Das Kapitans and Get The Fuck Out Of Dodge have teamed up on the Dodge Does Das Does Dodge Split…
Talco - Dema
- 21st October 2022
- Punkchanka Records / Long Beach Records
Talco is one of the most active punk bands in Europe. They have been around for many years and they built a solid fanbase from the bottom up. Every tour and every release helped them shape their signature ska punk mix (which they call “punkchanka”) and create a connection with their audience. Eventually they were the first European band to join the Punk in Drublic tour in it’s entirety last summer. After surviving the pandemic and in fact riding the tide with a new side project, the Italian punks have just released a long awaited album, Videogame. No better chance to meet with Dema, singer and guitarist in the band and see what’s up at the Talco Headquarters. Here’s the interview, exclusively on The Punk Site!
You survived the pandemic with the project “Talco Maskerade,” then returned with the “Insert Coin” EP and finally came to the new album “Videogame.” What are the positive and what are the negative things you can find in this journey?
It will seem strange to say for such a difficult period for the music world, but the only negative thing, apart of course the impossibility of performing live with the electric set, is given by the lack of certainty during the various lockdowns, which it didn’t offer us a calm horizon to fix a definitive work plan. We have often had to move the release of “Videogame” and I believe that the music world will have to resume the race “with cold engines”, and get used to “a new normal” in which people will have to be at ease. As for the rest, I have lived these two years very well, personally. I needed to stop, in order not to abandon, due to the anxiety caused by hectic tours for the past ten years, everything I loved, namely Talco and music. No longer feeling suffocated by anxiety, and with much more time to pick up old projects and desires that I had, helped me to find the serenity necessary to start again with enthusiasm. For me, who love holing up in my exclusive corner of peace to write songs – I continue to consider the compositional phase as the most intimate and my favorite – it was a moment of fervor and a chance to test myself. I took up the book project, a comic about “Silent Town”, a theatre script, and wrote acoustic songs that merged into Talco Maskerade, another wish left unfulfilled due to lack of time and anxiety problems. So I can say that it was a moment of creativity, of looking in the mirror, two years of free natural therapy ahaha! Without these two years I would not be here to play again maybe and I would have regretted it bitterly. It was an economically tragic time and now it is definitely not getting any better. But I’ve never been particularly attached to these things. I managed to live it this way, thanks to something that I always carry with me: looking me in the face, and two years like that help a lot to improve you. There are times when you are always on tour, get good results and think that stopping is bad. But sometimes stopping does not cancel ambition, it simply makes it healthy through the humility of feeling helpless in the face of what happens to you. You have to learn every day from what moves around you, not feel that you are the almighty master of everything, just because you are lucky enough to do what you like in life. I tried to bring all these reflections into the albums “Videogame”, “Locktown”, “Insert Coin”, which I am happy to write in that order: after all, the story of the freak develops precisely in this order.
“Videogame” is a personal, intimate album that deals with sensitive issues related to the human condition. Was it difficult to write such an album or did it come naturally to delve into these aspects after these two difficult years both as musicians and as individuals?
As I told you, I suffered from anxiety, certainly not on a clinical level, but which was still preventing me from living happily all that I had. In a particularly low-key moment, I was writing many songs that convinced me and I thought of addressing this theme in a possible album as well. The risk would have been to make a somewhat honeyed and rhetorical album, a personal diary, as an influencer who takes selfies with tears in his eyes. It was not my intention, because the self-pity exposed to the public….god….I find it something really superficial and self-referential; I also knew that the spirit with which I tried to approach the composition of the texts would fortunately have avoided it. We always start from a common theme to develop it and relate it to the world around us. I thought precisely of anxiety because it was something very current. Fear is something that does not exist in reality but a simple feeling created only by and in your mind. Fear, as something does not exist, I find it asnalisable in every corner of our society: racism, hate against refugees, the exhibitionistic competitiveness of social media, given by a fear of being accepted, which gives rise to the anger of being the better at the expense of others. In my opinion, the paucity of modern man is born from fear. I thought of trying to convey this feeling of frenzy through a video game, in which the protagonist of the story tries to get out of an impasse that is troubling him. Through this path, not only we tried in short to talk about it in a personal key, but also by addressing current issues, such as the paucity of the human being and the misuse, selfish and superficial, that he makes with technology, social media, populism, disinformation ,racism, the banality of modern rhetoric etc.
The genre you play is labeled as “punkchanka”; however, if we were to describe it to our friend who knows little about it, we would say that you play ska punk, a genre usually seen as “party music”. Yet your record is fun, but also profound. How did you manage to combine these two souls, seemingly difficult to reconcile?
It is very natural for us to combine so many musical genres because they are the ones we have been listening to and have been with us for years. We never pretended to invent something, aware of the fact that the genres we listened to and wanted to play were already perfect like this: I would say that starting from a punk-rock base, we inserted other influences, always maintaining the basic punk-rock: we passed from Mano Negra, to Balkan and Italian folk, to kletzmer, ska, even metal sometimes. Folk and punk-rock are very similar in some ways, they have a dynamism that can be similar and one style enriches the other. It was intriguing for us to be able to combine these musical styles.
You chose the single “Garage Jukebox” as the single to be released just before the release of the album itself. How did you come to choose this track? Can you tell us something that no one knows about it?
This song represents the ambivalent feeling I have of gratitude and frustration towards the world that judges creativity, giving a rating, promoting or rejecting a feeling that does not claim to be the best, but just to exist, and indeed, at least in my case, it creates a lot of paranoia and a sense of inadequacy. Gratitude because it is thanks to this world that we can live on music, and it is one more reason to never feel like we have arrived and try to live up to people’s expectations. Frustration because the musician is often judged as someone who just has fun, you don’t notice the fatigue of work, the sacrifices made to live on this privilege, you don’t notice those dangerous cobwebs in which people perhaps naive like us fall, cobwebs which frustrate and exploit all these sacrifices to their liking, squeezing us for personal gain. Never complain, we live a privilege, but perhaps we often don’t notice the work that is behind the scenes. This for me is “Garage Jukebox”: a happy Jukebox, although often treated as a punching bageven, and thrown out of its intimate garage. I am reminded of an episode concerning the gestation of the video clip. Maybe someone will ask why we haven’t done a videoplayback on this album yet. We had arrived at the end of the tour and not all of us were available, we found ourselves without more days off and with little time available. A song that talked about us without playback was quite a rip off. Fortunately Daniele Bagolin came up with the crazy idea of building papier-mâché puppets that represented Talco and the result was really very satisfying for us, original even compared to what we usually did. In the end, moments of emergency often bring out something better than when you have more time!
You were the first European band to participate in the “Punk In Drublic” tour in Europe. What was it like to be on the same tour as NOFX, Pennywise, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Ignite and others? What did you learn from this experience?
It was an honor, obvious to say, but Im’m honest, we never really expected it. It was also a great opportunity because we felt part of a family and not intruders or guests. They all made us feel at ease, we were able to perform in front of not only many people, but also those who did maybe not know us. It was nice because you didn’t know what you were getting into. Questioning oneself is the basis for being able to always be alive, to try to improve oneself, to keep one’s feet on the ground. Punk In Drublic festival really helped us to test ourselves once again, the expectations were high but I think we did a very good figure and we are very proud of it.
Now that “Videogame” is out, what are your plans? Are there places you have never played that you would like to visit?
We will soon be touring Europe until May, a strange feeling, because everyone has canceled their concerts and it really seems to have been without company ahaha. Unfortunately, there is a new normal to deal with and it will take time to fully enjoy it, but we are really happy to start again and for our part the tour looks very promising! Then we will leave for a summer tour of which something is already confirmed! In short, we take back what has been taken from us in these two years, that is, to go on tour!