All Around The World: Meet Turin's Koneskin

Koneskin with their faces under water

Born in Indonesia 35 years ago, Feryanto Demichelis was adopted by an Italian family when he was just one month old. Today, the pianist has two classical music degrees to his name, owns and runs a music school in Rivoli near Turin, and is the singer/keyboardist for three-piece Koneskin.

As their drummer and spokesman Sergio Ponti explains, the name’s a synthetic portmanteau word. “In Indonesian ‘Koneski’ means to be spiritually connected. We added the ‘Skin’ part because of Feri’s dark skin and our slightly lighter skin. It’s that idea of bonding, and of connection with different places.”

Completed by Demichelis’ childhood friend, guitarist Gabriele Zoccolan, the trio have opened their account with Liberty Place. Drawing on Belew-era Crimson, Muse, Radiohead, this deceptively complex, moody debut is headed up by the 20-minute three-piece post-rock suite To Fall Apart. They can do spiky and soporific, often in the same song, and Demichelis’s plaintive vocals are heart-rending throughout. Twelve- minute closer Maya (Fer Au D’Sol) is a particularly dramatic highlight.

“The thing is, there’s no one band that we all like!” says Ponti. “Feri comes from classical music and loves Sakamoto; I’m into prog like Gentle Giant, and metal, and Gabriele’s into alternative music and classic rock. No one style dominates.”

A drum teacher by day, Ponti is also in highly adaptive prog pickup band Beggar’s Farm (when Martin Barre, Ian Anderson or VdGG’s David Jackson lone-wolf an Italian tour, they all call Beggar’s for backup). He laments his native gig-goers’ preoccupation with tribute acts and cover bands, but nevertheless sees the prog renaissance continue there. “Among my students there’s interest in more involved melodies, and in learning the real craft of your instrument. You play these 12, 13 year olds Between The Buried And Me, and they’re into it. The Mute Gods are a big hit among them.”

Koneskin are set to play ProgDay in September, around which time they’ll record album two. To date their main live experience has been in Romania rather than Rome. “Two hundred people will turn up to see an unknown band there,” says Ponti. “You can meet a beautiful girl and have a conversation about ELP. That’s how
I met my wife actually! It’s a great place.”

Visit Koneskin’s website for more.

Grant Moon

A music journalist for over 20 years, Grant writes regularly for titles including Prog, Classic Rock and Total Guitar, and his CV also includes stints as a radio producer/presenter and podcast host. His first book, 'Big Big Train - Between The Lines', is out now through Kingmaker Publishing.