In November 2009 the Aarhus-based cultural calendar called Cast Guide asked SOPA to do an interview with Marzipan Marzipan for their next calendar. Sadly there was not sufficient public funding for the guide to continue, but we nevertheless made the interview. So here it is - as it was planned for Cast Guide.


Aarhus-based record label Sound Of Perpetual Astonishment had its fifth “SOPA Night” on November 20th. Bands from both Aarhus and Berlin took the stage at the Aarhus Art Academy in Vestergade. One of them was Italian one-woman band Marzipan Marzipan from Berlin who did her show armed with a toy keyboard, a plastic saxophone and her drawings projected on the wall behind her. Also with her little boy Ilpo occasionally taking part in the show as an unpredictable element. Cast Guide asked SOPA to do a little interview with her about the music and about living in a country as a foreigner.

First off, what’s the origin of the name Marzipan Marzipan?

One day in my room I was looking for a word on an English-Italian dictionary and I found ‘marzipan’ by accident. I thought it looked so good and sounded nice, so I said to myself, “Yeah, I’ll take it for my music project. Twice!”

You use toy instruments for your music and live show. How did that start?

My first attempts to do music came from an acoustic guitar that I got from my flatmate. I couldn't be properly tuned and had a mysterious black string. I also had a small Casio keyboard that I got when I went to primary school, as well as a Disney toy saxophone. Later my dad lent me the guitar he used to play in the 60’s. My songs always pop up quite simple and naive. Words show up in my head, I put them in melodies and I go looking for music that can accompany them. But I don't only play small keyboards, the toy-saxophone and guitar. For some songs I also borrow playbacks from friends or beautiful instrumental tracks that I found during my treasures hunt as DJ.
These days I have two different sets I play on stage: There is the one I played in Aarhus at the art academy which I call my ‘entertainment set’, because the songs are smooth and colourful and I have animations of my drawings as visuals for them. The drawings are also quite naive and funny. For the other set I play an electric guitar and I sing using many distortions. I often have the luck to play this kind of set with a great drummer. These songs are more like a hedgehog… they are not so soft, but probably still sweet.

Do you have any particular connection or relationship with Aarhus?

Sure! I have been to Aarhus a few times now. My particular connection is Lars Kjær Dideriksen [of SOPA] and the Aarhus-Berlin or Berlin-Aarhus ‘tunnel’ that we built up some years ago starting a friendship and collaboration supported by our big passion for music. Through this tunnel I got the chance to know wonderful people and to visit Aarhus and other cities where I have played in Denmark. And I also brought great music from Aarhus in Berlin by organizing concerts for bands such as Singvogel, KURvE and others.
I always like to travel to Aarhus. It is a kind of family thing, or ‘karass’ as Kurt Vonnegut would probably explain it, and it grows!

You’re Italian, but you live in Berlin. How come you moved there? And how does it feel to be a ‘foreigner’ there?

I started when I visited Berlin a few times while I was studying at the university. I immediately felt at home when I was there the first time on a two week holiday with my best friend. We were quite like strangers in the city, but we would get the kind of charming hug that Berlin gives to almost everyone. This feeling was just underlined the following times when I touched Berlin's ground with my feet again. So I decided very straight ahead to move there after I graduated in 2002. I didn't have any sure plan then. But I didn’t have any plans for my future in Italy either. So I just brought my beloved stuff, which was basically records and cds and later my kindergarten-like music equipment, and quite soon I started to get gigs as a DJ in cafés and at parties. I spin eclectic oldies, jazz, country music, swing and such. In 2004 I then started to do my own music.
I still feel at home here in Berlin. And this is quite important, since I never felt home anywhere before.

You have a small boy. How is it to raise a child in a foreign country?

My kid is doing well in Berlin. He is actually German. Born in Berlin-Spandau. My husband is also a German citizen. I don't feel like I am in a foreign country in Berlin.

Interview done by Lars Kjær Dideriksen with suggestions from Cast Guide.

Pictures by Lars Kjær Dideriksen and Kasia of Cast Guide.





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