Max Pezzali, discos and the archeology of entertainment

Max Pezzali, discos and the archeology of entertainment

4 years after his last recording and after a long live season Max Pezzali returns with an unreleased song. “Abandoned nightclubs”, written with Jacopo Ettorre and Michele Canova who also took care of the production, it is the new single available only on radio from April 15th. we will find it digitally and on a signed physical CD from April 26th. Accompanying the song is a video and a comic book story to which Max returns for the second time after the successful episode presented at Lucca Comics.
The song also anticipates the live restart of the former 883 who will return to perform this summer with ten concerts in stadiums. We spoke with Max Pezzali to ask him about the genesis and idea behind the new single.

“Abandoned Discos”: how did this new song come about?
It was born after I remembered, during a songwriting session, that I had seen a report on the news about a photographic exhibition concerning abandoned discos. I was struck by seeing these places, which I also knew because I may have been in some, so decayed and decaying, perhaps vandalised. I seemed to see architectural places bearing witness to a civilization that no longer exists, an archeology of entertainment, places that had been important to many people. The single is a way to talk about my time to those who perhaps haven't lived it and to remember it to those who have.

So does this song have a nostalgic flavor?
I believe that every era has its own places, has its own rituals, its own liturgies. And so all in all, I don't think we can regret anything. Maybe we only regret the state of mind of our youth, yes. You have nostalgia for moods, not for a time or era that no longer exists. There is a bit of bitterness in now seeing those places reduced like this, sometimes I am moved

What were discos at the time?
At the time there was little musical information and therefore nightclubs were a place to listen to new music. We knew that there was a place in the middle of the plain in an industrial area where there was a guy who maybe worked as an employee, but he was the resident DJ on Friday and Saturday nights and spent everything he had going to the shops records in Milan to find the latest news and let us hear it. I see it as a sort of portal to the rest of the world also on a cultural level. Today we are used to seeing everything, knowing everything. At that time, for example, I saw the first Drag Queen show in a nightclub which was the place that had the desire to amaze you, to show what was happening to the world, to show and propose something new. He wanted to take you to New York, to London, to Ibiza…

And how did all this disappear?
The world of discos was criminalized especially in the 90s, especially by the mass media. I remember opening remarks on the news against discos, people who were scandalized by the degradation, by drugs and more. Thirty years later the degradation is still there, it has only moved and changed shape, with the difference that that world has been lost, those places that were basically a bit tacky, let's face it clearly.

Has the music changed too?
Dance had not yet achieved the dignity of a genre like EDM does today. She wasn't cool yet, let's say she was a little tamarra. In the 2000s electronic dance music was recognized as cool music and eventually everything changed and therefore the clubs necessarily became smaller. They had to be a little smaller, more compact, cooler, more beautiful as furniture. They have become laboratories of taste that those large barracks that we remember and which were heirs of the dance halls probably could not have.

Which clubs are you most attached to?
I remember Rolling Stone in Milan with great pleasure. That was a wonderful, magical, heartfelt place. Place where Mauro Repetto and I participated for the first time in “1,2,3, Jovanotti” which was broadcast on Italia Uno and we weren't called 883 yet, but we were “Hip hop”, something from '89 . But it was also the place where we normally went to dance. There was the rock evening, the theme evenings. He had a chronic parking problem (The venue was an old cinema in a buffer zone between the center and the suburbs. Today it has been demolished and in its place there is a luxury condominium complex which however has kept the name of the place ed.). We came from Pavia. And at the time it was clear that you were coming from Pavia because we still had the license plates with the acronyms. It was a problem because it immediately identified you as from the province. Furthermore, since there were no social networks, we didn't know how the Milanese dressed. So you arrived, you had an elegant dress in your head that was the one from two years earlier and therefore they immediately understood that you were the one arriving from outside. Other places that I remember? Another place that no longer exists comes to mind: the Prince of Riccione, the Cocoricò which was the most iconic

Along with the single there are other initiatives. Can you tell us about them?
The most interesting thing is that relating to comics, which is a way that has always belonged to me and been passionate about. Now, having reached a certain age, I can do it with more serenity because I don't care if it will be considered childishness. With Roberto Recchioni we are the author and designer of this comic which will focus on this concept that we have said of abandoned discos. It is a story that passes through the memory of abandoned discos, seeing them a bit like decayed civilizations which however allow you to look to the future with optimism. Well, all in all, our past helps us a little to strengthen ourselves and structure ourselves to face what awaits us.

Then there will also be a video with testimonies from DJs who animated those discos….
Exactly, there are so many. There will be a video in which we “use” the shots from the photographic exhibition that inspired this text. An exhibition that was connected to the photographic book “Disco Mute”. We then made the video by asking the authors of the photos to help us build a sort of moving collage, briefly telling the story of these discos, adding the stories of the protagonist DJs. It's bad to say about something that concerns me, but it's almost a cultural operation, I don't know how to say it (laughs ed.)

Mauro Repetto shows a show in which he talks about the early years of 883. What do you think, have you seen it? Are you involved?
No, I haven't had the chance to see him even though I always hear from Mauro, we are very active via Whatsapp. I am convinced that he is right to remember from his point of view this common adventure that we experienced because in these 30 years he has no longer had the opportunity to talk about it because he had moved away, he had completely changed his life. So I'm glad he does. I hope it's something fun, first for him and then for whoever goes to see it.

Are you going to see it?
Well, here we need to understand if we can do it, with the times and commitments. We will try, if possible, to be there.