INTRODUCINGHEADMAN / ROBI INSINNA
Hailing from Switzerland, Robi Insinna aka Headman aka Manhead is undeniably a jack of all trades. He works in art, design and as a video director, and also has remarkable skills as a musician. Artists like Roxy Music, Gossip or Franz Ferdinand don't have to think twice about entrusting Robi with their tracks. We're very glad to introduce his new album “6” to you, which will be released in September on Relish Records. While we're waiting, we can enjoy some first treats from his EP “6 E.P.I”, out in July, which contains four amazing tracks. Robi was kind enough to answer some questions about his work. Check out the interview below. Plus, a special gift from us - the track “Sleep Red! Dub” will be released exclusively on vinyl, but we have the opportunity to offer it as a limited free download to you. Be quick and catch one!
Besides being a musician, you also work in art and design and as a video director. All very creative. Where do your take your inspiration from?
I take my inspiration from all sorts of places – movies, books and of course albums and album covers. Depending on what I’m working on. I get ideas all the time, just have to be sure I don’t forget them. I try to write them down somewhere. Since I’m always listening to music, I always have ideas on how I would like certain things to sound. When I’m doing design-based things, I get inspired by books and images from all sources. Sometimes I like to work with objects or images I just find by chance. When I do a video or animation, I watch movies or old videos that I like.
You just released your new EP, “6 E.P.I”, which is part of the upcoming album “6”. The track “Sleep Red! Dub” is being released on vinyl only. Why did you choose to release it exclusively on vinyl?
Selling vinyl is very hard these days. Some people say it’s just over, some say it’s coming back.I don’t know. For me, it's important to do a release on vinyl, it just gives it a different quality. Also because I feel like there’s a saturation with all the online promos and music available. It makes it so consumable, nothing stands out. Having some releases only on vinyl makes them a bit more desirable. And there's a romantic aspect, too, remembering when dubs or dance versions were on 12” vinyl. I’m a huge fan of the 12” vinyl format.
Recently, you released the video to your track “Work”, which you even directed yourself. What was it like to work on a video for your own song and what was your intention?
For me creating a visual to my music is like to bring it to another level. There’s another aspect to it. I can give my music my ideal visual identity. For the “Work” video, I had this idea for a while of doing something that is very inspired by scenes from clubs or spaces in the late 70s and 80s but also a book by a Japanese photographer. I just wanted to recreate scenes together with the style from the past, and also have movie and cinematographic references in there. Again, the fashion concept was very important. Also, the story was not a story, just emotions, styles and images that I wanted to bring to the video that also reflect the rhythm and the groove of the track.
The video is quite focussed on fashion, not least because of your collaboration with your friend David Ramirez who was responsible for the style. What does fashion mean to you, and how did you want to represent it in the video?
After I had the original concept, I approached David and then we started developing the styles and the way the video could look. David also helped with the models and locations and provided all the vintage clothes from his archive, Seditionaries, CDG etc., together with some newer items. The fashion aspect was very important to reflect that original idea of reproducing images and looks that are inspired by past looks. The way I understand fashion or how I been brought up is that it was always a reflection of the music or things I'm into, not just wearing trendy clothes for the sake of it. This was also reflected a lot in youth culture and youth movements. That was the designer reference I wanted to reflect into the video.
You are also going to release an art book album in September. Can you tell us about it? What can we expect from it?
That's another thing I wanted to add to this album release. I collect books and fanzines from the past. So I thought it could be fun to make a fake fanzine, like from the past. The cover of the art book is screen printed inside and out. The pages are like old school fanzine photocopies. I tried to make it look as vintage as possible. Was looking for old copy machines. The oldest I found was from the 90s, which created a pretty vintage look. The insides are stills from the video and some images I really like. The layout was done by hand, so no computers were used. It comes with a free album download code and is hand numbered. It's being released in a limited edition of 100. The idea behind it was also to have something like an elaborate CD booklet without the CD, but with a code for downloads.
What are your current favourite items in your closet?
Pilot Bomber from 99
Suede slip-on shoes
Can you name us two of your current favourite musicians?
How would you spend the perfect Sunday?
Sunday is pizza day. As long as I can have pizza at some point, I’m pretty happy. A nice dessert afterwards, and the day is perfect.