Here’s our chat with Derozer, the historical band from Vicenza
In a hot July afternoon we’re meeting one of the most representative Italian punk rock bands of the last 30 years: the legendary Derozer.
Radio Punk: Starting off, it’s a great honour for me to sit right by Seby and to have the opportunity to chat with him. That being said, let’s start with the first question: how does this tour make you feel like, this celebration around Italy? How is the public responding to it?
Seby Derozer: For now, we only have 4 gigs booked. These gigs will seriously make it into Derozer’s history. I don’t know why, but it feels exactly like you said: an important event, as we’re celebrating both our 30 years as a band and 20 years of “Alla Nostra Età”. So it’s a double deal and I must say, punk rockers are responding pretty well to it.
RP: Since after the last album, released a year ago, what are your plans now? Will you be back in the studio? Is there going to be a follow-up?
S: Yeah, for sure. We’ll be recording some more stuff but we’ll follow what is now the latest trend: we’ll release singles. Once every few months we’ll put one out and eventually, when we’ll have a big enough amount of tracks, we’ll make them into a record. It’s tough though, maybe it’ll just be some strictly limited editions. Because- As you know, -at this point in time- no one’s buying records anymore..
RP: Apart from the most loyal fans…
S: Yeah, but the most loyal fans are a limited amount. We’ll make them just for those people, something for our diehard fans out there!
RP: We’ll be waiting for it then! Speaking of people… how do you consider the scene, has it changed? You’ve been in it for 30 years now, you’ve surely seen quite a few things…
S: Yes. When we started, punk rock was something for lowlives, no one would care about you. Then there’s been the 90s comeback and we were on the front row, being fully hit by that wave, which has -also- been our lucky shot. Then winds changed, and punk rock went back to the place where it belongs in my opinion, and that is: being an antagonist genre. Even if it’s hard playing punk rock in Italy, as much as it was back when we started 30 years ago. It takes a lot of guts, passion, courage and determination. Sadly the new generation tends to want it all at once, but it’s not like that and we’re living proof of it. Thousands of gigs under our belt, of which hundreds were not payed, so it really takes persistence. With social media we try to achieve everything in the shortest time possible, but unfortunately (or luckily so) it doesn’t work like that.
RP: Do you think it’s a matter of politics too as well? Is there less will to rebel, and to send out a message? Because that’s a core component of punk music.
S: No doubt about it. However, we also need to take a look at the economics of the country. After all, people still make a good living in Italy because, no matter how much they complain, you still get to live a good life here: on a Saturday night you’ll struggle to find an open table at any restaurant, if you want a low cost flight you can have it… I’d say the waters are not that tough right now, and it’s hard to start a revolution on a full belly. There’s widespread prosperity, and that softens the revolutionary spirit. Maybe it’s the new generations’ parents’ fault as well, who are too -much- well-off and only tend to be concerned with themselves.
RP: Let’s talk about music instead. Do you have a dearest memory, spanning these past 30 years? Something that happened during a gig, something weird…
S: Oh, so many! I haven’t kept count of all the live gigs we’ve had, but they’re surely more than 2000, and all kinds of things happened, I’m actually struggling to remember them all. But anytime I think about BrancaDay, and how everyone starts singing it as soon as we start playing it, both in Italy and abroad… that’s something that always touches me deep down.
I also remember a gig at the Palavobis in Milan, however, many years ago, where for a bunch of different reasons very few people ended up coming to. There were something like 300 people in a sports hall. So we told everyone to come near the stage, and they sang all the songs from beginning to end. It felt like a Beatles concert! It was a very touchy moment for me, breathtaking! I realized that not only we had fans, but also people who cared a lot about us.
RP: I think affection is essential. And, at least for me, every time I’ve seen you live it was hard not to get carried away and sing together.
S: Yeah, that’s essential. And tonight we’ll finally have the opportunity to play without barricades, which for us are insane architectural limitations. We need to feel the audience. We were born as a band playing small places, always in touch with the audience. Now, with the new regulations we’re forced to have all the singing kids far away from us, and we do suffer a lot because of this. So tonight will be a great chance to get back to our roots and have a one on one with the people again, and keep them close to us.
RP: Can you spot any differences, and if so which ones, between Italian and foreign gigs? How does people’s approach to punk rock differ?
S: Basically, the difference I can spot is… well, we do tour abroad a lot less now, but we used to be signed to and managed by a label from Germany, and we would play there very often there – any time I meet a German kid and they tell me where they’re from, even a small town in the middle of nowhere, I know where that is, cause we played hundreds of times in Germany, all over the country. I’ll tell you, the main difference, at least with Germany, is this: at the end of the gig they’ll buy the album, the cd, the lp; at the end of the gig you’ll sell those 50-60 records, and maybe 5 shirts as well. Whereas in Italy you’ll mainly sell t-shirts and maybe one LP. That’s the difference, over there they tend to value everything more, the support of the scene, and the artist.
RP: Do you believe it’s possible to make the trend shift? It there any chance? Is there any hope at all?
S: No, not at this point. See, you go to people’s places… At my place there’s 2000 vinyls, I don’t know where to put the cds anymore, there’s musical devices anywhere, from record players to cassette-players, guitars, tons of books… When I go to other people’s places, dunno, let’s say my daughter’s parents’ folks, there’s no records there, no cds, no record players, no books. And so I’d say it’s really a cultural issue. From this point of view, the battle was lost and there’s no turning back.
RP: Despite that, the significance of the punk’s spirit, of keeping it going. For your own self, for others…
S: Yeah well, for sure! I mean, as long as we’re having fun on the stage, as long as and we fit well with one another, and as long as we enjoy writing songs and showcasing them, there will be no end word in our chapter.
RP: I’ll ask you one last question, and I’ll admit that I myself I’m not into soccer, but rumours have it that you’ve been at the Curva of the Vicenza Stadium for years now… So how do you regard soccer, and its scene? Is it still a popular thing? Or has the spirit of unity been lost over there as well?
S: No, surely both the Curva and the stadium still have their outmost popular undertones. Surely the dispositions and the mindsets have changed a little. For example speaking of Curva’s, if up until a couple of years ago the most important thing was the team, and we’d do anything for the team, now the most important thing is in turn the group, things are done for the group. The group is way more important nowadays. But it’s still a very sane situation, it’s popular culture, an atmosphere that I enjoy quite a lot. Both the one you get in the Curva and the one at the stadium in general, I like it a lot.
Also because it reminds me of my childhood, I started going to the stadium when I was a little kid back in 1975, and I’ve never stopped going since, I was mesmerized by those roars of the crowd and that incredible energy it had. During the very long European Tours, I would always go see soccer games on my days off, I’ve been to almost all european stadiums! I really am a big soccer fan!
And Before we say goodbye, let’s cheer to Seby and Derozer’s other major passion: Brancamenta, obviously! In between sips we even have the chance to take some photos and recall the old times in squats in Friuli (i.e. the region we’re from, excuse the utter localism here) and we talked about how much effort it takes to make a living nowadays, both as bands and as venues. As always tho, never give up!
Thanks to Seby and Derozer, to Debora from Indiebox, and see you in the pit!
If you want the photos in high definition write to email@example.com
Soon the report of all the punk and hardcore concerts at Sherwood will be out with new photos, stay tuned!
Interview by Radio Punk
Photos by Francesco Dose