The Summary: after 22 years the Milanese group restarts its engines

The Summary: after 22 years the Milanese group restarts its engines

The 90s were a period of great ferment for Italian music which involved rock, songwriting, folk, electronic, new wave. A great creativity, supported by the discography, in which everything was held to form that “cord” that ran through the decade until the first years of the following millennium to distinguish a time that never returns… or maybe it does

It is in fact from the final part of that phenomenon that La Sintesi reappears, a Milanese quartet formed by Lele Battista – voice, guitar, keyboards and author, the “rhythmic” brothers Michele – battery – e Giuseppe Sabella – low – e Giorgio Mastracola – guitar.

The history of the group, which they summarize for us in the interview, sees them in activity between ’99 and 2002 and then disappearing after a participation in Sanremo. 22 years later the four return to the market with a new “physical” 45 rpm single of two songs (“Stravinsky” And “The final”) which arrives thanks to the vinyl reissue of their two previous LPs, made available again in limited “physical” and signed copies.

Stravinsky” And “The final” are born outside of any commercial logic, as a celebration of past years of life but with a soul linked to the present. To the production of this return later Morgan And Pino Pischetola (who signed the band’s two works) is there Davide Ferrario and the historic collaborator at the console Max Lotti.

An album in ’99, a young Sanremo and a second album in 2002 and then stop. Shall we rewind the tape to understand what happened?
(Lele Baptist) The stop comes after the Sanremo Festival and a nice tour. First there was a journey that began in middle school with a lot of apprenticeship, many competitions, which at the time were not televised. Then we did “The romantic hero”, the first album, produced by Morgan, which had a strong identity, let’s call it revisited new wave, more post punk and even a little bit electronic. We were perceived as heirs of a certain slightly dark new wave, we were liked by dark people and some veterans with teased hair. In two years we have created a hard core of fans and we have done quite a few concerts. Then there was this turning point with the second album “A curious case”, a little more towards rock but above all towards songwriting. I remember that while writing I listened to a lot of singer-songwriters and was influenced by them. Between the two records there was Morgan’s idea to fish out “I ate my girlfriend”, a song that didn’t make it onto the first album, to bring it to Sanremo Youth (won that year by Anna Tatangelo). And we understood it very positively, both because Sanremo is a bit of a more or less revealed dream of all musicians, and arriving on that stage seems like the fulfillment of a dream. Partly because the piece allowed us to still make ourselves look like those who were a little strange, respecting our, let’s say, alternative background. For the occasion the record company (Sony) had us in the palm of its hand and had decided to focus on us. Immediately after the Festival, however, there was a total absence, everyone disappeared. We suffered this. From a bout of popularity we found ourselves back in our circle, where in the meantime we had lost some fans.

Have you paid the price in this sense of Sanremo, that is, the pure and crude say that the festival distorts the group?
It’s a bit like that, a bit because the second album actually had different sounds than the first, it was more varied, it was more eclectic, but also more “authorial”. The fact is that at a certain point we stopped, as if in shock, in shock.

And now climate change and the rise in temperature has meant that you have thawed out and resumed life and activity.
Exact! To this you have to add age which also makes you a little nostalgic for youth. The triggering event, however, was the pressing on vinyl for the first time of our records that had been released on CD.

Who decided to reissue it on vinyl?
Saifam this label that acquired the Sony catalog and therefore also ours. With the opportunity to sign the vinyl copies we met again. It had already happened other times but on a friendly basis, not with business ideas. Let’s say that we always stayed in touch, but we had never played together again and I was thinking of having a reunion to celebrate that piece of life together. I, who continued my career as a singer-songwriter, had written a song “Stravinsky” with another singer-songwriter Andrea Martinelli, which I thought was right for La Sintesi. They accepted with great enthusiasm and it was a nice meeting again. Then we proposed the thing to Saifam who, however, only producing vinyl, asked for a 45 rpm single with two songs. At that point we wrote the second song “The final”, the B side. For the moment, therefore, it will only be a physical release in small quantities.

Which of the two phases of La Sintesi can these songs be traced back to or is it a third phase: La Sintesi 3.0?
It is a third phase, because it seems to me to be something absolutely new for us, for me as an author. And also in terms of sound I find that the collaboration with Davide Ferrario was fundamental and above all thanks to him we managed to bring out a sound that was not completely detached from our history, but still with other influences, not necessarily more modern, but different.
Giuseppe Sabella) It’s clear that there is definitely something new here, the result of listening, of a new producer and of twenty years gone by and something new in the writing. We had never played like this. They are two more experimental songs. Of course, with more time, with more possibilities, it would be interesting to see what could come out after a month and a half of study.

You stopped for more than twenty years and in these two decades the world has changed, but the music has also changed, the panorama and the musical culture have changed. What do you find so different?
(Lele Baptist) Twenty years have passed and there are children born when we made our records who have become adults and have grown up following different media. I feel a crazy generational leap on a musical level. At the time it was felt that there was already a push towards pop in the air, where by pop I mean easy lyrics and chords, music more for entertainment, for leisure. From the perspective that everything you do is better if it reaches as many people as possible, but then this becomes a limit on a creative level. We, more or less, have grown up with the idea that music can contain messages. That is, Dylan made us go from “she loves you”, with all due respect, to something that can open the minds of millions of people. We are children of the fact that music opened doors for you. Previously this thing also reached the mainstream, while now it is linked to an increasingly narrow niche.

What was it like on a human level to find ourselves all playing together? You have had relationships with each other, but meeting in the studio is different from finding yourself drinking a beer.
(Lele Battista) Well, very exciting, very beautiful.
Giuseppe Sabella) Personally it was an incredible thing. The evening in which Lele says: “Guys we have the opportunity. Maybe we’ll come back, I have a song for you to listen to. What can you tell me if we think about doing it together?” That evening at midnight I was turning fifty and when Lele said that I completely lost all sense of space and time, that is, I didn’t remember, I no longer understood where I was and what year it was. So going to the studio was a magical feeling even though there was all the pre-production work before we found ourselves playing. Then the rehearsal room and I must say that the first day was very tiring because we had turned off the machines twenty years before and now we had turned them back on.

And what happens now?
(Lele Baptist) I personally would like to repeat the experience, especially in the studio, because I prefer studio life more than live life.
Now we are free, we no longer exclude ourselves from anything. For me it was also about coming to terms with the past: we have been this, we can still be this with another mind, with another way of relating to our lives, if we have done it, we can do it again

So are you thinking about a possible development in the studio or would you also like a live part?
I have no preclusions but live is something to invest in. Now there are many fewer spaces to play live. It’s a little more difficult without making large numbers, if you notice now they all start from the Forum. The club size has been shrinking. Then Giorgio Mastrocola (The guitarist) is busy with Pezzali and so for this summer we let it go. But I think the creative aspect is satisfying and important. I’d like to do another 45 rpm until maybe in time I get to an album.
Joseph Sabella) As Lele says, there is a problem of space, but above all also of usability and diffusion of our music. If this condition is missing, everything is even more difficult.

Who do you expect to listen to La Sintesi now? The hard core or another audience?
(Joseph Sabella) Of course the choice to come out with a vinyl speaks for us. The audience, let’s say new, is an audience that must meet us in some way, partly for the support but also perhaps for the music we offer we are something distinctive. It would be curious to understand how much we can meet the new generations today, that is, perhaps years ago what the Maneskins did wasn’t so predictable. Perhaps therefore, with due proportions, there could also be space for us to approach a new audience.
Lele Baptist) We are waiting for generation “A” the one that arrives after generation “Z”. With “Z” we’re at the end, so I expect something new (Laughs)