Ivrea. A city not many travel bloggers would recommend amongst the ‘best places to visit in Italy’ type of posts. Despite its industrial heritage and strong folklore, it is one of those cities which never quite gets the attention of its nearby peers, Turin and Milan without going too far from it.
This is unless they have had a chance to see this provincial town, which makes headlines for its crazy Battle of the Oranges Carnival and comparable to how Scunthorpe places on the greater scheme of good things happening there, for what it could become. And it is thanks to a collective of friends, their music and their intentions in establishing a party scene in town, that Ivrea stands more than one chance in setting the pace for a new trend in the clubbing music creatives hub.
Calling themselves Ivreatronic, a choice that embraces and brings forward their bond with their hometown, and led by Cosmo, the collective and record label gathers the heads and sounds of different residents with a common denominator: filling the void of the ‘provincia’ whilst filling a bigger void in the music scene.
Who are Ivreatronic?
They are friends, what you would call ‘homies’, and thanks to their individual style, they might have managed to restablish and reinvent a party scene in Ivrea.
Enea Pascal’s Papa Boy – and you really need to see the visuals in the video of the song, and be pleasantly disturbed;
The duo Fabio Fabio and their first ever vinyl release for Ivreatronic; in their ‘Amore Cannibale’/ ‘Alma’ by Fabio Fabio (feat Enrico Ascoli and Alma Negrot) there’s no escaping the tribal beats of the downtempo sound, being carried away by lines in Portuguese and back on the dancefloor for some intensive euphoria – if you listen to the track you will experience them in this exact order.
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Cosmo – aka Marco Jacopo Bianchi – who is well renowned in Italy for meshing singing to producing, for brining a sense of authenticity to his lyrics and music videos, a sense of reality impossible not to empathize with; to his name 3 albums as a solo artist, the latest one released in 2018 with the name Cosmotronic.
We spoke to him as the mind behind the collective and to Splendore, on how they managed to jam pack all these different identities with different sounds and styles, stay true to Ivrea, and make it all sound that good.
Ivrea, your hometown, your scene. Only 23.000 people populate yet it was named last year “Industrial City of the 20th Century”. How did it come to be such a fertile ground for electronic music?
COSMO: Ivrea is a small city, but its past makes it a fertile and vibrant ground. The cultural heritage that Olivetti left is without a doubt one of the main reasons for this. It remains a city in the province, but with a distinctive DNA.
SPLENDORE: There’s the historical carnival, with its Battle of the Oranges and that vibe of inexplicable madness.
Provincial’ is often seen as a derogatory adjective, but isn’t it in your case how you would define your USP?
COSMO: It isn’t the typical provincial city. The challenge is to bring people from elsewhere to Ivrea, make them move towards us. Here we are used to leaving. Provinciality, in this sense, gives you an extra boost, otherwise you let boredom win.
SPLENDORE: The province, generally speaking, is a place you are due to create something. Because there’s almost nothing here. Ivrea has a story, but too often it ends up being referred only to the past. We want to write the pages of the present, the future, starting from a story we know and live, and we are the children of.
We are provincial, true, it means it’s up to us making this word cool. It’s a shithole, but it’s great.
How did you meet the other artists from the label? School? The playground?
SPLENDORE: We met in high school, at parties, in clubs. We all share different anecdotes on how we met. Since our age span ranges from 25 to 55, Ivreatronic covers different generations.
COSMO: Foresta (Fabio Fabio) has the broadest experience. On top of his consolidated djing skills, which date date back to the 90s, he has managed a club for ten years, the Sugho, where Splendore started to organise parties and I played some gigs there, too. Enea Pascal is the youngest, but entered my entourage in 2016, when he started discovering his music flair. Bitch Volley has been playing with me since the late 90s, in different bands.
Ultimately, it is down to music why we all spotted each other, found each other and ended up together. That’s mutual affinities. Now it’s all about taking this bond to the next level.
How did the idea of putting up a label come to mind?
SPLENDORE: We had in our hands loads of music. And nobody wanted to compromise their music. From here the idea of the label, something that would represent and export globally what we produce and play here in our parties, both private and public.
Parties. Can you compare Ivrea’s parties to other well renowned clubs and events from around the world?
SPLENDORE: Ivrea has a past of a clubbing city, or better, of very hard disco. In the last years though this has faded away. The desire to create our own party, homemade, flourishes from this: giving something back, owning the night once again. I think that being such as small, rude, raw reality, it is also a very hard one to compare. The party finds a home in the basement of a small wine bar, amist huge wine barrels, where to sweat and mingle.
It’s a secret society, a Masonry of clubbers who move from North Italy to reach a tiny external staircase that drags them into a hidden world.
It is far from the logic of black club/warehouse, it’s way more lively and rough, nevertheless, there’s maximum attention the sound and light equipment. It’s an idea we have pinched from the most beautiful clubs we have seen.
How does the hope of exporting your sound to bigger crowds, abroad, influence your creativity? It’s been said your music can be enjoyed even if you are not actually at a party.
SPLENDORE: No faffing about, music either does or doesn’t make you want to dance. It doesn’t matter how big your crowd is, that’s a consequence, not a goal.
COSMO: We want to grow, but not necessarily in numbers. We’d rather like to increase people emotional engagement, we want to feel a bond with our public. So, yes, we are interested in the exporting abroad, but mostly because it is nice this music circulates everywhere. The point made in the final part of this question is right, we have always tried in our tracks to have experimentation and spendibilty coexist on the floor with some elements that can make the tracks enjoyable anyway. It should be a pleasure to listen and dance to them even if you are not at a party.
Cosmotronic and Ivreatronic. Can you tell us where to find THE common trait, especially in your track Nel Mezzo della Notte?
COSMO: Initially I thought of calling our parties ‘’Cosmotronic’ and then release the album with the same title. Then we opted for a name that would leave the two entities separate, as it should be, but that underlined they are ‘related’. Cosmotronic and its tour have just ended, but Ivreatronic stays. They were born together. The common trait is in the roots of the album: they underpin the important experience this collective has been for me. In that track you mention let’s say
I have set loose the most cantankerous side of my music, and the sweat, the mystic afflatus of certain nights (the magic ones) enter my production.
Cosmic inspiration it is then!