Sud Sound System: “No to artificial intelligence in music”

Sud Sound System: “No to artificial intelligence in music”

THE South Sound System They have been on the scene since the late 80’s. They have combined reggae culture, raggamuffin, with the soul of dancehall and hip hop, singing in dialect, thus creating a very particular style, which has become iconographic of Salento, a land to which they proudly claim to belong. They have always combined music with very specific concepts and ideas, always aligned, attentive to society and with a political gaze directed mainly towards young people, who are their audience.

For the three Salento artists (Nandu, Don Rico and Terron Fabio) a very long career, studded with albums to which now is added “Intelligenza naturale”, the ninth, which arrives seven years after the previous studio work. Time passes also for the three musicians and the present we live enters once again into the words of the songs, while the music is enriched with different and new influences.

Furthermore, “Natural Intelligence” sees the presence of numerous guests: Alborosie, Negramaro, Guè, Ensi, Puccia and Antonio Castrignanò.When talking about the album Nandu, Don Rico and Terron Fabio, are unstoppable, just a question, a sentence and they immediately light up in a river of words, that analyze, dig, tell past and present. Then there is the work of the reporter necessary to summarize concepts and ideas.
Here’s what they have to say – starting tomorrow, July 2nd, they’re on tour all summer long (dates here): we start from Seneghe (OR), in Piazza Santa Maria. “For us, live is our best form of promotion”, they explain

Let’s start with the title. Is natural intelligence a contrast to artificial intelligence?
(Nandu
) Artificial intelligence in the scientific field and especially in the medical field is solving unsolved problems to date, but in the musical field, things are different. There are authors who turn to artificial intelligence to make music and songs. But a text is born from what you have inside, from the energy that moves in you, from that empathy that pushes you to communicate with the public and not to solve problems. Coming from Salento we know that music is a medicine. It is a collective cathartic ritual, which allows people to take to the streets, to confront each other and to kill that poison that is not of the spider, but the poison of society that forces you to pace your life that is not human and creates conflicts that involve people. You don’t need a perfect text, made of recurring words that create catchphrases. We don’t have to torment anyone, we are all tormented and music must soothe.
(Don Rico). We must not fall asleep and the most beautiful thing we have is our person, our thought. And it is precisely the use of intelligence, the natural one, that highlights the human capacity to create. Broadening the discussion, today there is a need not to be fooled by the system and society, for this it is necessary to be intelligent.
(Terron Fabio) Clearly technological evolutions are and will always be useful for everyone and we also use them with samplers and plugins in music programs. Artificial intelligence will be useful to those who until now have been immobile and have always relied on something artificial to express themselves.
(Nandu) Things must be used for what they are. Artificial intelligence is also reintroducing some very disturbing questions. It had already happened, for example, with robots when they took the place of man on the assembly line. The same thing happened with computers when they came to replace clerks, accountants, secretaries in offices. We must explain to kids that artificial intelligence is fine when it can solve problems, but we must not replace human intervention in the construction of the implementations of work phases. We must not let ourselves be replaced, here it is the man who must decide.

And is this change in the music field taking place?

(Nandu) There is a musical flattening and many have abandoned the barricades. Music must make barricades. They say that the kids, the new generations, do not want to do anything. We must remind the kids that their active participation also starts from music. Music incites, music spurs, music is revolutionary, it is revolution.

But is music the only function?

(Nandu) Music is also pleasure and dance. Because dance is important, it wakes up the body and where the word does not reach, dance does.
(Don Rico) Music is for the people, not for the system. Music is intelligent, even if it is silly. We express the concept of using music with the right vibrations. Bob Marley also said that good vibrations are useful for alleviating suffering. If the music is good it puts you in a good place, if the music is flat it doesn’t. Vibrations are important for our physical and mental well-being. Vibration is fundamental because it makes the person grow, frees the spirit, frees the mind
(Terron Fabio) Music has made huge revolutions, even during Vietnam it was the singers who brought the masses to the streets; before it was unthinkable that American kids would go to the streets to protest, music did all this, but we in Italy also had something similar. We were born when there was the Panther (The student protest movement between ’89 and ’90) music was the master in the streets. This is why we go back to saying music is revolutionary. We want to say this to the kids: don’t flatten yourselves. Don’t even let the idea of ​​the god of money suffocate yourselves. Kids who are on stage and sing about Rolex, about designer labels to kids like you who have families that earn €800, know that this is not a good thing. You open up traumas within these kids, these families. We must not talk about wealth. We have always talked about unity, about the fact that we are all equal, peace and love. Let’s do it again instead of talking about a new level that must be reached through wealth.

This spirit has always accompanied you since the late 80s when you started making music. We still find it now in the words you are telling me. But is the meaning the same, then as now?

(Nandu) Yes, then it was even more radical. In fact, hip hop, reggae music (which are our roots) as long as they were too militant in Italy did not have the impact they have today that have been cleared by customs depriving them of the message. Those cultures are now kneaded for the mainstream but in reality they are free music, that speaks of problems, of reality, of injustice, and that we still need today.

Beyond music, you started in the 90s and find yourselves in the 20s of the century, of the next millennium. What have you seen changed in these many years?

(Nandu) Let’s say little, maybe there is more technology, but man is always the same, he always has the same inspiration to live well, to fight. Some say that young people today are different, but they also told us the same thing. So we must not rely on these clichés. Young people try to have a place in the sun, to have a more peaceful life. Of course, in Italy the economic working conditions for young people are certainly not favorable and so it is difficult to leave home.
(Don Rich) The lifestyle has changed a bit since those years, from before 2000 to today. From a point of view there was much more freedom in the 90s than now, more possibilities for young people to meet, discuss and fight. Demonstrations were prohibited, with the excuse of raves, they almost prohibited even private parties. There is greater control over the masses through all the technology.
(Terron Fabio) We were wilder before, it must be said..

You were the precursors of this musical genre, you made it grow. Do you feel responsible? Are you aware of having an important role?

(Nandu) It is absolutely thanks to us, it is our fault that all this happened. But not only with music, also with the use of dialect. When we started singing our message only reached the Salento area because as soon as you went out you had the problem that no one understood you. Over time it is curious to note that from the fear of speaking dialect in Milan, now it is the Milanese who come here and speak Salento dialect and dance. It is a great satisfaction from a cultural point of view, because then this attitude also had repercussions on social life and the economy. From there that tourist Salento was born, then the Salento food and wine and a repercussion on the territory. Let’s say that our narrative is used and it is also beautiful for our identity.

There are guests on the album. How did they arrive, how did you choose them? Are they part of the predominant featuring culture, or is it something different?

(Nandu) Some are part of the featuring culture, but our featuring are not always carefully researched, in the sense that with many of them there is a relationship that has matured over the years. And as was said before, we feel like the architects of this. And we also like to close those circles that are part of our musical experience every now and then. Like meeting Alborosie with whom it is the first time we work on composition, other times we have sung together in live shows, but this is the first time we enter into the melodies and lyrics. He rides our rhythm great and takes the melody and sings it again in English in this Reggae House key that we compare very closely to him who we consider another precursor even if he did not do it in Italy, but in Jamaica as a white man. In short, he also gave a good lesson to those, even in Jamaica itself, who thought that reggae was only for Jamaican people, instead reggae is for everyone. It was also interesting to sing with Negramaro with whom we are very good friends and we have had many experiences together. These are not forced collaborations. Each time it is a truly musical encounter with each other’s tastes mixed together.
(Don Rich) With everyone there was a nice meeting of style fusion and then it’s part of our culture. We ourselves were born from jams. When we were kids and we didn’t have any written songs yet, there was a microphone that was going around, each of us took the microphone and brought out those rhymes. We have been doing it since unsuspecting times, when featuring wasn’t the law. Just look at our discography. You can already find our featuring in “Salento Showcase 94”.
(Terron Fabio) Yes, we grew up “on the street” singing and sharing things with other groups. It is there, watching others that you learn how to dance, how to pick up the microphone, how to look at people. Our models have always been the Jamaican artists who came here to play and who we then took to visit our studio and stopped them to sing. But on the other hand, Jamaican culture is like this: you find the singer who makes the melody for you and then with the toaster comes the DJ who makes the more rhythmic part for you. We don’t see the featuring in the record industry, as unfortunately the industry is getting us used to. For us it’s a real meeting.