Mecna on Neverland and how creative direction links to music

Mecna Corrado Grilli C41 Interview Profile 1

We met Mecna during the launch event of his latest album produced with Sick Luke, Neverland (Universal). The event was held a few days before the official release of the album in the flagship store of Woolrich, in Corso Venezia 3, Milan. Listening to a 7 minute preview at 20 degrees below zero was a unique experience and even though everything else around us was frozen, and there was actually (artificial) snow in the room, the head was moving to the beat of music. Right during that short listening, these questions that don’t only deal with music, but also with creative direction araised.

Hi Corrado, here we are with a new album, Neverland. We listened to it for the first time through a short extract in Woolrich’s Snow Room, here in Milan. It was the first time I listened to a record at -20 degree, how did this idea come about?

This idea was born to reconcile my two passions of music and cold (he laughs). We thought it was cool, we had already talked about it for the launch of Akureyri. I’ve always been connected to the cold, it was also a recurring element in my previous albums and Woolrich’s snow room proved to be perfect for that occasion. We wanted to immerse the listener in a different dimension, in a world that doesn’t exist and the experience we created was successful. Woolrich is a brand that I admire and that I have always liked. Moreover they helped me in the realisation of the event.

And how did the visuals we saw inside the frozen room get into life? What’s the concept behind those illustrations?

The visuals were born from me and Marco Ferrario (Lvnar) to match the snippets of the various pieces, the experience could not have lasted longer because of the low temperature. Everything was centered on allowing an experience being lived entering in a different dimension that could go with the record. We wanted the experience to be 360 degrees, so we decided to combine each piece with a visual that would suits the moods of the songs. Graphics thus worked as visual info.

The new cover is by Corey Olsen, an artist and photographer from NYC that we like very much too. How did the idea of involving him come about? If I’m not wrong, he’s the first foreign person that curated the cover of your record, right?

The idea of involving Corey Olsen was mine. When I approached the cover I wanted something that would follow the graphic line of my previous albums, which is photography. The image would have to collect the meaning of Neverland in itself without really explaining it, and this photo was in my opinion the perfect synthesis for it. It narrates a dualism, the overlapping of souls, ideas, concepts and above all it is an undeniably strong image.

Generally talking, how is it for you working with the covers of your album, when in your second parallel life of Corrado Grilli, you also have to deal with colleagues from the world of music for the realisation of their artworks?

That’s another reason why regarding my covers, I usually work on the concept trying to involve illustrators or photographers for the realisation of it. When I am working for my own things, I find it difficult even if in theory it should be easier. I know myself well but that’s why I have a wide range of possibilities without many boundaries settled. The realization of the artworks, then, changes a lot whether it’s for me or for others. When working for somebody else, there usually are references and intentions regarding where to go, while for me I have no limits.

Neverland is an imaginary place, we have been there while listening to the album released last Friday, what is the track that set the spark for the origin of this album, apart from Akureyri of course?

The track that opened the album I think was Fuori Dalla Città’ . After making Akureyri we found ourselves in the Luke’s studio with Valerio Bulla and Alessandro Cianci and I think that one of the first tracks we decided to do was exactly that one with the idea of creating something very different from Akureyri and from other songs that we had already sketched. That was the kickstarter needed to understand that we could do some interesting things together. Me and Luke managed to create a mood at the level of composition, sounds, beats, etc., thing that wasn’t to take for granted due to his different music background.

Mecna Corrado Grilli C41 Interview Profile 4

Time to read
4 min
Words by
Riccardo Fantoni Montana
Portraits by
Published on
31 October 2019
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