Question N°1: Hey there my friend, here we go! Let me know if the replies are ok. Can you please introduce yourself to those that are new to your work?
My name’s Massimo Usai, I’m from Sardinia and I’m a songwriter / producer / performer of dark retro wave music that I release under the monicker CONFRONTATIONAL.
Question N°2: What are your musical influences and what kind of music do you listen to when not producing?
My influences range from from Michael Jackson to John Carpenter, from The Sisters Of Mercy to SADUS, from Johnny Marr to PRONG and then The Cars, Judas Priest, LUDRIUM, Fabio Frizzi, Monte Pittman, Mark Snow, Dave Grohl, Robert Hazard, MIXHELL, Tobias Bernstrup, The Raveonettes, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Killing Joke, Placebo.. I could go on and on! I usually listen to all of the above and more, and I tend to have a preference for the darker side of the spectrum. But as long as it’s good and passionate music, genres really don’t matter to me.
Question N°3: Speaking of which, do you have an earworm at the moment?
There’s a few actually… HELLO AGAIN by The Cars, TURBO LOVER by Judas Priest, THE SACRED TREE by LUDRIUM, and LIVING IN A FRENCH MOVIE by Hante.
Question N°4: What inspires you most whilst working on new music?
My mood and how I process what’s happening around me – both near and far away – is clearly what drives the songwriting process. Obviously the atmosphere around myself, my surroundings have always played a big role – my hometown of Cagliari has been a big influence throughout my musical endeavors, most especially on A DANCE OF SHADOWS and on the forthcoming album KINGDOM OF NIGHT.
Question N°5: Are there any programs and instruments that you use ( to make your music), and can you name both your favorite VST and Drum Machine?
On the new album I’ve relied heavily on the new Roland JU-06 synth, but I’ve also used the AKAI Miniak and the Novation X-Station and XIO. I play Gibson SG guitars along with BOSS and ZOOM pedal effects. For vocals I use the AUDIX OM2 mic with the Digitech VOCALIST fx system. It’s basically the same setup we use for live shows. My fave VST’s are the SONIMUS Britson, the Fish Fillets series by DigitalFishPhones and FULL BUCKETS’ MONO/FURY. My fave drum machine has to be Doktor Avalanche!
Question N°6: If you could choose one film director, past or present, to make a music video for, who would it be?
Oh, man… just one? In the realm of dreams, working with John Carpenter… George A. Romero… William Friedkin… that would be truly insane. More realistically though (HAHA!) how about Neill Blomkamp, Max Landis or the Duffer Brothers? Neill is a true genius and I look forward to his ALIENS treatment, Max Landis is probably the most passionate movie maker alive right now, and the Duffer Bros have blown me away with Stranger Things. Any of those options would really be killer.
Question N°7: What are your favorite movies and/or video games?
Just a few off of my fave movies… Cruising, To Live and Die in LA, Sorcerer, The French Connection (Friedkin), Escape from NY, Prince of Darkness, The Thing, They Live (Carpenter), Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead (Romero), Heat, Manhunter, Thief (Michael Mann), The House of the Laughing Windows, Zeder, Voci Notturne (Pupi Avati)… as for videogames, Splatterhouse 2 and SIlent Hill 1 & 3 (especially the first episode) were a big inspiration with their crazy plots, tons of references to other underground gems, and those amazing soundtracks (by Milky Eiko and Akira Yamaoka respectively).
Question N°8: Here are a few random questions: DC or Marvel? Star Wra or Star Trek? Fulci or Romero?… And why?
DC or Marvel – uhm, I’d rather go with Alan Moore 🙂 Honestly the only comics I’ve really been into are from the Italian production house Bonelli – I am a big DYLAN DOG fan. Star Wars and Star Trek are both cool – George Takei and Harrison Ford are total badasses. And of course, Fulci AND Romero both rule. Can’t go wrong with the undisputed king of Italian Horror and the father of the Living Dead. Romero inspired my very beginnings in music back in my teen years, and Fulci informed my passion in my later years. They both did crazy, unbelievable things with very tiny budgets, letting imagination pave the way for the creation of true masterpieces. They simply rock.
Question N°9: You have played some live shows, of which there has been a lot of good press about. What has been the coolest moment on tour, so far?
My proudest moment is without a doubt the first edition of SYNTHZILLA last year. Getting to play in front of such an amazing crowd and sharing the stage with Dan Terminus, Perturbator and Carpenter Brut. What a glorious night! I really look forward to being in Lyon again and sharing the stage with Dance With The Dead, Artemus Gordon and Malmö in less than a week… I have been mainly holed up in the studio as of late, so I really can’t wait to perform live.
Question N°10: What was the best or worst thing that happened on tour, and do you have a funny tour story to share, publicly?
The very best thing was at SYNTHZILLA, when I realized that several people in the audience were actually singing together with me. That was a truly mind blowing, very humbling moment. The worst thing, which is also rather funny in retrospect, is that my wireless in-ear transmitter stopped functioning on stage once, but I managed to revive it just in time by slamming it real hard against my hand, and managed to do so unnoticed by the crowd… kind of a horror-comedy moment, John Landis style…
Question N°11: Before going on stage, how do you warm up and get in the right mood for a show?
I try to take a moment to warm up my voice with some exercise, and if I am lucky get to sip on some hot tea with honey and lemon. Eventually fire up my mp3 player and dance a little bit to some song I really enjoy (it’s usually SAVING THE DAY by the Alessi Brothers).
Question N°12: What is the next step for you after the festival? Perhapes a new EP, LP, or do you have any other projects you’re involved in?
I have been working relentlessly on the new album KINGDOM OF NIGHT, which is coming out October 1st and features Cody Carpenter (LUDRIUM), Hélène De Thoury (HANTE.), Tony Kim (Dance With The Dead) and Ugo Laurenti (composer of Pupi Avati’s VOCI NOTTURNE). I am very proud of this new work. Two singles – STAND YOUR GROUND and KEEP FAITH – have premiered via NewRetroWave.com, and the reaction so far has been incredible. I look forward to the release date, and I am working hard to put together as many live shows as possible. If somebody out there is enjoying the music and would like to help us book some dates, feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org…thanks so much for your questions DRIVE RADIO – keep up your amazing work!!!