Interview: Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin

After appearing at Lunar Festival back in May, Italian soundtrack legend Claudio Simonetti returns to the West Midlands with a live score and film performance of a zombie classic.

Mixing trad’ acoustic instruments such as the Greek bouzouki and Indian tabla with Moog sythesizer, Goblin’s soundtrack to Dario Argento’s seminal ’77 chiller Suspiria has continued to echo across the decades. Supremely eerie, the main theme’s influence can be heard in the work of everyone from horror maestro John Carpenter to Mogwai. Not bad for something a bunch of Italian prog’ rockers knocked up over night.

“We never imagined we were doing something really special that would last over time,” says Goblin co-founder Claudio Simonetti. “You would never use a synth to do soundtracks because normally it would be made with an orchestra, or with a band you know? No one was using a synthesizer for that. I think we were maybe one of the first using this.”

As a result, Simonetti found himself working on further genre films, including George Romero’s zombie classic, Dawn Of The Dead, made in 1978 and co-produced by Argento. A belated sequel to Romero’s 1968 claustrophobic Night Of The Living Dead, it follows a band of apocalypse survivors as they seek refuge in a vast (and zombie infested) out-of-town shopping mall.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpuNE1cX03c

Of the process of writing, the keyboard player and composer says: “The images inspired the composition of the music. This happens in all the movies, with the Goblin [soundtracks] and subsequently scores composed only by me.”

Away from the film related projects, Simonetti forged a second career in the late-70s and early-80s as a successful dance music producer, his work helping shape and define Eurodisco.

“In 1978 the progressive rock music began its decline to make room for the new trends of the 80s. The disco music was coming with full force thanks to the film Saturday Night Fever and others who followed, such as Flashdance – people [wanted to] have fun and forget the past decade [which was so] full of economic and political problems.

“After the separation of Goblin I met record producer Giancarlo Meo who suggested I make dance music, something quite unusual in Italy. I accepted the challenge and started my productions that went on for four-and-a-half years.

“I started with the first album for Easy Going which immediately had a great success thanks to the song Baby I Love You, followed by the album by Vivien Vee which contained the hit Give Me A Break. I then continued with Capricorn, Kasso and others up to the great success of the Italian song Gioca Jouer performed by Claudio Cecchetto – an evergreen still much played.”

Today, Simonetti has plans to record a new album, and continue to keep the music he recorded with Goblin alive, performing faithful cuts from such movies as Suspiria, Opera, Profondo Rosso/Deep Red, Phenomena, Tenebre and Dawn Of The Dead.

“We simply want to continue spreading the great legacy of Goblin’s music in our own way, music that has inspired so many bands and so many generations of musicians over the years.”

Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin perform their live score to Dawn Of The Dead on Thursday 29 October 2015, at Boxxed, Floodgate St, Digbeth, Birmingham. Doors 8pm. Tickets £20 via theticketsellers.co.uk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NLg-Hq-1Pw

 

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