The Blast Podcast #28 – Smania Uagliuns present The Mixxx
Smania Uagliuns is an eclectic hip hop outfit from South Italy. They are funny guys, for sure. As guest for the latest edition of our podcast, we sat with them recently for a quick talk about the group’s next album, Troglodigital, due via ReddArmy label on June 5th, and had the chance to talk about music, roots, inspirations, digital landscapes and life in general. Stromberg met Smania Uagliuns, so here’s the full interview and podcast.
S: Hello guys, and on behalf of the crew, welcome here at strettoblaster. Let’s kick it correctly: who is Smania Uagliuns? What does that nametag means?
SU: Ciao! Physically Smania Uagliuns is a band made of three musicians from Basilicata, south Italy, theoretically is the big idea of shaking up the stereotype of the Italian hip hop and music in general, creating something new and different. I said we are three, but we are used to shape and enrich our team collaborating with different artists and musicians, both producing our music and performing during gigs. About the meaning of Smania Uagliuns, the name is a mix of Italian and “Lucanian” dialect, in English should sound something like “craving guys”. These two words enclose our constant and unstoppable desire of innovation, change and creativity that brings us to experiment new things each time we meet up together to make music.
S: How did you come up together?
SU: Actually we were born in the same tiny town (about 2000 souls), lost upon Basilicata mountains. Two of us, Agronomist and Pastor Flava, went to the same high-school and started playing music since we were kids, first as a game, then with more consistent aims. About Ol’ Dirty Trumpet, well, he’s Agronomist’s brother, so funk was in da house.
S: What each of you guys brings to the table when it comes to make music?
SU: Each one brings his creativity and his abilities: Agronomist dealing with the production and programming of beats and part of synths and writing and interpreting lyrics; Pastor Flava writing and interpreting lyrics too; Ol’ Dirty Trumpet co-producing tracks, in particular playing various electronic and acoustic instruments such as keys and brass and singing in choruses and back vocals,
But the most important thing we bring to the table is definitely our difference in music tastes that adds a lot of undertones and mutations to the final portrait.
S: How a Smania Uagliuns’ song sees the light?
SU: It depends on different components. It could be from a very visceral inspiration that creates the first skeleton, maybe in few hours, or it requires months of reshaping and direction changes. Basically there are two ways. One is by instinct, intuitions; the other is through study, experimentation, continuos changes and modifications to structures and song’s arrangements. For this album, except for a few songs, we started from an idea. Indeed at first we conceived the whole as an Ep that after turned into an LP, so we worked and transformed it even creating a completely different tune with an overturned sound compared to the first draft.
S: Your new album is a joyful noise with a lot of singalong that blends into rapping, no featurings, tons of synths and clear messages, all balanced with a lot of southern humour. How long you’ve worked the album?
SU: Pretty good examination! Well, we started working the album as an Ep, as I told you before, let’s say in 2010. But we were forced to take various breaks. Agronomist emigrated to the UK ☺, Pastor started a new job in that period, The Ol’ dirty had his medical stuff and so on. After a long pause we’ve restarted working very hard in the autumn of 2011. So, it’s a two years span production.
S: Any particular or funny anedoctes during the working sessions?
SU: I can remember sleazy but very creative afternoons with whiskey and water, you know like those strange 50’s characters, or nights spent arranging our ultra-layered beats, sometimes obtaining an endless 15 minutes suite…and then it was like…”Well, and now how can we subtract something from that to have a “normal” song?”.
Or when we composed the song “Sacerdoti Dell’Umanità” drawing inspiration from some church songs on Youtube…sometimes things happen in a so easy way.
S: The Troglodigital concept you came up with is amusing, yet serious, due to the increasing social disease form the net’s use is taking today. You feel like being more troglo or more digital? How technology affected your life so far, aside your music?
SU: Let’s start from the music. Luckily very little. More as for our inclination than for a choice, we have ever had an “analogue” approach. We studied piano and other instruments, so since we were kids we’ve been playing all the arrangements with real instruments. Plus, our passion for analogue synthetizers made us head towards “played beats”. We don’t like Vst plugins, or softwares to make music, we have more fun playing. We use some softwares only as platforms to sequence songs, in a final step.
As far as life is concerned, unfortunately we’re quite tied to technolgy, social networks and stuff like that, above all because music promotion and contacts with people require it. Instead our masters, “Sacerdoti dell’umanità” are completely free from this digital slavery and they are leading us to the right path.
S: You’ve prepared a special podcast for us: what are you going to play?
SU: Yessir. We’re going to play our typical nourishing music milkshake.
In everything we do we try to put all our influences, different backgrounds, nuances.
You’ll listen to a blend of “black groove” mixed with “white nihilism”, that is the thing that characterizes Smania’s production. Regarding the podcast there’s some new funk/soul, rap, electronics with a experimental and abstract approach, a lil’ splash of dance, and also rock’n’roll. Plus some brand new Smania shit! Generally speaking, this eclectic blend represents the way in which we conceive music and style, with no boundaries.
S: Thank you for being with us! Leave a message to the nation, and we out.
SU: Give more room to senses, take some distance from the web and virtual relationships.
Let’s embrace the TrogloDigital Era. See all ya on Totem!
Out like outer and other mind spaces are possible.