Three years after Gli occhi degli altri, Italian musician Enrico Ruggeri (former Hogwash) returned in 2017 with a new album. As If is out now. We had a talk with him about the new work and his approach to the sound. Check it below.

Let’s Start with your new album “As If”. What about the idea behind it and the creative process?

There was an initial idea that has little to do with the final one, let me explain: I had so many tracks ready that in the initial intentions they would have to fit into a larger and more provocative project. It was intended as a sort of artistic online performance in which I would have published on Bandcamp 30 records in 30 consecutive days. After producing more than twenty hours of material I began to get bored and I abandoned the idea, so I thought to collect some tracks in a record that had its own coherence and identity. The songs selection has focused on those with the most melodic and (something like) romantic atmospheres.

The Sound of the album has a strong impact and it seems to follow the minimalism lines as “common thread”. Is it right? Is something that you’d like to explore further?

Substantially I rely almost always on some random inspiration (but I would say more on the urgency) of the moment. This is followed by a meticulous care of the details in which I try to keep the focus of the song and never lose the intensity and the initial freshness. Minimalism? Yes, absolutely. I always look for inspiration in a single sound or in a small cell of notes, often without having a precise harmonic project, trying each time to impose some “little dogmas” to which I try to stick. One would think that I work by subtraction but, allow me to dare, we can better define my method by saying that I work “by contrition”.

What about the artwork?

The distorted pics of Giordana transfigure bodies and faces in elongated and twisted forms where you can still recognize human traits, they are however recognizable as portraits. There is the forgetfulness of the absurd and the inhuman and there is the human sense of belonging that still surfaces in recognizing oneself in those forms. Those photos are the perfect trait-d’union between the painful and poignant poetry that introduces the album and the songs that follow.

How is your way to try to give new shapes to your sound? What is your concept of innovation in music right now?

I’ve never been interested in innovating: as I’ve said before I do not have a precise planning, I rely on my sensitivity and that’s all. Within the limits of my abilities I try to avoid the obvious, or at least what sounds obvious to my ears. I often try to create sounds that I have not heard yet, not out of presumption but just because I do not have a boundless musical culture. I’m curious, of course, but I do what I can.

How is your way to build live shows? What about the visual part?

This will be my last record for quite a few years, at least until I find new and powerful reasons to publish a useless online record again. I decided not to plan any live support activities.

What are the best releases you appreciated last year?

  • Kreator – Gods of Violence
  • ZU – Jahtor
  • King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Flying Microtonal Banana
  • Shishi Mishimo – When The Heart is Full