A strange figure, half-fish. and half-woman. That’s the cover of new Dente‘s album ‘Canzoni per metà’ (half-written songs) out in October 2016. The songwriter from Fidenza (Parma) will be playing in London at The Forge on 22 March and he will end his European tour with TIJ Events in Madrid.
How has the tour gone so far?
It’s going well. We have started at the end of October and we have scheduled many dates in different places because I wanted to cover the whole of Italy and more. So it’s a bit tiring compared to my other past tours.
And how is the new album going? What’s your audience reaction?
My audience welcomed the new album really well. It is a quite unique album in which there are many things that can remind of my debut.
The new album is also available on vinyl.
We have already reprinted the vinyl because the first 500 copies were sold quickly.
The title is Canzoni per metà. What does it mean?
As I said, it is a very unusual album. These songs are love songs and so they are written for one’s other half. But some of them can also look like half-songs, kind of unfinished. There are twenty songs, some very short, lasting less than one minute, some with no refrain and some are just a refrain.
As you mentioned the album is quite peculiar. Do you think that the contemporary audience is not patient anymore as to listen to long-form songs?
Patience has vanished, nobody listens to anything anymore. It’s easier to listen to a one-minute song than a five-minutes one. But actually, you need a wider patience to listen to a whole album. There are no radio-friendly songs on this album.
Did you include the short songs in the new tour’s repertoire?
Some of them. Four or five songs. My repertoire is getting kind of bulky and I want to avoid the gig lasting three hours.
The first song of the new album is ‘Canzoncina‘, in which you state songwriters do not sell albums anymore. What do you think about the current Italian music scene?
I think it’s alive and in good health. In the last few months, many good works have been released. Works likely to be appreciated by a wider audience. It happened in many places but in Italy, everything happens ten or fifteen years later. In the UK independent labels are in the charts together with the mainstream, in Italy it has just happened.
So which are the names in the contemporary Italian music scene that you would suggest?
Dario Brunori for example. Calcutta is a good songwriter whose gigs are always packed. There is also Poi (Giorgio Poi), produced by Bomba Dischi, as well. Also Cosmo, who has a completely different style from mine, but I really like him. There is a lot of variety in Italy.
You will play at ‘The Forge’ in London. Your music has been described as alternative indie and commercial/pop. What do you think about the term ‘indie’?
I have never liked it because in Italy it has always been confused with a genre. Cosmo and myself are described as ‘indie’ and the audience thinks we play the same boring niche music. If ‘indie’ means I’m not involved with the majors then is OK. People should not look at the labels, but just listen to music. There are many historical fakes in Italy, like Ministri. They were always been labelled as indie but their first three albums were produced by Universal. Same thing for Baustelle. In my opinion, there simply is good and bad music.
In ‘Geometria sentimentale‘ you talk about not having money, having wasted time and ruined your reputation. Where does your inspiration come from?
(Dente laughs) It all comes from personal experience, I cannot write stories I have just heard about. I have to live these things in person. That song is quite old and it was kind of stream of consciousness. I did not have the money to pay the rent, that’s why I wrote those words.
You played all the album by yourself. Why?
This album has been in my mind for long time. I wanted all these odd songs to be placed in a single container. I wanted to record it at home with inexpensive tools. I wanted to record it intentionally bad. Then I changed my mind. I thought I could be misunderstood. So I recorded that in a studio, but alone.
Your record label, Pastiglie, produced your last album. Are you planning to produce other artists as well?
It is something I have done just for myself, to understand what does it mean being a label owner. But I have so little time I cannot work as a music-industry executive.
Manuel Agnelli, frontman of Afterhours, has recently taken part as a judge in last Italy’s X Factor edition. Would you ever considered that opportunity?
I don’t know, it depends on many things. Manuel already knew that he would create some confusion. But he did that consciously. The only thing that scares me and maybe him as well is the popularity. Suddenly overnight everybody in Italy knows you and you cannot go shopping anymore. In this sense, I am privileged because I can choose, I can go out and be popular or not. If I go to Brunori’s concert they will know who I am, if I go shopping to the supermarket nobody knows me. And I really like to go shopping! I can choose wheter to be cool or a normal person. But when you take such decision, like Manuel did, you are deemed. It’s a strong life-changing choice. Big musicians like Vasco Rossi, they do not have a normal life.
You have recently gone live on Facebook a few times to talk about your new album. What kind of relationship do you have with social media?
I do everything by myself because I have never found somebody who does it better than me. And I am bad. If it’s not me writing on my Facebook page the audience feels it. When I released my second to last album with Sony they curated my Facebook page and it was kind of a relief for me. But people stopped me on the street asking who was writing on my Facebook page. People love social media when they are spontaneous.
Dente will be playing at The Forge on 22 March. To book your tickets click here.