Week in Pop: ETA, Kristen Barredo, Micah E. Wood

Sjimon Gompers

San Joaquin's rising star—Kristen Barredo; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Platonick Dive

Kicking it & conversing with Platonick Dive; photographed by Ryan McKinnon.

Featured off the new album Social Habits, Italy’s Platonick Dive presents a look at the Ryan McKinnon video for “Waxfall”. The trio of Gabriele Centelli, Marco Figliè & Jonathan Nelli make music that works as a sense of therapy where the push is for a connective & inclusive approach to the arts & humanites. In a time where Italy is up against civic odds of uncertainty & oppression, the trio holds tight to a belief in universal love & beauty with an aesthetic of glamor that reaches beyond the surface. In Platonick Dive’s own words on “Waxfall”:

It’s one of the first songs we composed in the last two years we spent between studio and rehearsal room. It’s the natural bridge between our old and new sound. You can hear the very recognizable Platonick Dive vibes in the first part and then the change that lead you into new directions. It’s a song about finding beauty in all the things and the contentment you feel as a result.

Also behold the exotic & enticing Ryan McKinnon visual for Platonick Dive’s “Maple” that emphasizes pleasure, joy & beauty high above today’s trends of backward brutality. Delivered in McKinnon’s trademark Italo thriller celluloid style; the PD sound is taken to cabaret clubs, coastal vistas, the open roads & late night drives. With a vintage cinema motif at work, Platonick Dive in conjunction with Ryan’s direction accentuate outlets & avenues of escapism that underscores themes of beauty that prevail above ominous elements expressed in the sound & motifs of danger seen in the video. In the group’s own words:

Staying close with people you love, sex, listening to good music, smoking weed. All of these things could be good therapy. This is what this song talks about. It’s pretty much different from the typical band’s sound, both for the music and for the lyrics: analog synths and 80’s arpeggiators dance on an upbeat drum while the vocals bring attention to the brutality of being misogynist, homophobe and racist nowadays.

We caught up with Platonick Dive in the following interview exchange over long-distance cables:

Describe the forming of Platonick Dive with the idea centered around music as a therapeutic healing power.

We started to play music together as a form of self-therapy and in the process began trying to build something different with a true message beyond the music. It was only natural to want to extend this to others as well, to also help them through what we were creating. When we are playing—in the rehearsal room, studio recording, or live stages—it is always a very deeply emotional experience because music provides the space where we can openly feel and share feelings with no inhibitions. We find this aspect of music very healing, as it allows us to truly be ourselves and embrace our feelings with no judgment. The latter, acceptance and self-love, is particularly important when it comes to mental health.

If you all could come up with a manifesto like title for the Platonick sound & purpose what would it be?

Therapeutic music for a contemporary society.

Tell us too about the social consciousness that have informed the creation of Social Habits.

Social Habits is a contemporary album in the sense that both the music and message mirror our current reality. We started to compose it two years ago while on tour and had a lot of different experiences, both good and bad. Touring always gives us a glimpse into the real world because we get see so many different parts of it and how people are doing all over, and it also allows us to reflect on issues that affect everyone. This new album is a representation of that—our own observations and reflections on the state of the world. We truly believe in the best of humanity and cannot stand for any abuse of one’s freedoms, so we use our music to speak up against misogyny, homophobia and racism. It’s why we decided to add lyrics to this new album: we wanted to be upfront about the injustices we are currently witnessing on a daily basis. We feel it is our duty as artists, and human beings, to speak truth to power.

Rooftop jaunts with Platonick Drive; photographed by Ryan McKinnon.

Tell us too a little about the civic situations in Italy that many of us outside the EU are either unaware of or uninformed.

In the last couple of years, in Italy and Europe too, right-wing political parties have gained voters and power because of strange immigration laws and poor governance from elected officials that have only caused more problems in terms of unemployment, crime and public money mismanagement. While we believe that everyone is entitled to their beliefs, the main problem is that the right-wing parties are not based on freedom, peace and equality for all and this could lead to a drastic deterioration of our society.

With so many bleak political options & scenarios in play what do you feel are the current hopes for Italy right now?

We believe the only way out is to approach politics differently—in other words, to demand that the people who represent us are working toward the greater good of the whole, not just to benefit themselves. We deserve political parties that truly stand for all people, want to improve our lives and living conditions through more education and work for the young, implement new technologies and renewable energies, and help the integration of immigrants in our society. We have all the means and resources to be able to accomplish this and there is no excuse for the current state of things.

Interested in hearing about your collaboration with Ryan McKinnon for the visual component of the record. How did McKinnon further the messages & feelings involved your music on a level of video & more?

Ryan is a young Portland based photographer and videographer that we started to follow one year ago. We were fascinated by his works, fashion sense and the way he creates art: always dreamy and romantic but never vulgar. Our music is romantic, sexy and fashion oriented, now more than ever.

Conversing with Platonick Drive; photographed by Ryan McKinnon.

Activists & artists both locally & globally that people should check out?

This list would be endless but we support all artists that create from a real place and with honesty. Art allows us to develop awareness and it is important to use this gift to create meaningful experiences. In the art of a real artist, you will always find the heart, the passion, the mind, the soul, the blood and the sweat—their work is never a product, it is the result of lived experiences. It’s up to each individual listener to decide what art means to them, but what we know for certain is that real art touches everyone deeply with its energy. And we encourage everyone to go out and find their favorite artists, and to follow, support and love them. This is all particularly important now, when money and support structures for independent artists is constantly dwindling. Could you imagine what the world would look like without art?

Parting thoughts & hopes for a greater day & brighter future for Italy & the universe?

Love is the answer. We believe in the best of humanity and despite these dark times, we are very hopeful because we know what humans are capable of. We support being respectful, polite and sincere in all affairs. And the importance of working hard but with passion, whatever your job may be.

Platonick Dive’s Social Habits is available now via Fake Chapter Records (US), Black Candy Records (EU) and Platonick Dive Music.

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