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PUNK IS DEAD… but not with SPLEEN

Spleen is releasing their worldwide debut EP, “Dystopic School” on June 21st! While studying abroad back in May, Kara got the opportunity to learn about the Italian music scene and Spleen’s part in it.


Lead singer, Samuele Riccucci, showing an emotional display during the song “Kill the Prig”at their May 11th, 2024 show. (Photo Credit: Sam Schucker)


“I am ready to Kill the Prig.”


 Spleen is releasing their worldwide debut EP, “Dystopic School” on June 21st! While studying abroad back in May, Kara got the opportunity to learn about the Italian music scene and Spleen’s part in it.

 

​ In Florence, Italy two American students wake up and decide on a casual walk around the city but this time an auspicious feeling lingers over them. Something in the air that day. It felt heavy with excitement, bright with sun leading their feet. They both paced the ancient city, traveling familiar streets and visiting their favorite spots; no different than any other really. They debate the contemplation of Jazz Club or a night in. It’d been months since they’d seen a live band and they ached for an ounce of all they missed back at home in the States, unfortunately not fulfilled by the various musicians that made their appearances at the club they frequent. It didn’t feel the same as going to a specific performance, which to their dismay, Florence lacked drastically compared to home. 

However, in Florence, there’s a record shop that sits between Palazzo Vecchio and Santa Croce, the Arno just moments away called Contempo Records. The shop’s charm comes from the large yellow submarine painted in the back and a ceiling full of posters. It was on their course so the two decided they’d stop in to enjoy the lengths of LPs. But this time, they’re instantly stopped at the doorway by a bright red and black poster with a tumbleweed of bodies reading: 


SPLEEN: What’s Behind the Sun?

Who cares as long as we stay under the warm coat of certainties.

​They haphazardly read the date and decide the show is happening on Tuesday, instantly beaming and bouncing up and down with a bottle of musical dreams ready to fizz over. Warning to those around to cover their eyes, a projectile might just come your way.​But behind the desk, the Italian record store owner waves them down, shaking his head at the two poor Americans failed by the date system. He tells them, “No it happened. Look. Saturday.” And upon bringing their eyes back to the sacred scripture, the horror of his truth hits them. And again, their hearts fall, hopeless for harmony. They end up recording a video for Spleen, sending a love letter for the missed moment. 

They leave in one month. Will they ever catch a show in time?

 

Spleen sits in green room for interview after soundcheck and before their show on May 11th, 2024 (Photo Credit: Sam Schucker)


Hailing from the ancient city of art and birth of the Renaissance, Florence, Spleen is a band consisting of four young, talented Florentine men, Samuele, Alberto, Matteo, and Olmo who are set not only to demolish the punk scene within Italy, but around the world with a controlled chaotic energy and introspective depth resembling the likes of adored bands such as Nirvana, Dave Grohl, Queens of the Stone Age, and Alice in Chains. 

Starting their performances around a year ago, Spleen has taken off in the Florence music scene playing small venues and working to create their sound. Working with Contempo Records, in the past couple of months Spleen’s popularity has soared and now is expanding into the UK and US music scene that is sure to fall in love with them! While I was studying abroad in Florence, in May at one of their shows I got the opportunity to conduct what became a 30-minute interview and delve into what makes Spleen’s presence important for the future of not only the Italian music scene, but punk itself.


INTERVIEW

 

Samuele: We have a motto, “Kill the Prig.” 

 

Kara: What does that mean?

 

Spleen: You will see. You will see! It is the moment in the live show where everything is fucking around. It’s where he puts down the guitar and it’s the most hardcore song. 

 

Alberto: He becomes a different person!

 

Samuele: I am ready to kill the Prig.

 

Matteo: It’s a tribute for all of the punk bands. 

 

Samuele: The prig is the person who is a moralist and tells you something you never asked him. He directs you and tells you what to do and you never asked him or her or the person an opinion. The person but also the inner part of us, or our moral aspect. Moral sense of guilt. This also sometimes a part that you just have to kill it just to be free. In the respect for everyone, but you have to do it to be yourself and set you free.

 

 

Kara: So I know the Italian music scene is different from the English music scene, how would you say it is different for you guys? Is it harder to promote yourself in Italy. 

 

Samuele: The most difficult thing is to find places where to play because in Florence there was a really cool scene with New Wave in the 80s and 90s. It was one of the best places in Europe maybe. Nowadays it is difficult to find these places because they just want cover bands or something soft. Something you can eat with. 

 

Alberto: They want products. They don’t want something studio.

 

Olmo: Spotify, you only find pop music, very compressed, and every song is the same. It is very hard to find a space to let yourself know. Especially Florence is a smaller city than Rome. Personally, I have a lot of difficulties to find a space in that environment. It is so big and so full of things, of different things that will just come out. Mainstream music.

 

Samuele: We used to say the phrase “Punk is not dead”. We think Punk is dead and it is ok to say that punk is dead because when punk is dead, it can head to the light. It can come back. You have this punk legacy. Punk is not… When people say you are not punk or say they are punk and only listen to pop-punk or are a moralist of big punk. The fact they are saying there is a moral behind punk and behind what you are saying is not punk. You become a PRIG. 

 

Samuele: We feel like we are punk. In the way we act, the way we do our lyrics, the way we live. When people say punk is dead, it is not dead, but it is dead in the way that it is a great thing that it is dead. 

 

Olmo: It is wrong to me to define punk as a musical genre more than defining punk as an attitude and how you play music. 

 

Samuele: So, the thing here in Italy is it is very difficult to play because they don’t want new group of people playing original music. They have the blinkers. They are searching for money. People maybe don’t want to see a punk show, a rock show, original music but maybe a cover band from Queen, Pink Floyd. The thing is that you kill original music and they can’t play around. That’s one of the biggest issues in Italy. 

 

Kara: Would you guys want to leave Italy and go to UK or to the States to promote yourself or would you want to stay home and keep doing what you are doing now?

 

Samuele: Very curious what people think about music in other places. Sometimes there is a feeling of curiosity of staying in Italy and see if that kind of music can bring up something new. We play music that is not very Italian. We play through English influences for sure. If we leave, then we will lose this world. 

 

Alberto: This is our home. It’s not just for the bands, it’s for the students who have to work. A lot of people who are forced to leave Italy to have better opportunities and it is a thing that you can also see in music. For us, it is a shame to leave our country and go to another place to promote ourselves and work. We are not forced to leave to work but to me it is very sad. If I think that I have to find that job in Italy and if I can’t, I have to leave. It is a very sad thing, and you can see it in the music.

 

Samuele: If everyone leaves, then nothing will change.

 

 

Kara: So, since this is going out to an American audience, do you have a message for any potential American fans who might listen to your music?

 

Samuele: I think in America like in Italy, there’s this sense of stillness. Of when you can’t act, but you want to act. Against everything, against yourself. You just lay down and you are paralyzed, and you can’t act because you are numb in the situation. This stillness can be forced to vanish. The message we are trying to send is that Spleen exists. You have anxiety, you have everything, but we are trying to use the spleen to fight; set your free from this moral guilt. This morality or Prigs or moralists. they are everywhere. Maybe I am a moralist for myself, and I try to not be because I want to be set free from the moral cage. This is the message, to try to abandon the moral cage we are in.  

 

​Interviewing Spleen was an experience I will never forget. Talking to four charismatic and deeply genuine musicians reminds me of how the importance of the punk genre/mentality was and continues to be. A genre believed to be “dead” has a legacy that is unforgettable and continues to stream its colors across the world. Spleen is the epitome of this. With a passion deep-rooted in every note they play and every moment they are on stage, Spleen is a band worth not only watching, but listening to. It is not every day that an Italian punk band is going to grace your ears, but Spleen gives me hope that more just might. Sam and I ached over if we would be able to see a live performance in Florence before our time was up with our studies and Spleen did not disappoint. 

Thank you, Spleen.

Spleen during their performance on May 11th, 2024 in Florence Italy. (Photo Credit: Sam Schucker)


​If you want to hear more by Spleen, their information is below as well as Contempo Records, their record label who also represents other alternative Italian artists if you are interested in exploring that world more. Give Spleen’s new EP, “Dystopic School” a listen and KILL THE PRIG!!!!

 

Words by: Kara Napier

 


Socials For The Band


Spleen:

 

Samuele Riccucci (Lead Singer and Guitarist): 

 

Alberto Sanna (Bassist):

 

Matteo Innocenti (Drummer):

 

Olmo Fantini (Guitarist):

 


Socials For The Record Store


Contempo Records:

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