Matteo (Matte) CossuEditor / Creative Director
Provinces Press / Uno-Due / Printed Page Society
Matte is a creative director / editor hybrid. He strives to find the perfect balance between engaging content / visual order & style / and pop sensibility. He believes that the three things are closely interconnected and that any project he embarks on has to have space for them all. Apart from client and consulting work, Matte currently manages Uno-Due, a yearly review on the effect of football on society and culture, and Printed Page Society, a new-model book distributor.
What role does music play in your everyday life as a creative?:
Language sets us apart from other species. Language is the very fabric of culture, It’s both our tool of choice to describe reality, and to create it. Music is a direct emanation of language, and an all-powerful storytelling vector. It conveys meaning in ways words alone never could. As emotional beings, we rely on our senses to paint the world around us. In that way, music is a way of making sense of our surroundings.
Tell us about your playlist:
Bruce Springsteen – Thunder Road (live)
Growing up in NJ, it was only natural to hear The Boss on every radio station. But more than the hyper-realism of his songs, Bruce spoke to all of us for the no-frills, no-giving up–No Surrender–lives he described. Thunder Road is the quintessential emanation of Bruce: you’re young, you’ve got nothing to gain in stayin’ put, the time is now. Take the chance.
Billy Joel – Allentown (live)
On Christmas 1989 I got a Secret Santa that everyone in my class regarded as the worst gift: it was a Billy Joel tape. Everyone was listening to MC Hammer, Bell Biv DeVoe, or Poison. My parents never really listened to music. Especially US stuff. Billy Joel was an essential part of the culture I had been thrown in, and finally I could get some answers. Simply put, Billy Joel taught me America. The live version in Moscow is an added bonus.
R.E.M – Leaving New York
NJ radio was pretty fond of R.E.M. and I loved all the early songs; I remember bragging with girls about how only I could really understand the lyrics to Radio Free Europe (being born in Italy). Although this is a later song, it’s etched in my heart. Leaving the US (to move back to Europe), was a really traumatic experience for me.
Body Count – Body Count
I left NJ in 1992, shortly after the Rodney King riots. I remember sitting in my friend’s basement watching the news and wondering about all the things that were going on. He was older and had a job, he’d got his hands on a Body Count CD, and we kept it as hidden as possible. There was someone sending a message through music that wouldn’t have come out otherwise. Maybe I didn’t fully understand it, but I sure felt its might.
Blink 182 – Dammit
I was an outcast for most of my teen days. I felt so estranged by everything in Italian culture. Nothing felt good (extra points if you get the album reference). I started to feel a sense of belonging with the miniscule alternative surf and skate scene in my home town. I remember really long afternoons waiting for waves, smoking joints, and watching surf videos. Orange County punk was the only soundtrack of those videos and of that time.
Never Meant – American Football
Anyone who listens to music extensively, will, sooner or later, entertain the idea of getting a band together. My band-playing antics reached the top in my university years. American Football were my obsession, I wanted to dissect every note, every beat, every last drop of the music they created. To this day, I don’t think there’s a better altogether written song than this one.
One Great City! – The Weakerthans
I’ve always lived in small, provincial towns. I loved John K. Samson’s work back when he was in Propagandhi, but this band really spoke to me. Few people show the same love of detail, of everyday routine, and of the basic things that make up a day. He’s an essential wordsmith; he once declared in an interview that he often tried to write a novel, but never could. I think all of his songs are tiny novels.
You Must Be Out of Your Mind – The Magnetic Fields
Stephen Merritt’s music defies all definitions; I discovered it pretty late on, but then went on to listen compulsively to 69 Love Songs. Music is sometimes about the shortest path to someone’s heart. Coy, funny, romantic, adorable and standoffish all at once, Merritt’s writing achieves exactly that. His entire oeuvre is a song about himself. And I feel we’re similar.
Last Stop: This Town – Eels
I spent my university years in a sort of unofficial fraternity. 8 brothers tightly packed in a suburban house. For the better part of 3 years we had breakfast, lunch and dinner all together, all the time. During one of the countless nights in our frat house lounge, we imagined that this song was about two gay bears (actual bears) flirting with each other and eventually having sex. As weird as this sounds, this song became our anthem and the town’s club DJ’s knew it: they would play it when the dancefloor was empty, we’d all get drinks and dance like idiots.
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart – Wilco
In the immense wasteland of post-operetta vatican-tinged piano-bar songs that riddle Italian music, I was lucky enough to live in an avant-garde oasis. Ravenna had a lively scene, and people had refined taste for discovering new bands. For a brief but wonderful time, I teamed up with a good friend holding a weekly musical aperitivo in the park. We were friends before that, but I want to think that if we’re still friends now is because we shared that love for music.
The Dead Flag Blues – Godspeed You! Black Emperor
I initially turned to instrumental bands so I could listen to music while working. But soon I realized GY!BE had the power of transporting me to places in my head I had never been before. The slo-mo power coupled with the melodic interludes ooze a trust of music as instrument to ignite social discourse, and for political action.
Empty There – Karate
During university I wrote for a music magazine. One day I was researching an article about how Karates’s frontman Geoff Farina was retiring from music because he was going deaf. While at it I stopped to think how much I enjoyed writing, and what a dream it would be to work in music. A few months later I had swapped my academic career for an unlikely job at Southern Records in London.
Chicago (Demo) – Sufjan Stevens
I met Sufjan Stevens in a tiny Russell Square pub circa 2005. Illinois had just come out, he was the hottest thing in the indie world, yet in between dates he would play the melodica in a weird Bible-themed band called Half-handed Cloud. Every generation has an anthem, and this was certainly ours’. We came up from hard-working families, we chased our dreams, we cared less about houses, cars, kids. I don’t know if it turned out alright, but all things go, all things grow.
Thunderstruck – AC/DC
I lived in Barcelona between 2006-2009. At that time it was still a very multicultural city, before the crisis. My friend Tom was always busting out this riff on an old classic guitar, mostly to impress brown haired beauties. When AC/DC played a stadium one summer night, we bought 1L Xibecas and just drunk on the sidewalk listening to that muffled riff and the cheer of the crowd from inside.
Kids Will Be Skeletons – Mogwai
For a brief time ATP Festival was the best kept secret of the music world. It was a small, fiercely independent festival organized by a couple of super-dedicated enthusiasts. It was usually held in early spring, or in December in places that no one in their right mind would visit otherwise (Butlins). Me and a group of aging hardcore music fans would dodge girlfriends, bosses, and red bank accounts to be attend. Mogwai’s curated show was probably the best one of a series of excellent events.
No Children – Mountain Goats
I listen to a lot of acoustic / singer-songwriter stuff. It baffles me how a guy / gal with a guitar can still blow our minds. The relationship that musicians create with their instruments––and with their audiences––is always unique. Kids will get tired of trap, or minimal techno, but I’m sure 100 years from now there’ll be someone with a guitar singing about life.
Way Down in the Hole – Tom Waits
Tom Waits covering The Wire’s theme song. What else do you need me to say?
- Thunder Road – Live – Bruce Springsteen
- Allentown – Live – Billy Joel
- Leaving New York – R.E.M.
- Body Count’s In The House – Body Count
- Dammit – blink-182
- Never Meant – American Football
- One Great City! – The Weakerthans
- You Must Be Out of Your Mind – The Magnetic Fields
- Last Stop: This Town – Eels
- I am trying to break your heart — Wilco
- The Dead Flag Blues – Godspeed You! Black Emperor
- Empty There – Karate
- Chicago – Demo – Sufjan Stevens
- Thunderstruck – AC/DC
- Kids Will Be Skeletons – Mogwai
- No Children – The Mountain Goats
- Way Down in the Hole – Tom Waits