Like the Supremes on LSD: Gossip talk about the new album

Like the Supremes on LSD: Gossip talk about the new album

“We survived. We came from nowhere and left. And to be here twenty years later and still making music together is just incredible,” say Gossip. From meteors to cult bands, who after over ten years of absence (twelve, by prediction), return with a new album, which is unexpectedly among the most awaited record releases of this season: it is the new life of Beth Ditto's band, ready to (re )unleash – finally – all its power. “Real power”, which will arrive tomorrow, aims to bring Gossip back to the center of the indie rock scene, of which the trio wrote some of the most delicious pages in the 2000s with records such as “Movement”, “Standing in the way of control” and “Music for men”, the latter containing that “

Heavy cross” which to this day remains the group's only real hit, half a million copies sold in 2009 and about ten gold and platinum records won throughout Europe. Behind that record was the hand of Rick Rubinthe rock guru of the last thirty years: and it is precisely from the Special One of the music biz that they start again Beth Ditto, Nathan Howdeshell and Hannah Billie.

Rubin played a fundamental role in the trio's reunion. Beth Ditto had asked him to lend her a hand for the ideal successor to her debut solo album “Fake sugar”, in 2019: he suggested she call Howdeshell – bass, guitar, keyboards – for some sessions in his home studio to Kauai, small island in the Hawaiian archipelago where the producer won 8 Grammy Awards and who knows how many millions of copies sold with the bestsellers of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys, Slayer, Johnny Cash, Rage Against the Machine, Shakira and Santana, he retired a few years ago, and Beth said yes.

The two were then joined shortly afterwards by Hannah Billie, the drummer: it was no longer a Beth Ditto solo album, but a new Gossip album. “.It doesn't feel like a reunion: it's simply our new album”, they underline today, as if to say that the group, in reality, never dissolved, but was only frozen. In the eleven tracks contained in “Real power” the trio celebrates the galvanizing power of music, the joy of creative expression. He does it with an explosive, detonating sound, which takes up the energy of previous Gossip records, but adds new sensations and suggestions: “'Act of god' and how a Supremes song, but psychedelic. 'Give it up for love' it's a Talking Heads style funky jam. In 'Crazy' Beth sings in a register never used on a Gossip album: she started with a Young Marble Giants and eventually it became a song of Go-Go's”, they explain. Live they will melt the amplifiers. By the way: they will tour Italy – ten years after the last time – next summer, for two dates. On June 22nd they will be in Rome, on the stage of the Invincible Fest Spin Off of Villa Ada, the following day in Milan on the stage of Magnolia Summer 2024.

“We had a creative explosion. We were on fire, recording day and night. We were able to sonically chase everything we wanted. Rick has this fantastic studio full of windows: he plays the guitar looking at the ocean: he has had an effect on the music, which is not as dark as it could have been”, explains Nathan Howdeshell. Those atmospheres linked to the environment inevitably entered directly into the record. Just listen”Turn the card slowly”: “You can hear the Hawaiian influence on the lead guitar, a consequence of the slide guitar music we heard on the radio.”

“This record was recorded in the strangest and most confusing way possible, in true Gossip style,” adds Beth Ditto. Returning to the role of Rubin, the trio explains: “.He is pure in his creativity. He's not interested in fads or a label's opinions. Try to bring out the best in you. It has this ability to make an artist give their best when they work on it. And he only works with people he believes in”. Beth Ditto talks about the producer as “another member of the band, but not in an intrusive way: she sits there and listens. He brings you back to the most genuine version of yourself.” “Real power”, the song that gives the album its title, is the focus track. It's a self-empowerment written in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests: “It sounds like a Kiss song. We come from a post-punk and dance music background. We immersed ourselves in that song.” Punk also returns in the title, a tribute to “Raw Power” by Iggy Pop and the Stooges: “We celebrate the power of people coming together and making decisions to take to the streets.”

After all, Gossip have always been busy, in their own way. The story of Beth Ditto, born in 1981, speaks magnetic and powerful frontwoman of the trio. In the video for “Heavy cross”, dressed all in gold, she proudly showed her extra size curves – body positivity ante litteram, one might say, ten years before Lizzo and her “Juice” – accompanied by extraordinary vocal skills. Openly lesbianand for this reason considered by the lgbtq+ community a champion (she married in 2013 on the island of Maui, in Hawaii, with her assistant Kristin Ogata, only to later divorce in 2017), a few months before the release of the single the singer-songwriter she had agreed to pose nude for the British magazine Love, in spite of the 95 kilos marked on the scale. And by launching her own clothing line, Evans invited curvy women to be more creative with their clothes: “I don't understand all these women who say they feel betrayed by fashion houses. An item of clothing can't tell you that you can't wear it: you forbid it”.

Compared to the last time Gossip made a record, the musical landscape has changed radically: “There are a lot of very exposed queers in today's mainstream music, ten years ago it wasn't like this – they say – think of Kim Petras, a trans pop star. And then Lil Nas X, Sam Smith, Janelle Monae. America and the world are experiencing this beautiful awakening of queer pop. They inspire us”.