Italian Prog legends Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) are back with a new studio album called Emotional Tattoos. Keeping their essence but with added modern elements, the album was released in Europe on October 27th via InsideOut Music, and will surely please the long time fans. We spoke with their only original member, drummer and lead vocalist Franz Di Cioccio about this new release, and their status as cult prog icons and future plans:
Lotsofmuzik: Congratulations on the new album! It sounds Just like classic PFM, with a modern edge. Why the long wait between albums, and how did the recording sessions go?
Franz Di Cioccio: You got it! We wanted to make an album with everything we learnt in all those years through what we are feeling in this moment. We did several albums for the Italian market plus few intense experimental works so it was about time to come back to you guys. The recording sessions were cool but busy… Many tracks, 10 plus an instrumental one and many many words…this is our life so we never complain when we have to do with new music.
Lotsofmuzik: What can the long time fans expect from this release?
Franz Di Cioccio: They can expect what PFM always gave…emotions, emotions, emotions.
Lotsofmuzik: How did you guys choose the title "Emotional Tattoos"?
Franz Di Cioccio: We think that when art reaches your heart in deep, it often leaves a mark that will never disapear. This is what we call an emotional tattoo… and these are the emotions we want to transmit.
Lotsofmuzik: Why recording two versions of the album, one in English and one in Italian? And what do the lyrics talk about?
Franz Di Cioccio: We are an international band, so an English version was the first one we thought about. But at the same time we realized that many people love our Italian sound and not only in Italy. So here we are with 2 versions. The lyrics talk about our today vision of the Planet Earth and about the ratio between dream and music. We want to stimulate the listener´s imagination with a brand new energy.
Lotsofmuzik: PFM has been around for over 40 years, and that´s a claim not many bands can make these days. What is the secret to your longevity as a band?
Franz Di Cioccio: Always play the music you feel like playing. Never think about what media or industry will want. We play what we are at the moment and we become what we play. This is the musician´s happiness and many times it becomes the audience´s happiness.
Lotsofmuzik: You are regarded as one of the pioneers of prog rock from the late 60´s / early 70´s. How do you view bands such as PFM, Jethro Tull, Yes etc. still drawing decent sized crowds to their concerts?
Franz Di Cioccio: What’s great about good music is that it never lacks good crowds. We don´t know about other bands but we are very happy about our concerts filled up with people from many different generations and this is the most rewarding felling.
Lotsofmuzik: These days, the definition of prog is a bit broader, and many bands with a heavier style may fit that description. Do you follow modern bands like Periphery, Between the Buried and Me, Leprous, Haken etc?
Franz Di Cioccio: For us, Prog music is a continuous evolution. No boundaries, no ceiling…we know where it comes from and we are curious to see where it will go. Respect for good music is the key to evolution.
Lotsofmuzik: How do you pick your setlist these days, with so many albums under your belt? Do you guys use any kind of rationale to choose which songs to play every night?
Franz Di Cioccio: We choose to play songs that represent PFM from day one until yesterday, actually until today. Few tracks from the new album will obviously be present…the concert is always log and intense with many improvisations of course.
Lotsofmuzik: What are your favorite songs from your back catalogue to play live, and is there any particular song that you consider tough to play live?
Franz Di Cioccio: We have so many “kids” and they’re all great…how could we prefer some of them…we love to play tough songs and if one become too easy we rearrange it. That’s pfm!
Lotsofmuzik: What are your plans for the remainder of 2017 and 2018? Will there be a lengthy tour to promote the album?
Franz Di Cioccio: A very long tour starting mid November 2017 until April 2018. Many concerts in Italy obviously but we’ll play all around the world, Japan, South and North America, Europe including UK… That’s all it is for us. The stage is our second home!
Album vover and the tracklist for PFM ´s Emotional Tattoos:
Premiata Forneria Marconi – Emotional Tattoos (124:02)
CD 1 – English version (62:01)
1. We're Not An Island (7:12)
2. Morning Freedom (6:06)
3. The Lesson (5:08)
4. So Long (5:56)
5. A Day We Share (6:03)
6. There's A Fire In Me (4:55)
7. Central District (5:27)
8. Freedom Square (4:47)
9. I'm Just A Sound (5:57)
10. Hannah (5:16)
11. It's My Road (5:07)
CD 2 – Italian version (62:01)
1. Il Regno (7:12)
2. Oniro (6:06)
3. La lezione (5:08)
4. Mayday (5:56)
5. La danza degli specchi (6:03)
6. Il cielo che c'è (4:55)
7. Quartiere generale (5:27)
8. Freedom Square (4:47)
9. Dalla Terra alla Luna (5:57)
10. Le cose belle (5:16)
11. Big Bang (5:07)
Note: The vinyl version includes the English version and both Italian & English version on two extra CDs
Franz Di Cioccio: lead vocals, drums
Patrick Djivas: bass
Alessandro Scaglione: keyboards, Hammond, Moog
Lucio Fabbri: violin
Marco Sfogli: guitars
Roberto Gualdi: drums
Alberto Bravin: keyboards, backing vocals
Pfm Discography (studio albums only):
Storia di un minuto (1972)
Per un amico (1972)
Photos of Ghosts (1973)
L'isola di niente (1974)
The World Became The World (1974)
Chocolate Kings (1975)
Jet lag (1977)
Suonare Suonare (1980)
Come ti va in riva alla città (1981)
PFM? PFM! (1984)
Miss Baker (1987)
Stati di immaginazione (2006)
A.D. 2010 - La buona novella (2010)
PFM In Classic – Da Mozart a Celebration (2013)
Emotional Tattoos (2017)
We are a bunch of Independent writers and reviewers.