Among all that, he has been working alongside t-shirt companies, Amplified, and most recently the company We Walk, based in West Kirby, Merseyside creating a wonderful and interesting range of t-shirts that are available for purchase in various shops including House of Fraser online. Now his main project is his new record label My Passion. We chat to Francesco Mellina on what he’s up to at the present time.
JOSH: It’s been a long time since Mudkiss last chatted to you (28.04.09). You are taking your exhibition to Italy. How important is it for you to be able to share your photographs with people of your home country?
FRANCESCO: I was hoping to take the exhibition to Italy, which is very important to me as I would love to share my photos with my countrymen, unfortunately, although there was a lot of interest, due to financial restrictions the exhibition has not happened yet.
JOSH: Last time we spoke to you, you suggested there was possibly a book that was going to be published featuring your photographs. How far have you got with this and what can we expect?
FRANCESCO: Yes, the book has been a long time in the making. It's rather frustrating as the original publisher suffered financial losses during the economic downturn and the book never got to print. However, I am happy to tell you, fingers crossed, that an Italian publisher is on the verge of releasing the book. It will be published both in English and Italian. No release date confirmed yet, but it should not be too long.
JOSH: We have reason to believe that you’re back doing photography again. Over the past couple of years have you managed to get any more snaps of artists that you’re particularly proud of?
FRANCESCO: I am doing photos again. I enjoyed doing photos of the Bunnymen, Ian McNabb, and Ian Broudie again. I have also photographed Italian band Other Voices and many local bands including The Loud and solo artist, Luke Fenlon as well as the reformed The Wild Swans.
JOSH: You’re collaborating with Amplified in order to get some of your most famous images printed onto t-shirts. How do you feel about people wearing these iconic images and them being spread to a wider audience?
FRANCESCO: My collaboration with Amplified is something I am very proud of and it's great to see people wearing the Joe Strummer tee shirt and spreading my work to a wider audience.
JOSH: What music are you currently inspired by and do you find most fitting to accompany your latest work?
FRANCESCO: Music wise I like Moongoose's electronic music landscapes, Luke Fenlon is a gentle approach, Other Voices, a band I am involved with, The Delays and BirdPen are bands I particularly like.
JOSH: How important would you say the current music industry is compared to when you were at your peak working as a photographer?
FRANCESCO: I guess music will always be important but the music industry, maybe, is not as important as it used to be. The internet has revolutionised the way that music is released and the way that musicians can break through without the help of the major labels.
JOSH: Do you still believe it’s possible to capture the same images of culture and capture a whole era in a series of photographs?
FRANCESCO: I do believe that you can capture any era in photographs. The most important thing is to be there in the right place at the right time!
JOSH: You’ve just started a new record label. For people who don’t know, can you explain this to us in more detail?
FRANCESCO: The label is called My Passion Records and its aim is to work with musicians from around the world without limitations. The first release on the label is a 4 track EP called “Beloved Child" by an Italian band, they sing in English by the way, named Other Voices and its getting lots of airplay In the U.K., Europe and the U.S.A. as well as getting great reviews. The band's website is www.othervoices.it
JOSH: Can you discuss your motives behind this and your aspirations for the future and what kind of artists you are looking to sign?
FRANCESCO: The label does not have a particular type of artist in mind. We are open to listen to anything. The most important aspect of it all is whether the songs are good or not!