Interview With Italy’s Post-Modern Pop Band – NODe

Italian post-modern pop outfit NODe (Not Ordinary, Dead) recently unveiled the music video for “S.O.D.A.”

Formed in 2011, NODe released Tuning the Untunable, followed by Tragic Technology Inc. (2014), Human Machine (2016), and their latest album, Rcade. NODe’s sound blends a variety of styles, including indie, pop, punk, darkwave, and new wave.

Intrigued by the band’s retro ‘80s savors and the phantasmagoric visuals of the video, I sat down with NODe to find out more about them, their influences, and their distinctive sound.

How did the band get together?

The band was initially composed by two members, Lubvic and Kamoto. During the years we have had artistic divergences that have led us to separate our ways, but I (Lubvic) met many musicians that helped me configure the actual core of six of us.

What’s the story behind the band’s name, NODe, Not Ordinary, Dead?

When I was employed in a big automotive company, I was out of the schemes, compared to the other employees, with my dark look and my nocturnal habits. Due to many musical commitments, I was given the nick name “the undead” and someone, jokingly, said “Not Ordinary, Dead.” I liked it and this is the story.

What kind of guitar do you play?

I studied guitar for many years, approaching artists with a strong personality rather than strictly technique. I like the expressivity more than the speed. My fav guitarist is “Joey Santiago,” an artist that changed the rules in modern guitar music (look at Jonny Greenwood, i.e.). After many years playing guitar in the band, I left the role to Max Mauriello, a talented and skilled guitarist, reserving more time to focus on my singing performance.

If the question was related to the brand of my guitar, I own a fantastic 1968 Les Paul custom.

 Who is in NODe (names), and what instrument do they play?

Actually the band is: Lubvic – Voice and Synths; Karissa – Voice and Synths; Andrea Vinti – Drums; Stefano Marseglia – Bass; Max Mauriello – Guitar; Roberta Arienzo – backtracks.

I’m a fan of crisp, innovative drumming. Who influenced your drummer’s style?

Andrea Vinti: Copeland, above all, originally; also Mitch Mitchel, Hendrix’s drummer, then in general all the 90s drummers, like those of Nine Inch nails and Soundgarden, as well as the drums on Bowie’s Earthling and also those on Blackstar. They do not have a groove that’s too defined and allow you to wander, and then all the rhythmic solutions allowed by the electronics while maintaining the acoustic drums.

What’s your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?

Karissa: There are a lot of songs I enjoy singing while cleaning house, driving or having a break.  I usually sing what I’m more used to hearing: Erykah Badu, Bjork, Kimbra, or what I randomly listen to when I turn on the radio. I am very shy, so unless I’m performing, I don’t sing in public. In private, the song I belt out the most, either when I’m having a shower or vacuuming, is “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin! In those moments I dream I’m mastering the stage in front of a lot of fans who sing along!

What musicians influenced you the most?

My fav band ever is probably “The Pixies,” but I grew up listening to Bowie, Beastie Boys, Joy Division, Depeche Mode, and many others. Probably, the artist who influenced my way of composing the most is Bowie, because of the song setting, rhythms and harmonic progressions.

How, if at all, do your musical influences shape and impact your music?

NODe’s music is widely influenced by our backgrounds. Every single note is a child of our memory. We are the product of our experiences and we are proud of it!

You’re tagged as a “post-modern pop” band.  How would you describe your style of music?

I believe that, from the premises just made, our music can be considered as the reworking of the stylistic elements of the past, in a modern way. The passage of fashions leaves signs that can be reinterpreted from time to time, updated to the tastes of the moment, leaving the basic message unaltered, thus, our music could simply be a means of transporting “the message” up to the present day. We are a means, not an end.

Where do you find inspiration for your songs?

Literally everywhere, from a movie, a book, the streets, chatting with a friend, seeing a peculiar situation, hearing a suggestive word. Inspiration is always sudden and unexpected!

What is your songwriting process?  Do the lyrics come first, or the music?

The creative process is highly chaotic, there is no precise scheme. Sometimes it is a drum loop to start everything, sometimes a guitar riff, other times a thought. The only constant in the composition is that the music and the text are born together, measure after measure, influencing each other at the same time, in real time, adapting the music to some words or phrases that I like and vice versa.

I really like your music video “S.O.D.A.” What’s the story behind the song?

The story behind the song is perhaps the story of all songs, the need to imagine, to create stories, situations, worlds, to let our imagination spread and to tell our needs through metaphors. S.O.D.A. is a trip, a strange journey in a strange future, represented in our past, when we, the kids of yesterday, thought that everything would be possible.

The music video exudes an ‘80s psychedelic flavor.  What inspired you to move in that visual direction?

The inspiration was born a bit from the lyrics, a bit from the desire to represent what for us represented the future, in those years. We can say that the LP is permeated by this retro style but reinterpreted in a modern way, what today would be called retro-future. It is a precise stylistic and coherent choice.

Will you be touring in the U.S. in the future?

It would be very nice, now it seems difficult but things change day by day, let’s see what will happen!

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Written by Randy

Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.