Chris Ball of ThisIsNotAScene recently reviewed both the new album, “Shooting Dice With God,” and recent gig in London by ‘noir rock’ band, Belladonna. After several failed hook ups Chris finally got his questions to guitarist and founding member, Dani Macchi. Dani has a lot to say and shares his thoughts on everything from the state of Italian culture to ‘Full English’ breakfasts!
Do any of you have a background in film? Either as writers, actors or soundtrack composers?
Not really. Even though our songs have been used in movies several times, always a nice feeling when that happens.
What came first – the idea of ‘rock noir’ or did the sound evolve naturally and you decided to give it a name?
The music came first. Once the sound had evolved to the point where it had a very definite and unmistakable identity we came up with the ‘rock noir’ tag to define it.
Any favourite film noir movies you’d like to share with us?
Any Hitchcock movie, obviously. David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet”. And Tarlovsky’s “Stalker”, for sure.
Do you think there is a lack of glamour and mystery in current rock music?
Absolutely. We reckon there’s a lack of glamour and mystery in just about everything nowadays, actually, which has made for a very plain and boring cultural and artistic environment.
In retrospect do you think creating your own genre may end up limiting what you can do? Is there a worry that if you decided to do a dubstep or death metal album that you couldn’t do it as Belladonna?
If there’s a limit, it is the limit of our actual identity. We COULD surpass it, using technique, but we would not be musicians then, we would be actors, pretenders. It would all become so fake if we did. So we’re not actually interested in surpassing that limit at all, just as we’re not interested in surgically modifying the features of our faces.
Having said this, we’re in constant evolution, so organic developments in our style and music are always quite unavoidable and always very welcome.
Having worked with Michael Nyman a) How did that come about? and b) Do you have any future collaborations planned or any fantasy collaborations?
We had established a connection with Michael Nyman through Facebook, and when we invited him to one of our London shows he turned up and loved it, so collaborating on a song was just a natural, obvious progression from the mutual admiration we had going. We do have another very special collaboration planned, we cannot yet divulge any details about it but we hope to release it before the summer.
Would you like to create a whole film soundtrack?
Yes it would be a nice challenge, and hopefully it’ll happen someday. Having said this, we feel we are songwriters first and foremost, and our main vocation is to create self-contained short movies with our songs, as opposed to using our music to merely illustrate whatever moving images a director has conceived.
As you are obviously interested in narrative have you been tempted to create a whole concept album?
Yes, and it is a temptation we might yield to someday. It has to happen naturally of course, but if and when it will we would definitely not oppose that kind of creative tide.
Do the ladies in Belladonna have any particular female rock idols?
I can safely answer on their behalf by saying that the 3 girls in our band – just like our drummer Mattia and I – do not differentiate at all on the grounds of gender when it comes to art, just as we don’t on the grounds of race, age or nationality. But we love all artists that did music in the 60’s and 70’s, and Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell are 3 female artists that are played very often in our tour van, much to everyone in the band’s joy.
What do you think of the current rock scene in Italy. Is there a scene at all, or just bands doing their own thing in isolation?
There has never been a rock scene in Italy – except maybe for the progressive rock scene that happened for a few years in the mid 70’s – it is a truly desolate country to live in as far as culture, art and music are concerned. The very few great, real artists in Italy basically operate in a total cultural vacuum.
How do crowds in UK differ to those at home in Italy?
They are just as enthusiastic, even though it is very apparent that rock music in the UK is a vital part of everyone’s culture, which is absolutely not the case in Italy.
Do you hate English food when you are here?!!
We totally LOVE English food, and every time we are over we never fail to treat ourselves to a proper, full-on English Breakfast!
Thank you for answering my questions and good luck! See you at The Borderline!
Thank you very much indeed!