“We really never even considered quitting, even during the hardest moments. We’ve always been curious and creative, we never got bored. And I think we’re still getting better and better as a band.”
Celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2020, OvO is a singular force in the underground. Today they present a thrilling new piece of work, their ninth full-length, Miasma, out on Artoffact records.
With a mix of electronic and acoustic instruments, founding members Stefania Pedretti and Bruno Dorella have faced many challenges throughout the years.
“We started as an open improv collective back in 2000, and now we’re a heavy duo,” Dorella says. “We found a whole new inspiration when we added electronic elements to our tribalistic approach in 2013. And we began as a couple in life, and we’re not anymore. It has all made us stronger and more focused.”
With over 1,000 shows played, Ovo are always on tour. Their fiercely independent ethos and grinding live schedule means they have performedat concerts and festivals on nearly every continent.
“We physically need to tour,” Dorella explains. “It resets priorities and focuses us. When your everyday life is going to suck you up, you go on tour, and you’re yourself again. It’s good for our mental health.”
Miasma sees OvO continue down theirpath, mixing tribalism and futurism by way of radical cross-contaminations of sounds, rhythms, and genres.
“Before we started to work on it, we were sure it was going to be radically different: even a fully electronic album, maybe,” Dorella admits. “But then our punk/hardcore roots took over, and there was no way to stop them. The first half of the album is really fast, fast as we’ve never been before. Then the second half slows down, and you can hear some of the electronics in the song ‘L’Eremita.’ As usual, the composition took its own way, no matter what we meant to do, and we just followed it.”
As with their previous albums Abisso and Creatura, the writing process for Miasma began with loops and patterns that Dorella proposed to Pedretti.
“For the last three albums,we found this system that really works for us: I record a lot of drums andelectronics patterns, Stefania chooses which ones she likes, and onlyat that point do we really start to work on the tracks, post-producingthe patterns until Stefania records guitar and vocals,” Dorella explains.“Finally, weleave some space for collaborations. ‘L’Eremita’was a longcompositional flow for which we imagined a different voice, and weasked our old pals Arabrot. For ‘Testing My Poise,’we imagined something completely twisted, like trap or hip hop. Stefania was the curator of the music program at the Santarcangelo Theatre Festival for three years, and there she met Gnucci, who took on this challenge with fabulous results. ‘Burn De Haus’ was inspired by our friends HolidayInn, so it was natural to ask their singer Gabor to duet with Stefania on it. Even if we’re a duo, not an open collective anymore, we still love collaborations.”
The title Miasma was chosen as a representation of everymassive power in society,like corporations, religion,or the rightwing. It’s something dark and terrifying that tries to take controlover people.
“While we were working on the tracks, we realized that we we’re achieving the dirtiest sound, yet the clearest vision, in our career,” Dorella says. “It was exciting to see it growing, starting from my patterns, and going through Stefania’s abrasive guitar and unique vocal approach. But Giulio Favero had the hardest task when he had to mix it. He was able to keep both things: dirty sound and clear vision. Then we reallyhad this crazy, morbid, apocalyptic sound that you can almost smelland touch. It’s poisonous, sick. But glorious, somehow.”
The cover of the record, by London-based Italian tattoo artist Servadio, well represents this concept as well.
“Stefania met Servadio at a tattoo performance, he makes this great ritual thing called ‘Body Of Reverb,’” Dorella explains. “He knew our music and he was really into making an artwork for us. We explained the whole Miasma concept (the sound, the alchemical history, the political statement). We asked him to draw this miasma that spread around and was going to cover the city, and he came up with a whole bunch of different artworks. It was hard to choose one, so we decided to put all of them inside the cd booklet, so you can see them all.”
Being from Italy, the political situation of their country also inspired OvO’s new album.
“There’s a serious fascist thing going on,” Dorella says. “People are tired and angry, and they go for the bad guy, because it’s easier, it’s something everybody can understand. There’s so much ignorance, hate, populism. Representing evil, and at the same time fighting this distorted society in our everyday life, are things that definitely go into our music.”
“We do believe that music can make a lot for a positive change,” he continues.“Ourfirst contact with rebellion and political statements was through punkmusic, and history says that music has always been a powerful way tocommunicate to large amounts of people and, consequentially, toinfluence some political decisions. These times aren’t very strong interms of a united scene. But it has to come back, we’re sure it’ll beone of the ways to fight for this positive change.”
“Most of Stefania’s lyrics have no meaning, because she prefers to useher voice as an instrument. But she’s still able to drive a message through her singing. For the first time, in the ‘Queer Fight’ track, she sings a few lyrics. She did it in order to convey a message which is very important to us. It was among the first songs we recorded, and so she started to sing parts of lyrics, just here and there. Who knows, that could be a new approach for our music in thefuture.”
Listen to Miasma here: