Cover photo: Valerio Di Gregorio
In the second week of 2023, Worg returns to release duties with Il Piano di Medea EP on Lykos Records. Having as inspiration the quest of Jason and the Argonauts, the narrative expands in three original tracks while it also includes a remix by Neel. From those parts of the mythical journey, as envisioned by Worg, we would like to present the premiere of Il Vello D’Oro. Praising the divine radiance emanating from the Golden Fleece with its grainy texture, the track bathes under its purifying energy. The steady percussion pace provides a sense of purpose and commitment, as did the mythical hero when he set sail to obtain this artifact. With the creation of a constant “buzzing” and the invocation of some strict and heavy bassline, the dense textures form a strong enough foundation to uphold the epic proportions of such an expedition. In addition to the premiere, we talked to the producer about his background and the upcoming release.
Who or what introduced you to electronic music? How does the genre’s sound and scene make you feel?
My approach to electronic music started in the high school years. I was attending art school at the time and there I met those who are my current dearest friends. We started going to social centers and after a while there was a switch and my friends and I started going to clubs and immersing myself totally in the world of techno and clubs. In those contexts I felt free to be who I was, to leave the problems of those years behind and enjoy life. Nowadays there is a strong sense of belonging to this world and culture.
Lupo is the word for ‘wolf’ in Latin. Would you like to share some details about how this inspired you, shaped your identity and empowered your creativity? What’s your connection, after all, with this animal?
Let’s start with the assumption that Lupo is my surname and therefore the symbol and spirit animal of my family. There are many behavioral characteristics in which I mirror myself in the wolf. One among others is that grown wolves tend to leave the pack when they reach independence to create a new pack. This aspect fascinates me so much. Metaphorically speaking this desire to create one’s own path resembles me very much. Another fundamental aspect that binds me to this animal is that the wolf is the nocturnal animal par excellence; for years I lived at night and I think it is the most beautiful time to live, where unexpected and magical things happen.
Finally, I would like to quote some verses from Michel Pastoureau’s book, ‘The Wolf: A Cultural History’, in which I strongly believe. It says: The wolf is a being of light, it sees in the darkness. Although it has nocturnal habits and howls at the moon, in ancient mythologies the wolf is a solar animal. More than a skin, a tail, a muzzle or big teeth, the wolf is a life form of light, a pair of eyes, a gaze that sees and shines in the night.
Which other themes, interests or activities would you say have inspired you? Is it easy for you to maintain the standards and your approach towards them so they can still be relevant to you?
In my spare time I particularly enjoy going to art exhibitions and wandering around museums or monuments. So, Rome is a perfect city because it is steeped in classical art, monuments, myths and legends. I like to be overwhelmed by the disarming beauty of columns, churches, ancient temples and the remains of what were centuries and centuries ago the origins of Western civilization.
Another thing I draw inspiration from, is reading mythological tale. Not only Greek and Latin but also Norse ones. I find them fascinating not only because of the complexity, the symbolism they are imbued with, but above all because in the past ancient people used myths to explain both natural phenomena and cultural differences. Since they are recreational activities, which inspire me but at the same time do not involve much commitment, I devote the right amount of time and energy to them.
How is the experience of composing a track for you? How do you start and what makes you feel satisfied?
The creative process behind the construction of a track as far as I’m concerned is very methodological. The finalization, on the other hand, depends from track to track. In most cases, I try to divide the work into three phases: The sound design phase with the creation of sounds, drum kits, patches on various synths, creations of textures, and effects chains. The arranging phase, the part starting from a track idea (or even a song title or concept) I search, select and adapt previously acquired material to shaping it to that idea. And the last one is the mixing, where I treat the individual elements with spectrum processing, dynamics and spatialization.
For me, making music is therapeutic. Especially in the past where I had difficulty putting into words what I had inside, music helped me to channel my energies, to communicate with the outside world, it was a conduit to convey feelings. Nowadays I like to spend hours in front of the computer (in my comfort zone) solving problems in the creative sphere. It’s also an escape from the world for a few hours or a safety valve. More than satisfied, this makes me feel good and relaxes me.
How does each release shape you as a person? Are you conveying any kind of message or is it more like an invitation to an entirely different world?
Well, more than the release shaping me, is me changing with the passage of time. I think the process is in the opposite way. You refine techniques, use different technologies or change musical taste or aesthetics and so the releases can take different forms. Behind those sounds or atmospheres is the intent to communicate something or express a feeling, as an extension of what I brood within. So, really more than a message, there is mostly a descriptive intent, and this involves the listener – as in any other listening to any genre of music – being carried away by the evocative power of the music.
Your label, Lykos Records, takes its inspiration by the same animal. How did you design its character, aesthetic, and sound?
Lykos comes from the Greek “lýkos” (λύκος) “wolf,” the animal in addition to being, as mentioned earlier the family name, is also the symbolic animal of Rome. In fact, the city has had the “She-wolf” as its symbol since its founding dated 753 BC. Legend says that the two brothers Romulus (founder of Rome) and Remus, after being thrown into the Tiber, were carried to the slopes of the Palatine Hill, where they were nursed by the She-wolf sent by Mars. All this to say that Lykos Records has deep roots to the city to which it belongs. The label is nourished by Rome.
The label builds its poetics on journeys through time, history and mythologies. To date, the Lykos saga should be thought of as an anthology series, where each artist soundly narrates extraordinary and epic events, making each release a story of its own. Furthermore, I plan to range even more between different genres in the future by opening new catalogue issues. Each release is enriched by hand-drawn artwork made by artist Roberto Mulliri. This partnership that has been going on for years has allowed the label to take on unmistakable characteristics. He himself designed the logo, also a clear reference to Rome. In fact we have the wolf and seven stars as this is the magic number of Rome. His drawings recall the seventeenth-century engravings, and the illustrations on the covers are an invitation to discover some precious Roman treasures and a journey through myths and legends.
The upcoming EP release highlights a “return to the ranks”. How did you spend your time in between the releases and what have you gained during that?
During this long period, beginning with the onset of the pandemic, I decided to resume my studies in Electronic Music Composition, at Saint Louis College of Music in Rome. Years ago, I finished the three-year course and now I’m pursuing my master’s degree. So in the meantime I gained a lot of new knowledge like programming, writing contemporary music compositions or building electronic equipment setups with Arduino and electrical circuitry.
But more importantly, in this course of study, I had the opportunity to establish strong friendships with two of my colleagues, Matteo Camerini and Gabriele Petrillo with whom I founded a contemporary art collective called Touchy Toy. With the collective we have already had the opportunity to exhibit the first works, including “CyberClassicismo” and “Errore di Matrice”. Respectively, a holographic sculpture at a contemporary art festival an audio-visual composition at the XXII edition of the CIM (Colloquio di Informatica Musicale). Also we have started making the first live acts ranging from live-coding to A/V performance here in Rome.
From LYKOS V we chose to premiere the Il Vello D’Oro track. How would you describe its background and how was the process of creating it? From technical but also from a personal perspective.
I started the creation of the track from the bass sequence, previously done via Operator in Ableton, which I then edited and finally processed in different ways. Then I focused a lot on the textures, which I wanted radiant and airy. Some I had already recorded while other layers were added later. Then I added some sound effects and shimmering percussion, all to recall the dazzling brilliance of the Golden Fleece, from which the track is inspired. The story behind this track, but also behind the whole EP, refers to some extracts from Argonautica. In this case, the idea was to start from a subject/object linked to the myth of Jason, Medea and the Argonauts, i.e. the Golden Fleece, and try to shape the sound so that it recalled the rare preciousness of this magical relic.
Where do you find yourself after finishing this EP? Do you think it is more as an establishment or a new, successful challenge based on something different? This doesn’t refer only to sound but also your mindset.
Well for me this EP is another addition to my journey, not an end point. I think each release links to a specific moment in one’s life. Probably in the future I will look back at this EP and feel differently or have a different opinion about it, based on what I have developed through my personal and artistic evolution. I firmly believe that the maturation of a creative person is always coming. You never stop learning and this is also the beauty of it. In my opinion, the most beautiful tracks are the ones I haven’t done yet.
I’m not also a fan of the ideology of the infallible and perfect artist. I believe that we are first and foremost human beings who try, fail, make mistakes and try again. I find the mistakes, the changes of direction and the way we resolve or evolve from these mistakes more fascinating. Even the fluctuating artistic output I find indicative of a path and growth, composed of ups and downs like life itself.
Now that 2022 comes to an end, what will be your priorities and actions for the next year?
Certainly the first goal I have set for myself is graduation. In April I’m supposed to discuss my thesis and I’m writing a composition for prepared piano, bass clarinet, cello and live electronics. As far as Lykos is concerned, I’m already preparing the next releases, including the first in a series of V/As for a special, indeed magical, issue. In addition, the merch will be available soon. However from a personal artistic point of view I’m working on the first two albums. One deep-techno/hypnotic oriented and the other glitch, noise and ambient. Finally, in parallel with the Touchy Toy collective, we are working and planning further sound installations and first musical compositions.
The release is available for pre-order on digital and vinyl format via Lykos Records Bandcamp.