Left Ear Records / Australia / 2022
Bruno De Angelis and Giovanna Gulinello unwittingly met in London in the late 70’s, after being introduced by a mutual friend. Both Bruno and Giovanna arrived with varying ambitions. Giovanna wanted to learn English or be a painter, while Bruno found work at the Royal Post Office, which he found testing.
It wasn’t until Bruno rescued Giovanna from an awkward date that the pair became a couple. At the time, music was just something they did for fun. Bruno already had an acoustic guitar and G bought a bass. Those were the days when you could start a new band, whether you could play or not, and new independent labels were springing up. Rough Trade Records was literally around the corner.
In 1981 the pair moved back to Italy and found an apartment in Rome. It’s here that they began to focus on their music and where they started ‘recording’ their tracks. First, they would record the rhythm, maybe add the Gigster (the name of their “cheap drum machine”), the bass, and then, as they made a copy of the first cassette onto a second cassette they would add guitar, more synth, or both at the same time. After that, it was not unusual to copy from the second cassette back into the first cassette adding even more“stuff”.
As with many artists during the early 80’s, the Influenza Prods’ sound was the direct result of the accessibility of emerging electronic instruments and the recording equipment available to them. The duo was resourceful and inventive, acquiring new equipment as resources allowed. They recorded dialogue from British Soap Operas on their TV set, which were later added to their tracks, while further making use of their family’s cutlery sets, which were used to fill in certain percussion sections
The duo’s homespun recordings found a web of admirers in the unofficial distribution of tape trading and mail-art scenes. Despite the DIY ethos and the fact that most tapes were handmade, the Influenza Prods managed to ‘release’ three tapes which comprised of the Greatest Tits (1983), Cheek-A-Bomba (1984) and Quasi Solo (1985).
Bruno and Giovanna were sadly subjected to serious family problems, including the loss of loved ones in their lives and eventually parted ways, concluding the Influenza Prods. However, to this day they remain close friends who keep in touch regularly.