My wife Powder Slut and I had a funny talking at our home with a friend from Sir K Magazine. We tell about our private life, music and project. You can also read it here on the free PDF version of the magazine.
Hello Yana and Vincenzo and thank you for allowing us into your house and answering our questions!
Y: It’s a pleasure, we’re always happy to have friends here!
Let’s start from the very beginning. You are an unusual couple. How did you meet?
Y: May I start? Then Vincenzo will tell you his version, if he disagrees.
The beginning of our story started right at the beginning of my music career, when I discovered my passion for synthwave music and I started to listen to a lot of retrowave music, original 80s music, something like glam rock, soundtracks, porn music from the
80s… at a certain point I felt like my library was finished, so I decided to look around and listen to new artists. I didn’t know Vincenzo Salvia. I knew he was Italian and I pictured him as an old guy, because, you know, his music sounded like something great
produced by some famous artist. It sounded original, analog.
How long ago was it?
Y: It was maybe three years ago. Four, actually. To be honest I didn’t really like his music, it was too fun for me, but anyway… I started to play music, I started to compose
and learn how to do it. Doing so, I also moved towards the synthwave scene, chatting on socials with other composers. People started to add me on Facebook and I don’t
know how Vincenzo ended up in my friend list. I probably asked him for his friendship (you know, just to have a good quantity of friends), but he never talked to me, so I
removed him. He was annoying, always promoting some new tracks.
I thought,“I don’t want you here”. Then, on the 18th August something very funny happened. I published a photo in which I was half naked (I used to like modelling very much). A common friend of Vincenzo and I commented on my photo, which therefore appeared on Vincenzo’s timeline.
V: And so I also commented with some jokes about the photo. She was eating a biscuit in a sexy position, showing a bit of breast… But she answered.
Y: I said, “If you guys are so cool, try to repeat my pose” and they did! Vincenzo was the first. He did a parody of my photo, in the bath with biscuits on his body, which was not a perfect figure… V: I used Macine, Italian great biscuits, but I was still thin back then.
Y: We started to chat step by step. I think it was destiny, because for me it was like lightning. I immediately understood that there was something special. I thought, “OMG, he will be my husband”. The first time we spoke on Skype he was on his knees with flowers in his hands, telling me that he loved me.
V: The first time we chatted we both felt something powerful between us.
It was sudden and confusing. After that day we started to go to sleep together, with our webcams on, like we were in the same room.
Like in movies?
Y: I swear! It was the two of us and G, my pechinese dog.
V: Exactly, I remember waking up during the night and thinking, “Oh God, Yana snores quite a lot”, but it was G! So we can say it was an unpredictable beginning for you.
V: When she first added me on Facebook I thought it was a fake profile. That’s why I never spoke to her. I didn’t know about her music, but she had a lot of professional
photos and so I thought it was one of those fake profiles with stolen photos you can find on social networks.
How did you meet, in person?
V: In a short time we decided to meet. I went to Ukraine in December.
Y: He was so little, so cute with his luggage! I met him at the airport and knew he had to be mine.
V: Even though we had never met before, everything was so simple and normal, like we had known each other for ages. I was fascinated by her life and it was beautiful for
me to be able to witness it. It was such a different culture compared to the Italian one.
Y: If you think about it, we took a very big risk, because we met online. The chances to be unhappy and disappointed were very high, but you know, we went through
bad moments because of our differences, but we are here! I think it’s thanks to our common passion, which puts together the pieces and makes everything work.
Y: Yes. If I was only a designer and not a musician like he is, I wouldn’t be able to understand him and vice-versa. Our music is a little bit different, but we’re on the same line, same references, same lifestyle. I‘ve always wanted a musician as my partner.
V: We share the same sensitivity.
Y: But I’m fire and he’s water. We cause the same reaction when we fight. He’s my water, he always tries to calm me down and I’m his fire. I always try to kick him and poke him. Anyway: on the 18th December he proposed to me. That was very quick! How did he do it?
Y: It was unbelievable. He came to Kiev without even knowing me for real. I could have been a prostitute, who knew… But he came with a ring in his pocket. He bought a ring
before meeting me in person. Of course I said a big YES!
V: In May we got married. It was a small, intimate ceremony.
V: Not in Italy, in Potenza.
Y: Exactly! In the deep south of Italy…
Was the wedding in English?
V: No, in Italian, but a friend of mine translated everything for Yana.
Y: They were translating so many laws, but I didn’t really care. I just wanted to put my signature and “arrivederci, I want to celebrate with my husband”. I call our wedding an espresso wedding: very fast, but the more we stay together, the more interesting it gets.
Let’s start speaking about your music. Vincenzo, when did your passion for synthwave begin?
V: I’ve always been interested in 80s music, I didn’t even know what synthwave was, because when I started, in 2011, my music was not labeled as synthwave or outrun or any of the names that are used today. I grew up with my father’s tapes, so 80s music was in my blood. Only later I discovered there was a whole movement of this style.
I put my music on Soundcloud and so I discovered a lot of related artists. From that moment I started to enter this community of people, I connected with other artists and discovered a few labels. One of these labels, from America, contacted me on Soundcloud. That’s how I released my first EP, in August 2012 and that was the moment when my career as a synthwave music composer started officially.
When did you find out about Yana’s music?
V: It was only when we spoke for the first time. Then I started to appreciate her music. We even worked on a track together after a few months.
Y: We tried, but it’s very difficult for us to work together. First of all my experience wasn’t so much, but that wasn’t the main problem. I think we hear music in different ways, we have different directions and focus on different aspects. Later we also tried, a million times, to play together, but it’s impossible. I know he can play with everyone, but not me.
Did you study to be a musician?
Y: Music and I had bad karma, at the beginning. My mother had the idea that every girl had to prove herself with some kind of elevated knowledge, by learning to dance or
to play instruments. So she took me to a music school telling me that we would “just have a look around,” but it ended up with me attending for 7 years. I finished music school, but I still wasn’t able to hear music, even though I could read it. The headmaster told my mum that I had no talent and no future in music. I was fine with it and I didn’t really care about music, at the time. At that time I wasn’t able to understand the value of music studies; if someone asked me today to attend a music school, I would certainly run for it. Also now, I play music my way, but I do it and people like it. I would like
to meet the director of that school and tell him “look at me! I’m doing it, I compose music”. I hated every subject of music school. For me it was like going to hell. I never
connect that experience with what I do now.
V: My story is very funny: I started to study piano at 8/10 years of age, in a music school near the church of my town. I started the first lessons and when it was time to repeat the exercises at home… I didn’t have a piano. I should’ve thought to buy one before starting the lessons. I had this beautiful book with empty music sheets and I used it to draw a piano keyboard to exercise the chords, even though there was no
sound. I studied piano on paper. My teacher asked me if I had a piano, and when I said no, I answered that I was playing on paper. They forced me to buy something and so
I got my first keyboard, a 6-octave CASIO. During an exam, a teacher told me to put the music sheets on a piece of cardboard so that it wouldn’t fall during the test. I forgot
to do it and, obviously, the sheet fell during my exam and I was shocked about it. I kept on playing without reading music and understood I could feel it and had a good talent
for improvisation. The experience was such a shock that I stopped playing for a couple of months. From that point on, for the rest of my life, I self studied music.
Y: Every track you play is like learning, because it will always force you to study something new. Virtual instruments are like a big library of knowledge you will never
finish to learn. You will always have something new to discover.
V: When I was 14 years old, I started to self-study guitar and started to play in little bands. The experience was like an afternoon hobby for me. Then I started to make my concerts in squares and I really enjoyed the sensation that kind of life gives. I started playing with a bigger metal band and started touring around the south of Italy.
After a while I left the band because the kind of music we were playing didn’t excite me any longer, and I hated keeping my hair long. Then I jumped into electronic music, it was around 2005.
Have you always used virtual instruments?
V: No, I started with my keyboard, even though it wasn’t a synth. I connected that keyboard to my guitar effect pedals and I started to create some sounds and discovered how to record with virtual instruments, improving my technique
What about you, Yana?
Y: I’ve always used virtual instruments, but it wasn’t all planned. I didn’t want to compose Synthwave at the beginning. I was collaborating with a guy who was
composing some freestyle music for break-dance. Back then I had little experience with the programming world, and he introduced me to it. The programs that were used
back then were terrible and so difficult to interface with. But yes, I’ve always used virtual instruments, even though I asked Vincenzo to buy me that wonderful Yamaha DX7 you see over there, which is just an epic synthesiser. I’m not fond of real machines, because you must do concerts with them, but they are not very practical to be used at
home. Virtual instruments can do everything. Of course, being able to use analog instruments is a plus, but I really think they are useful just for concerts.
Vincenzo, you created a label, right?
V: Yes, in 2013, I met some friends which played the same style and
were under the same American label, because we were having some bad experiences with that label. We started to think that maybe we could create our own label, contact some other artists, create our own brand, because no one was doing anything like that at the time in Italy. And so we organised a concert in 2013, but our first compilation was released in 2014 under the title of Italo Disco Is Back. It was about the renaissance of Italo disco, renewed. Everyone forgets the importance of Italy, especially Italians, for this kind of music. Now we have a very large catalogue of artists, stretching from synthpop to outrun, to Italo disco, some chillwave and many other things.
Why don’t you have Powder Slut under your label?
Y: Because I don’t want to be under his label. Anyway, I don’t want people to think that I’m a musician just because I’m his wife. At the beginning, I was very angry about this, because I think that a lot of people thought that Vincenzo was helping me with my music. They used to think, “She’s a woman, so obviously he has to be helping her”.
The truth is that Vincenzo’s hands are never in my workspace. I ask for his opinion, but I never really care about the answer. I just ask to be polite. It’s a matter of principle: I
don’t want to be part of his label just because he’s my husband.
V: Also, her style is darker than the sound of my label. We have a different focus: more fresh and fun.
Y: Now, I’m going to ask different labels to find the right one for my music. If I am not able to find anything that is appropriate for my style, I will just self-produce myself.
What do you think about the importance that Italy has in your music style?
V: 50% of my tracks are considered to be Italo disco. I have the melodic influence that comes from the Italian tradition so, even if I wanted to hide my heritage, I would not be able to. You can immediately hear that I’m Italian, thanks to my powerful choruses.
Y: I’m very proud of residing in Italy because it’s a country that helped a lot for the development of this kind of music, horror soundtracks come to mind, Fabio Frizzi, he’s
my Italian god, he created really crazy soundtracks. He’s my greatest inspiration, but you need a lot of experience to be able to create something of that level. Now that
I live in Italy I feel very proud of people like Fabio Frizzi or Goblin, or even unknown composers who made really good soundtracks. I think Italian people should be prouder of their talent, and what they did during the 70s and the 80s. It was a wonderful moment. Italy was the beginning of so many things. Cinema, music, amazing cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini, lifestyles like paninari.
When did Italy stop being influential?
V: After the end of the 80s. In the 90s a decadence started, even though the first half was still quite interesting with Eurodance. But that wasn’t exported everywhere, while
Italo disco spread worldwide.
Y: Russia was crazy for Italo disco.
What are you up to at the moment?
V: At the moments I have parallel projects. Of course I continue my original project, but I also want to capture this moment in Italy, since the 80s influence seems to be back.
For this reason, I created a project with a friend, a very talented singer, and we are trying to recreate in a modern way music from the end of the 80s and the beginning of
the 90s. We sing in Italian, which is already something interesting because this kind of music is generally only in English. We’ll soon release our first video, and I hope
people will love it.
Are you also playing live?
V: Yes, I started my live shows for Vincenzo Salvia in January and I have already 6 more dates around Italy and in Europe. On the 2nd and 3rd February I will be in Firenze
and Vicenza. On March 9th I have a concert in Bologna. On the 15th March Berlin. 15th April Milano. 28th July London. Many other dates could be added.
When will we see Powder Slut on stage?
I already have 14 tracks for my new complete album. It’s a very thematic album and I hope to be able to play live shows after its release. I want to use my connections to propose my music and to start to go out. I want to create very visual shows with big
screens. I don’t care about people dancing, but you can just stay, drink and relax while listening to my music.
The last question, a very important one, is about your dog, G, who’s also known online as G Dog Composer.
V: She started to love 70s porn and horror music, when we watched Lucio Fulci’s movie, Paura della città dei morti viventi. She loved the soundtrack and decided to start her own project, as a horror musician, and so she released her first album of only 2 tracks, with Sunlover records.
So you don’t have your wife under your label but you have your dog?
V: Yes, it was a Halloween release. She was very successful and she’s now going to play with me on stage in Vicenza. At the end of the concert she will close my set with our
collaboration, playing the keyboards.