Tribraco and Tubax: An Italian state of mind

They’re from Italy and the music is loud and weird: How weird? Really weird.

By W.C. Ruffnel

Italian bands Tribraco and Tubax will perform Saturday, Oct. 8 at South Park Tavern.

Italian bands Tribraco and Tubax will perform Saturday, Oct. 8 at South Park Tavern.

For centuries Rome has been the center of western civilization as we know it. So many things come from Rome, and Italy more specifically, that we take it for granted. Sadly, the tomato does not come from Italy, and its inclusion into Italian cuisine did not happen until the Spanish colonization of South America in the 1500s ­­— though it remains a traditional and delicious staple of many Italian dishes. When performers are bad, tradition says throw a tomato. With Italy’s Tribraco and Tubax, no tomatoes will be necessary. These are two bands of weirdness — Tribraco borders on acid-jazz-infused rock that dances, while Tubax brings some of the most bizarre funk-and-synth-infused dance-jazz you’ll ever hear.

Tribraco will be supporting their new record Glue, which is coming out on Megasound in Europe and by Wayside Music in the U.S., and Tubax is supporting their newest Il Mondo Stava Finendo (translation: The world was ending), also out on Megasound. This will be Tribraco’s second trip to the U.S., their first tour being last year’s Music and Miles Tour Part 1, which racked up around 9,000 miles. In the first leg out, they had the chance to play with such American music luminaries as Mike Watt and Talibam! This year, they will bring their label-mates and same-management act (Davide Cardea, the manager, also runs Megasound) Tubax. These two bands will be appearing at South Park Tavern Saturday, Oct. 8, and we had a chance speak with them regarding their strange sounds and life on the road. Since they only answered questions as a band and in broken English, we’ll assume they’re all speaking in unison, and having a hell of a time doing it.

How do you describe your music?
A mix of a lot of different genres, our language is a rock without borders. We play it with a punk-jazzy-no-wave attitude. [Tribraco]
It’s a mix of electronic and funk music into a sole identity that creates an intense dance rhythm without neglecting technical skill and organic thought. [Tubax]

How has America been treating you so far?
Very well. The American audience is really curious and intellectually alive. People pay attention to foreign music and our weirdness. Also, we received a lot of help in terms of hospitality, like if we were in South Italy. [Tribraco]
So far what we play has been received really well. Also, the people we have met have been very friendly and help us a lot, supporting our music and providing places to stay, food and a warm atmosphere. [Tubax]

How much worse is American food compared to Italian?
A lot worse in terms of health. Usually you have to spend a lot of money to get “organic” food. Regular food fills you less — that’s why we usually try to cook Italian food that makes our hosts really happy. [Tubax]
If you don’t call the coffee “caffè,” pizza “pizza” and pasta “pasta,” that would be better. On the other hand, in Italy, we can’t call our apple cake an apple pie. [Tribraco]

What would you consider some of your main Italian or European influences (if any)?
From Italy we borrow contemporary and classical music (from Giuseppe Verdi to Luciano Berio), progressive rock (Area) and some punk no-wave artists from the ‘80s. From Europe, we are influenced by Fred Frith, Robert Fripp and the new ways of contemporary rock. [Tribraco]

Who are your American influences?
Parliament, Funkadelic, the Whispers, the Battles, Matmos, Primus, John Zorn, Sun Ra. [Tubax]
In Italy, you learn to play rock from British and American records. So it’s really interesting for us how the American and British audience reacts to our Italian way to play it. [Tribraco]

How funky can you get?
Funky is our core so everything is about it, and we love it. Somebody wrote that it’s influenced by math rock. Writing our music we don’t stick on it, but for sure it is always in the atmosphere. [Tubax]

What is the music scene like in Italy?
The music market is tight, especially when it comes to instrumental/weird/odd music. In Italy there’s a strong culture of voice. But this doesn’t seem to stop the really active scene that has originated in the last 10 years mostly in Rome, where we are based. [Tribraco]

Are you afraid of Americans, like David Bowie?
No, because he’s British. [Tubax]

Tribraco and Tubax will perform at South Park Tavern Saturday, Oct. 8. Show starts at 9 p.m. Visit or to check out some of these far-out sounds.

Reach DCP freelance writer W.C. Ruffnel at

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