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Manovalanza: Interview with the vocalist and guitarist Mattia

We have the pleasure to interview Manovalanza, a ska core band from Umbria and Tuscany (Italy) established in 2006.
Manovalanza has already released four albums and played all over the world.

Tatiana:At first let’s talk about you. How did you meet and how did your band come together?

Mattia: We started to play together during the last year of high school. We were nineteen years old and we played just to have fun, without plans for the future. At the beginning just me Mattia, guitar and voice, and Marco the drummer. We were just playing some punk rock songs of our favorite italian band, Derozer, to let out the repressed rage accumulated during school days. After a few months a local club called us for a live music night, and so we completed the band, in just two weeks, with a saxophonist and a bassist. They were two friends of ours but we had never played together before. That night was a blast! So we decided to carry on the band. We started to play some ska, and then other brass players join the project, becoming more serious and motivated.

Tatiana: Which are the bands and subcultures that inspired you?

Mattia: First of all, the italian ska punk scene of late nineties and first years of 2000: Persiana Jones, Vallanzaska, Statuto, Punkreas, Derozer, Meganoidi. We were listening to that kind of music every day and that shaped us to that kind of music. But then, thanks to internet and our curiosity, we discovered also what happens before, in the 70’s and 80’s. The London ska and punk scene, and its heritage, has been very important for our musical and cultural growth. We appreciate bands like Madness, Bad Manners, Clash; but not only two tone ska or punk, we know and appreciate also mod subculture, and artists like The Who, The Jam and Paul Weller. And finally we like very much also Latin America ska music, especially the Mexican ska core which is really awesome: Voodoo Glow Skulls, Los Kung Fu Monkeys, Nana Pancha, Sekta core.

Tatiana:Which is the message of your music?

Mattia: In many of our songs we talk about our life in the Italian country, outside big cities, a little bit outside the high society and the modern world fashions. We try to give voice to the outsiders, the ones who have been refused, for any reason, by the others who believe they are best. Beside this, we also talk about our personal problems, always looking them from an ironical point of view, to avoid desperation and sadness. We always tried to joke about ourselves to involve the listeners and to create a deep empathy and comprehension on our condition. This is a way to go on in our life despite problems and troubles.

Tatiana:What do you think about the ska scene in Italy nowadays? And in Europe?

Mattia: Honestly, Italian ska scene was great, wonderful… Fifteen years ago. Now, simply, there is no Italian ska scene! There are just some famous bands like Talco, Statuto, and fews others that keep on playing around, but not many more. Simply the Italian music is now going somewhere else, and ska is not listened anymore by the mass. It has became very difficult to find some gigs in live clubs, and to find new listeners, while the old ones are grown up now, with kids and family to keep, so it has became hard for them to attend to the gigs. Nevertheless, there still are some unknown band, just like us, that started to play abroad to overcome this problems.
In the rest of Europe the situation is not so bad. Indeed, in Germany and Switzerland we always found a very good hospitality by the audience. We also toured Mexico two times, in 2015 and 2018, and that was definitely the top: Mexican people is very enthusiast and elated about ska music.
It’s sad to say, but Italy for live music is almost without hopes, so the only thing to do for Italian artists, as well as others, is to prepare baggage and go abroad. That’s what we did!

Tatiana: Talk me please about your last album, Anancasmi.

Mattia:Anancasmi is a concept album about obsessive compulsive desorder. Some members of Manovalanza are affected by that kind of problems, who more who less. The main trouble when you have to face O.C.D. is that normal people don’t understand your behaviour, and you feel ashamed to explain that. We composed some songs to explain our personal point of view, and to let the other people know that these problems are real and they are not a joke. The most important song, “vestiti usa e getta” (throwaway clothes) talks about the need for one of us to not being in contact with strangers for the fear to contract curses and spells. He rationally knows that they are not real, but he can’t avoid it. That song is six minutes long… Six minutes of ska core madness!

Tatiana: How was your summer world tour? Did you enjoy?

Mattia: The 2018 summer tour was awesome. First we have been in northern Germany, in May. Hamburg was a blast, we played in a open air festival and found a great response by audience. Then, we’ve been in England in June, for us the first time, and we liked so much East Anglia with two intense shows. We have been in Italy with some shows in July, and then we left for Mexico in August. It was our second time over Atlantic sea, and it has been even better than the first. Mexico is simply incredible, the people are very happy to attend the concerts, they go crazy for fast music, and they dance from the beginning of the show. When we came back, we also played in Switzerland and that was great too.

Tatiana: Which was the craziest episode that involved you and your music?

Mattia:There are many crazy episodes, but I believe that the best one is from our first Mexican tour. We played for a week around Mexico City, which is not as hot as you could imagine. We travelled by plane to Chetumal, a city in the Caribbean sea, in Quintana Roo. At five p.m. we landed in airport, with 40 Celsius degrees and a very hot wind, feeling almost sick… And at half past five we was on the stage, with five thousand screaming people in front of us, with no sound check! I also had a guitar which was not mine (because I couldn’t bring it on plane), so I played with a guitar gently borrowed by the band who played before us… And that show was really, really amazing, probably the best of our lives! Till now…

Tatiana: Plan, gigs and releases planned for 2018/2019?

Mattia:We’re still on tour and we’re going to play again in Germany in October and November 2018. We’re looking forward to play in Husum, Northern Germany, on 19th October, because we’ll support the Colombian band Skampida, which is very famous in Latin America and that’s a great opportunity for us. After the November gigs we’ve planned a break, cause we have been on tour since May and that’s enough for a while… We still don’t have plans for next years, but probably we’ll be playing again in Germany and Switzerland in May 2019. We also have some new songs but we probably won’t record nothing in a short term, cause the last album is still fresh. See you around and thanks for the interview!

These are two songs rappresentative their style:

And this is some live performance:

More informations, songs and biography in our site and fb page:
http://www.manovalanza.altervista.org/
https://www.facebook.com/ManovalanzaSkaCore

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