Home Edizioneed. 14 Dj Ringo: The X Factor, autotune and the decline of music: Virgin Radio’s rockiest speaks for himself
Intervista a DJ Ringo.

Dj Ringo: The X Factor, autotune and the decline of music: Virgin Radio’s rockiest speaks for himself

by Monica Landro

Written by Monica Landro
Photos by Davide Pizzi

Dj Ringo is the radio host of Revolver, the show that has been igniting the airwaves of Virgin Radio with the rebellious sound of rock for 25 years. With an unshakable passion, Dj Ringo embodies the very essence of rock ‘n’ roll. With a deep knowledge of the past and an eye on the future, DJ Ringo is the perfect companion for anyone seeking the authentic essence of rock ‘n’ roll. His edgy, free-spirited and sincere opinions make him a twistable character in terms of style and thoughts, always rebellious but very centred. 

In 1955 a Variety article read ‘Rock and roll is a passing fad, it will be dead by June!’ this was obviously not true but how is rock today?
What a resounding mistake they have made, my goodness! Rock cannot be said to be good or bad, rock is! It is a way of life, it is an essence. It is proven once again by the fact that ACDC sold out in one hour. I challenge any artist in any genre of music to fill 200,000 seats in one hour. Only rock has this power because people love their idols so much, especially those who have made history like ACDC. Then there are the various festivals where Green Day comes with 70,000 people and Guns N’ Roses with 80,000; those are impressive numbers and not random. It’s also a way of getting together, a big family gathering under the stage.

You mentioned world-class artists, don’t you save anything from the Italian rock scene?
No, what am I supposed to save? By now, Italian guys aspire to be trappers on social. They don’t convey emotions to me.

Italian music is an abomination. There used to be artists like Bennato and Ivan Graziani, or singer-songwriters like De André and Lucio Dalla. Although Italian songwriting was not my favourite genre, I had great respect for them.

However, the lyrics were very meaningful, the melodies, the songs, were of great importance. That school no longer exists, but I could also mention important names like PFM or Banco Mutuo Soccorso, who represented the Progressive. They were great artists.

Intervista a DJ Ringo.

Let’s come to Revolver: when you make the programme, what is your goal towards the listener?
I find it inevitable to make a comparison with love: keeping a relationship alive is not easy. After a while, love is no longer just emotion and vibration, it becomes a real commitment as a couple to try to preserve that bond. Growing up, people, whether women or men, increasingly want their own space, they have their own ideas. Here, I live this in the radio context, with listeners. My aim is to hit them with what I want to say today. I share a few concise news items, I look for the most interesting ones and especially the less popular ones, that don’t say all. 

So after so many years you still do research before going on air?
Of course! I can’t sleep at night because I work a lot with the international, especially with New York and Los Angeles, where the time zone is different. I find out the news first on their websites. I follow American college radio a lot, which is an inexhaustible source for me. They are run by schools and so the DJs are young and use young language. While listening to them I discover new bands and new artists, because if you don’t keep up with the young, you don’t keep up with the times.

Once upon a time, the artistic directors of radio stations competed to launch a well-known artist. Nowadays they wait for him to come from talent shows, already provided with followers. And what has happened? What has changed?
Well, the world has changed. There is no longer a desire to take risks, because the costs are high. I understand that. But come on, take risks! Do some talent scouting! Don’t rely on X Factor or Amici.

Do you have a grudge against talent shows?
Yes, but sorry:

how many years has it been since the X Factor? 20? Three thousand artists must have come through and who came out? How many do you remember?

Mengoni, Maneskin…? But doesn’t that sound crazy? In 20 years of the programme? After all, they go there and only do covers! Shit, they’d go there and sing unreleased songs! Then it would be a good competition! So there’s no background research.

Intervista a DJ Ringo.

Those who love rock often consider it a superior musical genre. Do you too?
Rock, as a musical genre, has a unique strength, not only sonically but also philosophically. It was born from the fusion of different influences, such as African-American gospel and blues, reinterpreted by whites in the 1940s and 1950s. It is the father of modern music, from which genres such as funk and disco were later born.

Rock has a rich family tree, which has influenced many other genres of music, such as James Brown’s funk. And from this mixture of sounds, pop was also born.

I ask you a provocative question: is autotune and rock and roll like saying devil and holy water?
Quite a bit, although in the past, in the 1980s, there was some experimentation with the vocoder, for example with the Rockets or even Bon Jovi, but they were sporadic and well-done episodes. It was more a quirk than a rule. Today, autotune has become the rule, and if you can’t sing, you can still produce music but that product is a surrogate, where marketing rules. I’m sorry, but, again, I deal with the international, I’m not really interested in the Italian market.

 

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