Coscienza di Sé is the collaborative album between Italian artists and musicians ?Alos (Stefania Pedretti) and Xabier Iriondo. It is out now via Sangue Disken and Cheap Satanism Records and is dedicated to the feminist and anarchist Emma Goldman. It is the third release side by side after the homonym 7” of 2011 and the album Endimione of 2012, focused on Antonin Artaud’s Madrigals. We had a nice talk with them about the new album, their past collaboration, live shows and upcoming solo projects. Check it below after the official video of the title-track.
Let’s start from the new album “Coscienza di Sé”. It is dedicated to Emma Goldman. What about your connection with her and the creative process of the album?
Stefania: We love Emma Goldman, as a writer, as a philosopher and as an activist. She was an important key figure in our personal growth. We started to work on this album around two years ago and together we decide to dedicate it to a poweful female figure, and in the end, we thought to focus the whole album to Emma Goldman’s words. Two years ago feminist and transfeminism started to grow and be active in Italy thanks mainly to the “Non una di meno” movement.
We thought and we still think that the concepts screamed by Emma Goldman 100 years ago are super powerful and still contemporary. During the creative process I choose the meaningful words and concepts from different Emma’s books and “singed” them on Xabier’s beats and guitars.
This album has also a political nature. It’s not so common, in this historical moment, which big artists like you deals with political themes. Why, in your opinion, that role of music is partially disappeared?
Every choice we make in our daily life is “political”, telling in a record the thought of a revolutionary woman of the past is a strong stance, spreading the concepts of Goldman so that as many people as possible can focus attention on key issues that they concern the condition of the woman (and not only) it seemed right to us in the time in which we live, to bring out the contradictions of a world and a society that are increasingly in de-evolution. Many artists are afraid to express their political positions because they think it can be counterproductive in terms of marketing for their music.
It’s not the first time you work together. How do you approach each other when you decide to compose together?
First of all there’s an idea. In our past album “Endimione” we worked on the “Madrigaux” poems wrote by Antonin Artaud (French dramatist, poet, essayist, actor, and theatre director). This time we decide to work on the thought of Emma Goldman and create a musical journey made with drum machines, electric bass with sonic destructive distortions, synths and vocals filtered with a vocoder machine. We have a great interplay each time we work together, mixing our ideas to create a metalanguage, a melting pot of our roots projecting them into the future.
Experimentation is a common line which bring together your paths. What is your way to give new shape to your sound and what is your concept of experimentation in music and art?
Experimenting is a way to feel free to express concepts and emotions. We have no preconceived idea of what we will do in terms of experimentation. We start and try things and almost always the first things we record become new tracks.
You played a few live shows to introduce the new album. What about both shows and what is the best thing of live shows you like more compared to studio recordings? There will be more live shows in the near future?
The first afternoon show was the presentation of the album in a gallery/studio and the second one was a concert in an anarchist squat, both in Milan. The third show was in a brewery near Cuneo. A lot of people came to listen us. Live shows are the quintessence of our music, without which the sense of what we do is lost. Interact with the space around us and with the audience. In September/October we’ll do more shows to promote our record.
Are you working on solo or new collaborative projects right now? If yes, can you tell us something about?
Xabier: I’m working on three new collaborative projects, two new bands and a duo. I prefer to wait until the musical material is ready before anticipating what musical nature these new projects are made of.
Stefania: In this moment I’m touring a lot with my solo project and I’m working on the new OvO album that will be release in January or February 2020 by a Canadian label.
Ritual question. What are the best releases you recently appreciated?
Stefania: I felt in love with Kaelan Mikla, an Icelandic female band.