Picture by Iacopo Bigagli
Dead Visions are a Milan-based band comprised of Francesco Mandelli (Orange) , Cesar P. Bigelow (Not Right), Federico Giammattei, Carlo Alberto Maria Rossi (Seed’n’Feed) and Sergio Innocenti (Los Dragos). A Sea of Troubles is the debut full-length which is out on May 29th via Slimer Records (Panda Kid, Jonny Cosmo, ?Alos and Xabier Iriondo).
“I Got You” is the second excerpt which shows the punk attitude combined with the well-built “wild” energy of the sound, the garage-rock grooves and the poweful immediacy. Today we have the pleasure to premiere the official video of the acoustic version of the track. Watch it below and read our talk with the lead singer Francesco Mandelli.
Let’s Start from the current situation. How are you living these strange times and what are the main concerns as an artist?
Well, I’m trying to go though this shit trying to be balanced and staying optimistic about this virus, I try to maintain the balance inside my head and inside my family. I’m not reading any news, I try to be disinformed as much disinformed as I can. And I try to stay calm and that’s it. It was also like a good period of time to stay with my family as it stopped being like in a in a machine, trapped like a mouse.
But I am still asking myself what kind of economy we put up, that after two months of people not going to work it’s fucking collapsing so I think this economy just sucks. I think this is the most important thing that we have to think about, redesign our economy in our world after we go through this. My main concern as an artist, as a musician for example, it’s that I hope that all the small places that make gigs are going to re open and not gonna die. We are that kind of band that plays in front of like, I don’t know, one hundred people, sometimes twelve. We’re a “small venue band” so I hope that all these small venues are not going to die and I also hope that people don’t get used to this like “mask behavior” like staying at home or keeping the social distance. I hope people’s going to gather together again.
“A Sea of Troubles” is your first album. How was born the idea of the album and what was the path of the creative process?
We started working on this record and on this band two years and a half ago and. We were coming from past experiences in music as musicians, and they were all over, so we wanted to start again and Iacopo put the band together through friends. He was writing and recording songs with Cesare and Carlo Alberto we all liked at the first listening. We were all really involved in it but they weren’t like from the “same record”, if you know what I mean, so we tried to write more songs that sounded from “one record” trying to build our sound, our personality.
We worked on the music first and the lyrics, and even though is not easy for us to practice because me, Francesco, I’m leaving in Milan and the rest of the guys are living in Tuscany, we made it at the end. We worked hard in a small rehearsal space and we stayed really true to the punk philosophy, because I think that today if you wanna make music first thing you have to do is be true. We were all like really concerned about this, we really care about this and also because we’re not in our twenties anymore, we’re a little grown up, maybe that made us like really more serious in the process of building up the record. I think that the lyrics relate to us, to a situation of struggling which it’s a situation most of the people in this world is going through. That’s why it’s called “A Sea Of Troubles”. Like living your life with struggle it’s almost like the normal thing today. Iacopo was writing the lyrics, I think he made this record for all the people like him, struggling to turn life into something easy to relate with.
The music it’s quiet fucking simple garage punk rock, straight from the heart, which is not something you can hear that much around, it’s not like fashionable right now. But who cares, it’s our passion since we were kids so we are true to that. If you like the songs it’s really good, if you don’t no problem, there’s a lot of trap music you can listen to in these days.
“A Sea of Troubles” is about to face ourselves, our fears, uncertainties and anxieties. What is the most important challenge you faced over the years and which is (or was) part of your sea of troubles?
I think one of the hardest situation I went through in my life and I struggled to go through was my relationship with my father. Since I was fifteen years old until I was thirty five, until my daughter was born, that was a really hard situation. I mean, I love my father but it was like really hard to go through that relationship. I don’t want to go deep into it but that was a struggle, there was a like a lot of pain sometimes. I love him for what he did to me because he was always there, but he was like a fucking pain in the ass to deal with and then my daughter was born and everything changed, because I think that he started to look at me like a man and not only as his son, as it used to be. That was a really hard situation.
The artwork is powerful. How did you choose it?
Well, the artwork is made by Iacopo, he’s like our producer, our mentor, our guide through this thing. I think it’s pretty good because it’s really simple and it gives me that feelings of a Nineties artwork a lot. I think that in the Nineties there were some moments in which the world was, in my opinion, like a good place. And still, everything that is related to the nineties somehow gives me that good vibes.
The artwork is really powerful because you got the sea, and you got a lot of cans, trashed, in the middle of the sea. I’m not ashamed to say that the most important revolution we have to face right now is the green revolution so there’s a call to this revolution in that artwork. And it also speaks about the relationship with what we do and what we cause when we go deeper in our sea of troubles. Give me these meanings and mix them with those Nineties good vibes and as long as it’s like that to me it’s pretty cool.
You live in Milan, right? I’m very interested to the connection between the places we live over the years, the territorial geography of our roots and the art. How do you feel these theme connected to your music, your way to think music? What are your favorite places which inspired the most?
Well, I’ve been living in Milan now for twenty years. When I arrived I was like an eighteen years old kid from the countryside and it was like, oh, I didn’t know anything man, like Milan was like New York, like Gotham City for me. After twenty years I feel accepted by the city, now I know everything. Milan was a good place where to spend my twenties, I made a lot of music, there were a lot of bands, there was a scene in the first years of 2000’s, ’till 2013, it was a really good moment for the kind of music I loved, that was coming mostly from the USA and UK. But in another way I always felt like I wanted to move to another place. I really love San Francisco, or Los Angeles or those kind of big cities where you have a lot of bands you like they’re coming from there, so you think “in this place there must be something that makes you really creative”. In the end my opinion is travel as much as you can to get your inspiration, the place you visit is going to give you all the time, something important. I really like to travel and to relate to people that I don’t know, sometimes when I was in the US I tried to talk to people I didn’t know. Sometimes the inspiration, the cool thing, it’s beyond the ones you know, just melt yourself into people sometimes. It’s certainly the places but most important the people you talk with that makes the difference in your creative production
Ritual question. Have you seen or heard anything good recently?
Well, I still love to go to the past to discover new bands because in the past it’s been written so much good stuff I still don’t know anything about. That’s why. But I hope that rock and roll is going back at it, I don’t think this kind of music is dead, there are a lot of good bands still making great music and I don’t think this trap shit is like going on any longer so there will be a revolution in music, soon. New things around, well, I love the Black Lips new album.