Thirteen urgent songs, Vinicio Capossela’s album. The interview

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Is titled 13 urgent songs the new album by Vinicio Capossela. Mirror of the historical moment we are living, the singer-songwriter, born in 1965, wrote it between February and June 2022.

What relationship do you have with urgency?

Urgency, even at the postal level, is defined as something that must arrive quickly and which involves the payment of a surcharge. You have to see if you choose to pay the extra, then one says “okay, we’ll get there sooner”. In this case I chose to pay the extra charge.

Does the live dimension go well with the urgency to tell something?

It goes well, but the recording goes even better, because we entrust to the recording something that goes beyond the contingency of whoever is inside a club or in that place, in that place. The truth is that, well, that’s the urgency: all things can be urgent in some way. In a condition of danger we all become urgent. As for the things we do, there are things we do for an immediate time and for whoever is there at that precise moment. Writing or recording – on the other hand – is something we do in a more impersonal way, it’s like entrusting a message to a bottle. To do that, we have to make room. If we decide to do something, we must necessarily make room. If we fall in love with someone we have to make room in our lives, to welcome, to create space in this time; if we want to write we have to stop doing what we were doing; in short, if we have to record, we need to make some space. Certain things impose themselves on others, they impose themselves. Writing and recording means trying to go beyond the contingency and talk to someone you don’t see. However, the live music is extraordinary. It truly is the closest way to realizing an urgency. I wrote a song and I want to sing it right away in front of someone. However, at the same time, it is also the most ephemeral, it takes place in an all-encompassing dimension, however, completely ephemeral, because it only leaves the reverberation of an emotion in those who took part in it. So, when we want certain things to be durable, we have to rely on this impersonal thing that is the recording. On the other hand, I must also say that, in the situation I find myself in, 32 years after my first album, choosing to write, record, produce is a choice that must have strong motivations, because it is much easier to continue to do what was done and do it quietly live. Live people come to listen much more pleasantly to what they already know.

An evocative number appears in the title, 13. Why?

The songs it was not established a priori how many there should be. However, what I can say is that they were all written “jointly”, as they say in the jurisprudence. They respond jointly to a need, in the sense that they are songs written all together and all at the same time. In the end, we paid attention to this number, because it is a particular number, 13, in the sense that it has that extra unit that goes beyond 12, which is a number with completely different characteristics. 12 is precisely the number of cyclicality, the number of order. 12 are the months, the shades, the apostles, there are so many things that go by the dozen. While 13, with one more unit, introduces a condition of chaos, of disorder. So, in a sense, it’s a relevant number, because disorder causes the need for even radical change. Then there are many things, even funny, if one goes to study 13. It is the only number that gives rise to a phobia: triscaidekaphobia, is an incomprehensible name that indicates a disorder, the phobia of the number 13, which causes that in certain countries there is no 13th floor in elevators or room number 13; things that probably do not apply to other numbers.

Beyond the urgency, is there anything that ties these 13 songs all together?

Once there was the civil theater; let’s call this a civil disc. In the sense that they are the themes of living together, of living in common. For which, jointly, they also respond for a sense of humanity that goes beyond the individual. Therefore, they are somewhat the themes of living together.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

I am neither an optimist nor a pessimist, at least, I am to the extent that we all are. Talking about something uncomfortable isn’t pessimism, it’s turning on the light on something uncomfortable, something that doesn’t work, something that is interesting because it also affects others. Pessimism and optimism are also strange words, so to speak. There’s a word on the record, which I put into the song The part of the wrong; is a word, a neologism: optimised. The optimists are those who always do things right, as they should be done. So, in a sense, those who are always right, who are unassailable.

“All You Can It” is the title of one of the 13 songs. Can it be the brand of our life today?

It’s not the brand. It is the formula that very well sums up a bulimic characteristic of consumption and production, which is a bit like the one with which – let’s say – the planet is consumed. While you are eating at the “all you can it” restaurant, it is as if you are eating the Earth. It is a model that well expresses an attitude towards consumerist bulimia.

Another song is titled “The part of the wrong”

Everyone chooses what is his part of the wrong. It’s funny because it’s such an ambiguous term, that even saying “the wrong side” is like saying the wrong side, but wrong for what and for whom? Everything is so relative that a phrase like this, the relativism that frightens theologians so much, actually also applies very well to politics, to party representation. Whenever there is a part, it never fails to be inserted into the role play. Sometimes we determine the value of things as opposed to something, but maybe we lose sight of the absolute value of a thing.

Do you hope that these themes, the urgencies of this album, will also become so for other people?

They certainly won’t be because they listen to these songs. The themes that are in these songs are very common themes, they are already there for all to see. I can only say that in a moment in which we don’t act in a community way, in which everyone is a bit alone to face the discomfort, the sense of danger, it can also be useful to find an inspiration in a song. Songs are a strange mystery, they’re written and then they go places you don’t know. For sure these are songs that come from this time and maybe they will find a way to end up in this time. Or to overcome it, who knows.