by ANDREA SCARPA - Photo by ANDREA COLZANI
MILANESE SINCE 2007
I’ve lived here since 2007, August 2007. But I’ve been a resident for much less, because I’m lazy and I’ve only recently officialized my change of residence. But I’ve frequented the city for a long time, since 2002 or 2003.
ESCALATION ON THE A14
It was like an escalation on the A14, meaning that from Senigallia I moved to Rimini, from Rimini to Bologna and from Bologna to Milan.
I followed the flow of the music I liked and so that was my path. I liked moving from Senigallia to other cities, I liked taking a lot of trains. I think I took… I could run for the Guinness World Records… (Travelling) was beautiful because it was a way to open my mind, to live new experiences.
Senigallia was my city when I was a kid, then when I started to have this strong passion for music, the root was a bit torn and I put it wherever I went.
MILAN AND ITS CONTRASTS
I think it represents the opposites: cold but hospitable, great but small, it gives you the opportunity to do many things but it is livable, not like a metropolis that crushes you… It is full of contradictions and I’ve always perceived it this way. At first I was afraid of this, but in the end Milan made me balanced.
I immediately felt I belonged here, so much so that when I’m away for too long, (travelling) I always tell Brando (Nesli’s producer and manager, ed) ‘we should live here, this is a beautiful city’, then at the end we look at each other and say: ‘What are we talking about?!’. Milan is my home. When I’m not here for a long time I feel decentralized and so I have to come back.
AN ITALIAN IN MILAN
I am an Italian who lives in Milan. I put it like that, because adoptive Milanese, I don’t know, I don’t like it with regards to the Milanesi. Marchigiano resident in Milan not, because I don’t really feel I’m a Marchigiano. So I feel more Italian, I adapt to the place where I am. I am a liquid person, I adapt and I get used to the container. Milan is the only (city) that could represent me.
A CITY TO GROW UP IN
I am very individualistic, I think it’s fundamental in order to be focused, to be free and to make the right choices. Neutral and detached independence, this is what I need. It would be good for all Italians to live (for a while at least) in Milan, because it is a city that takes away that sense of attachment to the family, that unhealthy aspect that people can do without.
ALWAYS IN THE NORTH
I always lived on the North side of the city, I don’t know why, maybe… I don’t know! I went clubbing everywhere, but I chose to live in the North. Earlier in fact I landed in Niguarda, from Senigallia – a very beautiful and quaint place – I ended up in the towers of Niguarda.
It reminded me of the outskirts from the film La Haine. It gave me that feeling and I landed there. At the beginning, I have to be honest, I was traumatized. Where I come from, in Senigallia, buildings have a maximum of four floors, I was on the 13th floor in a 15 storey tower, a mini skyscraper. It was extremely traumatic at first, but very formative. From there I moved to Bovisa, where I lived in a basement that was not meant to be lived in, it was like a laboratory, there was no bathroom – we had it built – there was no kitchen and so we put in an electric one, there was no furniture… It was a very artistic place!
The other guy, who was my manager at the time, was never there and I lived alone. And I swear there was nothing, not even a socket for the TV. At home there was a rickety and out of tune piano, that I persisted on playing hoping to learn something, but it was out of tune… That’s why I always have a problem with semitones, of false notes, because I always played an out of tune piano. The floor was made of black rubber, like the one you find in kindergartens, a very strange place. There was no washing machine at home, and the dry cleaner’s was in Via Imbriani, full of the North Africans from Viale Jenner. On paper, one should have not been so excited about it, though – I swear – when I used to go to do my laundry on a Saturday morning, with the sun cutting across Via Imbriani, I thought it was the most beautiful place to stay in.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE
If you aren’t detached about Milan, or if you think you will do everything right away, if you get swallowed up by the charm of the venues where you go to work… but if you want to have fun you will have fun in great scale.
ONE STEP AWAY FROM THE CLIFF
Again, back to what I said about independence. You have to be the master in that. I tried everything but I always had the gift of being good at stopping one step away from the cliff… But I like to get there.
A DREAM TO LIVE HERE
I always start from the assumption that I had a dream for few: music. In this case Milan is the place to be, as Rome is for cinema. If you want to do music everything is here, after a great success there are those who go away from Milan and take farmhouses in unlikely places… But in the first part, during hard work, I’d stay here. I’d be at the top, because in Milan everyone has their nose up, if you keep your nose up you see a lot of beautiful things.
IT’S BEAUTIFUL WHEN…
It’s beautiful when things go well, it is beautiful when you have money to spend, it’s beautiful when you have friends, it is beautiful when you go around… but if you feel low it isn’t beautiful… Everything reminds you of your low time: from the colors to the fact that you can’t manage to do things. However, Milan is expensive.
FAILURES AND GHOSTS
This run-up to independence is tied to a strong motivation, otherwise at the first hurdle you go back home. I I’ve had two or three of these moments, so I almost said ‘I’ll go back home’. That form of failure and defeat was too great, so I said to myself that I’d rather live as a ghost in Milan. The first time I was in Bovisa, where there was no washing machine nor bathroom, which a fan gave us, it was a shitty time… But I believed in it so much that I didn’t want to take it out on the city… my failure was not the failure of the city… I was not like those who say ‘damn Milan, I came and I wasted my dreams’. No, actually I started right from scratch, from Bovisa, from a great quantity of cockroaches, because it was full of cockroaches…
I had a choice. I chose to stay here, to take up residence and to feel a Milanese.
I had the opportunity to experience all the sides of Milan, taking it with pliers or distance but it allowed me to live and to make all the experiences it had to offer me.
THE SOUVENIR LA FINE
Yes, the song La Fine was exactly the picture of this consideration: ‘I do this, then in theory I should leave, that is, here the dream and the pursuit of dreams, the attempt has failed.’ That video was for me like a souvenir of that moment, of the city… From a recording point of view it was unnecessary to make, it cost 500 euros and it was recorded in a truly punk way.
THE TURNING POINT
That was the moment when I had to choose whether to leave or stay, so that was the turning point. That same song helped me to make the decision, the evolution that the song had. In my mind, however, when I recorded it I thought that was the moment of the end of everything. Goodbye.
As a kid I had this unfortunate experience, which in those years often happened to those who did military service: they gave them a weapon in their hands, they could not hold it and so they fired a shot… the same thing happened to me. I was not military, but the dynamic was more or less the same.
DESTINY AND THE MOSQUE
In Milan I live in a neighborhood where there are many more foreigners than Italians. The mosque? This is a curious thing … Because I had a friend who lived just in front of the mosque of Viale Jenner, and when I was still living in Senigallia – watching the TG4 where Emilio Fede commented on the images of the crowd in prayer in the street – I said ‘what a mess for those who live there that find their way blocked…’. After four years I was living right there… So never say never in life.
IN OR OUT
You can get a place with three roommates, you can come and go but it will never be like being here. That’s the step to be a bit rooted down. Then also having acquaintances related to work to live it and to not feel a stranger. It is a long process therefore if you are out, you’re out. What they say about the circles in Milan is true, it really is, the ring road marks your position, in or out. Then once you’re here it doesn’t mean that it’s over. You might be inside that circle, but there is always another one.
AN ADULT IN MILAN
Here I lived the part of my life that built me the most, that made me an adult, a ‘man’. When things go wrong, you don’t live Milan, you don’t go around showing off.
THE WORST MILAN
If you do not have a penny in Milan you stay at home. You experience the worst Milan. The traffic, the hours in which it is a mess, the one where you see people having a good time.
To keep going on my way to the top, but without getting too to high because if you get to the top then you have to go down because of physical reasons.
RAP, FICTION OR REALITY
I’ve always been very objective and critical towards that world. I knew that much of what was told was fiction. My folly, and I talk about it a little bit in my book, was that in a part of my adolescence I wanted to live everything that was real. I didn’t want it to be fiction.
LIVE TO WRITE
Because I said, if you say it, it means that you don’t do it, if you do it you don’t say it. It was a fine line, but important, so I dedicated myself to do it and then to say it. I always said, if you haven’t experienced something extraordinary you can’t think you will write something extraordinary…
MUSIC, I SACRIFICED EVERYTHING
Since a young age I always wanted to realize this dream and I must say the truth, in the end I did it by sacrificing everything and everyone. I say this without shame: from family to friends…
I suffer the passing of time and if I could I would freeze it. If they told me to sign a pact to stay young, I would sign it. I became very superficial about certain things, my imagination goes on the aesthetics… on white hair, on stuff like that.
AT FOURTY YEARS OLD?
I don’t see myself becoming very different. Fuck, I hope I won’t be much different…