A conversation with Andrea Pomini
Interview Daniel Carpenito, Michele Massa
Andrea, you’re an expert of the hardcore punk scene in Turin, can you tell us how you came in contact with this reality?
Like so many others, through the mainstream. I’m of the opinion that all the criticism of those who have “sold out”, moving on to
the mainstream world are right, but if it weren’t for them it would be way more difficult for us to learn about the underground world. I remember there was a program on television, deejay television, and then U2 came across the screen. Even though everyone knows them now, in 1985 they were a novelty, and so the first record I ever bought with my own money really was theirs, and this was my first step towards the musical world. There is general assumption that,“If nobody knows them, they aren’t worth anything” that I’ve had to fight against, even with my own friends, but I’ve never agreed with it. I came to know the classic punk in high school, when a friend of mine made me listen to the Clash, an album he had taken from his brother’s collection. Once I got into the punk scene I started buying some magazines, Rockerilla was the main one. As I was reading them I realized
that there was a level of punk / hardcore that was even more underground than the Clash, and it’s often flanked by the reggae culture the same way a rebel movement is. My gateway to this world is a group from Aosta, Kina, which played all over Europe, producing their own records and above all they maintained contact with their fans and audience. Thanks to their extensive catalog of collaborations I came to know other bands like them, and from there I began to think that I could do the same thing.
What inspired you to talk about this world through a fanzine?
Initially I would say it was a desire to proselytize. With little effort I got learn about and know a ton of incredible things, and I wanted to go spread some knowledge about these things. My friend and I even snuck into a local radio station to put on the cd we wanted the world to hear. There was also the desire to show that I knew more than others or to show off, but I was more moved by a need to share. Sometimes I still think about having a radio show to let everyone listen to my cd’s. That same mentality is what drove me to say, “I’ll make a fanzine.” It slowly became serious, starting with the first issue of “abBestia!”, I typed it out on a typewriter, and I made out 100 copies, until the seventh issue, and then I made it on a computer, making about 1,000 copies easy.
How has the punk/hardcore scene influenced today’s underground culture?
Unfortunately it seems like it has really influenced, almost exclusively, the outward appearance. Such as tattoos, which have lost a lot of their value by only having a purely aesthetic connotation. The mainstream has taken the most “exterior” parts and other that pieces that can be easily turned into revenue to cash in on the underground culture and turn them into sources of money. It’s always been that way, take for example the clubs or disco, they were founded in New York, in some rough areas, where hispanics, gays and those in the marginalized society would go to express themselves, and then became a sideshow and a place for white folks to go and have fun. The punk / hardcore of the 90s doesn’t seem to have left a particular mark on the scene, if wasn’t for the external things. So really for me, today’s underground culture, doesn’t seem all that underground in some respects, for example, it seems like the pushes a lot of groups to play isn’t is the same as it once was. One thing that was always there for groups that used to play was the need to play, because if you didn’t play you’d be sick, but now groups just want to make money, be famous, have a lot of sex: all of which are legitimate reasons, but it has nothing to do with the pureness of the underground. It seems that these days the underground is just seen as a stepping stone towards the mainstream.
Do you think the punk / hardcore world will have some kind of future development?
If we speak from the musical point of view I don’t follow that many groups anymore. I find that the underground is very much alive in terms of production, from the point of view of methods, approaches, with do-it-yourself, and I think that this goes hand
in hand with the revival of vinyl. It‘s also expanding thanks to the Internet, although this has also brought on some problems. For example, now that everyone has the methods to organize, start touring and take their own music around, no one seems to want
to do it, instead people look for someone to do a press release, the cover art, booking, etc.
Which bands in Turin embody the values of the punk / hardcore scene?
Currently, I think that underground productions are no longer punk / hardcore, but they belong to other genres but have similar attitude. The first that comes to mind is “La Piramide di Sangue”, guys that I would have easily been beside during the 90’s, who play a sort of psychdelic rock, a heavy and free jazz. They’ve got a completely underground following, from being on Blackout Radio to playing abdonded venues. But still, there isn’t that same movement, like when you could go listen to two or three different groups every Saturday, also because there aren’t even that many places to do it anymore.