There are records that, more than for their revolutionary scope, attract you for their own peculiar personality. Despite presenting themselves softly and quietly, they captivate us with the mystery of their forms barely glimpsed between the folds of the first few listens: a prelude to that assiduous attendance which will end – inevitably, alas – to dissipate the polite excitement of discovery.
Writing about music can sometimes represent precisely the attempt to fix on paper the initial sensation that, upon first listening to a record, convinces us to set aside our daily activities and chase notes like a child playing a game or a suitor chasing the desired woman. An exciting sense of discovery and vastness of the unknown that is often forgotten, supplanted by the happiness of the established relationship.

So we are writing about Fortunato Durutti Marinetti‘s “Memory Fool’s” trying to fix the sensations triggered by the first listening of a record that could not fail to attract our attention, presenting itself with the gentleness of early Leonard Cohen, the affected tone of a voice reminiscent of our dear Robert Forster, the bright guitars typical of Robert Fripp lent to pop, the sumptuous and vaguely retro atmospheres that from Nino Ferrer lead to Jim O’ Rourke, passing through the Tindersticks.
After the excitement of the first listen, one might suspect that the album, although beautiful, suffers from a certain monotony in the writing, almost as if the boy behind the peculiar moniker (born Daniel Colussi in Turin, but based in Canada since the age of six) had written the same (albeit beautiful) song seven times. But it is by persevering with listening that you can really get to the core of an album that unveils itself, until it takes on the appearance of a painting that, in depicting the same landscape, glacial and melancholic, changes its details each time, as if looking inside those very first magic boxes in which a few frames follow one another, with minimal changes and a poetic illusion of movement. This is thanks to the synergy between the album’s production, handled by Sandro Perri in a state of grace, and Daniel Colussi’s pen that leads the album towards a formal perfection that truly becomes substance and combines maximalism and minimalism, painting a picture that is both rich and sober.

We couldn’t help but reach Fortunato Durutti Marinetti and ask him a few questions.


Hi Daniel,

Let’s start with the name you chose for this project, which to us Italians sounds linguistically akin and recalls local suggestions (the futurism of ‘our’ Filippo Tommaso Marinetti) and foreign ones (the Spanish anarchist Buonaventura Durruti, but also the Vini Reilly of Durutti Column). Explain to us where this moniker comes from and whether, apart from the happy sonority created by these words in succession, there is any symbolic meaning behind it.
In terms of symbolic meaning, I spent years making music under the name The Pinc Lincolns and there came a point where it felt necessary to present my music under a name that denoted an individual. The Pinc Lincolns was a loose entity. It was meant to be inviting and supportive for people to join and contribute to — in particular to non-musicians who wanted to play music. If I were a contemporary artist I would say that The Pinc Lincolns was a “relational art project” in spirit, but in musician terms, it was a shaggy, rag-tag outfit. And during the lifetime of that project, I relocated cities several times, so I was always restarting from scratch, which ultimately made it more of a solo thing than a band. So after a half dozen years of presenting my music as if it were a band, I needed to tap into the symbolic power of a name that relayed directly to an individual. And I didn’t want to use my own name because I’m not into the earnest singer-songwriter folksy storyteller vibe. So presenting my music under an absurd, fantastical name that people have difficulty pronouncing and also remembering felt natural and appropriate to me. I’m comfortable with it. It’s me but it’s not me.

Compared to your first record, it seemed to us that the songs on ‘Memory Fool’s’ try less to imprint themselves in the memory as individual units, but rather contribute to creating an overall picture, playing with the listener without wanting to reveal too quickly a richness that only emerges with several listens. Do you agree?
I think I understand the distinction you’re making between Desire and Memory’s Fool. In the past, again back to The Pinc Lincolns, I specifically tried to write songs that would be very distinct from each other because I was self conscious about keeping the listener entertained. I imagined The Pinc Lincolns records to play like a mixtape of different bands. Maybe Desire is transitional? On that one I was consciously trying to write an album with an established palette that foregrounded violin and piano on all the songs. By the time of Memory’s Fool I was firmly in the zone of making an album that intentionally sustained a defined vibe, mood, outlook, tone, etc. I wanted to create the possibility for the listener and the album to occupy some specific psychic space together for some duration of time. So maybe I’ve made a complete about-face in terms of what I want my records to offer the listener. It might just have to do with getting older, because at this stage in my life as a music listener and enjoyer of albums, I’m definitely drawn to records that don’t necessarily widely deviate from first song to last.

On the finale of ‘All Roads’, we can hear a long violin drone that is a homage/reference to minimalist music. I know you are passionate about it: is there a possibility that these components will take more space in your music in the future? Is it possible to combine them with your very verbose writing?
Anju Sing’s violin on All Roads made me so happy because it formalized and realized this connection between two worlds that I really love — lyrics-heavy pop music and repetitive/minimalist new music. For the last several years I’ve imagined making music that would basically just be me intoning my vocalized essay thing overtop of Phil Niblock’s Four Full Flutes. But is there any point in me doing that? Does anyone want to listen to that? Probably not. I’ve made demos along those lines but nothing that feels worthy to see through. I haven’t found that ground yet, but it’s something I think about. I just don’t know exactly what my access into that world would be. And I don’t want to just dabble in something as a dilettante. As far as music stuff goes, I’d rather fully commit to something and see it through to a conclusion or else just not get involved.

You called the female choir on “A Kind Of Education” “a way to free up space” in the midst of all the words on the record. What is your relationship with words? Are you fascinated by the search for silence of artists like Mark Hollis? Do you think this quest could one day be yours, or are you still too attached to words?
I’m sure it hasn’t set any world records but Memory’s Fool is a fairly word-heavy record. My whole approach in writing that album was to give free reign to the words to take up as much space as felt required. But out of respect for the listener, there needed to be breaks from my voice’s constant didactic intoning of impressions and observations. So at various points in writing and recording Memory’s Fool I was looking for places where my voice could disappear entirely, just to give people a break.
I can’t say I’ve really considered making entirely instrumental music. I really like playing with language and I love editing and revising and arranging writing. I try to be as precise and articulate in the lyric sheets. At an earlier stage of songwriting, I was distrustful of revision because I thought I would destroy the essence of the song by excessively working over the words. But now I feel the total opposite.
At this point, on my records and also performing live, I’ve more or less enlisted other musicians to do all the playing while I just stand in front of the microphone and try to sing in tune. I’ve fallen backwards into a crew of really excellent and empathetic players and I’m just enjoying the musicianship that these people bring to the songs. I’ve basically become this vibe man who just stands there and encourages people to play in particular ways. It’s a new role for me. In order for me to really go hardcore into the kind of minimal/abstract zone you’re describing would mean potentially erasing myself more or less completely from the final output, which in a way is already kind of happening, but not in pursuit of silence, more in terms of creating a dense sound of horns, keys and strings overtop of a standard four-person rock band.

The tracks on the record have an average length, but they always remain focused on the song form and do not include instrumental fugues. Does this broad scope serve to dilute the impact of the words you write? Is it a way of creating a wider musical context in which they can float?
I think when I was writing Memory’s Fool I wanted the composition of the music to be like an open field that wouldn’t constrain or restrict where the lyrics wanted to go. On some songs, the effect is that the lyrics do sort’ve just float over top, as you say; on other songs maybe the lyrics and music are a bit more closely interlocked. I’m really happy with how the album came together, but I want to keep moving forward and try different things. It feels really natural for me to write a two-chord sequence that supports a long, ambling ream of words. But I can’t let that happen too often because it would be so boring. I’ve just completed a new record and this one was written with an intent to have briefer songs, to reign in the rangyness, to cut down the words in order to economically express the thing. But some of the songs are still kind of long.

Bright guitars of “Feels Like”, horns of “I Came Here For a Reason”, syncopated Clavinet of “Everything Is Right Here”… This is a record that thrives on details and refined sound solutions full of care and love. How did the sessions go? What was the relationship between you and Sandro Perri? Did you have a sound in mind towards which you directed the numerous musicians involved in the project? What was your relationship with them?
The sessions were a joyful process but it was complicated to make that record because of the state of the world at that time. The majority of the album was tracked in Vancouver over several days in October 2021, Jay Arner and Jessica Delisle’s small practice/recording space that had no ventilation. All of us were cramped in this space, everyone had masks on except for myself when doing vocals. So it was a totally non-pandemic record that was made during the pandemic. It was the first time people were coming together to play music after half a year of no shows, no gathering, no making music, hardly any socializing, etc.
The reason I made the record in Vancouver was to work with people who I personally knew and who I thought would be empathetic to the songs. Patrick Beattie, Jessica Delisle and Matt Skillings are friends who I’ve played with before, in various capacities. Jay Arner recorded everything; he’s made several records with me, we work really easily together, he’s very good. The whole thing was fast. I think we had two evening practices to run through the songs and then we tracked everything in a weekend. After that, Jay and I had a couple days to do all the violins and horns and other overdubs.
Then we sent Sandro the files and he mixed/mastered the album. He also played some really excellent guitar and keys on songs that needed more action. I sought out Sandro because I really like his music and I identify with what he does. I thought he would be understanding of the kind of album I wanted to make, and he was. I was telling Sandro that this was my 1974 album because I felt like that year was this album’s spiritual home. He’s a very careful listener and he communicates very well. Again, it was Covid, so Sandro and I never met face to face. We just talked over the phone and through email, text, etc. It all went well, so I’ve since made another record with Sandro, although this time with him right there with us in the studio, which meant a lot more consultation and discussion with Sandro, which is great because he’s got this whole holistic perspective that encompasses the song from the intention of its creation up to it’s final mix. And I’ve never worked with someone in that way before, so I learned a lot from him.

In “All Roads” you express – as if it were an introduction to the story – all your disorientation; in “Feels Like” you seem to observe yourself from the outside, completely disconnected from yourself, a mystery to yourself and to others; in “I Came Here for a Reason” you would like to share your loneliness in the hope that “it would be alright if I Dropped in on that little fire and tended to it just for a little while”; in “I Would Smile” you dream of being a runner who finds happiness in the repetition of the simplest gestures; and, finally, in “I Declare” you seem to reach a place from which you can wish for the arrival of someone who can lift you from loneliness. Can we say that Memory Fool’s is about the need for movement and escape and at the same time the need to share your loneliness with someone?
I’m open to any interpretation of how people hear individual songs or the whole album. I do always hope people see the humour and absurdity that’s meant to be present; I don’t know if that comes across or not.
A few years ago I participated in a writing program that was led by Chris Kraus and she talked a lot about writing from the outward-facing-first person perspective, the outward-looking-I. She uses that term all the time in interviews and talks and articles. I interpreted that to mean that even though you are more or less grounded in your own impressions, you can’t just write about yourself. You need to direct your focus outward to see what is happening to other people and consider where you stand in relation to what someone else is experiencing. It’s alterity as a writing method, basically. So I took that from Chris Kraus and really tried to apply it to the music, because I don’t want to make an album that simply expresses a feedback loop of my own self-obsessed feelings journal. So in that regard, I guess I like thinking in a humble and earnest way that this album could facilitate an opportunity for sharing and relating to take place. But just not in a narrative sense of the songs themselves.

We could not avoid asking you about your Italian origins. How much is left of those six years spent in our country? And ‘how much’ Italy did your family pass on to you? Do you feel that there are Italian influences in your cultural or musical background?
I am a disappointment to everyone. Gonzalo from Bobo Integral set up some shows for me in Spain last fall and an Italian person came up to me after the Madrid show and said “You are not Italian.” But in the west coast of Canada where I grew up, just having dark hair and an Italian last name was vaguely exotic. Kids thought my dad was the Godfather. My dad’s side comes from the North just outside Venezia, and that area practically doesn’t even consider itself part of Italy. My Slovenian sister-in-law always says that my family is actually Slovenian, because of how close the border is and because of the pointed shape of our noses. The reality is that at this point in my life, any Italian that gets transmitted into me comes directly from my girlfriend, who is more Italian than I am. We visited her extended family last spring outside Rome and Napoli, and none of her family considered me Italian. I was just Canadian to them.

Last customary question: what are your next musical projects?
In March 2022 I tracked a new record, working again with Sandro however this time with an entirely new crew of musicians, all of whom are totally excellent and talented and brought immense personality and character to the recordings. There was more time to practice and prepare before going into the studio, which meant that certain songs could really evolve, which was really satisfying.
The intention going into this one was to alter the palette and try to find interesting combinations of sounds, so there are a lot of keys and synths and drum machines sharing space with violins and wind instruments. There’s not a lot of guitar. Going in, I told Sandro this was my “hybrid forms” record, but Sandro says it’s a punk rock record. I have no idea what it is, which is exciting to me. There are moments of really phenomenal musicianship, and there are other moments that called for really caveman-type playing. Sandro would say through the control room “Play it more like a caveman.” I’m just finishing one last track with Jay Arner and then the record will be mastered in a month. I’m really thrilled about what we made because certain parts sound very classic F.D. Marinetti while other parts are quite a new territory. I think it’s good but who knows, maybe no one will like it.