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Community, conviviality, commonality. THE Nuclear Tactical Penguinswaiting for stadiums in 2023, greet 2022 with a new album, Fake News, full of suggestions, quotations, poetry and contemporaneity. with Riccardo Zanotti, Elio Biffi, Nicola Buttafuoco, Matteo Locati, Simone Pagani And Lorenzo Pasini I entered the world of theirs Fake News.
Albums and stadiums. The flight is always higher.
For us it has been an incredible journey that we never expected. We were tied to our circle of fans then we discover that we exist because we see ourselves reflected in the eyes of others. There were ten of you at the first conference, for years we did everything by ourselves with a common fund and no press office. The first CDs were free to offer.
You have chosen as the title of the new album Fake News: Why?
The title was born this summer in Cattolica in a moment in which, as often happens, we were talking about this and that: the life of a band is also sharing, that is, hotels, transfers, lunches, it is not just being on stage. During a wait we started discussing fake news and how they can pollute any debate. We put lies into songs by inserting stories heard and news captured in our songs. This is a true and somewhat self-referential album. In Zen we talk about how difficult it is to do this job even if we are privileged because there is pressure and competition that seem to crush us. Barfly, I’m not Cool and indeed Zen they are self-referential. Then there is the relationship with the pandemic and the relative confinement, therefore there are passages of solitude. Things are faced together, we are community, we compensate each other and we like to think that a kid could, seeing us, want to play in a band.
Also face the last two years of our lives, those related to the pandemic.
In the pandemic we felt prey to discomfort and we deal with it Perhaps And Hikikomori. It seemed hypocritical not to talk about it, an album of only love songs would not have been real. It took us a long time to do it, the first arrangement was drafted a year and a half ago; some songs have changed several times, have matured; in the studio we take a long time because there are debates and comparisons. But there is also the responsibility towards an audience that then knows how to perceive the bass line, the voice and the guitar and it is an added value in the frontman’s season: the bands are disappearing and we proudly carry this banner forward.
There are pieces that refer to music that goes beyond trap and others that are more singer-songwriter with stories behind them that tell something about our generation, like Class dinner that tells how you grow up and face life’s obstacles. It’s a very varied album that doesn’t betray the pop of recent years but veers more towards rock, even if those who have listened to us live know that we are rock. Here we made it more evident.
Speaking of fake news: last summer the one that Riccardo would have left the group came out.
There is superficiality when you only look at the frontman. Riccardo brings the germinal idea then we work it together. He was in Ireland when he found me in this situation and in a flow of fake news: who supported a solo career, who would present himself at the Music Awards, who quit for money… this made us understand the meaning of fake news. He was bad, he didn’t have a good day.
What is your concept of fake news?
They have an incredible charm, they are almost a drug, one gets pumped up with them and they can have more perspectives. But the truth, albeit seen from different angles, is one: they can also condition reality and it could be a syndrome since whoever has power can create them. Ten years ago maybe no one knew its meaning, today yes but we don’t know how to defend ourselves. We can all fall prey to it, no matter the intelligence. We know that if we say a line in a song it can have consequences.
How do you feel generational?
There are spaces to fill for each generation, we by our nature fill one that is not very popular today. It’s almost as if the kind of Pop we make is a niche. We don’t know if we are generational but we certainly have stakes and differences with respect to many things that come out. The mission is to stay in time because that’s how you become generational. But we still have a lot to prove. This is why we tell you that we don’t know if we are a generational phenomenon but we want to become one, starting from the fact that we are something atypical in the Italian panorama. We are generationally close to each other and we have the desire to represent what people see, our clichés, in a positive sense, passing from common place to community place. Between us there is a dynamic balance that is perceived by the public.
Being multi-platinum means that millions of people are listening to you.
Know that Fake News it will be heard by many more people it encourages us because many will go into more detail about what we do. We don’t think about whether a song can be a single but about the fact that if it goes on the record it must be beautiful. We hear the expectations and read the comments. Our story is born on stage, born from physicality. Clearly expectations scare and having made songs that went well we feel responsibilities but we are also aware that there may come a time when things don’t go well and we will face it together. We work a lot in the studio, never spent so much time in that dimension.
Hikikomori describes the sense of isolation of so much of humanity.
It’s not a healthy way of living and to get out of human isolation you have to go towards choral and community experiences. It creates psychological problems but that phenomenon of laziness and listlessness is a mistake of modern society: if we talk about people who are not at ease in society, the problem is with society not with the individual. If the theme is competitiveness, it becomes difficult to be together. People can be happy even without success.
In I’m Cool you remove a few pebbles from your shoe.
We take a few digs into how an establishment that puts cool at the center works. For us, that’s not the way, you have to do your artistic work well.
And here we are on the stadium tour.
It was a gamble and it is right that there are criticisms. But the results are there and we hope the disc will bring even more people. On ticketing sites you see the numbers. We will remain the boys next door even if we play ten stadiums. We spent hours in the rehearsal room even when we sang for a few people. The feet remain on the ground. We didn’t expect to do such a tour even though we respect ourselves a lot as artists. We are building ideas that lead live to a narrative experience on our history: let’s think about the piece Dentist Croatia and to that van that really exists. We want to continue our stories. Our approach to live has changed, we have to rearrange the repertoire without losing singability.
In your texts there are subtle quotations and witty puns, I quote for everyone the rain in Pigneto.
Our first time in Rome was in a place called ‘na cosetta right in Pigneto, it was microscopic but full of dates. It was raining that day and there is a lot of Rome in the song but also a lot of us. Ironic things are often the result of our inside jokes. Music is one of the last free spaces that poetry once had. Words are important. There is almost a perverse pleasure in seeing how people interpret a sentence knowing that it means something else entirely to us.
Make fun of Trap and Maneskin.
We would like to say that after a while a certain Trap can start to tire. But there are people like Bresh and Leon Faun who know how to constantly innovate. Then there is the aesthetics of flexing which tends to inflate the small success and it is there that we build the controversy in the text. There is esteem with Maneskin, we are both bands, we have talked to each other several times. They pay more attention to aesthetics and it’s a good thing that a project like this has traveled the world building something that has never happened in the past. Of course when we look in the mirror we don’t see the Maneskins.
Where is your identity?
We have entered a free space for a band that brings pop music. We sat there we took that space which is now getting bigger. We like to think that everything that comes is the result of work. For us everything is consequential, everything is the result of something else that happened before.
After the stadiums, are you thinking of aiming for the foreign market?
The English world is a world that fascinates us. We don’t know if the Penguins could have grown in London, especially in the beginning when you don’t have the money. Our first commandment was not to invest our savings but what we earn, in fact they had a common fund. Ours is a very Italian project and this is perhaps the most complex step because some things don’t exist in other languages, they are only ours.