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An Interview with Italy’s The Shed

Let me introduce you to Italian terrace punk band The Shed.  This four-piece band out of Spilimbergo (Pordenone) is  Matteo (vocalist), Flavio (guitarist), Andrea (drummer) and Mauro (bassist).  We reached out and they took some time to speak with us here at The Punk Lounge.  If you’ve never heard of them, this is your chance to get to know a little about Italian punk!

TPL: When and how did your band come together?

First of all, many thanks for your interest in our band.  For a small band like us, it is a privilege to be featured on The Punk LoungeThe Shed was born in 2012 out of the ashes of a previous band called The Brawlers.  Me and Carletto, our drummer at the time, sat down over a pint and decided that it was time to start something new.  Since we were both football lads we thought The Shed was quite suitable for a new name and the band was born.

We recruited Matteo who attended our gigs regularly and Flavio started rehearsing again.  Everything escalated from there and despite some lineup changes over the years we are now solidly a 4-piece band.  Carletto, despite moving to a different city, is still regarded as a bit of an honorary member.  He still plays a song or two during our live sets when he is in town.

The logo features Eccles, a very well known face at Chelsea. Since our name is directly derived from the home end at Stamford Bridge we thought it would have been ideal to match it with a football-oriented logo as well. None of us is actually a Chelsea fan (although a few mates up in London are), but we wanted to make our connection with the football scene as clear as possible, plus the name in itself is rather catchy.


TPL: What kind of music do you listen? Which bands inspired you?

We each come from a different musical background, although they sometimes overlap each other.  The list of bands we like and listen to is endless.

I still enjoy lots of the late ’70s and early ’80s bands like The Jam, The Chords, Long Tall Shorty, Secret Affair, and the Undertones.  Plus I can’t really forget my “heritage” and it is not uncommon for soul, ska, and British pop records to be played on my stereo and during the DJ sets I do.  In terms of Oi!, I love second wave bands such as Another Man’s Poison and Argy Bargy; as well as the American sound of Arresting Officers and The Bruisers.  As for today I definitely have lots of time for a nice crop of great bands such as On File, Last Crusade, B Squadron, Hard Wax, Stanley and Queensbury Rules.

Flavio is big on metal music, and Andrea is more into melodic stuff like Dropkick Murphys.  Matteo loves the harder sound.  He has been involved in metal and hardcore bands for ages.

As for proper inspirations, given the different music we enjoy, there is no specific set of bands we look to in order to build our sound on.  I guess what we listen to in everyday life (and what some of us experiment with their other bands) is almost unwittingly thrown in when we meet for rehearsals.


TPL: What do you think about the punk scene in Italy and Europe?

This is a very tough question, especially for what concerns the Italian milieu.  My opinion (although it is honest to say that I mostly deal with oi! and street punk) is that the “punk” scene down here is extremely fractioned.  So much that it is difficult to even consider it as a comprehensive scene.  Hardcore, Oi!, pop punk, ’77… each has carved its own niche. Sometimes doesn’t even have a “national” feeling, it reverts more on broken up local scenes doing their own bits.

It ain’t nothing wrong in itself, we do that ourselves, too, in the sense that we prefer to focus on what we call our own scene and support each other.  There are great bands such as Old Noise and Mitropa Express (or Stanley if we refer to Italy as a whole) that are well worth a listen.  They perfectly reflect this attitude of doing things at a grassroots level.  In my opinion, it’s much better to have a tight local scene albeit small, than a thriving one where you go to gigs with international bands but can’t recognise a single face in the crowd or the atmosphere is tense for whatever reason.

I am afraid that much of this fractioning has to do with politics still playing a substantial role down here.  Not much for what concerns the bands or the audience being overtly political (although in some cases they are), but rather for the venues being defined along political lines.  It is no secret that unless you are part of the squat scene it is extremely difficult to organise gigs to the level of those which in the rest of Europe attract people in their thousands.

On the contrary, a very positive aspect is the quantity of DIY labels and releases that are floating about down here.  Say what you want about technology, but it is great that now bands have the chance to record and distribute their music much more easily than in the past. I love to buy CDs and there’s a healthy load of them right now.  The  Italian punk scene still doesn’t bend to the digital MP3 craze.


TPL: Do you take part in the gigs of your local scene?

If you refer to playing, not much. We recently played a great gig in Erba with Maze thanks to Red and Bonzo.  They are two great lads who put a lot of efforts in keeping the street punk flame alive and deserve lots of respect for that. We tend to play for our “own” local scene instead: over the years we have built up a decent following mostly made up by the local football lads and that’s the environment we love to play in the most.  This is epitomised by our own “terrace punk” brand which we think perfectly suits us. For what concerns attending gigs, this links with our previous answer about the Italian scene: we turn up at gigs organised by small local scenes and I sometimes make it to bigger events but since I don’t feel comfortable in political venues so I don’t travel very often.


TPL:  What your lyrics are about?

I write all our lyrics.  They focus on our daily life, our own experiences, and what makes us happy.   You’ll hear about football, beers down the pub with your mates, playing music, and yes, also about the passing of time and the good memories of lives lived to the fullest.

At the beginning of The Shed, our songs told stories of nights on the ale or scraps down the football, while now sometimes all these things filter through and give a certain tone to the songs. I am almost 39 and while I always look forward to the next gig, match, trip or piss up, at the same time I often look back to the days when I was younger and used to run rampant without a care in the world.  Some might suggest I haven’t changed much since then but my life has changed.  There are mates who are no longer with us, others who choose different paths in life, and even those who regretted those days for good.


TPL:  What are your plans for the rest of the year going into 2019? Any gigs or releases coming up?

Very surprisingly given own usually very “relaxed” (cough, cough) standards we do have quite a few things lined up for the coming months. I am currently awaiting delivery of It All Started Down the Pub, a seven inches comp featuring us, NFR, I Risorti, and Brutti e Ignoranti being released by Oi! the Nische and Steeltown Records.  It’s a nice wee record with each band doing a cover.  We recorded an adapted version of Fair City Hooligans by Wasted Nation.

In mid-October, we will self-release a compilation CD that includes the 8 studio songs recorded for the first two EPs (It’s all in the attitude and Su queste strade) plus 6 live tracks. Then we have another self-released 4 tracks EP comp in the loop featuring, among others, our mates Mitropa Express and Old Noise.

In the meantime, we are working on a brand new batch of songs which it is our intention to release in 2019 as a proper full-length album. Quite a few of these numbers are already included in our live set so it is actually a matter of finalising a couple more which are still sitting at a very early stage and get down to record them properly along with a couple of covers.

As for live gigs we have received an invitation to play in Germany next summer by some football lads we are in touch with and there are rumours about another gig in Italy in spring. We will also have our “We Hate Humans” night scheduled for the 13th of October when we will take the stage of our local pub along with Old Noise and Maze from Milan. This is a small event we organise on a yearly basis to inject a bit of punk-related music into our town and since this is the 6th edition I think it has kind of taken on with the local lads.

Thanks again for your interest in The Shed and a big thank you to our loyal crew I Soliti Stronzi. See you down the pub.

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