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Special Material – Monoblock B
Text and photo by Geir Egil Bergjord

Monoblock B’s real name is Silvio Tommasino. He’s born in 1973 in Singapore. Now he lives and works i Zurich, Switzerland. Localmotives met him on a street café on Helvetia Platz.

LOC: How did you start making music?

Silvio: Since I was a kid I’ve always listened to al lot of music. When I hit my teens in the late eighties I listened to bands like Front 242, Sisters of Mercy and New Order. I had this urge to express myself so i started to write poems and stuff. At some point it wasn’t satisfying just to listen to music, and I sometimes had problems finding the music I wanted to hear. So I decided to make my own music and started to play guitar in a band. It was a basic rock & roll setup then. You know bass, drums, guitar, and me on vocal. I started Monoblock_B 4-5 years ago as my own project.
What attractes me about making music is that it communicates more instantly than words. I also love to perform live.

LOC: Hmm – yes, you seem to play live quite often. That’s a bit unusual for a man working with synthesizers and drum machines, isn’t it?

Silvio: When I do my recordings I play my songs live directly into a 4-track. I sometimes have to play the same song for hours to get it the way I want, and that can be very boring. When I play live I have to do it on the spot and I get the immediate response from the audience. That really excites me. My songs are not mixed together so there’s a small pause between each song where I have to load the samples for the next song. This seems to confuse people since they are used to well mixed DJ sets these days. They have to stop dancing and just wait for some seconds. Sometimes I hit the wrong samples too…

LOC: Monoblock B is a one man band. Do you miss collaborators sometimes?

Silvio: Sometimes I’ve tried to get people to do vocals on some of my tracks, but I often end up thinking that they sing on the wrong places and so on. Of course it would be nice to find someone on the same wavelength to work with. You can get more complex and layered music that way, but most of the time I know exactly what I want to do and I go ahead doing it.

LOC: Even though you usually work alone, do you feel like you are part of an electronic scene here in Zurich?

Silvio: Yes, I do think I’m part of this e scene. Zurich is not so big and I know the other artists. After a show, I often end up dancing and talking with the other musicians. There are several labels based here, but there is no typical sound of Zurich so every label has a different style. I’m part of two labels. On Spezialmaterial I release more experimental stuff and on 7b my dance songs. Sometimes I miss coorperation between the different crowds. I think Zurich’s e scene should have more self confidence so it would be more powerful. Despite this lack of healthy self-confidence, we will get there in the end…

LOC: Do you still listen to a lot of electronic music yourself, or do you find your inspiration elsewhere these days?

Silvio: I have my record collection in the studio, but if I’m there I produce my own sound and I rarely listen to other music. I find my inspiration in daily life; people talking, radiowaves, wind, broken glass, children crying… There is so much information around.

Check out Hit Eins by Monoblock_B: