The Italian reggae band Mellow Mood formed in 2005. Over the past few years, they gained widespread recognition and became one of the most important acts of the European reggae scene. Their latest and fifth studio album (“Large”) was released in 2018, and they performed at some of the most important music festivals worldwide, such as Rototom Sunsplash (Spain), Eurockéennes (France), California Roots (USA) e Jamming Festival (Colombia). Since 2015, they run the independent record label La Tempesta Dub. Mellow Mood’s latest single “I And I Chant” was released on December 10th, 2021 via La Tempesta Dub/Ineffable Records. Check out the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started?
Mellow Mood: We come from a small town in the northeast of Italy, not too far from Venice.
Music was part of our household as our parents would be playing a lot of records; dad also had a guitar so we naturally gravitated towards music at some point.
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
Mellow Mood: Me (Lorenzo) and my brother Jacopo are self-taught. The other members of the band actually had a formal musical training, some more than others. But regarding to the music genre we play, we all are self-taught.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘Mellow Mood’?
Mellow Mood: It’s not easy to go back down memory lane and find out who was the one musician or song or sound that actually convinced us that music was what we wanted to do in life. I’m sure it was a mix of all the music we were exposed to as kids. But the discovery of Bon Marley was definitely a special one. Our reggae journey starts with him and we owe the name of our band to one of his tunes.
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
Mellow Mood: Not sure what should resonate with our listeners, but I’m sure something does resonate with them…they have the answer.
I wouldn’t describe our sound, it’s something I don’t entertain. I hope we sound good though lol.
6. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?
Mellow Mood: Being political isn’t always a choice. Sometimes you’re political and you don’t even know it. In our songs we talk about what we urge talking about. Reggae has always been spiritual, political, cultural. We play reggae.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfilment as the amount of work you are putting into it, or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
Mellow Mood: There’s no doubt that what we put out there or into our music comes right back at us. Sometimes you wish your song had more success, sometimes, especially in the last two years, you wish your songs gave you a better financial state. But these are wishes.
Life goes as its supposed to.
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
Mellow Mood: It depends. It could be just me or Jacopo on the guitar, just vibing on the instrument. It could be some melody we have in our head, or a beat or a baseline. Then from the guitar we take it to the studio and work on it with our producer or we take it to the band and we develop an instrumental that fits the music we have in mind. The writing goes along with all this.
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
Mellow Mood: Probably the last couple of years. Many bands didn’t survive, we are blessed to be here still.
10. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
Mellow Mood: There are many proud points. Every song that sounds good to our ears is one. Every show that the audience enjoy, every collaboration, every part of the journey counts.
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