Cosmo: “There is a frightening uniformity in Italian pop”

Cosmo: “There is a frightening uniformity in Italian pop”

A room covered with mirror walls that reflect, distorting the psychedelic images of the floor, a screen. Outside there is a sign “No one is normal here”. Cosmo thus welcomes us to present “Sulle ali del Cavallo Bianco”, his new album: an installation in the central station in Milan, where in recent days he organized flash-mobs by playing a preview of the album to people passing by.
“On the wings of the white horse” arrives three years after “The third summer of love” – in a relatively normal period for an artist who never does anything normal. The songs, produced with Alessio Galizia/Not Waving, blend electronics with traditional sounds, going into a more pop dimension – and even live (club tour starting on March 30th from Florence) promises a show with different moments, more intimate. Cosmo doesn't hold back in expressing himself on the approach to music that he revolves around, on the “references” that become copies, on the standardization that he wants to distance himself from, even in these songs.

In the previous album you talked about “Antipop”, which was also the title of the documentary about your story. This album plays a lot with pop, however.

In my head this is also an anti-pop record. I make pop, but it can be done by breaking away from certain diktats, avoiding a certain catchiness, or a certain production without novelty. I like to bring the ultra-comprehensible pop language closer to an avant-garde language, mixing them together.

Which pop conventions are you referring to?

For a few years, I've been bored by the choruses that explode, they're phoned. I don't like round productions in which there is a lot of reverb, in which there is no room for emptiness. In Italian pop there is a frightening uniformity: in Sanremo, on the radio, it often seems like we are always listening to the same sounds. If they were a one-off… the problem in my opinion is when languages ​​are standardized: when the new one arrived they started putting the 909 battery, using certain stuff. Can we go further? for me the most exemplary pop, on the other hand, is the most brazen, from the Americans, from the English: there is more pluralism there I think, each producer wants to make his own journey. In Italy there is a lot of the problem of references, of imitation, something has worked abroad

The word “reference” has become central to musical language. People ask themselves more and more often “what is your reference?”

Even in these interviews on the album someone asked me that. I can cite something that I consciously took as an example, above all as inspiration for setting and mood. Then there is the production work that Alessio Natalizzi, Not Waving, and I did. When we liked a sound we said to ourselves “mmmh nice, what can fit with this sound?”

In this album there is always a lot of electronics in various forms, but there are also more traditional sounds: piano, guitars…This was a bit of our guiding star in working on the album. Alessio helped me to focus on the fact that I don't have to make UK tracks, but Italian songs, then bring in elements that perhaps you take from trance, that you take from acid, and so on. In “Talponia” we put the sound of trance into a ballad..

This is your first solo album with someone producing alongside you.

It's a journey that we've just begun: it was a spontaneous birth, very fast, but without effort, we worked very little on the album together and it all came out like this. We've known each other since Disco Drive, his band from the noughties, then he went to London. We met again and tried to do one of my pieces together, “La Verità”, at the end of 2022. Then it came out on record in no time. I hope it's the beginning of a journey that I hope will last forever, then we'll see.

“Cosmotronic” came after the success of “The Last Party”. “The third summer of love” during the pandemic. This is a record that was born in a “normal” period – even if you sing “no one here is normal”.

It's true: in “The Third Summer of Love” this political radicalization had exploded therefore zero compromise, even with the lengths of the pieces. In the last period I have concentrated on a more intimate dimension and with less ardor of rebellion, I have reconnected let's say the links with the Italian tradition.

What is the white horse of the title and what does it represent?

It was born in a moment of stupidity in the studio: Alessio was looking at the river and started saying: “Look Marco, now a winged white horse comes out, you and I will ride it, let's go…” This image started spinning in my head and I made it the symbol of the record. It is the symbol of a creature that is between two worlds, that ferries you between two different realities.

The idea of ​​a childish dimension returns a lot in the album, of “I want to be a child again”. Why?

It's something I've already learned in the past. for me a healthy, adult human being is one who can reconnect with himself as a child. I have met adults, I won't say happy but serene, cheerful, with a desire to live who focus on positive things. Having children also helps me get in touch with this dimension.

The other dimension in your music is the physical one, “the body as a playground”. In the press kit you talk about pop as collective masturbation.
I meant that music is often a masturbation of the artist, when it is too experimental. You have to be careful not to be too masturbatory when experimenting. Pop, on the other hand, is collective masturbation, together with people.

Do you think you succeeded?

I'll find out by seeing the reactions to the album. I think so, but it's also such a discouraging era from the point of view of record releases and charts and in many cases I feel a bit like an alien. But in reality I am consoled by the fact that I have a small tribe that I surprise. I like the audience to think “but what does this do now?”