Stabber and the importance of going off track

Stabber and the importance of going off track

“I never wanted 'Trueno' to be an easy record suitable for everyone, I always wanted it to be, first and foremost, a record that I wanted to listen to”. Stabber he is one of the most musically intelligent producers on the Italian scene (here is an interview to get to know him better). His rule has always been, paradoxically, not having rules because he has the ability to lead artists to explore new territories, without repeating themselves. On this trademark he has built a career and now a surprising producer album, “Trueno”, out Friday 15 March, fully played. Accompanying him on eleven racing laps: Danno, Craim, Noemi, Nitro, Gemitaiz, Angelina Mango, Yung Snapp, Venerus, Miraa May, Coez, Annalisa, Salmo, Johnny Marsiglia, Alborosie, J Lord, Ginevra, Laila Al Habash, Gaia, Noyz Narcos, Darrn. Almost everyone, led by Stabber, ends up off the track and gives themselves a new freedom, possible thanks to the creative flair of the producer. Forget Frankenstein pieces with glued verses or repetitive, dull and homologated productions, “Trueno”, in its variety, has a shiny identity and a creativity that travels at very high speed.

Why this album?
It was a long process. For years I tried not to make this record, then at a certain point I said to myself: it's my turn too. As a producer you are always at the service of others, I have always done things I believed in, but never 100% the way I wanted them. And it's normal when you work with and for artists. You know sometimes you can propose, but some can be terrified, if you work on your own project and you are the owner of the house, this cannot happen.

From the title you can already imagine that it leads artists to “drift”, to go off track, to “skid”.
The AE86 Sprinter Trueno is an old Toyota in production between '83 and '86 and this small rear-wheel drive car has become the symbol of what is now known as drifting, a discipline which consists of driving in a controlled manner. The idea was to make music that “slipped” rather than following the requests and expectations in an ordinary way, even those of the music market. I took the time necessary to develop the musical universe that I had in mind and which I had fantasized about for a long time, a space filled with all the things that have influenced me artistically and beyond.

How and when did you drift?
I had to find “a new way” in an “old way”: real tools were my guide in this process. I realized I had to get away from the PC. I played almost all of the music and 90% of the sound on this album comes from analog synthesizers, electronic drums, sampling, resampling, distortions and external effects. Once it was clear what the sound signature of the project was, I adapted it in various forms, thinking about the people I would involve. There has been a long and important planning work.

Have any artists been “scared”?
Nobody, actually. They felt free to do something new and this led many to shine differently. I didn't want the guests to decide the shape of my record so I tried to force my hand a little by submitting to each artist a single musical idea designed and made to measure for her or him, this process was like this for everyone except for Gemitaiz and Coez appearing in more than one track. I've never had a plan B for anyone, and fortunately, I've never had to.

How did you work?
In the studio with the artists. I've never sent instrumentals waiting for them to come back with the verse as often happens.

There is a high presence of women in the project. Among the most surprising songs are “Due lune” by Ginevra and Laila Al Habash and “Salto nel Dark” by Annalisa with Coez.
In the first case Ginevra and Laila were not immediately convinced that they wanted to sing together because they have two very different timbres. But then in the studio, at work, they were convinced and the two voices together worked very well, the chorus is sung in unison. This is because the idea has always been to make songs, not songs. The Annalisa-Coez piece also has a chorus sung by two voices that complement each other well and Coez himself admitted this, who is a great perfectionist. The Annalisa of this song is very different from the one we have seen in the last year and a half, which is why it is interesting. The presence of many women helped me in the process, because they are always willing to experiment.

Let's admit it without problems: in recent years many producer albums published in Italy have not been qualitatively interesting, except for a few cases.
Many producer albums released in recent years were not producer albums, but collections of beats in which artists rapped more or less well, or whatever. Apart from 'Obe' by Mace and 'Mattoni' by Night Skinny, for me several projects lacked precise thought and sound development. The result, often, was a Frankenstein. I wanted to make 'my' album with guests, a solid album, not an assembly.

How would you define it musically?
I listen to a lot of music, I really like foreign pop which has peaks of strangeness that we in Italy are not used to. I feel close to that vision, in some respects we could define it as a pop record, in the positive sense of the term, international. For me, Pink Floyd was also pop, so to speak, because they reached people through experimentation. On the album there are all the coming outs, my historical references: from soundtracks to Wu Tang. In 'Trueno' with Salmo there are all my points of reference, from rap to funk, it's almost a declaration of who I am. And we get to the sound that the breakers danced to and the transformed samples. It is an album that holds a world.

Many songs have instrumental codas, which seem like “signatures”.
They are moments of my own that arrive at the end of a sonic evolution, sometimes they are moments of relaxation, of quiet, which make us understand where the piece could have veered, in other cases they accompany the listener to the next song.

Can you imagine it being brought live?
It would be beautiful and yes, I would love to do a special date with a set and guests. With a stage with multiple elements, I couldn't be alone, and instruments. It's a very demanding bandwagon which, however, would be important to describe the sound and the album. If I succeed in organizing it, you will certainly find out about it (smiles, ed.).