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PFM: 50 years of prog and the beauty of Bladerunner

PFM's Franz Di Cioccio and Patrick Djivas
(Image credit: Orazio Truglio)

What’s the connection between Blade Runner and your new album? 

Patrick Djivas: Blade Runner is one of the most beautiful science-fiction movies ever made. There’s a line in it: “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” [Also the title of Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel upon which the film is based.] The difference between an android and a human being is that androids don’t dream – they don’t need to. That’s the idea behind this album – dreaming as a human being, leaving behind all the problems 

Franz Di Cioccio: If you don’t wake up in the morning with a dream or fantasy in your head, be careful, because something has happened to you.

Did the pandemic affect how you made the album? 

Patrick: Franz lives north of Milan, I live south of Milan, and it was difficult because you needed documents to travel. You could be stopped by the police. That happened to us: “Where are you going?” “I’m going to work, to make an album with my bandmate.” “That is not work…” 

It’s PFM’s fiftieth anniversary this year. What was it like being there at the start of the Italian progressive rock scene? 

Patrick: Something was in the air. Young people came to have a voice in society. The popularity of music was matched by quality, which had never happened. Before that it was middle-of-the-road singers who were popular. And the bands with the biggest audiences were making the most progressive music. Genesis were famous in Italy before anywhere else. 

You opened for ZZ Top on an early US tour. How was that? 

Patrick: It was great. We only played for twenty minutes, so we played the heaviest twenty minutes of our music. The cowboys were going crazy.

How is Italian prog rock different from British or American prog rock? 

Patrick: Italian bands are more inspired by classical arrangements. It’s part of our culture. But growing up, we didn’t want to sound like a conservatory band, we wanted to play rock’n’roll. 

Franz: We don’t play better or worse than American bands, we just play differently. But we’ve played many different kinds of music in our lives. Every kind of music is beautiful. You just have to be open and wait for the music to capture you. 

When you started the band did you imagine still doing it fifty years later?

Patrick: When I started, I said, okay, I’m going to play until I’m conscripted into the military. That didn’t happen. So I said, okay, I’m going to play until I get married or get a job. That didn’t happen. And now here we are, fifty years later. Unbelievable! 

Franz: We’re proud to have been there at the beginning of something fifty years ago, but what really makes us really proud is still being here today.

I Dreamed Of Electric Sheep is out now via InsideOut Music.

Dave Everley has been writing about and occasionally humming along to music since the early 90s. During that time, he has been Deputy Editor on Kerrang! and Classic Rock, Associate Editor on Q magazine and staff writer/tea boy on Raw, not necessarily in that order. He has written for Metal Hammer, Louder, Prog, the Observer, Select, Mojo, the Evening Standard and the totally legendary Ultrakill. He is still waiting for Billy Gibbons to send him a bottle of hot sauce he was promised several years ago.