Although their origins date back to the late 1970s, post-punk has persevered in the face of changing trends, attracting a following that spans the entire globe and spawning various sub-genres that continue to thrive and evolve.
Our only ‘limitation’ is to keep an element of originality in the songs and not to repeat ourselves
To this day, this scene has retained its alternative inclinations, in the process also growing rapidly and giving rise to underground scenes all over the world that have truly created an international network of like-minded bands as well as instilling a certain sense of brotherhood.
Originally formed in the mid-1990s, Italian band Vidi Aquam is rated highly among the genre’s latter-day generations. Their music draws inspiration from the original post-punk sound and its stripped-down approach, manifesting itself in an electronically-driven set of songs, exude both old-school and contemporary characteristics.
Having undergone a number of line-up changes over the years, the present line-up features founding member Nikita (vocals, synths and programming), Fabio Degiorgi (bass and drums programming) and Daniele Viola (guitar and drums programming). In 2010, the band released its first official CD album, The World Dies.
Apart from various concerts in their Italian homeland, Vidi Aquam have also performed in Switzerland and Germany. On Saturday, the band will be giving its first ever concert in Malta, performing live at V-Gen in Paceville as part of Nuwavemalta’s Darkwaves event. DJ Mozzer will be spinning tunes before and after the band’s performance. Tickets are €10 (at the door) or €7 (advance) and can be ordered online at www.nuwavemalta.com.
Despite being formed in the mid-90s, you only released your debut full-length album in 2010. What took you so long?
Fabio Degiorgi: The album was released so late in our career because of various reasons. There were frequent line-up and musical style changes, and even when, in 2006, we finally settled with our present line-up, we still had to juggle our time between our day jobs and the tasking demands involved when recording an album. Also, the fact that we live in different cities made it that little bit harder.
Prior to The World Dies, you released Ombre Sonore, essentially a one-man project exploring cinematic ambience with a dark twist…
Nikita: Those tracks were recorded in 1994. They were early creations of mine and were released simply to indicate the origins of Vidi Aquam. Since then our sound has evolved considerably to what it is now.
Your music has been described as a mixture of Gothic, post-punk and Darkwave. Do such tags restrict or condition your creative process and how important are they in today’s music market?
FD: We don’t really care for pre-defined styles when we are writing songs. If the tracks come to life with a post-punk or Darkwave mood it’s only because it’s in our DNA.
The music market is in a crisis of its own, so we don’t consider it at all. We’re totally removed from it, because if we ever got into it, we’d probably be asked to go along with some unacceptable compromise.
Daniele Viola: It may sound a little obvious, but we simply do what we like. Our only ‘limitation’ is to keep an element of originality in the songs and not to repeat ourselves.
We never worry about labels – tags are just good words that fit, something useful to describe what we do, but they aren’t in any way a kind of boundary that could stop us in the creative process. As for the ‘music market’– I like this word because it’s more diminutive than ‘music business’. Fabio said it all really, but let me just add that when I tell someone I play in a band, they sometimes suggest we should enter X Factor – I think that says it all too.
Since their emergence Gothic, post-punk and their spin-off sub-genres seem to thrive more in an underground environment than in the full glare of the mainstream. How has this affected Vidi Aquam?
FD: You are right, especially for a Latin country like Italy, where all ‘gothic and dark’ culture and elements generate prejudice and distrust. In general, the underground environment of our kind of music has helped it retain a certain purity.
On the other hand, it also instilled a self-absorbing attitude, often sectarian and sterile, which consequently produced a lot of copycat bands. We strive to be ourselves; we still have our influences but without idolatry to any musical legend.
DV: I just want to add that, from my point of view, Italy is not a country for music, despite what any stereotype may say. It’s true we are in the underground but there’s really no ‘ground’ above us at all.
Despite being Italian, you sing mostly in English…
N: In the past we also sang in French and Italian. Nowadays I prefer to sing in English because it is more ‘musical’ and projects the atmosphere we created on the record better. In the future, I want to sing in Italian and German too, but I have to find songs suited for these languages.
In this genre of music, the mood is very seldom upbeat. What are the elements you find most inspiring when writing songs?
N: The lyrics are usually inspired by different moments of my life; personal emotions and temptations, ideologies we believe are wrong, and so on. I’ve been also inspired by David Lynch movies or by the exhibitionism of some people as well as the false promises that those in power tend to make. I’m very keen on ecology, which is reflected in the title of our album, The World Dies.
A final message before your concert in Malta…
N: We’re expecting a large audience. We promise we won’t let them down and give them a powerful and exciting show.
FD: I’m hoping to find a large and curious audience. In these days where people tend to spend too much time on social networks, I trust in the warmth and spontaneity of the Maltese people.
DV: I’ve always wanted to visit Malta but never had the opportunity, so getting to do it and playing live too is wonderful. It will be a special occasion for us, and I hope lots of people will attend our show.