Q&A with Blues & Rock guitarist Saverio Maccne, one-of-a-kind strong rooty sound, that combines raw liberty and dynamic power

"I believe that for people who love Blues Rock, life has a more pleasant and real flavor. Since this particular genre is created by analog instruments like guitars, drums, harmonicas, keyboards, etc, therefore it remains something real and authentic. I always want people to have a beautiful moment during and after my show so that they can leave the daily routine for a moment to feed on music and really enjoy themselves."

Severio Maccne: Rockin' Blues Life

Saverio Maccne is a Blues & Rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter, who was born and grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Maccne has a one-of-a-kind strong rooty sound, that combines raw liberty and dynamic power with the preciseness of his virtuoso guitar skills. The uniqueness of Maccne´s music is muchly based on his wide and long experience of many musical genres, and his talent to combine them in a spectacularly original and uncompromising way. In the core of his music, you can hear the love for Blues and old Rock from the ’60s and ’70s spiced up with the punctilious techniques of Jazz. Maccne´s music is a kind of intense electric Blues, it´s raw and unpolished, vibrating an original, almost primitive, fierce power – and yet it is perfectly balanced and precise; every note has to be absolutely clear, and every note has to reflect a piece of its composer’s soul. Maccne has devoted himself to the guitar since a little boy. He gave his first gigs at the age of only fourteen side by side with professional musicians in the murky bars of the neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. At the age of sixteen, he started his studies in a conservatory – but after almost four years studying, instead of the final exams, he was tempted by the call of the road and great adventures.

(Photo: Saverio Maccne)

And so it is that the man is mostly self-taught, his greatest masters being the wild streets of Buenos Aires, in particular, the bohemian artist´s neighborhood of San Telmo, with its square and the many bars around it, where for years he made his living as a street musician. Also playing Jazz and Bossanova in wedding receptions for a few years, and making shows together with both famous Argentinian musicians and under artists, have amplified the musical experience of Maccne a great deal. Nowadays Maccne makes music around Finland and lives in the tranquil countryside of Tornio, where he draws inspiration from the surrounding Lappish nature. He still keeps gigging in Argentina, Holland, Belgium, Sweden, where he has been touring for different Blues & Rock festivals, events and playing in local bars for the past few years. Maccne composes his songs both in Spanish and English lyrics. So far there are four full albums released; Bucaro (2013), Crossing the Crosscurrents (2015), Parte de Ello (2017), Look Twice (2018) and four singles; Pequeña Parte de Ello (2016), Ain´t Got Nothing But My Sorrow (Bad Gambler) (2019), Riding On My Mind (2020), and Endless Nights Blues (2021).

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Fortunately, I had the chance to grow up in the '80s in Buenos Aires, listening to the tapes from the great Blues Rock bands from the '60s & '70s (Cream, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix Experience, etc). And as I learned to play the guitar at an early age, it became natural to me to see the world through this music.

So, everything in my life is involved with music, which to me represents a kind of bohemian, anarchistic freedom to live life in your own way. I simply can't imagine life without music or any kind of art in general. I feel that the Blues is what made me wanna express myself with passion on the guitar, and Rock is the powerful source of energy that pushes me forward and gives me the strength to keep on building and creating new music and life.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

Well, as you know I'm playing Blues Rock these days and I think my sound could be described as raw, intense, and electric. In the past, I have played different styles (Jazz, Bossa Nova, Funk, etc) all of which I suppose have influenced my style. I never thought to have a certain philosophy about music as everything to me is a free flow, nevertheless, I do appreciate a lot of creative improvisation (in any instrument) I admire artists who can build melodies in their own moment of improvisation. That is one of the qualities I most love about Jazz.

Where my inspiration comes from is a very deep question, I don't have a simple answer to, but I think, as I said before, the different styles I have played, have opened doors in my creative space where the ideas simply appear and mix with each other. One thing I'm sure of is that I can't pressure the birth of a song, it will come when it's ready to.

"Well, something quite evident is that since the beginning of the new millennium Blues Rock bands have lost an important place in the media and new styles gained ground, perhaps the lack of more opportunities for the Blues Rock genre that existed before would be something that I miss. Also, another thing would be the musical quality at the moment of creating new songs, which in the past was more authentic, with deeper lyrics, and without much help from technology." (Photo: Saverio Maccne)

Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

I remember it as a great time when I was playing Jazz & Blues together with the famous Argentinian drummer Javier Martinez (Manal) who was a pioneer in Argentina playing the Blues in the Spanish language at the end of the '60s. I guess one of the best advices was to find the right moment to create silence in the improvisation or guitar solo (Which is always so complicated to achieve when you're on fire playing)

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

I really like it when what happens on stage and what happens in the audience combine creating an intense and vibrant atmosphere. In my busker days when we were playing in the middle of a popular square (plaza) in Buenos Aires, surrounded by bars and their outside tables, many times the people stood up from their tables to approach us and form a circle around the band. The energy from that exchange was an amazing feeling which will always stay in my heart and memories.

What is the impact of Rock/Blues on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want the music to affect people?

I believe that for people who love Blues Rock, life has a more pleasant and real flavor. Since this particular genre is created by analog instruments like guitars, drums, harmonicas, keyboards, etc, therefore it remains something real and authentic.

I always want people to have a beautiful moment during and after my show so that they can leave the daily routine for a moment to feed on music and really enjoy themselves.

"Well, as you know I'm playing Blues Rock these days and I think my sound could be described as raw, intense, and electric. In the past, I have played different styles (Jazz, Bossa Nova, Funk, etc) all of which I suppose have influenced my style. I never thought to have a certain philosophy about music as everything to me is a free flow, nevertheless, I do appreciate a lot of creative improvisation (in any instrument) I admire artists who can build melodies in their own moment of improvisation. That is one of the qualities I most love about Jazz.(Photo: Saverio Maccne / Photo by Jonna Niinikangas)

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Well, something quite evident is that since the beginning of the new millennium Blues Rock bands have lost an important place in the media and new styles gained ground, perhaps the lack of more opportunities for the Blues Rock genre that existed before would be something that I miss. Also, another thing would be the musical quality at the moment of creating new songs, which in the past was more authentic, with deeper lyrics, and without much help from technology.

I hope that there will always be electric guitars and young people who want to make them sound good. No fears at all. It´s art.

What would you say characterizes Argentinian rock/blues scene in comparison to European/US scenes?

I see that in Europe there are many more opportunities to show your own music. The variety of Blues festivals in different countries increases the chances of reaching more people. Argentina is a very rich country in many ways. However, in recent decades there has been an economic and socio-cultural breakdown that still affects today the proliferation of new opportunities for very talented musicians who live there.

On the other hand, the Argentinian Blues scene being limited and considerable small obligates the musicians there to develop their own particular identity that will stand out. It is also worth saying that Blues musicians in Argentina are characterized by creating songs mostly in Castilian/Spanish lyrics, which makes the scene special.

"So, everything in my life is involved with music, which to me represents a kind of bohemian, anarchistic freedom to live life in your own way. I simply can't imagine life without music or any kind of art in general. I feel that the Blues is what made me wanna express myself with passion on the guitar, and Rock is the powerful source of energy that pushes me forward and gives me the strength to keep on building and creating new music and life."

(Photo: Saverio Maccne)

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

One of the things I've learned over time is to give my best in each show and that each performance is worth equally the same whether it's with thousands of people or one as an audience.

And one more very important thing is that I always keep in mind that I chose in this life to be a musician, which is my passion and way of life on top of being my job so when things sometimes get difficult, I have to remember how lucky I am to have the chance to express my feelings through my guitar, through my music.

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