Dario Elia

+ Yuji Nakamura, Mitsuo Morooka

2011.11.13 (sun)
19:30 start

◆Dario Elia's mail interview included

ダリオ・エリア from Italy (Sardegna)

Dario Elia
As musician, singer, composer and producer, Dario Elia is an important part of the experimental/improv scene in Italy. His music has been often compared to David Sylvian, Nick Cave, Mike Patton, Brian Eno and Robert Fripp. He has a huge number of active collaborations with many international musicians and sound artists. In the last two years, he was extensively touring in Italy, Russia, Spain, Serbia, Thailand and now in Japan for the first time.His songwriting borders on the avant-garde jazz and on ambient art-rock. Minimalist and psychedelic elements, sound installations, natural acoustic sounds, emotive electronica, multilingual lyrics and hypnotic beats, make his style highly recognizible.www.myspace.com/darioelia


nakamurayuji_ss.jpgYuji Nkamura
b.1965 in Kurashiki, Okayama. soprano sax, bass clarinette.
He was the member of various improvised orented musical groupe (Trio Grosso, Third Eye Dub for Dimensions, Progression, Freezone) and now is active as solo and the leader of the band called "capture". He also tries to collaborate with various musicians, Buto-dancers, and artists. His seminal first solo album "capture" appeared in 2009. http://www.nakamurayuji.com/

morookamitsuotv.jpgMitsuo Morooka
b. in Saga. televison, mixer, electronics, etc..
Using input/output signals in televison as the musical generator, he makes up his original sound-system comprised of the mixer, contact mic, varioust electronic devises. Recently In his show, Grappling with projected visual images(colors or forms that is assingn to each sounds), he struggles to develope the new exspresions which questions the border of man - machine. http://www.myspace.com/morookamitsuo

★mail interview with Dario Elia

- I heard that your musical activities begun in the early 90s. Did you begin in Sardinia or somewhere else?

Yes, it all started in Cagliari in those years with an avant-rock band called Versus, influenced by bands such as Primus and Living Colour. We were teenagers and we were certainly not artistically mature. Despite this and despite the very small number of live performances, this group became to some extent a cult band in the Cagliari scene of those years, we were broadcasted by the Italian national radio and received a sponsorship to go to London.

- What kind of music is your music related to? In Italy, you have great avant-garde musical heritage (maybe from futurist Luigi Russolo to Nono, Berio, Evangelisti to Mario Schiano, Giancarlo Schiaffini to Area, Stormy Six to much more). Is your Background more to be seen in a

My initial background was quite unusual. My family did not usually listen to music and my first musical passion as a teenager were some great composers of the 20th century (especially Igor Stravinsky, Charles Ives, Edgard Varese, Bela Bartok and Steve Reich) and the British prog-rock. Only later I met the great Italian avant-garde movements, jazz and many other forms of experimental music.

Also the cinema somehow has had a profound effect on my approach to music, I think of great directors that can talk about reality by suspending beautifully the sense of it as Hiroshi Teshigahara, Ingmar Bergman Aleksei German and Federico Fellini, to name a few.

- Do you have a local musical scene in Sardinia? Do you think you belong to it, and in what kind of places do you usually play?

In my opinion, in the early '90s you could talk about a musical scene in Cagliari, mainly oriented towards the avant-rock sung in Italian. To talk about a "scene", however, it is not enough that there are a number of bands or individual musicians with a musical orientation that somehow brings them together, it is necessary that there are also live venues where this scene is commonly accepted. This was the fact in those years. The music clubs were few but they were real live music venues designed to present music or other artistic events.

Over the past 15 years the situation has changed completely, now there are a lot of music clubs where you can play but they are not real live venues any more. They are simply bars or restaurants where the music has just a peripheral function or that of a mere entertainment. Unfortunately, a similar phenomenon occurred in some way throughout Italy. Places of culture as active performing arts spaces, intermedia art spaces, real live venues are few left. In my humble opinion, in the field of experimental music today there are no more than 20-30 real live venues throughout the Italian territory. I also don't see many festivals in Italy with a varied and daring programmes. Too many festivals propose an offer "behind closed doors", where words always praise the contaminated music but actually different musical environments (jazz, ethnic music, non-jazz improv, avant-rock, electronic music,...) barely touch each other. A sort of musical xenophobia.

Certainly, the cultural budget cuts that have been made in the Italian Berlusconi era were incredibly aggressive and harmful. But what happened is not only an economic phenomenon, I think it is also sociological. If the '80s were the years of yuppie subculture in Italy, the later period has been the era of the ephemeral, non-thinking entertainment and distraction at all costs. But I am optimistic, because now I see signs of reaction in my country after almost 20 years of hibernation.

Regarding the second question, in the last two years I played mainly abroad in Spain, Russia, Serbia, Thailand and now in Japan. Of course, I played even in Italy, but somehow it was more difficult to work in my own country than abroad. The places where I play are most frequently theaters (in the case of the festivals) and performing arts centers or other types of live music venues open to experimental and intermedia art.

- Sardinia evoke us who are foreigners a very mystical image. Nuraghes culture tells an ancient atmosphere. Although it is famous as a tourist city, since it is an island, I heard that there is an economical gap with the Italy mainland. Do you think that there is relationship between such social background of Sardinia and your music?

Yes, there is an economical gap. Generally not between Sardinia and the mainland but between the south of the country (Sardinia included) and the richer north.But actually Sardinia is not Italy from many evident point of views, so the difference is a lot deeper than an economical gap.

Sardinian language and culture is a lot older than italian language and culture. Also the island is the less populated region of Italy.Sardinian territory is still very wild and moving through the island was very difficult for centuries because of the little number of real roads.So for centuries Sardinia the different small communities into the island were not interacting a lot, creating a lot of isolated "islands" into the island. In some way Japan lived in its history a similar situation were different parts of the island were isolated or choosing for self-isolation.

The sardinian society was always based mainly on wild sheep-farming and agriculture. Still today there are three millions of sheep on the island. The sheperds were spending a long time alone in the mountains and far from their families. This had a huge sociological effect on sardinian people and mentality. Sardinian communities are not rich but they are very independent and autonomous. Solidarity is strong and exchange of help, favours and food is still incredibly common. From this point of view, Sardinia still have many advantages of a primitive ethical society. This is why the economical gap is not so evident.

Actually the life-style is deeply different from the big cities in the mainland, and life in Sardinia can be a lot easier in many cases. But this is just my humble opinion. Every year, I spend almost six months travelling in Italy and around the world, and sincerely I cannot imagine a most inspiring place for living in Italy than Sardinia.

The link between my music and Sardinia is not related to some kind of regionalism, or nationalism, or pride. I think the relationship between my humble art and this island is really pagan, it is just a relationship with its Nature, it is inspiring and it is part of the core of my happiness.

- What do you mean by "pagan"

One of my deeper music influences was eastern european modern music, not just famous composers like Stravinsky and Bartok, but also a lot of folk music coming from Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria,... Some of this folk music was actually a big influence for those two composers as well. From my point of view, one of the most interesting aspect of this "pagan" musical primitivism so evident in Stravinsky and Bartok, was the creation of terribly powerful melodies without ever falling into banality or fake sentimentalism.
I used the word "pagan" not referring to a specific cult but as an approach to Nature. There is a common level of consciousness, a real link, between many forms of different spirituality like Shinto, Roman and Greek pre-christian pantheisms, African traditional cults, Native American religions, Taoism and many others. This common level of consciousness is about Nature. In this level, a human being feel that there is no separation between him and Nature and between him and others. From this perspective a human being can perceive himself as an extension of the environment. From this perspective a human being can love and create in a better way. I believe that trying to get near to this level of consciousness is a tool for happiness and creativity.

- It seems that you have performed with Japanese musicians. Why did such experiences happen?

Everything happened very naturally. But surely my deep love for Japanese culture, and in particular for many forms of Japanese art of the 20th century, has played a role in making me more open to any kind of collaboration.The first collaboration came about some years ago with Koichi Shimizu, a sound artist living in Thailand. Koichi has embarked on a collaborative international sound and visual installation called Sol.

From the early music cells of Sol, designed by Koichi and myself, the idea has been developed involving other vocalists, photographers and video artists. The result is a work of intermedia art that term has not ceased to evolve itself and continued its transformation over the past year. The first installation of Sol took place in Bangkok in 2008. In this original version four singers celebrate the theme of sun in four different languages: Alma Laprida (Argentina) in Spanish, Itta (Korea) in Korean, Orkun Tuzel (Turkey) in Turkish and I in Italian. In my part I quote one of the most embarrassing and controversial pages of the Bible, the episode in which God stopped the sun to allow his people to take revenge and destroy the enemy, a real hymn to violence and revenge. Antithetically, I sing a part exposing the ability to be reborn from our enemies, the possibility of becoming brothers of those who we once considered enemies.

Several other collaborations are open at the moment with exceptional Japanese musicians of very various kind, and I hope to be able to publish the results soon. Among these musicians, the composer Tomohisa Ishikawa, the pianist Akiko Matsushita and the noise artist Yoshihiro Nakatani.

This year I had the pleasure of setting up a sound installation based on the sounds of Toru Takemitsu manipulated in real time, in the lobby of the theater of Udine (Italy) during the Far East Film Festival, one of the main Asian film festivals in Europe. Finally, the upcoming tour in Japan this November will be an opportunity for new experiences and collaborations.

- Do you have any impressions about Japanese music (scene)? And why did you think that you would like to perform in Japan?

I see the Japanese scene as a very varied and interesting one. Two particular things I really like about it: the first is that is very easy to find bold and uncompromising music, the second is that producing music for mere entertainment appear less evident in Japan compared to countries such as Italy or US. I'm not saying that art can not produce entertainment, but if on the contrary entertainment becomes a necessary condition for art that creates an upsetting situation.

- Please explain about relationship between entertaiment and art in detail.

f we call entertainment any activity which provides a diversion or permits people to amuse themselves, we can accept that some art can produce a form of fun and active entertainment. But we never have to accept that mere entertainment take the place of artistical expression. An italian right-wing ministry recently said: "With culture you do not eat". This myopic and totally false idea, that culture does not bring money to the country, is just an excuse to substitute pluralism and cultural richness with mere entertainment. For instance: "Why should we distribute in italian cinemas twenty different interesting independent american movies when we can distribute a single stupid Hollywood movie?" For instance: "Why should we distribute in italian cinemas twenty different interesting independent american movies when we can distribute a single stupid Hollywood movie?"

- I think that actually the musical situation in Japan is similar to in Italy you wrote. Surely Avant-music in Japan seem to be well-known in Europe and U.S., I think that fame is higher than demestic unfortunately.

I can easily believe it. Actually I thought the same when you asked me a question referring to Luciano Berio, Luigi Nono and other Italian avant-garde composers. These great composers are still incredibly unknown, or ignored, in Italy. I was in Tokyo with some Japanese friends two years ago, and I have to say that my impression was very good when I spended time in different live venues, many different music genres, a lot of original music.

- Do have any impressions about the differences between free improv in a jazz context and late electro-acoustic improv.?

Many jazz contexts suffer from the fact that jazz music has become institutionalized. When something is gradually institutionalized a series of self-destructive phenomena such as conservatism and purism occur. Fortunately, many areas of jazz can live outside that excessively codified language that threatens a big part of jazz music. Obviously, the excess of fixed codes and patterns can easily become a cage. That is why I find that forms of improv disjointed from jazz are often more fresh and unpredictable.

- In what extend do you want the audience to enjoy your music?

Generally I try to listen, listen with the spirit and the curiosity of a child, and I hope that others listen too. I agree with the idea of Picasso that it takes a long time to become young.

- The Dutch free improviser Han Bennink says "Free Jazz keeps you young". It's a joke, but do you have any idea about your music "effect"?

For those who work like me with modal music, the different atmosphere, and then the different effects you are trying to produce both in improvisation and composition can be largely premeditated.The sense of the dream is perhaps the most fascinating to me.Bennink's humor is famous, and contains a simple truth. Creativity in any form, makes human beings alive and vital.