TTeo is the pseudonym of Matteo Capreoli – a half German, half Italian singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer with a deep musical heritage. Fernando Antonio Capreoli, his father, left Salento in southern Italy for Germany in 1970, before forming disco-funk-rock outfit Lovexpress, made up of mainly Italian and Scandinavian musicians, playing drums in the band and touring Norway, Sweden and Denmark from 1974 to 1979.
TTeo himself signed to Sonar Kollektiv in 2020, releasing the Salento EP, named after the place of his father’s birth. More recently, though, he was serendipitously handed a batch of cassettes by his dad of some of Lovexpress’ live shows from the late 1970s. TTeo was deeply impressed by the quality of the music and got his father to digitise them immediately! These recordings form the basis of, and the inspiration for, his latest LP – Lovexpress 77, and are the only known recordings of the band who never quite made it into the studio to lay down an album.
The LP is a unique combination of songs that sample, rework and are inspired by the Lovexpress band and TTeo’s southern Italian roots. Tracks like Follow Me, Samba and the eponymous Lovexpress itself draw heavily on samples from the band’s original live recordings, often with Matteo over-laying new sounds and multiple instrumentation to complement and enhance them. On Follow Me and Samba he adds his own voice into the mix and allows guests to get involved too, with vocalist Kristine Bogan adding to the former and producer Owen Ross contributing Fender Rhodes to the latter. Elsewhere, his father’s original conga playing is sampled on the sultry Arzu, with TTeo adding his own piano parts, recorded on his iPhone, and on Lovexpress – the first track he made from sampling the band’s work – it’s the drums that take centre stage, alongside added guitar from Swedish-Estonian musician, Raul Ojamaa.
In fact, it’s the drums that are central to this very special album in that TTeo plays his father’s original kit that was used in the 1970’s recordings. This often means that Matteo finds himself jamming with his father, both playing the same drum kit, on many of the songs. This is particularly evident on Follow Me, and no doubt helps give it its very spiritual and uplifting feel.
Other tracks on the album, such as the haunting yet foot friendly 42H, draw on the influences of TTeo’s roots and the Lovexpress band rather than sampling the band themselves. They are no less powerful though, with songs like Pantera, for example, which is inspired by how freely the band expressed themselves being a particular highlight. Sometimes is a track that was made towards the end of the process with Italian vocalist Dalila Cavalera, who herself was inspired by listening to the Lovexpress recordings. The track combines traditional Italian Pizzica rhythms with a modern club groove to great effect!
Figli Delle Stelle is a homage to one of Matteo’s favourite vocalists from the 1970s, Alan Sorrenti. As he often does with Lovexpress, TTeo takes the guts of Sorrenti’s original song and makes it his own, whilst maintaining that very important sense of humour.
Notably, Mi Fa Sofrire is the only song on the album that TTeo wrote from scratch. The title translates to You Make Me Suffer and is a lament on a love which is often uplifting, joyous and sweet, but can often be quite the opposite. Again, this is delivered with much humour and tongue very much in cheek. And finally, album closer, A Bronx Tale, is inspired both by DeNiro’s directorial debut about the relationships between Afro and Italian Americans and John Gennari’s celebrated book on the subject, Flavor and Soul. They serve as a reference to the way the band’s diversity enabled them to embrace their differences and play together so successfully, for so many years.
By sampling, re-working and re-imagining the band’s source material in this very unique way, TTeo is bringing his father’s original club sounds to a whole new audience.
Matteo is now back living in his family’s home town of Salento once again and sees this project as “closing a circle” both musically and personally. Although he may be opening a new one if rumours of getting the Lovexpress band back together and recording that missing studio album come to fruition! Only time will tell.