SKASSAPUNKA (Italy): Music is a powerful tool to express anger and criticism to an unfair system

Interview of the Italian left music group Skassapunka for the “September 23” Movement.

When and under what circumstances was your group formed? Where does its name come from? Are you professional musicians or you work something other?

Skassapunka was born in September 2008 in Lainate (Milan Italy) as a project of young boys (we were all between 15 and 17 years old) who had it clear that this was more than just a hobby. Since then, many things have changed and some members have left, but others have joined and the project continued i n the same direction.

The name of the group is actually a pun, something typical among the ska bands of the 90s. It combines ” and ” with our attitude to break the mold ( Skassapunka means “to break the bench” in Italian). Besides music, each of us also works in other fields however, Skassapunka has always been our priority and we dedicated ourselves to it in totally professional way.

In which cities in Italy have you had concerts? Have you played abroad? How does your audience perceive you?

We started playing in our area, Milan and its province, then, over the years, we performed in the whole country. However, since 2015 our live activity has been mainly abroad. In these years, we played mainly in Germany and Switzerland, but also in France Luxembourg, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, and Austria.

Over the years, we learnt that not all audiences are the same, but they all have in common the warmth which welcome us and that we always perceive, even if expressed in different ways. The audience knows that at our concerts you can dance, moshing, have fun but at the same time, you can get angry and raise your fist to the sky, since our music is also a tool of struggle.

There are many social and political messages in your song, it is sung about the struggle for a better life. Why did you decide to use a themes like that in your songs?

We always wanted to insert social and political messages in our lyrics, a feature which has become increasingly present and important also and especially with personal political growth, trough militancy and awareness.

So we can say that in fact it is some thing absolutely natural. We live the contradictions of the system in which we live and it’s inevitable to become a spokesman, with our music, of those who suffer and struggle to overturn the power relations, also through the alive maintenance of the historical memory which is a reference to continue the action in the present too.

 What would you say to people who say that music should not be mixed with politics?

In an artistic path, everyone can take the most different ways and especially more suitable to their personality. However, the fact is that art and therefore music has always been a powerful tool in the hands of who need to express anger and criticism to an unfair model of system. To deny that it means depriving people of a strong and effective weapon.

How do you define yourself ideologically? Do you participate in any political organization?

We are anti fascists and anti-capitalists (for us this two things cannot exist separately). We therefore believe that this system is not reformable but must be destroyed to build another one where the power is in the hands of those who work.

Yes, some of us have been or are active in political organizations.

In Italy, there are many left-wing bands playing in styles similar to yours, such as Banda Bassotti, RedSka, Los Fastidios, Talco (probably I miss many more). What kind of relationship do you have with them, do you have common participations and projects?

Of course we know the Italian militant music scene and we often got in touch with most of them. Banda Bassotti is perhaps the one that most of all represents our model. With Los Fastidios there is a friendship since for years we were under their label, Kob Records, which helped us to grow up through the years. With them but also with Talco, another very important band for our musical growth, we collaborated in two tracks on the album “Il Gioco del silenzio” (2015).

Your country has been hardest hit by the Covid-19 crisis. How does this affect the people? Did the government’s measures really help the people? How does all this affect your music business and what do you plan in the near future?

The Covid crisis is not only an health emergency but now, more than ever, it’s turning into a ruthless economic and social crisis which is typical of the capitalist system that now shows all its contradictions and presents the bill which will be paid by the working class and the middle class which is being proletarianized.

The government does not show any interest in safeguarding the good of the population. In Italy, right now, the government is the highest expression of the interests of the banks and the European Union, to which all the parliamentary political forces were not able to oppose.

Even less considered is the entertainment industry which is one o f the most affected by the crisis, that already before the Covid suffered from a general non consideration, especially for all the non famous bands who mainly live on concerts, like us.

It’s hard to think and plan the future in these conditions, but as we have always done for a year now, we always try not to lose the contact with our fans. We are working on something new to release in the following months, while we hope to come back as soon as possible on stage.

What have you heard about Bulgaria? Have any of you visited our country?

In general we have been a few time in Eastern Europe, but we hope to bring our music there too. Maybe starting from Bulgaria, why not?