Singer-songwriter who escapes any labeling, OMAKE has recently presented his latest album in collaboration with the electronic music duo SHUNE. The result is Raw, a work that transcends the only electronic music but that, between rarefied electronics, contemporary rap and the most modern and dark American songwriting, is expressed as a request for understanding and peace in the dichotomy love/clash that beats fully in the powerful and raw lyrics.

Affected by this production, we had the opportunity to speak not only with OMAKE and the SHUNE but also with the recent winners of the last Milan Fashion Film Festival Bonasia & Narcisi, the minds behind the first video extracted by Raw, Truths & Enemies, in a cross-interview that explores not only this production but also the actors who took part.

#1 What is OMAKE and how was OMAKE x SHUNE born?

OMAKE: OMAKE is a container for me. It is not just a moniker or a name of art that you want to say. Inside OMAKE I put parts of me that unfortunately in everyday life I can not always bring out. The frankness in getting naked, the desire to push their own creative inclinations beyond the personal limits imposed by my self in real life. It is the mix between the adult Francesco of now, especially regarding the organizational aspects of the project (I have never had a management), and the one that 20 years ago began to write what he defined as songs.

SHUNE: We met Francesco (OMAKE) for an evening in which we played together. After that live, we wrote in private and met in person. We had a chat about our projects, our experiences and what we wanted to do in the future as regards the musical aspect. We found many points in common and we decided to try a collaboration that brought us up to here.


#2 Tell us about this collaboration, what motivated you to join forces and make a full album together? How did your musical and personal styles meet - or clash?

O: for my part, the urge to look for collaborators who came to take part in 360 degrees of what would have been my new album was fundamental from the musical and emotional point of view. I knew that after COLUMNS I wanted first of all someone to put together a real band, especially from the point of view of live performance. In addition there was in me the problem of having many preconceptions about what I can do or not with my voice, and it was Luca and Davide who made me understand that I had things inside that I did not think I had. Songs like Sidewalks / Grace_Fireworks and YP_GRLZ would never have been born if they had not told me "look Francesco that you can do this thing". Musically speaking, I will be in debt with them forever.

S: The search for new sounds and expand the musical background to create something even less familiar for what we have always been accustomed to compose and produce. Fortunately we always found ourselves quite agreeing on the level of taste for certain styles and musical cultures, so the ratings were very similar. We have discovered many new things that have led us to approach the way of writing the pieces differently, using even more samples, trying to blend the music and the voice in a harmonious way. All things that have never been particularly close to us and with this collaboration we have been able to learn.


#3 How did you manage to melt songwriting and electronic music?

O: Do not worry about it. None of us three said "let's take this + that + this and do this". As far as I see Raw as a result of a maniacal production on our part (we chose not to rely on artistic producers), we did not have a recipe for how to cook this thing. So, with the ambition of wanting to do something great but at the same time the humility of not knowing how to do it, we wrote so much and tried a thousand different solutions. Raw is the result of doing and wanting to do.

S: The difficulty for us was precisely that of creating space to insert a voice. Fortunately, Francesco has an incredible ability to be able to sing about everything. We have always created instrumental music and we were afraid to fill the foundations too much and make it difficult to insert a text. We worked hard on this and surely a much more songwriting mind like Francesco's was useful.


#4 Le's talk to us about RAW. What are the inspirations for this work?

O: Since the days of COLUMNS I have always told myself and others that the fundamental thing was to release jobs in which to challenge and reverse the patterns of the previous product. In the period in which we have worked on the album, many albums have come out, which, more or less musically close to what we were composing, had the same attitude and gave me the confidence to look for new ways. I'm thinking of Coloring Book by Chance The Rapper, Blonde by Frank Ocean, 22, A Million by Bon Iver, Awaken, My Love! of Childish Gambino. As for the personal moments that have contributed to the writing of the record well, trivially I would say life itself. I started writing what would become Raw immediately after the closing of an important relationship, and obviously, it ended up in the songs (Honda 95, Iowa). As well as what is my current relationship, which has lived for a period really critical moments that have given rise to lyrics that reread me now scare me and hurt (A-Villain). In the same way, this person has been - and is every day - fundamental for a personal journey of self-acceptance and exploration of one's own body and sexuality (BDSM, MFL). Sorry, I know I talk a lot. But I have many things to say.

S: There are many inspirations, it is impossible not to mention Frank Ocean and Bon Iver who were an integral part of that period and we listened very carefully. Actually, I think that all our musical backgrounds have been very important for the writing of the album because we wanted to range in many genres taking what we liked best from the various musical styles without having great limitations. We wanted to do what we like and maybe this was the best time for us to start composing the tracks for this album.


#5 What does RAW tell us about its authors - on a musical and personal level?

O: Musically as far as I'm concerned it tells my being obsessive. In Truths & Enemies, which was the song chosen to anticipate the release of Raw, the central part of the composition is entrusted to acoustic guitars, hyper vocal harmonies and a sample taken from a Bedouin songs vinyl found in a flea market in Amsterdam. I assure you that these choices derive from a dedication to truly obsessive production work. Lyrically, it tells the fear in the paths of acceptance. Of the self in primis, but also of the end of a relationship and of not being able to manage a new one. And how sometimes only the return in what you call Casa can make you find your true self.

S: Raw is a direct album, it is an album that wants to range between many moods without many turns of words but trying to hit immediately for the particularity of the sounds and the combination with the voice. We wanted to do something of our own, which was recognizable despite the pieces having very different styles and that could create different sensations to each track.

We've talked with OMAKE and the electronic duo SHUNE of their latest album 'Raw' A cross-interview that explores not only their latest work but also the intimacy of the actors who created it | Image 0
We've talked with OMAKE and the electronic duo SHUNE of their latest album 'Raw' A cross-interview that explores not only their latest work but also the intimacy of the actors who created it | Image 1

#6 How has your style changed from COLUMS, your debut album, to date?

O: Everything has changed, except for the desire to renew me of which I spoke to you before. In COLUMNS I was lucky enough to have my countryman Davide Barbafiera (Campos) from whom I learned a lot. In Raw, I Davide and Luca worked on every single sound of all the instruments, putting in libraries of sounds, synthesizers, guitars, basses, electronic drums, and drums. Voices with a quantity of effects that I had never experienced. Including the use of 3 different microphones. I rarely feel like a singer. I can not consider myself an artist that artists are others. But I feel like a musician. But I think I can define myself, in the literal and narrow sense of the term in its meaning, a composer.


#7 The debut video for RAW, Truths & Enemies, was made by the winners of the last Milan Fashion Film Festival: what is your link with fashion? How are you connected to this environment?

O: My big problem as OMAKE is to be extremely jealous of what I do. In all of Raw's musical production, musically and otherwise, I learned to rely on people whose beauty I admired and their approach to it. I wrote the whole album with first an aesthetic idea, and then a musical one. It was often the mental images that I had to lead the writing of some compositions. That's why I went to look for those people who could transmute this vision concretely.
Bonasia & Narcisi have created the Truths & Enemies video themselves, and they came to me with the finished product. The same applies to Massimo Missoni of Studio Proclama/Cooking Collective on the whole aspect of graphics and future merchandise of the Raw project. Massimo is the greatest talent in our Pisa. Current but visionary. That's why when I think of Raw, I'm thinking about a project. Never to an album.


#8 What are the inspirations behind this video in terms of aesthetic reference? What did you want to convey?

O: What I wanted to convey was elegance. And not necessarily in the most pudic sense of the term. Emotionality is also made of physicality and beauty. I decided to call Bonasia & Narcisi because I believe that their work in the field of fashion has all these characteristics. Although we have a couple of really good video clip directors in Italy, I wanted Truths & Enemies to have a different look. I had it on my head, but I did not know for obvious technical limitations I called Bonasia & Narcisi, that not by chance in the week in which we came out with the video the guys also saw a visual hosted by Vogue, when I knew I was in good hands. For me, "fashion" is something that I have difficulty in defining. In my mind, it's when aesthetics can tell the news. In the video of Truths & Enemies, I believe a vision of colors, noises and spaces that exist in the only one is represented.

BONASIA & NARCISI: The video clip Truths & Enemies emotionally tells a journey, a story as simple as love, through the blurred memories of those who have lived it.


#9 Is there a designer or a brand whose aesthetics do you feel particularly close to? How would you define it?

O: I think we can talk about brand and designer in a broader sense, and then I include a spectrum of characters which aesthetic has strongly influenced the writing of Raw: what I wanted to express was a mashup between the history of the American urban with icons like Karl Kani, the cleanliness and minimalism of Mies van der Rohe, the imprudence and elegance of Sasha Valour, and some family jewelry that I always wear. These are good examples of cosmetics that have helped me to form mine. I think it's a more interesting answer than telling you that I like sneakers almost always go on Nike.

Which then is also true.


#10 A look into the future of OMAKE?

O: Fortunately I do not know. Even if every now and then this artistic dichotomy is heavy to be always enthusiastic and at the same time discouraged in going one way rather than another, it is comforting to count on always wanting to give the best you can, and that it is different from what is success previously. This summer, once I closed Raw's mixes, I started writing and some interesting ideas came out. I'm pretty sure that in 2018 I'll go out with a second project, which I still do not know if it will be in the form of an album, a mixtape, a series of EP's or whatever. The only thing I know is that I want to make a physical edition very accurate and particular, very limited to a few copies.
I already know the title too.


images by Samantha Rodirguez