Stirpe999 released a few days ago an album with a compilation of tracks that surprised us quite a lot. The mix of new talents with important artists, his exquisite musical selection and his format, are a good attraction for all those consumers of advanced music and art. We are going to talk to them about this release, their collaboration with Federico Gargaglione and their activism during these two decades.
In the information of Stirpe999 it is stated that this project was born as a consequence of the trajectory of Fire At Work, what does this formation have to do with the creation of this label?
Fire At Work, was born in the late 90s in a city, Rome, which at that time was an international reference point for radical electronic sounds and countercultural practices. In that context we played our role updating the instances and characteristics of that Roman electronic sound that the previous generation had outlined and made so popular.
Stirpe999 is the result of this experience, of the network of relationships that we have built over the years, it expresses the artistic assumptions and contents in a collective dimension shared with other producers.
Stirpe999 is a label with almost two decades of history, is it more active now than in its early years, how has it evolved during this time?
Well, to consider Stirpe999 only a label is perhaps reductive, we prefer to define ourselves as a collective, a ground of confrontation, crossed by those who like us want to question the potential of musical language, instead of chasing formulas already tested to please the audience. For this reason our activity has always been transversal, we are a platform for the production and sharing of music but we are also active producing cultural events, festivals, parties, debates, exhibitions. We can’t say when we have been more active, surely we have been in different forms depending on the period and contingencies. Obviously at the moment we are mainly focused on music production due to the limitations imposed by the pandemic.
You have recently released Forsan Et Hanc Olim Meminisse Iuvabit, a very complete album with an extraordinary line-up of artists. Listening to fragments of the 18 tracks we see that there is a common denominator, and that is that all the tracks can be classified as experimental electronica, but in this release this concept is broad enough. Musically, how should we define this album?
We’ve always considered it important to understand the attitude and direction of a specific musical proposal, rather than striving to categorize it into a specific genre. Obviously adhering to a specific scene/genre helps to capture the audience but we have never been interested in conquering it, we rather hope to involve the listener in our aesthetic and sound dimension, in our world. This one, it’s a dark and experimental release, radical as regards the sounds and the overall identity. The proposal is varied, ranging from suspended and deep atmospheres to harsh, noisy and rough tracks, basically it’s a classic Stirpe999 release, our goal has always been this: to express a coherent overall dimension regardless of the proposed genre.
As for the authors appearing on this album, we can see that there are relatively new artists and producers with a longer or more consolidated career such as Somatic Responses, Fire At Work or Daniele Antezza releasing again as Inner8. Also, a large number of the producers are Italian, do you think this is a way of giving visibility to new Italian projects while still including international artists?
Obviously we hope that this release will give visibility to the new projects involved and that the presence of already established projects can represent a sort of “guarantee”, but it is not important that they are Italian rather that they are new, fresh proposals.
The album is released with a limited edition printed on metal, how is this format?
On the one hand, this format responds to the desire to bring different expressive registers, languages and artistic practices back to a single dimension.
It is not the first time that we seek this type of comparison, in the past other releases have been accompanied by audio visual projects and, in one case, even a comic and a cartoon. It also seems to us a great way to avoid vinyl printing, the support we usually prefer and choose but which, as well know, involves considerable costs and management difficulties, which often slow down the activity of the label.
Specifically, it is an injekt print on metal of a
shot by the artist, the idea was to interpret the sound world revealed in the
release through a single image, a single moment captured, imprisoned and
replicated in a deep comparison with the matter that represents its new and
definitive dimension. It’s a
reflection on the relationship between reality and its replicas, its surrogates
to which we seem to be inexorably destined.
This release is the first of three proposals in which the label collaborates with Federico Gargaglione, can you tell us about this cooperation? Who is Federico Gargaglione?
Federico is a friend and an excellent artist who resides in Berlin, mainly focused on the visual register. Despite the numerous solo exhibitions, residencies, publications and awards, he remains an outsider, by choice and sensitivity. This is what struck me immediately and so I proposed to collaborate. We had the opportunity to work on the occasion of the label’s 15th “birthday” at the OhM club in Berlin. The harmony was immediate and we decided to continue this path. Thanks to Federico I came into contact with Tingyun Kuo, another artist of rare sensitivity and availability who assisted him in the making of the prints. It was exciting to follow them in their considerations on the material, the methods of intervention and the related aesthetic implications.
I suppose that the next two releases will follow a similar pattern to this first one, are you already working on it, can you give us some information about these two future releases?
Yes, the direction will be the same although obviously we will tell a different story. We’ve already started collecting the tracks and we hope to be out in 6/8 weeks … but we will not put pressure on the artists and some are still working on their respective projects. For the moment I can tell you that we will see the return of some names with whom we have been collaborating for a long time, alongside new guests and as many new proposals.
Rome is the cradle of great artists, do you think the new generations are up to the level of figures like the D’Arcangelo brothers?
This you should ask the D’Arcangelo brothers. In my opinion, Rome is no longer the city that conquered the interest of the international scene, The potential of a city lies in the contradictions of a metropolis, in the need to give an answer, to articulate paths to conquer spaces of expression otherwise denied. I do not think these needs and dynamics can find space in the current dimension in which, vice versa, trends are decided from above to be made viral thanks to social networks. This does not mean that there are no more good producers in Rome, we know that this is not the case and that there are many valid names that have had their say in recent years, but I do not think there is still the same relationship between the territory, the producers and the scene; in the long run this can lead to a loss of originality and identity, conforming the proposal to the hype of the moment.
And finally. An obligatory question in these strange times is to know your opinion on how the current covid crisis has changed record projects like yours.
We should begin a discourse that would take us too far. Trying to summarize, I would say that the crisis caused by this pandemic has highlighted all the contradictions at the base of our social system. What is revealed day after day is a dystopian scenario on the border between blade runners and idiocracy. At the same time all this mess can represent a great opportunity, opening the doors to new proposals and paths. Obviously, blocking live activities is a problem, especially economically speaking for artists. At the same time the situation does not change much for borderline proposals like our label, where profit is not a priority whether the carousel is spinning or not grit your teeth and move on, simply because that’s what you want.
On the other hand we are in a particular position as privileged interpreters of the dystopian moment we are experiencing, of the contradictions that have exploded and that draw a scenario that we have always evoked and told with our sounds.