Le Cannibale: how to change the urban nightlife
Founded in 2011 by Marco Greco and Albert Hofer, night by night Le Cannibale has written an important page in the history of clubbing and Milanese entertainment.
Over 350 events in the last five years have been worth annual residencies either in Berlin and in Florence, plus one-shot in other places as: Spain, Sestriere, Naples, Rome, Pavia and Turin and, in addition, they have led to collaboration with well-known brands (Adidas, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Replay, Serapian, Eastpak) and with cultural institutions like Milan Triennale. In the years Le Cannibale has conceived and produced events and formats of an unique versatility, encountering great feedback from the audience: Wunder Mrkt, a market of great success offering manufactured products, run on monthly basis; Kafka, the brand of private and word-of-mouth parties in non-conventional locations; Reverso, festival focusing on the history and roots of the disco music; Phifest, international festival of photography. Le Cannibale has also participated in projects like Sonido Classics, a festival devoted to the arts and musics of the outskirts of the world.
We have interviewed Albert Hofer and Marco Greco trying to figure out secrets, ways of thinking and inspirations inside a creative organization.
Milan, Rome, Florence, Berlin. Your job covers cities that get their own signature style down to art, architecture and creativity. A situation suggested only by numbers or is it an accurate artistic choice?
Marco: No, it isn’t a case but at the same time it’s neither a real choice. Often cities select us, it is their particular cultural humus that makes our projects understood and considered. These cities are lively, welcoming, open to the world and consequently they are the perfect context in which we can imagine doing cultural challenges. Each project of ours is planned taking into account both the cultural and the social context that enclose it.
Your projects get started on the music and they build real shows and artistic performances around the musical execution. How much is it important to involve and at the same time to captivate the spectators with new forms of creative entertainment?
Albert: There are a lot of opportunities that rotate around our area of job and — if it has a sense — we like to take advantage of them. We almost never do something for the pleasure of doing it but, when we can achieve added value from a more complex proposal, we are certain that it’s worth it. Many DJs and producers of our field have widened the concept of show including light-design, a visual dimension, and so on… In some situations these performances really are a step-forward (Sohn, Tycho, just to quote two shows we produced in the past), while in other cases it concerns a temporarily fashion that adds nothing much to the product.
It is great being able to work on a comprehensive all-around musical product: what is now needed is a further growth of those who operate in this sector so as to guide this transition towards new frontiers of entertainment.
How do you choose your performers, DJs or artists?
Albert: The choice is based on a rigid enough methodology and on obvious evaluations which therefore are generally shared among the two of us. The offered product must be contemporary or of great value. It must generate attention.
For us it’s a must that we can develop further what we offer, work on it; every show needs that we push both communication and production. Finally it has to be sustainable: this means not choosing to produce what we like but what has a sense and can perform, among the things we like. Concretely this means not to bring artists that we like a lot but still immature, but always to propose products on which we haven’t quite any doubt at all. Our job requires a strong imprint of art direction as well as a full understanding of the context in which we operate.
In many European Capitals quite a lot of zones previously peripheral and industrial now are turning (or already did) into creative and cultural centers of those cities. Which have impressed you the most and how do they inspire you?
Marco: The development of the suburbs and the cultural spaces of aggregation as solution to the regeneration of the districts, are present and very central themes in the development of the great European cities. Every city and every country has its own history and is specifics. I prize Dalton’s continuous dynamism in London, Williamsburg’s unbelievable contemporaneity in New York, the vintage and design shops of Sodermalm in Stockholm, the tireless charm of Canal St. Martin in Paris and its cafes, the movida of Malasana district in Madrid, the street art and the cultural experimentation of Mission District in San Francisco. I might add many others places.
The street art is one of the most evident expressions of these new creative districts, but not the only one. Were there also “portraits of towns” at the PHIFEST, held on July 14 in Milan?
Marco: We recognize the communicative power of street art. The official art has become largely inaccessible, impervious and distant either. It’s perceived as art practised by a handful of ‘chosen’ ones and understood by very few people. Street art doesn’t want to grace only the city environment, it rather wants to communicate through it. Exactly like the photography, Phifest is an event devoted to the “portrait” understood as result of an internal and personal path that the artists interpret according to their own sensibility. It’s made explicit as a container of single or collective experiences that from internals become externals, sometimes personified in empty and desolate city environments. Contemporary and international artists become tellers of stories and circumstances often hidden behind their shots. They document the city reality, they filter the tensions and the contradictions, they define the limits, they identify the details.
Which are in your opinion, following Milan, the Italian cities where there is more social cultural ferment and where more inspiration can be drawn?
Marco: I know little about the realities of the other Italian cities, and I regret this. I see Turin standing out thanks to years of illuminate administrations, constantly projected towards Europe and the future. I always look curious and fascinated by the cultural Roman life and I prize surprised to see the continued birth of new festivals in smaller centers in the southern country, often result of private local initiatives that with passion and healthy irresponsibility bet on the music, on the culture and on their own territory.
Fave events of this summer?
Marco: Le Cannibale’s events have been held at the Circolo Magnolia in july: the live of Gold Panda, the Detroit Swindle’s djset and the fantastic live of Floating Points. Later a very beautiful party at the garden of Triennale Museum and the festival Phifest at the Ex-Fornace, a fantastic space as well. The last event has been the Le Cannibale final of season at Bar Bianco.
What city has better adapted itself to the Le Cannibale format, and where would you like to work next?
Albert: Madrid welcomed us warmly. We have always spent beautiful times in the Spanish capital. We remember these trips with great pleasure: there we found a fascinating city context, and bound with the clubs and promoters that have booked us and — in general — we felt in harmony with the local reality. I would like to go back soon!
I dream to return with Le Cannibale in Rome, where we have had two very beautiful events and I would rlove to bring our product to London or to Mexico City. I don’t know how it would work in the latter,but for sure it would definitely be a wonderful experience to share with our staff. Maybe we will be invited to throw a party to Vienna.
Wunder Mrkt is perhaps the most evident example of how the creativity is transforming the way we see things and objects, reinventing the use. What has most impressed you amongst the stalls of the street markets in these years?
Marco: Wunder Mrkt is a constantly ongoing project. Although very successful it’s always in continuous improvement. So is the selection of exhibitors whom we select for our markets from time to time. I don’t want to choose single objects that impressed me. I admire the enthusiasm which many of the exhibitors put in this work. I remain involved and it’s nice to find this kind of enthusiasm in persons of all ages.
Le Cannibale “is impulse, instinct, poetry. A kiss becoming a bite”. Where was this manifesto born out of?
Albert: Le Cannibale is a velvet fist in an iron glove — if you’ll pardon the pun. It’s a party with an aggressive appearance, with a strong personality, but that doesn’t want to talk only to a niche, instead it thinks about being able to entertain very different people, both in terms of their age and of their background. We always try to address communicate not only to those who already follow us, but also to those who potentially have yet to come.
We believe that it’s better not to define the future routes in advance, so as to get lost adrift and to discover unknown places.