In the middle of a global economic depression, what inspired you to begin White Zoo records and its new off shoot, Killed by Disco records?
I could not do anything else, I was one of those child turning over in his hands his favourite records dreaming of a day he would give the catalog number to the records of his own label.
Besides, you're right, it is a period of economic crisis and I’m selling just a few, I still have to cover the costs of those just made.
I also think it was the right thing to do, that someone has to publish those records, I guess they are great records.
With Killed by disco the idea was to remix some songs from the White Zoo bands and to publish stuff that makes me move my ass, which inevitably I’m going to do.
How did growing up in the South of Italy inspire you with its art and culture, does aggressive rock n roll and dance music deserve the same attention as legendary paintings and sculpture?
Growing up in southern Italy can be a source of inspiration in many ways, hahah! Certainly the art and culture of my places inspired me.
More generally, to answer your question, perhaps Mozart counts less than Bernini? Or The Velvet Underground less than Andy Warhol? So I would say that rock and roll and dance music are as important as the works of painters and sculptors, including those most legendary.
When we spoke earlier, you described yourself as a baroque punk. Could you explain to our American audience what that means and how does it differ from the commercial style of U.S top 40 punk, such as Green Day, Bad Religion, etc.
I grew up in a city, Lecce, in Puglia, where Baroque architecture and art plays an important part of aesthetics and culture, and this inevitably ends up influencing you, you begin to consider the meaning of art starting with the one which is nearest to you visually. The Baroque is extreme, in addition to being an explosion of different styles (Greek influence, Latin, Eastern…) meeting under the same style. To me “Punk” was always a matter of attitude as well, so when they ask me about punk rock, and sometimes you know how they can become pedantic or believe to be the custodians of absolute truth, dear Kevin, often I answer that to me it doesn’t matter that much because I am a baroque-punk, lol.
To understand and reflect about the Baroque influence, abouth how it could give you headaches and can be sexy I advice to these young Americans to watch Carmelo Bene movies, he was one of the greatest geniuses of the twentieth century, and he obviously came from my land. It’s time he should be discovered and appreciated in America, why I always have to take care of everything? Lol.
There is worldwide underground of electro and punk fusion, how is this altering the landscape of the traditional band? Is there more music happening on-line or in the bars, where bands are basically selling drinks for the venues?
I think that “underground” always enjoy good health, people just need a bit of interest in good music and to be open minded.
However there has always been a hybrid genre. Blending punk and electro is not new at all. “Punk” has defined the “Post” of rock & roll and pop music so much, speaking of music and attitude, and it was inevitable and natural that many of these musicians felt some interest for weird electronic sounds. Just think of Suicide or Chrome, bands that fuse the most essential and acid rock with electronic sounds.
Just a few days ago I bought a record of Lou Champagne System on Medical Records, a label from Seattle devoted to the synth-punk of the late '70s and early '80s, which publishes excellent reprints. They also reprinted Chrisma, an italian band, for example.
How intense are Italian women? What role do women play in the male-dominated music industry? I always think if I band isn’t attracting female attention, it may need to revise its song process! Do you find this to be true?
Italian women can be as intense as any other. Sure there are differences, but also many common features. I’m Italian so I’m gonna talk about my mother! For example she’s a very intense woman: a strong mix of Arabic and Italian blood, and she has also a unique Afro hair. I always tried to make her angry the less than possible.
About the role that women play in the music industry I can tell you that it seems to me that things are changing, I happen to see more and more women play positions of power at the booking agencies or management agencies, but I don’t find a great difference between their behavior and the men behaviour. This is music business and it could be extremely boring.
Regarding the musical aspect I think you're right. Personally I am one of those that when hear or compose a song would privilege his feminine side. Of course it would be sad to put music or playing in a club and not see the girls having fun with the guys.
Do you feel that a band or individual that defines their existence by genre, are actually limiting their own expressions and exposure to the world? How much of an influence should real life experience be in the creative process?
It depends. Sometimes we use the definitions for convenience. Taxi for example used to say they play punk rock, but in my opinion they were the first to know that they were doing something different. The music, just as with real life, evolves no matter what the artists say or play or they say they are playing.
About myself as an individual you better go back to the concept of baroque-punk, hahaha.
With the breakthrough exposure of Guida in legendary rock journals such as Rolling Stone and Mojo, White Zoo is gaining momentum. What changes does the exposure have on your other releases?
I'm still waiting, hahaha! I think Giuda is a great band. But I also believe that all the other bands on White Zoo records are very great bands.
The Silver Cocks for example have created one of the greatest “Punk” record of the last decade, Livitnenko is a hymn. It is up to me as to them to achieve the deserved notoriety.
Where do you see White Zoo and Killed by Disco in the future? Will there be an Italian Invasion of music in the U.S?
There has always been this supposed Italian invasion on the American soil! What about punk or disco music of the 70s? What about Dave Mancuso, Francis Grasso, Johnny Genzale? Now make your way to the originals! Hahaha!
For the future I hope there will be enough place and money to keep producing the music I like with my two little creatures. I hope people have fun, laugh and have sex while listening to the music I produced. I hope to become as rich as Dino de Laurentiis and visit you in Los Angeles.
Is there anything you would like to say to our readers? Feel free to say whatever is on your mind….
Dear readers, this is my first American interview, so if you cross Kevin in a bar pay him a beer! Eternal love and respect for him! Ciao America!
cheers, We eagerly await the next move of Sergio and White Zoo!