countries “.
Returning to us, I guess you can’t wait to bring your music live. Are there any dates already scheduled?
“There are a couple of appointments set. When our album comes out in May we will know more and we will have an official calendar. We currently have an event on June 18th and one on June 26th. However, I invite everyone to stay tuned to our channels and the band’s website (www.clandestinoband.it), which will see daily updates “.