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Music - Musicians - Interview | by SuccoAcido in Music - Musicians on 01/09/2004 - Comments (0)

We meet Cods here... great music.


SA: Please introduce yourself…

MG: Cods were born in 1999, when Christian Alati, a refined musician coming from the improvisation area, met Massimo Giovara, an actor and director from Turin. Christian was searching for a vocalist to build up a kind of "pop" project with no real limits or boundaries about genre, an open project that would have brought to many collaborations and the composition of different kind of songs that are difficult to categorize in a definite musical stream. The first phase of their work lead them to the production of the first Cd called simply "Cods" with all the lyrics in english but one that came from two poems by Paul Verlaine, in French. The drummer Lucio Sagone came in the second phase to support with his fantasy, skill, open mind and wide musical culture, the live performances of the band, also taking part to the composition of the songs. His brother Giulio Sagone came to fill the lackness of a bass guitar, freeing Massimo from the necessity to sing the guitar. The live set was then complete, with the introduction sometimes of a brass section. Cods’ second album, "Sperochettustìa", was entirely sang in italian, and many musicians took part at its production, as Mario Arcari (De Andrè, Fossati, Battiato), … …

SA: In which ways do you love to operate to make music and what you are looking for?

MG: I think that my personal way of composing music is to search for something that would sound completely new to our ears, and I thing that for doing so you just have to be very awake to catch the right inspiration, that moments in which you have to "catch the butterfly" without pressing too much its wings. Musical suggestions are all around us and we just have to wait for the images to compose them in our mind. I Think the way Christian compose music is more grounded on sound, precision, technical skill with the guitar, and infinite patience in looping and mixing suggestions. A lot of songs come from Christian to me, usually by the internet to make things faster, in a very definite format, complete, just with no melodies and words, and I then try to match them with my lyrics (a lot of them come from poems written when I was very young) and melodies. Sometimes the song are entirely composed by Christian or me. But Cods has an extraordinary feeling for improvisation, and is very easy for Lucio, Giulio, Christian and me to go on together singing with non real plans, just starting from one Lucio’s beat, or Christian chords, or what else happens. For a long time we started gigs with this kind of jam sessions. Trying this way of singing togheter in studio, we have recorded materials for an entire album. My particular attention is turned to the sound of the words, and incidentally in this phase it happens to be italian language that catch my attention. Maybe because I rarely can hear on the radio an italian song in which I can really appreciate the work of the lyrics writer. But I would also try other languages to find more suggestions. (Once we tried with japanese, because my girlfriend knows this language). Anyway, I try to build up images, bypassing possibly the rational part of the mind’s hearer.

SA: Would you like to present all of your song with few words? I mean to speak about the world cause I think you are a poet and I want to speak about your way to write literature…


In many songs by Cods the main character is an animal. For me is very easy to describe specific human feelings through the image of a female cat (in this case) that tries to do something for her puppies. It is normal for drop out people that doesn’t own a TV set to communicate with animals. In this song there are three point of view: the cat, the old woman carrying food to the cat, and the productive society unable to see the poetry and the pain of people that don’t want or can’t satisfy the productive standards.


This is a song about me and all human beings frightened by death, trying to do their best to find a meaning in their life. A very difficult enterprise that sometimes leads to nonsense.

3. Pugile

We have to fight against the dakness and the stately walkin of the night, as Dylan Thomas said, but something ever block us, sometimes is something very little, but a little grain can stop a big gear.


It is the feeling of a 14 y.o. boy, falling in love with a 14 y.o. girl, trying to stop the image of that beauty and falling asleep on a beach. Happy to be sad.

6. Sperochettustìa

A real love song. But "love" is just a word. And stereotyped words cannot catch the life of the beloved. So in this effort to express this words start to play and a phrase that is the starting of a sad love letter become the name of a flower: "sperochetustìa".

9. La canzone di chi parte.

This word are not mine. A song on trying to make a deal with death, from a poem by Salvatore Toma.

10. Mea culpa

Astonished by the fact happened in Genova during G8, I tryed to put all my rage against a system that makes me so unfaithful about our future. All the mechanisms that power uses to put people asleep.

11. Giulia.

Nice name, isn’t it? A lot of italian songs are dedicated to this woman "Giulia". The reason? The sound. We have "iu" and "ia" in a very short word, very rare for italian language. It’s a stupid kind of love story never started of an ever waiting girl, with an undecided boy. The only certain thing is obviously the girl’s dog: a substitute of the ever wanted lover.

12. Agosto, Torino, Pavese.

Lyrics by Stefano Giaccone. Better explained by him. If you have ever been in august in Turin you know what he means. All Turin people want to go away, but they don’t know where, so this becomes a permanent state of mind.

SA: Can you speak about the evolution in your way to do music?

MG: There is not evolution, I don’t think that our next album will be better or worst than the previous one. It is just that we change, that "all is impermanent", and that we have to follow what ever happens around and inside of us. The only thing I can say is that there are still a lot of things to do in our music, and this means we can meet other people, singers, players, writers. We recently meet a great poet from Turin, Luca Ragagnin, that has an approach to art very similar to ours, open to meet musicians and very sincere. We put his words on a Cods base during a presentation of his book about history of italian television. There were other musicians, some famous, some not, and I think that are this kind of exchanges that give the direction of our way of producing music.

CHRA: ognuno di noi 4 ha un’evoluzione diversa, a volte si può parlare anche di involuzione, nel mio caso ad esempio a volte mi accorgo di essere attratto più dal suono degli strumenti che dalle composizioni vere e proprie, meno male che gli altri mi svegliano in tempo!!! In questo periodo stiamo conoscendo parecchie persone interessanti e stimolanti ed è Innegabile che questo si rifletterà sulle prossime nostre composizioni. L’unica cosa su cui siamo convinti è la necessità per i cods di far cose diverse dalle precedenti.Quindi in breve: ricerca su linguaggio e melodia (Massimo), ricerca sui ritmi (Lucio), ricerca sugli intrecci melodico-ritmici(Giulio), ricerca su suoni e melodia (CHR), Il tutto sotto forma di "canzoni".

SA: Would you like to speak about the city where do you live?

MG: Turin is a town in the middle of a challenge. There are a lot of things in which we are investing money, efforts and hope. A company town with no more companies trying to make up again a brand new facade. Hopefully there has to be a very strong change in the conception of work, with no more hierarchical, monarchic directives. It is impossible to say now if this is going to happen, we have to wait at least until the end of the olimpic games.

CHRA: Massimo vive a Torino(vedi sua risposta), gli altri tre Cods vivono a Milano! Milano…c’è tutto e non c’è niente! più ci vivi più senti il bisogno di andartene E il weekend non vedi l’ora di scappare, ma se stai troppo tempo via non vedi l’ora di Tornarci! Metropoli europea(ancora molto lontana dall’Europa), dove se c’è qualche bel locale che organizza concerti particolari stai sicuro che nel giro di un paio d’anni te lo chiudono (Tunnel)! dove il concerto di un guru della musica minimale (Charlemagne Palestine) te lo organizzano in una discoteca(non faccio nomi:Plastic) tra un pezzo techno e l’altro, in mezzo al fumo ed allo sballo generale, dove chiudono i teatri (Portaromana) per costruirci supermercati, dove radono al suolo giardini bellissimi (quello del centro sociale garibaldi) per farci un parcheggio! dove c’è la moda, qui tutto è di moda, anche il sindaco in mutande è di moda (che schifo!)almeno ti guardi le modellazze che ti girano per strada!!

SA: Since years you are friends with Gatto Ciliegia, do you want say anything about?

MG: They are our rescuers and brothers. Without Gatto Ciliegia our second album would probably never be published and distributed that way. They really invested a lot in our cd, money, energy, and love. I hope there will be the opportunity to sing togheter one day during a concert. Christian made the mixing of some of their last album, and they called me to play as an actor in their video clip. Unfortunately I was in tour with Teatro dell’Elfo, but I hope for a next chance...

CHRA: Sono dei miti! persone eccezionali, musicalmente con una sensibilità incredibile, umanamente….pure!!che dire di più?… Ascoltatevi il loro ultimo lavoro "l’irrèparable"!!

SA: Can you tell us some funny story occurred during your tours?

MG: Funny? What’s funny about a tour???Joking aside, it is very hard to have a real tour with real sound check, and real venues when you have not sold a lot of copies of your cd. But some people we meet were very funny indeed. We’d once slept in a very big house of a Coca Cola lover! Everything in that house was something referred to Coca Cola. Astonishing! Maybe also the W.C. contained Coca Cola cleaner, I don’t know.

CHRA: I tours sono un massacro senza senso!questo ho pensato quando, al rientro dal nostro giro alle 5:00 del mattino, sono andato a dormire giusto quelle 2 ore prima di riconsegnare il furgone che avevamo affittato per la tournèe!5 giorni 5 ore di sonno!!però poi ti rimangono i ricordi dei concerti fatti, del pubblico, piccolo ma caloroso, dei posti visti ,dei kilometri fatti, degli strani personaggi incontrati,della casa coca-cola(vedi risposta massimo)…

SA: Can you give us a playlist of 30 records to listen?

MG: 1.John Coltrane. My favourite things

2.Stan Getz. Bossa Nova (all the four CDs)

3.Genesis. Selling England by the Pound (entire album)

4.Roxy Music. The Thrill of it All

5.Nick Drake. Hazey Jane I

6.Elvis Costello. Baby Plays Around

7.Led Zeppelin. That’s the Way

8.Donald Fagen. New Frontier

9.Joe Jackson. Stepping out

10. U2. Million Dollars Hotel Soundtrack

11.Billy Bragg. Levi’s Stubb Tears

12.Bob Dylan. Times they Are a Changin’

13.Tears for Fears. Shout

14. Police. Ghost in the Machine (entire album)

15.Pink Floyd. Us and Them (The Dark Side of the Moon)

16.Santana. Black Magic Woman

17.XTC.Black sea.

18. Glenn Gould. J.S.Bach. Goldberg Variations BWW988

19. Elthon John. Madman Across The Water.(entire album)

20. Tuxedomoon. Desire.

21.Utravox. Thin Wall.

22.Simple Minds. The Americans

23.Marvin Gaye. When a Man Loves a Woman.

24.Lucio Battisti. Il Nastro Rosa.

25.Franco Battiato. A Wonderful Summer On a Solitary Beach.

26.Luigi Tenco. Un giorno dopo l’altro

27.Charlie Parker. Scrapple from the Apple.

28.Chet Baker. But not for Me

29. Richard Strauss. Also Spracht Zarathustra

30. Zoot Woman. It’s Automatic

CHRA: Non in ordine di importanza:

1)Marc Hollis — s

2)John Fahey- requia

3)Morton Feldman- all piano suonato da John Tilbury

4)Tom Waits — blood money

5)Bonnie prince billy- master and everyone

6)U.S. Maple- purple on time

7)Richard Youngs- airs of the ear

8)Bright eyes- lifted

9)Johnny Cash- solitary man

10)The Henrys- joyous porous

11)Neil Young — dead man soundtrack

12)Ex Orkest

13)Loose Fur

14)Matt "mv" Valentine — space chanteys

15)Dean Roberts —be mine tonight

16)Giuseppe Ielasi — plans

17)Clouddead — ten

18)Matmos — the west

19)Joelle Lèandre — l’histoire de mme. tasco

20)Taku Sugimoto — opposite

21)London Jazz composer orchestra — ode

22)Helen Mirra — field geometry

23)Fugazi - tutto

24)Frances Marie Uitti — 2 bows

25)John Martyn — the tumbler

26)Nick Drake — tutto

27)Roberto Cacciapaglia — 6 note in logica

28)The Smiths — louder than bombs

29)Fennesz — hotel paral.lel

30)Jim O’Rourke — Eureka

SA: Would you like to speak about any particular thing who leaved a stronger impression on you?

MG: The way politicians lie to us, the way we know it in the right moment they do so, the way we do, or can do, so little to make this world a better place to stay on.

CHRA: per me la cosa più impressionante sul nostro pianeta è che un decerebrato come Bush possa essere presidente degli usa (ti prego Marc di scrivere "usa" minuscolo e senza puntini!!) invece di essere rinchiuso in un carcere di massima sicurezza!

SA: Any project for the future? What about your next cd?

MG: I would like to make an album with sounds taken from everyday life, noises, speech, and songs, instrumental parts. Something that while you hear it takes you in a more real world than that we’re living in.

CHRA: Abbiamo un cd pronto ed è completamente improvvisato e strumentale!!!Non ne è però prevista l’uscita a breve,vedremo più in là, intanto stiamo mettendoci pian pianino a lavorare su altri pezzi, chi vivrà vedrà…

SA: If you want you can say what you think about italian music scene of todays… you have no limits here and you can also suggest, launch whatever you like.

MG: Sometimes something happens. But we will never know where and when if not by chance. I respect musicians that reach a wide audience and are able to mantain a certain degree of control on their project. But a lot of stuff I hear nowadays is a kind of void covering of something done better during the ‘70 to the middle of the ’80. Maybe I’m too "old fashion", I don’t know. In Italy I like very much the sound of Subsonica because is really their sound, something that is for me really new and at the same time has some truth in it. Unfortunately I’m not so well informed about the rest of the italian music scene, but for my friends (Stefano Giaccone, Gatto Ciliegia, Paolo Serazzi, Max Carletti, Mario Congiu), honest people doing their honest work.

CHRA: Non esiste una scena Italiana, c’è a malapena una scena cittadina figurati italiana! Le poche etichette che propongono cose nuove (parlo di sconosciuti) sono troppo piccole e non hanno soldi per produrre molte cose, si fermano a quelli che rendono di più o quelli più "in stile" con l’etichetta stessa.Bisogna aiutarle! Perché se quelle poche scompaiono è veramente dura per molti gruppi! Purtroppo la musica in Italia è trattata solo come puro hobby , non ci sono soldi questa è la verità!

© 2001, 2014 SuccoAcido - All Rights Reserved
Reg. Court of Palermo (Italy) n°21, 19.10.2001
All images, photographs and illustrations are copyright of respective authors.
Copyright in Italy and abroad is held by the publisher Edizioni De Dieux or by freelance contributors. Edizioni De Dieux does not necessarily share the views expressed from respective contributors.

Bibliography, links, notes:

pen: Marc De Dieux

link: http://www.myspace.com/christianalati

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