Heathen Harvest: Let us begin with a discussion of how Ait was conceived and originally formed. Can you discuss what inspired you to create out, how it came about, and what your original vision for the band was?
Tairy C.: Ait was born in 2001 as a solo project, it still is, and I think so it will be also in the future… (Though collaborations are possible). Ait was born as an answer to my need of expressive freedom, to be free from any rule, genre, marks etc…
HH: Did you have experience making music or any musical training before beginning Ait?
TC: I'd say I've really had many musical experiences, if you consider that I started playing when I was 8…I've had it all: funky, death-metal, folk, jazz, avant-garde, industrial etc…I've played several instruments, but I started as a sax player…actually it's about 10 years since I last played it, that is when I started listening to industrial…The project with which I started signing for the first CDs is “Today I'm Dead.” That was a solo project as well, a sort of death-industrial a-la Brighter Death Now. At the moment 5 CDs are out, almost all produced by the cult label Slaughter Productions.
HH: Can you explain the name “Ait” and what it represents or means?
TC: Literally, Ait means “get away!” “Raus!” It's not an Italian sentence, like many people think, it's Friul language, the language spoken in my region…I always stress this point: it's a language (almost dead now, unfortunately), not a dialect…Anyway, I decided to call the project “Ait!” in a funny way, and also as an homage to my beloved grandma…she's in fact the one who very often uses this expression…she yelled that at me so many times!!! …it's a kind of “get off,” but yelled in a friendly way…So it's a strong expression that can be used both seriously and like a game…
HH: Can you please explain the English translation of the Ait 12' picture disc “Fiori Die Carne”?
TC: “Flowers of Flesh.” Some years ago I found a book whose title was “Flowers of Flesh”…actually the original title was French; in fact it was a French book from the XVII-XVIII century. A sort of collection of poems and drawings which went far beyond eroticism…I think it's the most porn “vintage” book I've ever read…not bad at all. But the book has nothing to do with my record…I just liked a lot that title, I found it very passionate and dark at the same time, so it would have been good for the songs I had just made.
HH: Ait currently has two separate commercial releases available. The Ait self titled CD and the 12” picture disc “Fiori Die Carne.” Can you discuss when these recording where made?
TC: The first CD was produced in 2002…I'm very fond of this work, I think it's really good; but I prefer to say nothing more, because this CD is also linked to unpleasant memories caused by the label that produced it…A label with which now I don't have any relation, and so I want also for the future. I wish I could deny this CD, so I could eliminate all my past relations with this label, but I cannot do this, because it's a great CD. Fiori di Carne, instead, is the last album from Ait! produced in January 2004 by my label (Punch Productions) in a very limited edition of 333 picture discs. Both works are long time sold out.
HH: Do either of the recording have an overall theme or message that you were trying to communicate through the album?
TC: The answer is yes in the first CD…a few in the second, but, you will pardon me, I don't wish to clearly state what they are, I hope the listeners will understand them by themselves…I don't like explaining my songs, I let the music talk for me.
HH: The Ait! CD contains songs that are rather ambient in nature and quite varied. While on “Fiori Die Carne” we here a cleaner more consistent sound based primarily on an industrial / lounge hybridization. What changes occurred in your recording and composition techniques and style between these two releases?
TC: Since Ait is a totally free project, it's instead particular how both works have several common points…I constantly change, every day, like a chameleon, my tastes evolve very rapidly…and my music changes with me. Maybe the common points in the two works come from the fact that I made the second closely after the fist…
HH: What inspired you to implant infectious sixties lounge grooves into “Fiori Die Carne”?
TC: I love lounge! At that time I listened to lounge/easy music for hours every day, I think this surely influenced all my work.
HH: Ait often reminds me of listening from afar to a carnival operated by William Burroughs and
Mussolini that is set up on the wrong side of the rail road tracks. The music of Ait combines psychedelic influences with historical sound clips and nostalgic samples. Can you discuss this compositional combination and how you see it?
TC: Bingo. That's basically a cut-up of what mostly interested me at the time, searching (and finding) interesting ways to connect things apparently totally different…of course if you take the things singularly, you won't find too much sense…you have to see the overall picture, not the single parts.
HH: Historical sound clips, war speeches etc, have been an integral part of the music of Ait since the self titled CD. Can you discuss your interest in history and how it interprets into your music?
TC: I'm very interested in history, and I passed the last 10-12 years studying wars, mostly WW2. Don't forget I'm Italian, and Italy was deeply involved in that war and Friul in particular, due to its geographical position. Do you want to know if any political message is present in my songs? I wouldn't call them messages (I do music not politic propaganda), but personal considerations…the listener will have to guess…but it's not that obvious, so beware.
HH: What aspects of history are you compelled to focus upon?
TC: I wanted to deal mostly with military fetishism, with the passions and perversions (personal as well), I'm not interested in politics or in doing historic lessons, there are already too many people working on this…I just wanted to say a thing, everything that is done with love is done with honesty, love has its dark and perverted sides, as well as the actions that come from it.
HH: The music of Ait is a brilliant combination of samples, processed sounds, and conventional instrumentation. Can you discuss how you came about combining industrial sounds, samples, processed sounds etc?
TC: I used the “old school” techniques, before. Now I use very much software and PC. I don't like this too much, but you know, software is cheap and very handy…
HH: The song titles of Ait are often as dark and romantic as the lyrics and music. Do you feel as if Ait as a way of communicating specific thoughts and ideas or do you intend the music to be less narrative and more obscure?
TC: The second one about the first two releases…But always keep in mind the chameleon factor, in fact I'm working on several new pieces, which have more singing and so they propose simple lyrics.
HH: When you compose a song do you begin with a clear intent of what you want to communicate to the listener?
TC: Almost every time, yes…but sometimes songs come unexpectedly, while the fingers go up and down the keyboard, if the notes I hear strike me, I immediately can link them to a context and then to fit a lyric into that, add some samples etc…in the end, even when the music comes out spontaneously, I develop everything with a clear target.
HH: Ait also has a distinct esoteric element though it is not obviously clear or definitive. Do you feel as if there is a spiritual element imbedded in the music?
TC: Yes…I think this can be perceived very clearly, it's probably the main element that keeps tied all the pieces of the puzzle.
HH: Do your personal opinions concerning politics and world events either past or present ever find their way into the music?
TC: Sure, even more in some musical genres…you often find awful records, which are recorded only a political pretext…I don't have anything against political lyrics (how could I ha ha ha!), but what the hell, let's keep in mind that we're making / talking about music first of all, so you just say what you want but at least try refining the musical context as good as you can…too many times I end up listening to records characterized by the old political meatball and by a music that seems to be played by the old drunken man of the village…mah
HH: Can you describe the creative process and or research that are involved in crafting a song or conceiving and album?
TC: Songs don't follow any prefixed path…Only the albums are conceived so that all the songs can be connected one with the other, so that the work has a meaning…and, since I'm a very evolving person, I have to try creating all the songs for a record in the less time possible, otherwise I would find myself dealing with songs that are totally different, making them co-exist would be practically impossible, so I would be forced to sacrifice them or to leave them in oblivion.
HH: The two available Ait releases were released as limited editions. Why did you decide to make these recordings into limited editions?
TC: I prefer “few but good”…I'll increase the editions when I know that good listeners have increased in number…I think I can say that the moment is right!
HH: The artwork and attention to detail and presentation that is presented on the recent Ait 12” picture disc is quite possibly the best picture disc art ever. Can you tell us about the artist who painted the prints on the record and how you came about working with his art?
TC: I love Saturno Buttò's works! I knew him some years ago in his atelier, near my home! It was love at first sight; if you like the books with his works, you should see his atelier, the size the light the colors (gold, blood-red) just get you, each time I go there I sort of get mesmerized, it's fantastic. His works, like mine, are characterized by the coexistence of strongly different elements, the most bucolic sacred art with extreme fetishism and sadomasochism, but he can make these elements live together creating something special and unique…I thought it was perfect for my works. I proposed him to use two of his works for my record and the idea immediately got him…now I have other interesting ideas involving him, you'll see!
HH: Both Ait's CD and picture disc have images that romantically portray whimsical and sacred representation of fetish. Do you see fetishism and industrial music being interrelated?
TC: I see that fetishism is getting more and more related to industrial, but I can't properly figure out why. Surely fetishism can go along certain industrial sonorities, but in my opinion industrial can be related to many other images, not just “cellophaned” tits and rubber panties…I find it a bit tight, but it really seems that “fashion” wanted this.
HH: On your website you have pictures of yourself posted in a gallery. I could not help but notice your lack of inhibition when it came to showing your body. Being a person who embraces sexual and personal liberation I have often found the American gothic / industrial scene to be very anti-sensuality. Can you discuss how your sexuality and art interact?
TC: I don't know the American gothic scene at all...is it really like that? I'll try getting some info, I'm curious. The visual part is very important for me, you surely can talk about sensuality and body, not about gothic fetishism and so on, and in fact I live sensuality as something strictly linked to art and in some cases even spirituality. For example, I can tell you that for many years I've been a piercer…and old style one, though, that is I felt close to the “modern primitives”, in fact I wasn't interested in small piercings for fashioned teenage girls (you know: belly, eyebrow…it's for this reason that, after I had to deal with this kind of customers, I decided to stop my “business”), but in the research and rediscovery of the ancient body rituals etc…This, concerning the most spiritual aspect, used to happen especially in the past. At the moment I live and use my body more artistically and visually. I'm very interested in art in general, and in photography so much, but I'm mainly a huge cinephile, cinema (please don't think of such garbage like Spielberg and things like that) surely is the art form that I like the most right after music.
HH: Do you participate in the industrial / fetish scene? That being the wearing of latex, gas masks, military uniforms, etc?
TC: I'm surely a fetishist, but not in the sense you're saying, I don't collect PVC dresses, even if I admit that a bottom covered with PVC pants really is a great show ha ha ha…I don't understand why every time one talks about fetishism he has to talk about the same old things, you can be fetishist about any thing…in my case I can talk about my collection of manikins, the hundreds of ties, the erotic photos from the 70s etc…Anyway I follow my interests privately…I don't do any role game, and I don't go in any squalid club for bored kids.
HH: How has the music of Ait been received in Italy and further abroad?
TC: Pretty well, I'd say, even if I initially had some critics for the images and contents of my first CD…I surely have much more following outside Italy though, and I like it this way, for various reasons.
HH: Do you feel you are gaining recognition amongst industrial music fans?
TC: I'd say I really am! And this makes me really happy; I didn't have any idea on how the public could welcome Ait, I expected much worse critics, but I'm only reading and hearing good comments instead!
HH: Can you discuss some of the bands or artists, writers, etc that have been influential for Ait?
TC: Everything I have known, read, seen, listened to in these years has influenced Ait, the list would be looong…but I've never taken direct inspiration from something or someone in particular, that's for sure…maybe for this reason I consider Ait an original project, everything I do comes from my brain, and I obviously can be influenced by something or someone, but in an unconscious way.
HH: Ait is stationed in Italy . Do you collaborate with other Italian artists or musicians in the post industrial music arena?
TC: No. Like I said, I'm not interested in today's Italia industrial scene. In the past Italy gave us a lot of great industrial bands, it probably was one of the most interesting scenes in the world, I mean the 80s and early 90s…but now, well, it's a desolation, I really can't find any really interesting project (a part from one or two)…actually I know some, but they still are kids that didn't produced anything yet…some of this unknown projects are really good, and I'm surprised that nobody offered them a production yet…maybe Punch Records will do this.
HH: How has your first CD and picture disc sold?
TC: I don't have info about the first CD…I can only say that many people made me notice its scarce availability due to a bad distribution. The picture went sold out in a very short time, about 6-7 months; surely the 333 copies were not enough…well, now I know.
HH: Has Ait played live? If you have, do you play alone or do you have guest musicians? And how does your music translate live?
TC: You won't believe, but Ait has just made the first live (in Tokyo )…surely there was no lack of proposals in these years, but I always refused them…I'm very selective for Ait's live acts as well, always in the “few but good” sense. I proposed it as a solo show, supported by a video projection which I realized by myself…the only other element on stage is a female dummy…sometimes I love to think of Ait not like a one-man-band, but as made by me and the manikin…
HH: You are also owner and operator of Punch Production Records which is also based in Italy . When did you begin Punch and what was your original inspiration or intention?
TC: I started Punch Productions (now become Records as well, sine I have a mail-order / distro) in 2003, with the first production PP01, a split 7” Ait! / Novy Svet…I decided to create Punch to be able to handle in the best way my music, without having to deal with the annoying problems you usually have with labels run by demented persons, besides I wanted to create a kind of “shelter” for those bands that usually are very hard to label, because of their originality, and who don't feel comfortable with too sectorialized labels (just not to say “blinded” labels); in fact I wanted this as the main feature of my label, to leave behind the barriers and limitations such as genre, politic vision etc…A club for new generation artists, I'm talking about a REAL new independent artistic/musical reality! I take extreme care of my editions, I deeply believe in what I do and propose, and each production is like a little son, that's why I care about presenting my products in luxurious editions. Besides, I really don't like those low-budget productions, like those CD-R's put in those transparent envelopes, with Xerox papers…
HH: Did you have any business experience prior to starting Punch Records?
TC: I worked many years as a barman (and cook as well) up and down Italy, ha ha ha…well, this is also one of the reasons for which I chose the name Punch (one of my favorite drinks) for the label…but not just for that, of course, the name is linked to many other things…
HH: Did you have any prior experience working within the music industry?
TC: No, this is my first experience in the music business.
HH: Operating a label adds significant responsibilities on top of being an independent musician. How has launching your label gone?
TC: Sure, running a label means having lots of responsibilities, and a lot of work to do, but I handle everything well, and the efforts don't frighten me because I constantly get rewarded by my productions and by the good comments I get…I don't think that musical independence can be threatened by running a label…if an artist “sells” himself, this just means that this was already part of his way to be, he would have ended up that way in any case…it's not a problem of mine.
HH: Do you find that you still have time for Ait?
TC: It's really hard…Punch takes LOTS of time, but I don't think it's a bad thing, in fact running a mail-order gives me the chance of listening to a great number of records and different music, besides when I find the time to play, I do that full of excitation, ideas and stimuli, all coming from the previous “abstinence” period…
HH: How does Punch go about signing artists? Do you seek out artists that you want to work with or do you solicit submissions from interested artists?
TC: Both things; sometimes I contact the band and propose a production, but artists contact me as well, expressing interest for being produced by Punch, receive a lot of demos…I really like listening to new things made by unknown artists, even if I don't have much time I listen to everything I receive with extreme attention…
HH: What is your vision of the future for Ait and Punch Records?
TC: I see a good future for both! Both Ait and Punch exist since a short period of time, but nevertheless they gained a lot of interest all over the world, and it seems to get bigger in an exponential way. This year Punch will start producing also several CDs, not only vinyl…nothing announced yet, because I love surprises, and believe me there will be!!! Allot of things are going on, new productions, new live shows, probable collaborations etc…a lots of good surprises are on the way!!!
HH: Are there other artists in the post industrial music arena you have an interest in collaborating with?
TC: Yes, a couple of them…but I can't tell you the names right now, I would spoil the surprise…
HH: Are you involved in the arts beyond music?
TC: No, music is my biggest passion and I want to take care of it in the best way without losing time in other things that would end being treated in an amateur way.
HH: Can you share with us what is in the works at Punch?
TC: In the following months there will be a lot of new productions, really a lot of good things! It's no use telling all them now, I prefer to announce them each time they come out, and I'll be sending newsletters regularly, probably with a monthly cadence. Some labels, to gain more attention, announce like 50 titles, full of release dates, and they never can hold up to them in the end, often with incredible delays. I believe I don't need these tricks (if they are); the quality of the productions and the professionalism of the work done will gain the right attention.
HH: And I have to ask! How does Punch find so many specialty CD's and bootlegs? We never see some of things you sell here in America ! We are envious!
TC: As I said, I like discovering new bands, so I constantly look for new productions, that are unknown to me, and I often happen to find interesting stuff! I often get really awful CDs as well, so bad that I don't feel comfortable in putting them in my mail-order, I prefer to loose the money from the sales, I just don't want to sell shit, but it's normal, every once in a while you get really awful products when you buy without knowing what you get, but in any case I get rewarded thanks to the good discoveries…
HH: And lastly is there anything you would like to share in parting?
TC: I think that's enough…we should make way for music.
A big hello to those who are supporting me and thanks to you from HH.