Cinematic Synths: Giallo Disco Records’ Antoni Maiovvi

A great number of micro labels have popped up parallel to the soundtrack resurgence. While Death Waltz, One Way Static, and Giallo Disco do a lot of soundtrack reissues and releases, they’ve also been at work to present new artists working in the the ‘genre.’ Acts – like Videogram, Antoni Maiovvi, Metavari, and Espectrostatic – all inspired, in one way or another, by synth-laden horror and thriller scores. These labels and artists are the next step for those who’ve gotten into soundtracks, but want something that works more as a musical experience, rather than one tied directly to a film.

In order to understand how one takes those retro sounds and turn them into something new (and whether they feel that there’s the possibility of moving beyond those basic ideas), I’ve been speaking with prominent musicians in the field for a series of interviews about the reinvigorated genre.

For our fourth outing, we spoke with musician and co-head of  Giallo Disco Records, Antoni Maiovvi:

Antoni Maiovvi and Vercetti Technicolor specialize in a strange niche of electronic music, known as Horror Disco. Specially crafted atmospheric, cinematic dance music taking influence from Italo Disco, Krautrock, New Beat, EBM, House, Techno and most importantly the film scores of the 70s and 80s (think Argento’s Tenebrae, Fulci’s Zombie and John Carpenter’s Escape From New York).

What was your initial attraction to movie scores?

For me it was just a general interest in movies, which I enjoyed even before I even entertained the idea of making music.

How did you branch out from there?

 

Tangerine Dream were a big influence throughout my teenage years, though I would say I don’t really see much a distinction between music made electronically or otherwise. Though there is a culture around rock music that I think it’s fairly old fashioned, though I suppose that can be nice sometimes.

Or, so many folks in the soundtrack scene seem to come from a punk or metal background, given how intertwined those worlds are with horror. Was that the case?

I had a teenage goth band and then I got into noise, from noise I decided to go to university to study music. I enjoy a lot of punk and metal, though the metal influence on the film scores of the late 80s, I never really felt 100% about. I think there is a vast difference between Alice Cooper scary and Penderecki scary.

How does one take those influences from horror and genre films, and move beyond them? Is there a point at which they need to be set aside?

For me these are just colours that you can add. It is clear with Maiovvi that there is a strong Italo Disco and perhaps Coldwave influence running through also. I always come back to this image from Don’t Torture A Duckling where the “witch” is being beaten with chains in the graveyard and there is this wonderfully sad Riz Ortolani piece playing. This is, for me, the essence of influence. Of not only taking the sound, but the image, the counterpoint and then applying it to your own work. I hope that makes sense and isn’t some rambling. Because it could be rambling.

 

What is the extent of your professional training?

I have a degree, though I like to joke that all it qualifies me to do is to make a loud noise.

How has your music changed – is there a stylistic shift to which you can point?

It evolved. I think there is a definitely difference before and after my move to Berlin. Not so much the cities influence, but certainly personal circumstance; things started getting darker once I was there.

Where does making stand-alone music differ from a soundtrack proper?

A film is a large collaboration with input from a lot of people. Making an album at home is not.

How does marketing or publicizing original music differ from that of soundtracks?

The label Gianni and I run, Giallo Disco, exists in that weird space between an experimental indie label and a dance label. Essentially we have two core audience groups: collectors of rare things and DJs; they often overlap.

Giallo Disco’s newest release is Bogdan Dražić’s Four Trax On Black Wax EP. You can purchase it via Bandcamp, and Antoni Maiovvi’s latest is Driftmusic, also available via Bandcamp.

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