A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of "Spaghetti Dance"
Five years ago Italo-Disco enjoyed a double revival. Crate diggers re-discovered its influence on House. Hipsters squealed at its camp machismo and lost-in-translation lyrics. The movement’s pioneers started coming out of the woodwork, among them Torino legend Antoni Maiovvi, whose limited edition comeback album Maiovvi Vice sold out so quickly that nobody's quite sure it ever existed.
Since then, Maiovvi’s worked at an impressive rate - hooking up with style icon Fortuna for a series of live PAs, before releasing solo sets Electro Muscle Cult, Shadow Of The Bloodstained Kiss and The Thorns Of Love. Maiovvi’s mature sound revisits the aching synths and 4/4 kicks of his 80s cuts, adding low budget cinematics, deadpan Euroticisms and the occasional agonised croon. The results are compellingly eccentric; curiously beautiful.
Antoni Maiovvi is also the alter ego of Anton Maiof - the prolific experimentalist of My Ambulance Is On Fire and howling anchorman of Geisha.
BRS: You recently left England for Germany. Is it going well for you over there?
AM: It's been interesting. I'm not sure of the sense in moving to a country where I don't speak the language. But it's been good. There is a nice community of weirdos making excellent work, you can always get a drink and life is cheap...and the girls, man, the girls.
BRS: You’re not the only producer connecting Berlin with Bristol. Pinch, Appleblim et al have forged links with German techno. Digital Hardcore was an inspiration for the anti-establishment breakcore of Death$ucker. Do the cities have something in common?
AM: There's a similarity in the pace of life. Berlin is pretty laid back for a capital city. Not much closes and you can party all night. People are in less of a rush. There are social problems because of that, of course - there are a lot of burned out people. Bristol and Berlin are both transient towns - both have big universities and people will come here to study and have a good time and then leave to go get a job somewhere else leaving music scenes to get glossed over. Techno is king here - most other things get ignored.
BRS: Who is Antoni Maiovvi? What’s the idea behind the alias?
AM: Antoni Maiovvi is a composite character - equal parts Harold Faltermeyer, Giorgio Moroder, Philip Glass, Maurizio Merli, Jeffrey Dahmer and David Duchovny. With hindsight I should have thought of something easier to spell.
BRS: A lot of your work with Geisha and My Ambulance Is On Fire was dark and nihilistic. The Maiovvi project is inspired by Italo-Disco, a naïve, hedonistic sound. Pure escapism on your part?
AM: Some Italo stuff could fit in a horror movie I think, some stuff is just agressively gay, some of it is so cheesy and bad it's like a bad joke. The amazing tracks are truly amazing; psychedelic and sexy - just like Whitehouse.
BRS: There's another aspect to Maiovvi - a sort of diseased longing, thinly disguised by the plastic heroics. Are you a hopeless romantic?
AM: There's this theory about the writer Philip K Dick. His twin sister died after they were born prematurely. He went through his life knowing that there was another part of him that was gone forever. I can understand that - I've no idea what the other part is but I miss it. In short, yes.
BRS: What’s happening with your other projects? Are the rumours of new Geisha material true?
AM: Everything is still going. Geisha will never die until one of us does. Circumstance has been the bane of that band, but we're going to keep going in whatever form just to spite it. Also we like working together.
BRS: What I've heard of the new Geisha material is very different from anything you've done before. Did you leave your guitar in Bristol?
AM: Well, it was time to experiment but I did leave the Geisha guitar in Bristol, yes. I have a guitar here but it's not the same. We keep losing drummers is the short answer to the change. I've a general disgust for most rock music these days.
BRS: The Russians are coming and the train leaves for Paris in an hour. There’s enough space in your luggage for two records and two films. Which do you choose?
AM: Movies are easy. The Thing and Robocop. For the records it would probably be more useful to get some lathe vinyl that has been sharpened for ninja dj action...you know, just in case.
Antoni Maiovvi's 'The Thorns Of Love' is out now on Caravan Records.
Free Download! Antoni Maiovvi, Live at the Italo Elite club, Amsterdam.