Interview: Mop Mop

Andrea Benini aka Mop Mop is coming to Greece for the first ever show of his Mop Mop soundsystem here. He was kind enough to talk to us about.
Where is this "Isle of Magic" and how can I get there?
Well the 'Isle Of Magic' doesn't exist for real. It's just a magic place i had in my mind. The perfect place for me where you can just live, cook, eat, play music and do voodoo rites at night. This idea just come up to me during a vacation in a small Island called 'Marettimo' in Sicily, real deep south of Italy. Marettimo is so small and just with an amazing landscape. Perfect to relax.
Why do we need to escape to an "Isle of Magic" via music? Isn't Europe a great place to be in 2013?
Of course Europe is nice but i am always trying to 'build' a kind of perfect place to have a story, a concept for my albums. It makes things easier for me than just have a look at the reality. People like to dream. Me too.
The artwork of the new album shows a naked black woman covered by a snake. Explain, please.
 I am a record collector since many years and i have a lot of funk, disco,afro and tropical albums from the 70's. There were a lot of very nice cover during that period and some of them used to have naked women with organic and spiritual elements. You can check the Mandingo album ' Savage Rite' from 1975 to have an idea. Moreover we wanted to have some exotic/tribal elements to represent the music of isle of magic. 

You worked with the iconic Fred Wesley on the album. How did this happen and how was working with him? Please, please, please, can you share any crazy stories he might have told you from all the legends he's worked with?
We were doing the pre production of the album and we wanted to have some guests. I was working on the track 'Run Around' and i wanted to try to mix some gospel elements, funk and poetry. So i've asked to Anthony Joseph to try some heavy lyrics for the song and we got in contact to mr Wesley too. We sent him the demo and he loved the idea. Fred was touring in Germany with the new J.B.s and we scheduled a studio session in Berlin. We recorded two tracks and 'Run Around' is in the album. Unfortunately we didn't have much time during the studio session to have a long chat with Fred but we went to his gig later at night and it was great.

"Three Times Bossa" was on the OST of Woody Allen’s ‘To Rome With Love’. How did this happen? And how has it helped your band?
My friends and co-writer Alex Trebo was in New York some years ago and he was introduced to one of Allen's video editor during a dinner. Alex started to talk about Mop Mop music and Allen’s video editor was pretty interested. Last year i received a phone call from my publisher in Italy because Woody Allen wanted our track 'Three Times Bossa' for his movie 'To Rome With Love'. It was just great and of course it has boosted our popularity to a more bigger audience. 
Four albums in, what are the biggest lessons the music business has taught you?
That 'the message' is the more important thing. You can have the best promotion, advertise and whatever but if the people don't get your message you can't complain. There are no secrets or tricks. It's just about working hard every day. You can't fake. Especially if you do underground music.
Does the name of the band come from Louis Jordan's 1945 hit? And if so, why did you choose to reference Jordan?
No. When i was living in Bologna i came across an old dictionary of jazz , ‘Nestor Ortiz Oderigo, Dictionary Of Jazz’ from 1961 if i remember fine and i discovered the word Mop Mop for the first time. The dictionary says ‘Mop Mop...a bastard performance of modern jazz based on riffs looped till monotony...’ Well a part of the ‘monotony’, we were doing pretty much the same, i mean jamming on riffs, creating hypnotic grooves and doing solos. James Brown and Fela Kuti know what i am talking about!. Moreover ‘Mop Mop’ is the name of a Max Roach composition. It was the right name in my opinion.
How do you feel about coming to perform in Greece? 
I am really looking forward to it. I hope to spend nice time in a good weather with nice people.  We are playing with the Mop Mop sound system at six d.o.g.s. in Athens with Alex Trebo on keys and synth, Luca Spinogatti on turntables and samples and myself on drums, effects and vocals.It's the 'dancefloor-oriented' version of the album. We will mix heavy tropical, funk, disco beats with samples from the album and a lot of jazzy-psychedelic improvisations. 
Name one thing in life that isn't negotiable.
The respect.
Mop Mop will perform their funk/afro/jazz in Athens on April 13th @ Six Dogs.

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