There are multiple Dargen D’Amicos and they all coexist peacefully in the same body. It’s as if the Milanese singer-songwriter and rapper was the result of the experiment of a mad scientist: on the one hand there is the more ironic and light-hearted one who, dressed in sunglasses and wearing an unlikely jacket with spinal plates similar to those of dinosaurs on the back, he answers the journalists’ questions with jokes, on the other there is the one that is more reflective and projected on the themes of today and tomorrow, and which will open a newsstand in the City of Flowers to discuss various critical issues. As his career teaches us, these two worlds never collide, but remain in perfect balance, particularly when he writes songs.
What is “High Wave” about?
“Onda alta”, the piece he will present at the 2024 Sanremo Festival, is the perfect synthesis of the various human and musical aspects of Dargen. “In ‘Dove si balla’, with which I participated in the 2022 Festival, in some way I was photographing what had happened in the previous two years, those of the pandemic – recalls the artist – I don’t write songs thinking about what I necessarily have to say. When you show up at Sanremo it’s obvious that you analyze the text with a different depth, but what I’m telling you is a snapshot of what I see. ‘Onda alta’ talks about migrations, about a journey. In 2023, irregular arrivals were quantified at around 150 thousand units. The song brings out a problem, while the newsstand that we will open in Sanremo and which will host experts and organize debates for five days, will try to provide possible solutions.” If the words of the piece arrive directly, without a rhetorical or heavy narration, the music makes you jump on your feet and leads you to dance. Here they are, once again, the two faces of Dargen. “It’s a song with different musical influences, I make music following sensations – I come from hip hop, if I feel I have to go fishing for sounds from the 60s-70s-80s I go there, I dive in, I don’t ask questions. I’ve always enjoyed producing, but I don’t enjoy writing.”
The new album “Ciao America”
The “movement”, relationships with family and migration are also the main topics of his new album, “Ciao America”, which can be listened to from Friday 2 February, before the start of Sanremo. “My family’s history has always had migration at its center – recalls the artist – ‘Hello America’ is a cumulative title. As a child in the summer, in Sicily, we talked about our relatives who emigrated to the United States, we read excerpts from the letters they sent us and I labeled it a ‘Hello America’ moment. It’s not over: the title is also the synthesis of my music, Italian music that takes advantage of some American styles, without being overwhelmed by them. Finally that ‘Hello America’ also echoes today’s passing of the scepter from the West to the East. Inside the project there are very personal songs, which in some way serve to free me, to do personal hygiene”.
Dargen never imagines himself standing still and even the choice of the cover he will present at the Ariston is consistent with his vision and with the piece brought to the competition. “Movement characterizes me – he underlines – ‘Modigliani’, the first song I presented in Sanremo in 2015, but which wasn’t taken, talks about a migrant who goes to work in France. I approach the ‘move’ as an opportunity to reflect on the future and young people. In Italy we never talk about tomorrow: we read the data and analyze them for what they are, we don’t ask ourselves what they mean. On the music of Morricone, ‘The Crisis’ (Soundtrack of ‘The legend of the pianist on the ocean’), on the cover evening, I will sing the words of ‘Modigliani’ and ‘Dove si balla’ connecting all the dots, accompanied by the BabelNova Orchestraa group of 12 musicians from all over the world”.
A Sanremo with a straight case
Finally, a reflection on this “Sanremo with a straight case”. “Yes, they told me: many artists this year want to make people dance and let themselves go – he concludes – I think it’s a good sign. For me the straight chest is therapeutic. In Italy I don’t think there are limits in terms of sound, there are in terms of numbers, but not in terms of expansion of a genre. Let me explain: few of us listened to Neapolitan neomelodic music years ago, I bought the cassettes at the service station. In terms of themes and imagery, it was and is much closer to rap than one might imagine. Then it exploded and today, thanks to various contaminations, it has reached the mainstream. Look at Sanremo this year: there’s everything, I’m even there. And if I go, anyone can go. Limits do not exist (he smiles, ed.)”.