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26 July 2016

WTSH Interviews Rev Rev Rev.

 When The Sun Hits Interviews Rev Rev Rev

Rev Rev Rev is a psychedelic/shoegaze group based in Modena, Italy comprised of Laura Iacuzio, Sebastian Lugli, Andrea Dall'Omo and Greta Benatti. The foursome first made waves in 2013 with their stunning self-titled LP, which they followed up with this year’s incomparable Des fleurs magiques bourdonnaient. The lovely album title translates as “Magic flowers droned” and was inspired by an Arthur Rimbaud quote.

Through undulations of distortion and noise, Des fleurs magiques bourdonnaient perfectly captures the sonic sorcery of the first wave of shoegaze, radiating vibrations both nostalgic and enchanting. Simultaneously, the album delivers a fresh and inspiring take on the classic shoegaze sound, one that resonates as being the very pulse of the genre’s extraordinary international resurgence. Significant and essential, to say the least.

To counter the band’s Rimbaud quote with one of our ownRev Rev Rev has “made the whirling world stand still” with the gorgeous sounds on Des fleurs magiques bourdonnaient. We are proud to share this interview with you. Unless otherwise indicated, Laura is the member answering the questions. Enjoy.

Can you tell us what the band has been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (new releases, tour, etc.)?
We've recently released our second album and the CD is already sold out, so we are currently doing a reprint with the U.S. label Neon Sigh. As for live activity, since the release we've played just a bunch of shows, including the awesome Cosmosis Festival in Manchester and an opening for Ringo Deathstarr. Andrea (our bass player) is about to recover from a shoulder injury. Then we're touring UK in October, we're going to announce the dates soon. Eventually we plan to gig around in the rest of Europe. 

Do you consider your music to be part of the current shoegaze/dream pop scene, or any scene? Defining one's sound by genre can be tiresome, but do you feel that the band identifies closely with any genre? How do you feel about genres in music, in a general sense?
As you said, we feel part of the shoegaze/dream pop scene around the world. It may be because the country we live in is marginal in pop-rock music, but we don't have experience of geographically-defined scenes. Regarding genres that identify our sound, the best term is probably shoegaze, but, we feel also, a lot of psychedelia, and some space rock, noise, post-punk...

About music genres, we don't agree with the cliché saying that music cannot be categorized by genre. They are of course only a rough indication, but still can be very useful to find bands able to give you the kind of vibes you're looking for. 

What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop/psychedelia artists, any favorites?
The contemporary scene is awesome, there are so many good bands it's very hard to name just a bunch. Anyway among our favorites are Ringo Deathstarr, The Stargazer Lilies, Flyying Colours, No Joy on the shoegaze side; and Dead Skeletons, Holy Wave, The Cult of Dom Keller on the psych side. Also in Italy both scenes (shoegaze and psych) are growing more and more interesting, alongside great bands like Stella Diana, Clustersun, New Candys and Sonic Jesus, there's a lot of good young bands you'll hear of in the next years.

By the way, at the end of the day, I would include in the modern scene also “old school” bands like the Brian Jonestown Massacre or even MBV, Spacemen 3, Loop and JaMC. They're more modern than anybody else and always will be... :)

What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer?
(Sebastian): I prefer to concentrate on a limited range of effects: no phasers/flangers/choruses/delays, but a huge amount of fuzz and reverb. A large part of my pedal board is made of self-constructed stompboxes: a couple of fuzz pedals, a sort of crazy looper-feedbacker that I called “Fear and Loathing”, and the Mush-Trem, an on-the-fly variable rate tremolo. On the “industrial” side, a pivotal effect for my sound is the Yamaha reverse gated reverb.  

What is your process for recording your music? What gear and/or software do you use? What would you recommend for others?
We're quite a whitefly in the contemporary scene, as we live record our songs. When the band plays together, a totally different vibe comes out, sort of a 2+2=5. Then we overdub a layer or two, of course, but generally the core of what you hear in our songs is the live take. Maybe it's a Sixties thing, but it was also the way of doing things at Creation Records, so most of the bands we love have recorded this way. 

About the recording studio, for this record we've worked with Wax Studio in Rome, and it was great because they completely share our background. The tracks have been digitally recorded with Pro Tools, then they've been mixed on an analog console – and we definitely recommend this. 

Can you tell us a little about the band’s song writing process?
The music usually comes out from Sebastian's ideas, in terms of song structure, sound layers and melody (this one sometimes is Laura's); then everyone works on their parts. The lyrics, again written by Laura or Sebastian, are added at a later stage.

When it comes to label releases versus DIY/Bandcamp and the like, what is your stance, if any? Everybody knows how tight are the margins in the music industry, nowadays, and a lot of small labels react by exploiting the bands themselves (at least, that's what's happening in Italy). That said, working with a good label (and there are some around the world!) can still bring advantages both to the band and to the label.

Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?
Not really. Each medium has its own raison d'être...Even the technology-wise weakest, cassette, has its own charm and also it played a major role in shoegaze's birth...Kevin Shields himself had the idea of glide-guitar listening to the D.A.F.'s experiments varying the tape speed.

What artists (musicians or otherwise) have most influenced your work?
My bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Spacemen 3, The Velvet Underground, Loop, Mazzy Star, Dinosaur Jr., The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Can you tell us a little about what you are currently into (books, films, art, bands, etc.)?
We listen to lot of different music, from Steve Reich to Holy Wave...Whenever a good international act stops in our area, we try to make it. Same for art: we've just visited the Brian Eno audio-visual installation “77 million paintings” for Palazzo Te in Mantova. In general terms, we tend to like contemporary art. As for books, we are not such good readers, so we try to concentrate on good books...Some of the authors we like the most are C. Pavese, C. Baudelaire, R. Yates, E. Hemingway, I. Calvino, J. Fante, D.F. Wallace, D. DeLillo, F. M. Dostoevsky.  As for cinema, among our favourite directors are Wenders, Jarmusch, Von Trier, Fellini, Bergman, Eisenstein, Coen brothers, Kusturica, Sorrentino.

If you had to choose one track that was the ultimate definition of your sound, which would it be and why?
We don't think a single track can describe our sound...Maybe in our first record “Catching a buzz” could work, but in Des fleurs magiques bourdonnaient we've explored different sonic dimensions so you need to listen to all the twelve tracks to have an idea. :) 

Photos by Dario Vinazzani / Visual projections by
Stefano Covili