JOYCUT are an Italian band formed in Bologna in 2001.
The name might not sound familiar to you but the guys know exactly how to play.
Five years have passed since they opened The Editors in two Italian dates, and now they have just released their last LP – PiecesOfUsWereLeftOnTheGround. Their music is visionary, dreamlike, intense and powerful. Even during our interview Joycut haven’t abandoned their abstract approach and they have shared with us glimpses of their dreamy and somehow sweetly violent unconscious.
Your first project, your last project, your future projects. How would you describe them?
“Joy” was the first step of the whole Joycut project. It’s part of our first EP “AFishCounter” (2004) and it was born in our rehearsal room, without any planning. I had placed an ad; I was looking for someone willing to share “the empty winters, great Turin, the distracted alley cats, the leadership of Angelo Moratti’s Inter, D. H. Lawrence, Ungaretti, Nick Drake, open strings and spending quiet days watching the washing machines.” On the phone Federico told me he was in, so we finally met, we played and we got along for the first time. “Joy” was the result. Now more than a decade has passed and everything got completely transformed. The project reached its current size – “One, No one and One Hundred Thousand” – and it’s an on-going teamwork. The whole process has become really intense. The arrangement part is too personal and private. It is like a deep immersion into our emotions. Then we work together and a new world comes on the surface – the attention, the concentration, the joints, the frequencies, picking up the instruments, setting the roles, and then the live experience through which we finally find our freedom.
What do you find inspiring and how would you describe your lifestyle?
Everything and nothing. This contrast dominates our creative spirit. You could define it a form of dualism, the unity of the opposites, but in fact it is the research for “grey” meant not as a solution between white and black but as the origin of all distances. The places where we extend our fantasy are those tiny ones full of light, with the smell of fresh-baked cookies and trees, a lot of trees. They are our travels and what we see when we move. We have listened a lot to Library Tapes, Harvey Milk, John Maus, Matthew Dear, Neon Indian. We read the endless elegance of Chris Haughton and Eric Carle. We watched and rewatched some TV-series like Homeland and Shameless. But when you find yourself on a well defined path which guides you to compose something like “PiecesOf UsWereLeftOnTheGround”, you finally understand that no one and nothing in the world is ready to help you. We must find our salvation by ourselves, holding each other’s hands.
What would you probably be today if you hadn’t followed your dreams of being musicians or what is your actual dream?
Our dream is to keep on creating on our own, hoping to transform our slants again and again with no pressure from the outside. What would we do if we weren’t musicians? Who knows! It is so easy to imagine what we are not. At the moment we keep on being impudent. We write essays and we wake up with the idea of making a work of art of ourselves. In the meantime we, suburban citizens, crowd the buses in the morning and go to work.
Artists and events: can you tell us the most interesting that you’ve found in your career until now?
These days our Spotify always plays Cascadeur. The best concert we’ve been lately was Johnny Marr’s at Rock en Seine. Although the lineup was incredible, with Alt-J, Tame Impala, NIN, Black Rebel, Phoenix, Eels and Franz Ferdinand, Johnny really rocked.
The place where you were born, the place where you live, the best place where you traveled with your work; can you tell us something that only you know to describe them?
Even if everybody thinks we are from Bologna, our hometown is Potenza. We grew up in its snowy radiant winters, we spent our adolescence there, in our dark rooms flooded by Fields of The Nephilim while everybody else was going to clubs. Potenza is a city full of hope, torn by a shamefully ineffective administration, raped in its green soul by unfinished concrete monsters, inhabited by respectable people. Yet, as any other thing in our country, it really suffers from the inside. We moved to Bologna during our college years, then we went to Manchester, then Rome, then finally we came back to Bologna. Did we end up in hell? Who knows! These are times of an irreversible breaking. Our roots are deep; they are not linked to places to recall in the future but they’re strongly tied to our families, in an ongoing growth. Our music is the result of our past. Inside it you can find these places and a feeling of abandonment, a desire to walk away and escape.
Is it hard to be musicians in Italy?
The hard thing is not making music, but succeeding in doing so. A macabre patronage reigns, but people have feeling on their own and they recognize who stands up and works hard. They know where the truth is. Italy finally knows who to reward.
How would you describe your music?
Pensive, reflective, silent, liquid.
If you could be a famous person just for one day, who would you choose?
Michel de Montaigne, Plutarch or John Holmes.
Do you want to reach a particular goal in your career as musicians?
Yes, we want to become international professionals.
Can you recall something from your adolescence which deeply influenced you and still affects your life choices?
« Why do you hate people, sunny parks, full parkings, clubs, crowded places, supermarkets and swimming pools? Did you realize that the TDK sign is no longer in Piccadilly and that the Dunkin’ Donuts’ Boston Cream are nothing but industrial donuts? How can you still be looking for pure blacktop? Why do the church bells bother you? You say you are tolerant. You say you want to read the World’s book, to forget the mathematical schemes and the geometric postulates. Actually, you’d like to banish all the strangers from your city, to fuck every woman slowly and ear them begging you, to forget how to think. Would you still plant poppies on the top of some Lego building?
At school you didn’t answer to questions about classical authors. You were not interested in participating. You preferred to remember all the epic epithets. You saw beyond the walls of your class. You never remembered your classmates’ names. During school assemblies you used to abstract yourself until you forgot to be alive. The keeper found you standing up alone. It was not cold. In the pockets of your jeans you were keeping chestnut’s leaves and ladybirds.”
Text by Eugenia Durante