Enter the oblique (and in some ways sulfurous) figure of MessTwo.
The style of MessToo/MessTwo/Mess2 is not so simply definable. Personality larger than life, the producer we are talking about today is “beyond“, and like all those who are mere “beyond“, it is difficult to categorize. Out of the circuits, surely, as from the canons of hip hop plus bigot. Ungraspable for many.
Visual artist, multi-instrumentalist, proud craftsman of sound, even materially. In fact, he often builds his instruments with his own hands, passionate and stubborn in the search for a strongly evocative and emotional sound. Suspended between the boom-bap and the most atmospheric electronics, the project’s original soul once known as NightSkinny, (together with Randolph Carter and C-Mass, the same who then passed to the chronicles with the aforementioned name, NDA), boasts national (C.U.B.A. Cabbal, SandroSu, Mezzosangue, FFiume) and international collaborations, of style and thickness.
But it seems that few know anything about it. Therefore impossible not to tell you about it. Happy reading and listening.
First, tell us about the very early beat you’ve sold or placed.
I think it was back in 2008, Funner Snowboard asked me a song for a video shot in Chile by a guy who works for TV in Chile, I think you can find a DVD somewhere, sure that in these multimedia times you can also find it on Youtube, actually…here’s the link, just in case.
How long did it take you to produce something that you were proud of?
Very long time, and often the state of grace lasts very little. I really felt proud, in the noblest sense of the word, when I took part in the remix contest from Soul Assassin, for Sick Jacken, and I arrived in the final, also because there were a bunch of participants, and in those cases, you think “Fuck, my beat is playing while Sick Jacken, DJ Muggs and Cynic are listening…not the Peppino di Capri tribute band!“. I mean, come on…I’m talking about DJ Muggs, we have to list what he produced and who? I do not believe it.
When Mezzosangue asked me to use one of my beats for the intro of his album, I was happy, then added to the intro a further verse and Squarta put the bow on it, making the final master. The same thing happened when I sent a link to Eraldo Bernocchi, in that case, I said to myself, “Nah, he will never answer“, and instead I received an e-mail reply after a few days, and complimenting me he told me to continue doing what I was doing because the pieces worked.
Recently I felt proud even when brother Thoms asked me for a track for one of his time-lapses, or when Vincenzo Cicanese inserted my songs into the Infoaut documentary ‘Sante Notarnicola. La rivolta di piazza Statuto, Torino 1962‘.
Your favourite production set-up?
It depends on what I have to do and who the beat is destined for. The set-up that I am using for “HANTISE” (his next album, NDA) is composed of a Renas C2 R-Player LESA tape recorder, in which I poured individual notes, chords, and mechanical noises recorded by a historic piano Zimmermann Leipzig, produced in the DDR. Then I have a cello bow, with which I rape my father’s poor electric guitar (which is clear, I can’t play) or what I find, I know, pieces of sheet metal, even road signs, collected over the years, produce beautiful sounds.
An elastic band on the tonearm of the Technics 1200 turntable: it brings out absurd sounds, I have sampled some basses from the synth and 16 steps sequencer that I built myself, it mounts an Arduino one. Love DIY. Before I used to take advantage of the Electribe sequencer with the Akai s1000 in slave, I saved everything on a floppy and then re-digitalized. Now that I also have the Akai MPC 1000, which as you all know has the internal sequencer, I changed my approach a bit, but the end result is the same.
Indeed now that I have the comfort of the larger pads, I often directly record the live rhythm parts on Wavelab, still in Wavelab I edit the sounds and then assemble them all in Cubase so as not to have a thousand useless files in the pool. What else, ah, Boss SP-303, longtime friend, Axiom 25, good old Kaoss Pad 2 and more. All glitches, clips and various microsounds, many voices, audio pieces in English come from a microphone, Microsononics MS-300, an incredible piece of art from 1979.
Best “digging advice” ever received?
Well, I don’t really know now…I could tell you about the funniest. A friend of mine, Antonione, repeated me for years “Fuck, you have to make a piece by sampling slaps and punches from Bud Spencer movies. Maybe add them under the snare drums!“… I look for the stuff on my own, I believe I’ve never received a bit of particular advice.
I look for samples everywhere, from movies, cassettes, old VHS tapes, I don’t disdain Youtube or the now obsolete minidiscs, on which I recorded billions of one-shots and samples of every kind. I don’t use ready-made libraries. If someone told you MESSTWO uses libraries of sounds already cooked, he said a loud crap. ;) Now I turn the question over, and I mention Mario Molino, Traffico Caotico.
The producer, in the last 3 months, who made you say: “Oh, shit, I have to go back to the studio”?
Gabonano made me say “…merda che beattone!“, apparently he has a sampling of oxygen, gas, or something, listen to him here. And he reminded me that I have to carry on the project that I will have with Scvtterbrvin, a San Diego rapper who moved to the Bronx.
The worst production mistake you’ve ever made?
Mistakes are always made in a home studio environment, precisely because the environment in which you are living is not adequately treated for the sound, so you tend to emphasize low frequencies too much, so the final bounce could be muffled, deciding to entrust your work to others for the final mix it is fundamental. And anyway they broke my fucking life saying “can’t make beats with speakers”, I wonder what the fucking sense it is if I listen to the final I do it elsewhere. But I think we should analyze the question well, first I make music, my music, aka the soundtrack of my life.
So if it plays FUZZY is it because my life is distorted. I mean, basic rules must be followed, God forbid, the piece must play well, but I leave the aseptic and plastic things to others if they love them. There are sound technicians who wouldn’t even dream of adding a warp (warp distortion, not time-warp) on kick and snare, or on any break, but they are tastes, in my opinion, everything is permissible, or more simply, there are those looking for a hyper-clean sound, those looking for their own sound, I make tracks for my film, and my mental film is full of voices and feedback, of crazy people who speak for themselves.
To denigrate the work of others and always find rottenness is very simple, to make beautiful pieces is more difficult, some would be able to go to the Giza plateau and say “Shit but what an environmental impact!”. Ah haha, can you explain it?
A straight forward essential tip for mixing:
The tip for the mixing is: don’t overlap too much stuff, export all the tracks in a new program, redo the volumes properly, as you want it to sound in your studio, and go to a studio with serious listening to finalize it all. Be aware and there, or the technician on duty will tend to follow his tastes, not yours. Recognize your limits and you will be a better man.