M. Ducci and A. Degli Angioli are M+A, the Italian electro-pop duo from Forlì.
They published, in October 2013, the second album « These Days » with the UK label Monotreme Records.
Michele and Alessandro are just the nth case of an Italian talent more appreciated outside the Italian territory.
They are one of the most interesting Italian band of the moment and if you don’t know them yet, check their tour dates, you will be pleased seeing them live.
It’s very hard to introduce them with just a few words, their sound is very fresh and new that you can’t compare it with other bands. They don’t want to be deep or meaningful, their only matter is to do something pleasant to hear and to the sight. That’s why their attention to all the Artwork material is very accurate too.
We have met them last week at their show in Milan with Is Tropical to know them better, check what we’ve discovered about them here.
How would you like to introduce your music to a new listener? What’s the first thing that comes to mind to define who you are?
M: I would say to listen to our music, I can’t find words to describe what are we doing, they should listen to some of our songs because it is worth doing it.
A: Because we rock, everyone is talking about us (laugh)
“These Days” is your last album, what has been instead your first ever project together?
M: Our first project together has been ‘Soundtrack’ that was under the name AM.
A: We have met recording that album, so it’s been like a “friendship on record”. It was a work completely different and self produced, we have recorded it at home. That was our first ever work together, we’ve printed more or less 200 copies and now we have none left.
You have released a special edition of “These Days” for Japan. Is there a particular reason for this decision?
A: Yes, but it was for a bureaucratic reason only. They wanted a different product from the worldwide release, so we’ve added two B-sides to the album. That’s also because the album came out before in Japan than in Europe.
You don’t compose a together, one of your strengths is that in this way you inspire each other a lot. What inspiration do you take reciprocally while composing singularly?
A: For Things.Yes our inspiration started from the sounds, for These Days was the opposite, instead. We’ve started from a melody and a song form. We have tried more to write a song and then to elaborate the sound.
M: Exactly, but in a random way. The influence of a lot of songs comes from different things, like for example when there is a commercial on the TV and there is a song that I like, I’ve tried to test various possibilities and if came out something that I might like, I used it as a starting point to work on a song.
I’ve heard that one of things that influence you is the music you listen to when you compose. What are you listening to right now?
M: Our album (laugh).
A: We use to listen to more or less everything, we are against the music sceneries and we also try a lot to go against ourselves.
M: I regularly listen to Stevie Wonder, but in this period there isn’t something specific that I’m used to listen to. There isn’t a specific song and honestly I feel a bit sorry about it. When I was younger I usually couldn’t wait to be back home, listen to a particular song and learn it. Now I highly use to listen to an entire album, otherwise all the rest is very random. Also, since I started playing music regularly, if I have to think about something …I think about what I want to write much more than what I want to listen, I give ear to everything, but between these two moments I need pauses, I won’t have a listen to any song for a bit, so at the end is not that methodical.
A: Once I used to hear a lot the music I found inspiring, now I only listen to music that I would never do. I don’t know if there is a psychological reason, but I can’t listen to music that I would like to do, I usually happen to compare myself to musical genres that are not mine, so this choice relax me very much musically speaking.
The song titles of Things. Yes album looks like file names on a computer desktop, was that the idea you wanted to give?
M: Yes, the titles idea was very graphic. We’ve putted them all together at the end but there isn’t an hidden meaning behind all that. Some songs in fact, are named like file images.
A: We’ve done a stylistic word research more than the meaning behind it really.
Beyond the live shows you do dj sets too. Electronic music is involved in both, is there actually something different between those two things?
M: For what we do these two things are not so different. The dj sets we did before the album were very fun, we putted songs and in between we had several minutes of improvisation while sometimes we even sang while doing it, so at the end it all turned out like a live performance. Last year we had to play a show in Sardinia but we didn’t have the equipment so we totally improvised our performance.
What was the most interesting event you’ve found in your career until now?
M+A: We are still waiting for it (laugh).
M: Actually there have been some funny moments that were memorable. If I tell you those now, tI don’t think they’d have the same effect they had at that time.
You have shared the stage with many relevant artists of the electronic music scene (Jon Hopkins, Nicolas Jaar, Mount Kimbie, Moderat, DIIV, Gold Panda) is there a particular artist that you dream to play with on the same stage?
A: Let’s say that paradoxically we prefer to share the stage, like tonight for example, with band like IS TROPICAL, more than MOUNT KIMBIE or NICOLAS JAAR. At the beginning we aimed to play with artists like the ones you mentioned, but now, after we experienced both, we are probably much more close to IS TROPICAL, that are very different from us. Our pursue is to do something catchy but not uncool.
M: Or even with studio experimental bands and not live, while instead for example with MOUNT KIMBIE, if there are two bands playing they should be a little linear, so the audience that was clearly expecting something closer to them, like live samples, analog machines, they didn’t find this in us because we don’t use to do these things live. It is much more an audience issue because we were very different, but the musical approach was the same.
A: A band that I would probably like to play with are GORILLAZ, the one closer to what we do, a more experimental pop but still pop and there is also a lot of entertainment in their music. To manage pop experimentally is very hard, the biggest bands that probably do this are DAFT PUNK and DISCLOSURE. Even PHARRELL WILLIAMS does non-niche music, his music is more to have all the fun in a specific moment than for your own pleasure only.
Since you’ve mentioned them, after the Disclosure Milan live show appeared a debate regarding the audience that take video during the whole concert. Some people support the idea that who take video « contaminate » the live experience. What is your opinion?
M: Let’s assume that this critique has two sides, one is ‹ come out the water because it’s raining › and the other is the not understanding that is like when you go to a Madonna’s show and you start complaining about the choreographies. It’s a critique that should be considered in different circumstances, not at a Disclosure live show. The faces are more scary to me than phones (laugh). If I have to look at an idiot that look at you curiously, thinking your show sucks while being in the first row with crossed arms staring at you… well in this case a phone is better.
A: Let’s say that as a stage band, if there is a phone or not we just don’t care. By the way if people start to consider the issue of these things it means that really don’t know what to do, if you think this way it’s better if you stay at home.
You are one of the 8 finalists to play at Glastonbury Festival. How was your reaction when you have been told that?
M: Ah, we wanted to blew off (laugh) We had to call the drummer to know if he was available and when I was calling him I was thinking « I wish he can’t, so we don’t have to go ». Well, to be honest we didn’t know about the subscription, it is definitely a big thing for us but was very unexpected. Even if in this moment it’s something that could be more relevant for a venue manager or to spread the word and talk about it, but as a band if I have to choose between this and recording an EP, we absolutely prefer to go to the studio.
A: It’s one of those things that you must do apart from everything, the positive thing is that we have been selected between many bands, so we are very proud of it. The bad thing is that everything will be limited to sort of a contest.
M: In April we are going to London for the final, we had to manage the travels and all the rest and at the end we will play for 10 minutes only, so we’ll have the time for a couple of songs only.
A: We are not made for this kind of competition.
If you could decide to play a show in any place of the world, where could it be? Why?
M+A: At Glastonbury, skipping the contest (laugh)
A: Thinking about a city I would love to play in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Speaking about a festival instead, I would say Coachella.
The place where you were born, the place where you live, the best places you’ve visited thanks to your work: can you find a significative word to describe each one of them?
A: I was born in Forlì: countryside. I live in Norway: mountain.
M: I was born in Forlì too: church, because beside my home there is a church and in summer I used to go up on the rooftop of the church with my friends, then one day the priest called the police. I live between Forlì and Bologna. I can’t find a place that I liked the most, it’s like deciding which is my favorite song, I can’t answer that.
If you wouldn’t have been musicians, What would you have been now? Is there anything else that you find interesting at the same level as music?
M: To me is a bit hard to identify something, because I am in that distressing moment of life where there are many possibilities but different choices and at the same time I’m not in the condition to take a choice that could open and make possible other things. I live for the moment, right now I’m studying philosophy in Bologna and I play music.
A: I would always find a way to spend my time and energies. I don’t think I understand yet …if I would not have music, I don’t know if I would have focused myself and my energies on something else with the same strength. Michele is studying philosophy that belongs to a different field, I have a passion for graphic that belongs to the artistic field as well as music, so the dynamics are almost the same but I conduct them in a different way. I don’t know if it’s an unconscious choice, but I would find something to do, I can’t lie still.