Club to Club Avant-Pop.
A conversation with Sergio Ricciardone
interview Carlotta Camilla Petracci
In 2016 you have experienced a great growth: the #C2CMLN, the collaboration with Absolut that led to various “one nights” all over Italy, the Festival Moderno and your first Boiler Room dedicated to the Italian New Wave. It seems that you want to get rid of your traditional background and widen the range of your cultural proposals. You are looking further. Towards what direction?
The festivals and the events you have mentioned represent the obvious evolution of Xplosiva and of the Club to Club experiences: #C2CMLN makes full use of the avant-garde scene and its time collocation- it takes place on the same days as Miart- connects it profoundly to the urban environment as “la cinque giorni di Torino” does; whereas Festival Moderno embodies the other extreme of music, the pop genre, gathering quite an heterogeneous audience in an open air context, something totally new for us. The Absolut Nights testify the great job carried out by Xplosiva as a cultural firm in its endeavour to combine prestigious partners and the restless search for a dialogue with the Institutions. Boiler Room, instead, represents the great achievement reached with specific format, The Italian New Wave, which aims at promoting some of the most significant Italian artists abroad.
Toxe, Mura Masa
After the first 15 years of activity, what changed in the C2C formula? What is the vision that underlies your artistic choices?
First and foremost, the name reveals the origins of the festival rather than its actual identity. Club to Club was born as a group of clubs that united in one one night just by sharing the same ticket; the continuous increase of the audience prompted us to
find bigger locations, but some stages still retain the original spirit and atmosphere of the club (for instance the Yellow Room at Lingotto, that will stage the Red Bull Music Academy on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th November). This boom allowed us to give new life to many places of the town, such as the Lingotto, the Absolut Symposium hotel, the theatres of the Conservatory, the Palace of Venaria and the squares of the San Salvario neighbourhood. And the Festival followed this route, so we left apart the old fashioned definition of “electronic” to embrace all innovative types of music, spontaneous and non, but without any compromise.
On different occasions you described your Festival as “avant-pop” and the in line-up artists confirm this trend. We can see more and more influential headliners and producers working together to give a new face to the international “electronic scenario” and sometimes to pop music itself. Examples of this are: long-awaited live show by Arca and Jesse Kanda, the Thom Yorke of the previous year and the Autechre of this year, up to Chino Amobi, Elysia Crampton. Amnesia Scanner and Tim Hecker, among the others: how did this edition take shape? What kind of new relationship you would like to establish with your audience?
Avanguardia and Pop have never been so close as they are now. Look at Clams Casino (that is playing on Saturday). He is a producer who released most of his pieces on Triangle Records (the utmost label avant) and he is now being contended among the best rappers of the planet. His debut album, which came out this year is for sure more similar to a pop hit parade album with lots of hit records.
Gaika, Forest Swords
Let’s talk about the Italian New Wave, that is becoming gradually a real commitment. You argued a lot on the choice
of the artists for your first Boiler Room, as if you had to line up a football team. What is the new face you want to give to Italy? Who do you intend to make famous? Does it still make sense speaking about Italian character or would it be more interesting saying that the producers involved are already known at international level?
All criticism is vain and does not take anywhere. Through Italian New Wave we want to invest on the quality of our music scouting on the national ground and widen it relying on the tools that the festival has mastered throughout the years; the aim is to offer those artists we consider the emblem of our country the opportunity the reach the visibility they deserve and celebrate their uniqueness, as spokesmen of a scene made by different actors. We do not want to judge who is worthy or not, but just give more powerful instruments to those who can dominate the scene also at international level, but who are often disadvantaged by the (too much) scarce attention given to certain genres in our country.
Looking at the future and tracing a map of the most entertaining festivals in Europe and not only- I am referring to the Unsound, Mutek, Atonal and to smaller and emerging formats-what do you foresee for C2C? If you had to project yourself in ten years time, what would you keep or change? Does it make sense making plans for the future, or is it more sensible to surf “here and now” to give birth to a good festival?
In our field, it is difficult to foresee what will happen during such a long lapse of time. For sure, The Club to Club formula in Turin will undergo adjustments in order to offer a more complex experience both to the audience and to the experts, as well as to tell about the beauty of the city (especially during the Contemporary art week); we do not want to alter its still delicate balance. #C2CMLN and Festival Moderno still need to define their identities properly, but for sure they start from a grounded idea, that it is not just reproducing the main festival somewhere else.
Great stages, awesome locations and small clubs. Who is more interesting for you?
Personally I have decided to give more importance to the place where I enjoy these experiences. Rather than locations, I like shocking places, where I can leave behind the daily routine to go back to memorable moments.
What do you think about this? How important is for a music Festival keeping good relations with the territory and thus set your proposals in a urban context? Or maybe is better to break one’s moorings and take one’s the public to an unforgettable Elsewhere?
The venues have always been one of the strongest features of Club to Club, because, we believe that it is often the context who makes the content unforgettable. We want to go on exploring Milan and Turin (and not only) and establish a connection between the audience and emblematic places, by highlighting their specificity. This is why #IAMC2C will be inaugurated in a palace included in the Unesco Heritage list, will continue in a conservatory room, will be hosted in a HQ hotel, have its climax in a industry pavilion and end in a square: the festival identity reflects the DNA of the city.
What should not we miss from this edition?
This year, as never before, the line up is perfectly blended, every single act has unique features, therefore missing it would be a crime. If I have to mention someone, I would say: Arca, Autechre, Junun, Dj Shadow.