I really love the way that bands like Milan based GIØNSON create natural, driving melodies within their relatively raw core of punk rock inspired hardcore offerings. These guys are no new to the scene and agreed to sit down with us and shoot us some stories about Milan punk scene, their experience with other bands and idea for this new exciting project. “GIØNSON” illustrate the mood of an underground scene that is unfortunately a thing of the past in many cities around the world. Thankfully, the local scene of Milan gets some actual activity beyond the typical rock heroes worship that destroys older punk ideals, and we’re here to report some of the good stuff that’s keeping punk ethics alive. Read the full interview below.
Hey there guys! How are you? Please introduce the band to our readers. Who are you, where do you come from and what’s your mission statement?
Hi Karol, hello to everyone. We are 4 guys from Milan, no longer very young and with a decennary experience in the hardcore punk scene, who decided to start this new project. We’re all friends for many years and we played all in several hc/punk/stoner bands: FINE BEFORE YOU CAME, MONUMENTAL, GRIZZLY MOTOR OIL, NO RELAX, VERME, to name a few …
The only mission of GIØNSON is to have fun, make some noise, go to play around and write some nice songs.
Cool. What can you tell our readers about your creative background? Tell us about your adventure with punk music, how you gravitated towards hardcore and just a bit more about bands have you been in. Are some of them still active?
Personally, I started attending the punk/hc scene of my hometown several years ago: I own from 2005 a recording studio in the west side of Milan (called Mobsound) skilled in alternative music like metal, stoner, punk, hc. In addition to my work as sound engineer, I’ve always organized gigs and festivals in Milano and played in many bands of this city. The last of those bands was the sludgecore MONUMENTAL: we separated a few months ago, after four years, one Lp and a lot of gigs with some the most important sludge bands like CROWBAR, EYEHATEGOD, RED FANG, WINO and many more.
Jacopo and Marino (vox and bass of GIØNSON) played together for many years in FINE BEFORE YOU CAME, a post-hc band, quite famous in Italy: they are one of the most followed bands of the Italian scene, with 7 albums in assets, of which 4 are published by LaTempesta (a label tip of the Italian alternative scene). FBYC have made many tours around Italy and have a lot of fans throughout the nation. Moreover, Jacopo sang in a screamo-punk band called VERME (which is over now), and is owner, with a good friend of him, of a small indipendent label called Legno.
Then there Lele, our drummer: he’d played for many years too and was a part in almost all the band hc milan (trust me, everyone in Milan knows Lelone! Ah ah ah). He played for long time in the punk rock band founded by Joxemi (guitarist of SKA-P) and in GRIZZLY MOTOR OIL, but he took part also to the history of great italian hc bands like RFT, OSAKA, PHP and many many more…
So we are all veterans of the scene (we are all over 35 yo) but we’ve started the GIØNSON project with the mood and the happiness of a teenager band!
Haha, right on! Do you still keep in touch with your previous bands’ members?
Yes, of course!
FBYC are still in activity and they’re working on songs for the new album.
As regards the other previous bands, we still keep in touch with the other members: for all of us, make a band is being good friends first of all, so it is natural we continue seeing each other even after the band broke up. Personally, I often go to see my previous bands’ mates when they play live with their new project. I think it’s nice, i think it’s the spirit of hardcore…
In the pre-digitized world, how were you kept aware of what was happening in punk music outside of your closest neigbourhood? Can you remind us of some of the vintage forms of communication and things that punk was about back then?
We used to read lots of zines such as Maximum Rock And Roll and punk planet. Going to shows gave us the chance to meet kids like us and talk to bands about music, attitude and diy culture in general. Trading mixtapes with friends was a pleasure that do not exist anymore and spending the whole morning in your favourite record store instead of going to school was a huge satisfaction. Things have changed a lot, there are many bands now and sometimes we feel lost in this massive thing called internet. It’s like we’re tiny drops in an ocean way more than in the past. Not saying we do regret what things were before, it was just complety different and we’re happy and feel lucky we could witness this important change happening.
Growing up in your local area, what was your main influence? Which artists had your ear and became the ones that you looked up to?
I think the city where you were born is very important for your music and life development: growing up in a big city gives you the chance, since you are young, to live a lot of experiences, which make you become an adult before the others, opening your mind and influencing all your life choices (not just in music).
As we come from Milan, we grew up listening and loving the old school Italian HC bands (SOTTOPRESSIONE, RAW POWER, WRETCHED, IMPACT and so on) but as you can imagine, for the thing I said before, we started since we were very young, to appreciate the music, the lyrics and the attitude of band like BLACK FLAG, SICK OF IT ALL, FUGAZI, GORILLA BISCUITS, REFUSED or MINOR THREAT.
Personally I’ve always loved 90’s metal (SLAYER and PANTERA are 2 of my favouirite bands ever). This is the reason for I love also new school HC so much: I think there are some great bands in new school scene, which are able to propose a powerful sound and a great songwriting, keeping alive a true HC attitude. Some of these are defenitly CONVERGE, WALLS OF JERICHO, TO KILL, TERROR, RAISED FIST.
Yes I know, I’m a boor. Hehehe….
Not at all :)
Ok, so back to the band, can you explain the lyrical content behind your debut self titled record? What themes and subjects do you explore through GIONSON?
GIØNSON is basicly a band that wants to laugh and have fun as i told you before. the lyrics are as sarcastic, ironic and cinic at time as we all are. they’re about our feelings about society and relationships in general. there’s a sense of nihilism and a grotesque vision of such issues as love, enviroment, progress, politic ciolent death and many more without being apparently too serious but trying to spot always a bitter smile. we all know, without even talking about it, that behind that smiles are well hidden real concerns, disgust and regrets sometime.
What is it that motivates you to start new projects and continue your endevour with punk music?
Have fun, first of all.
We love so much all shades of being in a band: to play around, write new songs, relies new albums, drink beer, stay together, make some noise with our friends. Why we still play punk HC? Obviously we’re not able to play anything else… ah ah ah :-)
In terms of punk community, bands and solo artists out there today, who do you think is doing particularly good work around punk movements? Who are a few of the current artists that you personally are really into?
Well, let’s start from community: I think that now (since 3-4 years) the Italian punk hardcore scene is living a really positive moment; a lot of great bands, many collectives which organize gigs and festivals, new zines, new distros and shops. It seems we’re back to the 90’s. Two towns in particular are doing a real good work: Milano and Venice. Not by chance in these cities every year there are MOBFEST and VENEZIA HARDCORE which are two of the most important HC fest of our nation, with 10-12 bands and European guests.
In the rest of Europe, one of the situation I like more, is Fluff Fest (in Czech Republic): there are a lot of great HC fest all around Europe (Resurrection, Brutal assault etc etc) but, on my opinion, Fluff is the only one which maintain the real hardcore spirit.
About music: there are many Italian bands like FACE YOUR ENEMY, SLANDER, MY OWN VOICE, STRAIGHT OPPOSITION, THE SMUDJAS , RAEIN which are very active and present all over the Europe, with a true punk spirit. In Europe I think that 2 Netherlands bands represent HC spirit at its best: VITAMIN-X and NO TURNING BACK. In addiction to these, I report WOLF DOWN from Germany, DEAD SWANS and BOOZE & GLORY from UK.
Have your ideas about art and message in music changed through this band?
Absolutely not. Well, obviously every band is a new story, with a new character and nature, but in GIØNSON all of us have brought our true spirit, with the same ideas of art and message of the past. Do you have something to say? Well, say it! This what I think about art and message in music; it’s not important if there’s too irony, cynicism or cruelty in your message or your art is too violent. Art and music are spontaneous, like anything else…
What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to a young bands and youth in general?
To the young guys I would say only two things. The first is: have the most fun you can, go around, play your songs, do more noise as possible. The second is: hc is more than just music, if you do not know what this phrase means, play another genre.
Ok guys, thanks a lot for the information and your thoughts. Feel free to wrap it up with some details on your next steps with GIØNSON.
Many thanks to you for the space you have granted us. It ‘just released our first EP, you can listen and download it here.
We’ll start to do gigs and shows really soon: the first one is on October 8 in Milano.
Great, thanks! Cheers from Warsaw! Best of luck!
Thanks again Karol! Stay hc, CIAO!