Enrico Melozzi: “With new sounds I conquer future generations”

Ten thousand people for the first edition of The Night of the Serpents, the big concert conceived and directed by maestro Enrico Melozzi to celebrate Abruzzo culture and the region’s musical tradition, held last Saturday 29 July at the Stadio del Mare in Pescara. It was the opening of the evening Mr. Rain, who surprisingly took the stage accompanied by the chorus of Little Singers of Peacegiving the public of Pescara “Nu seed Nu”, an unedited version of “Super heroes embellished by refrain rewritten for the occasion in Abruzzo dialect. Giusy Ferreri lent his unmistakable voice to Mare Maje (Dark Maje)”, one of the songs of the popular tradition of Abruzzo, with a performance that moved the audience and the artist herself. Gianluca Grignaniafter getting excited with When you’re out of breath, he proposed “Paradise destination” with new arrangements linked to the Abruzzo tradition and the accompaniment of the choir in new parts in dialect inserted in the text of one of the greatest hits of the singer-songwriter. In the cast of The Night of the Serpents also the Albanian singer Elsa Lila and the songwriter Setak.

Enrico let’s start from La Notte dei Serpenti: when did the idea come about and how did you work on it?

The idea was born two years ago when the Abruzzo Region invited me to curate a project to enhance regional music. But the real beginning dates back to 35 years ago in Teramo, where I was born, in the folk choir where I learned these songs of our tradition handed down orally. It was wonderful to shoot them and the fact that I remembered them all was a huge plus. Readjusting them was the simplest job even if at the beginning I was afraid, I felt the weight of expectations. I invited those boys from the choir and the teacher at the time and I was anxious. Then I saw smiles and tears and I calmed down. It is a necessary and fundamental operation for future generations, captured by a sound that nevertheless knows how to fascinate.
Today the sense of roots is increasingly strong: how can initiatives like this strengthen them and help make millennials aware of their origins?

Meanwhile renewing the sound without affecting the story. It was a restoration, like a destroyed church that you rebuild respecting its original beauty. I created a short circuit that proves that language is alive. The translation has sometimes created a poem superior to the original.
Thinking after all, are you satisfied with the result or would you change something? I also ask you how you worked on the arrangements.

With firm bowls I tell you that I am much more than satisfied with what I expected, when you experiment it can be a success but also a failure. I’ve never stopped experimenting for years, especially since I started working in the musical world loved by the masses. On this occasion I did very little on the arrangements, the difficult thing was to create the operational machine and get it up and running. We already went to the rehearsals with a defined sound: the last ones were short because we were run in. It’s a method I’ve refined over time, I’m very strict in rehearsals. I think it was a great job because we are all craftsmen.
If you had to explain your collective music workshop to a teenager, given that we are in the era of individualism, what would you tell him?

It was a provocative gesture with sensational results. It was created above all to make composers understand that they are extreme individualists: they are always alone and do not share the work until it is finished. In the work it happened that the pluridiplomato was rejected and the rookie hit them all. It was a great moment of collective growth: Conservatories have lost their artistic spirit, they should follow these examples.
Let’s move on to Sanremo: since after the covid you have been one of the most requested conductors. What is it like working at the Festival?

More and more beautiful as the years go by. This year I followed my idea for Mr Rain and we carried it forward. The early years I was more of a performer. Now I have more fun because I invent things. Music must unite and there must be no fanatics and loggers.
Can you tell me about your first time at the Ariston? And, assuming he’s on Amadeus’ list, who would you like to direct in 2024?

It was absurd, I was in a ball, I lost my coat with pass, documents and hotel key. When I said goodbye I was paralyzed and Noemi, who I was directing, told me I looked like a Melotti cartoon. I understood that I had to invent something and let my personality come out. The next edition I would like to direct Luca Carboni. I saw the video of his first time at the Festivalbar and it moved me: he is an extraordinary artist with enormous talent.
What happens in the world of Cinik Records?

It’s an experience that ended a few years ago. It was important because it proved to be my real training ground, I learned to direct, mix, produce, take care of the relationship with artists and bring out the best in them. But a label means that the artist trusts you even after the end of a record and it’s a world I’ve never understood, it doesn’t concern the artistic sphere but the entrepreneurial one. I get to the master’s then it’s someone else’s job because it becomes a more entrepreneurial activity and that’s not my world.
Your story is made up of debut works: the 100Cellos, the Orchestra Notturna Clandestina, the Classical Music Clandestine Raves: what is the next horizon?

I’d like to be able to bring one of my operas, ballets or symphonic works to La Scala, the Bolshoi or New York as a classical composer. Then I would like to take a closer look at Sanremo, stay in the control room. I’ll even put in a Broadway musical.
What will happen this August?

I work with Gennaro Nunziante who wants me for the soundtrack of the film with Pio and Amedeo. Then I’m busy with another film, this time by Simona Cocozza, a debut feature entitled “Below Deck” and it’s all in Neapolitan. Then there is the editing of La Notte Serpenti for television. There are artists who want to produce albums for them. And I’m alone. I follow my father’s advice who was a restorer: once he told me if you have an assistant you have to do the job twice, the first time because you have to explain it to him, the second time because he wouldn’t do it the way you thought anyway.