Based in northern Italy, the Boring Machines label has quietly assembled an impressive catalog of releases in its four-year existence. Featuring impeccable packaging and design, Boring Machines’ musical focus has tended to favor the hushed and the exploratory, yet their releases have remained surprisingly diverse. Their roster of artists, the majority being from Italy, run the stylistic gamut from forward-thinking synth explorers to avant-rock instigators to folk songsmiths and various points in between. Onga, the gentleman behind Boring Machines, was generous in providing further insight into the label and the artists that he has worked with.
I have been around setting up gigs, djing and helping other friend’s labels since the early 2000s and I’ve been passionate about music since I was a kid. I built a fake keyboard similar to the glorious DX-7 with Legos when I was only 10.
Boring Machines was born in 2006 when I put together a number of labels around the project of releasing My Dear Killer’s official debut after several tapes and cd-rs he did.
Oh, I love names! I have names ready for thousands of things, including a band of mine (I can’t play any instruments), another label, a magazine, and probably a TV show. I always put names to the things I do. I used Basemental when I was doing experimental gigs in a basement in the neighborhood and there’s another couple of secret nicknames surfing through the web in different places…
Boring Machines... my English is self-taught and still pretty rough, but to me this name recalls something that has to do with boredom and with machines, two things I’m really into: machines which produce boredom.
I know Boring Machines are also those giant things that make holes in the ground, but, no, this is only about boredom.
Definitely. The major inspiration came from Kranky and Constellation. Back in the nineties, I bought every single release from them. Constellation was probably the major influence regarding packaging. I love paper. I don’t like plastic cases and their sleeves have always been great. I could name dozens of labels I’ve been really into, both musically and aesthetically, but also in certain cases personally. In Italy, my friends from Madcap Collective, Bruno of OvO and his Bar La Muerte, Wallace Records and Afe Records. And then Digitalis itself, Bluesanct, Silber Records, VHF, Secret Eye, Time-Lag, Last Visible Dog, a ton of CD-r labels and many many many others.
Absolutely. Maybe ‘quiet’ is probably not the right word. In my mind, this is a response of the growing need to “have fun” that I assisted in the last ten years. Anything that is not aligned to the macho kick-drum rock, the dancey stuff, or the “already heard” pop is marginalized, kind of a musical MacCartism versus the “different” music. “Oh no.. this is too quiet, this is too sad, this is too difficult..” blah
I always thought there’s more energy and movement in a Phill Niblock composition than in any Interpol record. But all the music I loved was on the smaller shelf in the darkest corner of the dirtier shop, and I knew a lot of new bands/artists that never released stuff just because it wasn’t happy/uplifting enough. What I see, both musically and socially, is herds of human beings trying to escape their feelings, finding comfort in what they already know, and trying to survive staying possibly happy anytime. Cows. I am danger. I am discomfort. I am anger. I am desperation. Humans have a wide range of possible feelings and I would like to explore the dark side of the mood.
I have a day job which pays me quite well, so I can take risks and release music I like with nice packaging and try to promote it at my best, all on my own. I am my success; I am my failure.
I release anything from songwriters (My Dear Killer, Bob Corn) to electronic music (Punck, Luminance Ratio, Be Invisible Now!) to weird things (Mamuthones, Whispers for Wolves) to bands that play songs (Father Murphy, Fuzz Orchestra, Morose).
The styles are all different; I don’t want to be monothematic, but all these records have a red thread which keeps them under the same roof. There’s something in their music that makes you shudder or wonder what’s wrong with them.
It’s not planned actually, it just happens. I strongly believe that while Italy is still seen as an exotic place music-wise, there are a lot of great artists to be discovered.
What I would also like to do is to work with people that I know, that I can meet and discuss things with. The human side of it is more important than the business side of it. If I wanted to make money with a label, I wouldn’t have released any of these records.
I think my idea of working with some Italian friends, in the first place, has been a winning idea. When The Wire reviewed Satan is my Brother closing with the line - “This record is meant to be listened to entirely and repeatedly” declares the insert “play it loud by the end of tonight”. Go to it, readers.” - I thought I won the World Cup. And then Punck was chosen to be part of their Wire Tapper. Since that the international reputation of the label is growing, and it’s mostly because of the Italians I released. I think especially to Father Murphy who toured twice in the U.S., three times in Europe, and it’s going really well, or Above the Tree who is constantly playing all over Europe.
So.. well yes, in the end, I think that keeping an Italian identity to the label is not a bad idea, but in the sense of possibly sharing this Italian identity with all the world, not just to keep it here.
Wow, 140 characters.. I never subscribed to Twitter because of that.. I’m a talker.... let’s give it a try.. is it including spaces or not?
(BM001) My Dear Killer: "Clinical Shyness":
My Dear Killer is like having Sonic Youth as a backing band for Nick Drake, the songs are full of sadness and discomfort, and it’s not a writing exercise.
(BM002) Be Invisible Now!: "Neutrino"
Be Invisible Now! is a cosmic courier in year 2000, the first time I heard him I thought it matched perfectly with the name “Boring Machines”.
(BM004) Satan Is My Brother: "Satan is my Brother"
The band that didn’t exist before in Italy: echoes of free jazz, dub and ambient with a rock attitude and Lynchian imagery. Do I need to say more?
(BM005) Bob Corn – “We Don't Need the Outside”
Another man with a beard and a guitar, two chords and simple words, and always on the road. Bob Corn is more punk than any punk band.
(BM006) Whispers for Wolves: "Language of the Dards”
Love at first sight. I hadn’t listened to the whole demo yet when I decided to release it. Freak folk and electronics, deeply spiritual.
(BM007) Expo'70: "Expo'70 vs. Be Invisible Now!"
Kindred spirits find themselves across the ocean, two tracks each, a masterpiece in cosmic debris and cinematic horrorscapes.
BM008) Punck: "Piallassa (red desert chronichles)"
One of the finest soundscapist I know, recording an homage to Red Desert by Michelangelo Antonioni, shot in Piallassa in 1964, where Punck was born.
BM009) Father Murphy: "...and He told us to turn to the Sun”
Martial and religious, creepy and psychedelic. This band is unique and they are truly committed to what they do.
BM010) "Fuzz Orchestra - Comunicato nr.2”
The sound of Black Sabbath looped as it’s played by Neu! with inserts from movies and documentaries. The revolution armed with a guitar.
(BM011) "VVAA - Quit Having Fun (double CD, 23 artists)"
Having fun it’s a habit, this is the easy way to quit having fun, 23 tracks of ambient, weird folk and other.
(BM012) Morose – “La vedova d'un uomo vivo"
I’ve known them since they started playing ten years ago. It reminds me of funerals, abandoned ships, sickness and death.
(BM013) Above the Tree: "Minimal Love"
Above the Tree stands to (early) Animal Collective like Basic Channel stands to Black Dice. Stripped down psychedelic blues.
(BM014/15) BE MALEDETTO NOW!: "Abisso del passato pt.1+2”
Get today the music of yesterday! Be Maledetto Now! are the cosmic couriers back on their spaceships, to “Jupiter and beyond”.
(BM016) Luminance Ratio: "Like little garrisons besieged”
Electroacoustic is a matter of perspective. Here you have the trio work on digital and analogue sources, and then Paul Bradley reconfiguring everything.
(BM017) Claudio Rocchetti: "The Carpenter"
The former noise-kid learns how to dose the power of the force. Like a modern Skywalker he knows how to blast the speakers or throw in the gentlest voice.
(BM018) Mamuthones: "Sator”
Alessio, former drummer and founder of Jennifer Gentle, brought me this cornerstone of pagan rituals and Christian psychedelia. Incredible.
(BM019) Above the Tree: "Above the Tree vs. Musica da Cucina split 12”
Two live recordings from the Muviments Festival in the medieval castle of Itri in south of Italy, the room sounded amazing.
Quit Having Fun is another of the names/title I had in mind, another manifesto of what I like. I always did mixtapes in the past trying to introduce new artists to friends, or to other artists. Doing gigs and tours, I met a lot of friends that I respect and like what they do, so I decided to bring them all on a big mixtape to share with people, a group of tracks that I like. You never know what happens, most of them don’t know each other and they can be inspired by other people’s work. The compilation is also a promotional item to spread the artist’s music around because now there is 23 people in 23 different places of the world owning copies of it and selling it, trading it, giving it to other friends.
Claudio is a friend of mine and when I asked him to provide a track for the compilation he was the first one to join. We didn’t plan a release for him actually; everything came out naturally later. He had new tracks in the works, I listened to it and I liked them. The same natural process happened with the other labels, Wallace, Holidays and Presto!? who co-released the record. We are all friends and share thoughts, tastes, and do things together.
I didn’t plan any other releases with people on the compilation, but the process is repeating again as a record from Andrea Marutti is now in the works. Who knows what will happen in the future?
Uhm... there’s a lot of them, way more than I can afford economically.
If the question means someone who seems out of reach or already too big, I would say Pete Kember in his Experimental Audio Research persona. I totally devoured his records. I drove him on tour together with Be Invisible Now! as Spectrum for a week and I saw him playing extraordinary drones from cheap machinery. He psyched me out!
It is structured in three different parts:
Part one: Are you able to become a father right after I release your record so you won’t tour for the next three years; otherwise, you have troubles with your partner?
Part two: Are you able to record your tracks with the best analogue synthesizers, put everything on tape, compress it on analogue studio equipment and then right after I release your record tell me that you want to play live only with a computer?
Part three: Are you able to set up a band with great instrumentation and then you never play live because you don’t have cars to move it around?
If you can answer yes to all three questions, you can probably get my address and send me a demo.
2010 is shaping up very nicely. I have some releases in the works, and I’m waiting for some friends to let me listen to their new recordings.
Confirmed releases for now are:
Jealousy Party – Live CD (amazing open-band which escapes every categorization caught live in Rome)
K11 (Pietro Riparbelli & Philippe Petit) – The Haunting Triptych CD (doomy drones, a possible horror movie soundtrack)
Attila Faravelli & Nicola Ratti – LP (liquid ambient made with a guitar and several different speakers fed with frequencies)
Andrea Marutti & Fausto Balbo – Detrimental Dialogue CD (something close to what someone calls hypnagogic. Maybe?)
I am also waiting to hear new material from Rella the Woodcutter (a very cynical songwriter), My Dear Killer, and hopefully Father Murphy again. And then again, anything can happen because I don’t have a strict schedule. The label is me, so when I have money, I release records; when I don’t have it, I don’t.
-- David Perron (31 March, 2010)