Hailing from Modena, Italy, Sebastian Lugli and Laura Iacuzio from Rev Rev Rev are all the rage, but have they noticed?
“Actually, we hadn’t noticed to be so noticed…But maybe our perception is biased because less than 1% of our albums are bought in Italy – and this reflects the general relevance that a shoegaze band can have in our country. That’s probably why we don’t miss a chance to escape in the UK (or at least in the rest of Europe) for some gigs.”
Touring brings up many adventures but some are lost in translation, as Sebastian describes juggling a soundcheck alongside talking on the phone with the police:
“Like for many bands, especially those who tour on a budget, we have plenty of adventures to tell – but most of them are not really acceptable to share here! A recent one that comes to mind though was at our gig in Nottingham last October. While we were loading in, a bus hit our car but didn’t stop, so I had to call the police while we were setting up.
“We ended up soundchecking whilst on the phone with the police; sort of pushing further the boundaries of punk… Also, the police had a translation service and the policeman insisted that we should use it, even though we didn’t actually need it as we can speak and understand English reasonably well. They insisted that they wanted us to ‘feel at ease’ using their personalised translation service. But the translator was awful at understanding English and even worse at speaking Italian. So every question from the policeman, which I could perfectly understand, would turn into a nonsense Italian question, and my answer would become a nonsense English sentence. And as I tried to reply directly in English, she would scold me: ‘There’s a translation service. You have to wait for the translation and then reply in Italian!'”
I ask them if they are political: “As a band, not at all. As individuals, of course we are. These are complex topics and we’re not able to fit our views in a few lines. It’s not about single arseholes (even if we have a lot of them around). They are nothing but symptoms of the flaws of the system. So it’s better to analyse the system and its limits, rather than losing time with individuals, who will simply be replaced by other ones.
“In general terms, we’re antifascist (and nowadays it’s a hard job since not all fascists call themselves so) and also anti-every kind of exploitation. This obviously means we oppose a system where 99% of people (and also the environment) are just means for the wealth of the other 1%, where a huge amount of productive force is wasted with unemployment and the ones who succeed in getting a job have to work more and more hours for a declining wage – and the two phenomena are closely related because the restrictive fiscal policies that lead to mass unemployment are carried forward for the sake of wage moderation, where new wars are continuously started for the profits of the war pigs.”
Rev Rev Rev explain how they possibly fit into a scene: “We are not really part of a local scene, as shoegaze/psych rock etc. are not so popular in Italy. Our local scene is mainly about Italian-sung music or genres very far from our sound. However, we surely feel part of the shoegaze/dream pop scene around the world.
“I think the most surreal gig we played has been several years ago in central Italy. We were in a nice club, but the manager wasn’t very happy with the crowd: he said there was another event in town that was drawing people away. The opening band played at a normal time, like 11 pm. When they finished, we set up but, before we started, the club manager suggested to wait a bit for more people to arrive. This went on until 2 am. By that time, nobody had arrived (and many left), we were all drunk and when we finally got on stage, the wah pedal battery had run out of charge, so we lost another 5 minutes to change it. To top it, the manager tried not to pay us!
“On another occasion, it wasn’t really a shit gig but something went wrong last October in London. It was an important show, we were main support for an awesome band and the room was packed. We get on stage and the guitar doesn’t make a sound. The sound engineer thinks our amp has just broken down and replaces it. We play a couple of songs, and again it doesn’t work: after some minutes’ investigation, we find out that some of the plugs on stage (the venue’s ones) don’t work properly. But it’s a bit tricky to plug everything to the few working ones, since our stuff has got the Italian plug. In the meantime people are getting bored, and someone is upset too – a guy was held by his friends while trying to reach the stage and punch us! We were like ‘Wow! It’s our Ambulance Station gig! What one wouldn’t do to emulate The Jesus and Mary Chain… Just kidding!”
Luckily, Rev Rev Rev have learnt from their disappointments: “We’ve had only one, but quite big. Back in September 2015, we were about to make a deal for our second album with a renowned US label, we only had to sign the contract, when an offer arrived from a newborn UK label called Kinotone Records. That guy offered us better conditions, like giving us for free half of their pressing (2000 CDs and 300 vinyls, half of which duo-coloured), digital distro worldwide and physical in all Europe, and organising a UK tour at their expense. We signed the agreement stating all of this, but actually only a very small part of these commitments came true. CDs were never printed, we got roughly a half of the vinyls we were due and only after months, the tour was a non-event…”
“Eventually we got in touch with other labels (actual ones…), Northern Light Records, Neon Sigh and Custom Made Music, which helped us getting back on track; but back then, it was a very tough time.”
Typically the biggest challenges bands face are all too familiar: “The biggest one is always the same: pay the rent… All of us have day jobs (when we manage to find them) because for now it would be impossible to make ends meet only with music.”
And their hopes for the future? “We hope that My Bloody Valentine will release a new record before 2035 :)”
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