by Gio Pilato
Rome is often described as one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world but what many don't know is that, behind the sheer beauty of its monuments, there is one of the most prolific and robust blues generation that Italy has produced for a very long time.
One of the most inspired records of 2013 belonging to the "Nouvelle Vague" of Italian blues comes from the Dead Shrimp, a three-pieces band made by Alessio Magliocchetti Lombi on guitar, Sergio De Felice as lead singer and Gianluca Giannosso on drums. Their debut album has been recognized by the Italian press as one of the most powerful and intense records of 2013.
Bluebirdreviews is delighted to have today Alessio Magliocchetti Lombi to talk about their brilliant debut album.
Gio - Alessio, welcome on Bluebirdreviews! Your debut album is one of the very few gems coming from the Italian music scene in 2013; where did the idea of the name of the band come from?
Alessio - Thank you for your kind words about the album. The idea of the name of the band comes from one of the songs from Robert Johnson's catalogue (Dead Shrimp Blues). The choice has been very much instinctive, we were immediately captured by the sound of the two words and we went for it.
Gio - There seems to be a common ground in the blues scene in Italy about trying and recreate the Delta Blues sound in what has been now nicknamed the "Nu Bluez" scene. In your case, which artists have influenced and still influence your music style?
Alessio - As I was previously mentioning, certainly Robert Johnson has been one of the most important influences for the band; other names I can think of are Fred McDowell, Bukka White, Blind Willie Johnson amongst others. Then comes our personal approach as musicians, for which everyone brings their own color and style as individuals and is the result of many influences, not just coming from blues, but from other music genres too; the combination of the influences I just told you and our approach and craftsmanship, hopefully gives to our music the right depth and layer of what we wish to express as a blues band.
Gio - Dead Shrimp has been recorded in just 3 days; did you have the recording material ready when you went in the studio or some of the tracks have been improvised or re-arranged on the spot during the sessions?
Alessio - When we arrived in the studio, we knew already what to do so there has been no new arrangement on any of the tracks. We had been touring for almost a year and when we felt we were ready to record an album, we decided to take three months and record in our studio the new tracks that ended up on the album. In answer to your question, it was just a matter of recording the tracks and to put, as we say in Italy "black on white" on the recording although in those 3 days, what you hear on the album may be also the result of a particular state of mind or feeling that might have been influential to some tracks, adding a slight different tone or mood. But all in all, it's just us being us and putting our hearts and souls in what we do.
Gio - As you just mentioned, the record shows a robust sound and a genuine, honest approach to the roots of the blues coming from your hearts, in true blues tradition. But when exactly Dead Shrimp were born as a band?
Alessio - About 3 years ago, I met Sergio (De Felice, the singer) for which I had already a great respect as an artist and a human being and when I mentioned to him that I wanted to form a band, Sergio was very enthusiast about the idea. After 1 year spent together as a duo and playing together, just guitar and voice in small clubs as acoustic blues duo, I decided to ask Gianluca (Giannasso, on drums) whether he was interested in joining the band. I knew Gianluca already having worked together with him in different music projects before the Shrimp and I had already a lot of respect and admiration for him as a musician and a personal friend; Gianluca jumped to the idea of creating the Dead Shrimp and we started playing together late 2011 and here we are now!
Gio - Mary is one of the many inspired tracks on the album; how did you get the inspiration for the lyrics?
Alessio - Sergio is the creative engine on almost the entirety of the lyrics of the album; he is able often to take inspiration from a sentence one of us might say about life in general and he is able brilliantly to work on it and create a story on that; Mary was almost born "on the spot" as a track, from Sergio's lyrics and my guitar riff on the sofa in my house. I had the central mantra of the track with me and when Sergio came to my place he said: " I have got the right lyrics, play it again". He sang his lyrics and after 3 minutes, "Mary" was born; Gianluca then added his very recognizable touch on drums and the song in the end is really the result of three creative minds working in unison.
Gio - Alessio, in your opinion, is the blues as a genre that chooses his prophets or viceversa?
Alessio - I couldn't be able to give a final answer on that; I was raised on Bread and Led Zeppelin when I was 14 and perhaps you just absorb what comes natural for you, from your natural instinct; through the years, becoming an adult and going through the roots of the genre, what was initially an adolescent music flirt for me became a true love and deep inside you are never sure whether the blues chooses you or is the other way round. We just know we live together very well.
Gio - After the success in your own country, are you planning to promote the record also outside Italy? And if so, where Bluebirdreviews' fans can purchase your record?
Alessio - The record is already available in different platforms such as iTunes or Amazon (see link above) and is available either in CD or in MP3 format. Should Bluebirdreviews Fans want to listen to the album before hand, they can do so; we are present on streaming platform such as Spotify so they can make up their mind. We would really love to promote the record abroad and we hope to do so very soon, watch out for us!
Gio - In your debut album there is, as a special guest on three tracks, Roberto Luti from the Tres, one of the most loved and respected blues band in Italy. How was the collaboration with Roberto Luti born?
Alessio - We met in Rome in a club called Circolo Degli Artisti on stage during an event arranged by Mojo Station (one of the most prominent blues circuit and organization in Italy) just few days before going in the studio to record the debut album. We got on immediately very well, had few drinks together and we left each other with the good intention of working together one day. Just before we went in the studio, I thought about that good night of music and I decided to call Roberto, asking whether he was available to come to Rome and join us in studio. Roberto was very happy to be part of the recording process and when he came to the studio, the recording was so good that on every note, on every riff, I couldn't hide a very big smile on my face because I had the feeling we were creating something truly special, as I hope we did.
Gio - Alessio, Dead Shrimp are very busy collectively as a band but also individually, being you guys involved in other music projects within the beautiful blues scene that Rome has. Is in your opinion the artistic interchange, the cameraderie among artists the true secret of the Italian blues scene?
Alessio - Interesting question; it is true that there are some excellent relationships between artists that sometimes end up being also artistic collaboration but is not the case all the time. I believe that each individual blues entity within our country brings their music, their own unique style, different cards on the table but fundamentally belonging to the same deck. Whether this is the secret, I do not know but is good to know that works very well on a national scale.
Gio - In true blues style Dead Shrimp's style explodes at its best when you guys play live. Have you got already planned the Tour Dates for this summer?
Alessio - We have already planned to play few festivals although a precise calendar has not been completed yet. We will certainly the readers of Bluebirdreviews know all about it.
Gio - Alessio, do you reckon that the blues coming from Italy is finally ready to shine also outside of your country?
Alessio - I believe so. Some blues artists coming from our blues scene have already taken their live shows in Europe, some in America too and this is certainly very encouraging for our genre; to challenge ourselves as artists or overall as human being is an important aspect of our lives, personally and musically speaking therefore I would say: "Yes, we definitely are ready"!
Alessio, many thanks for the interview, we look forward to see you and the band coming to America very soon and best of luck for your great debut album.
Alessio - Many thanks to you, Gio and all at Bluebirdreviews and all our American friends and supporters.
Follow Dead Shrimp on Spotify
About Our Author:
Giovanni "Gio" Pilato is Italian music writer, who has been living in UK since 2002. With an enormous passion for music, and life in general, his interest in the communications began at 11 years old. He worked briefly for local radios in his youth and did a one-off radio show on 2007 on the glorious BBC 6 Music Radio station. Gio started his freelance journalist career in 2012, with Italian artists, and is now focusing on blues artists mainly.
To follow Gio Pilato and his all cool radio show, visit: (RTL 102.5 Cool (Webradio)): http://www.rtl.it/Cool