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It was 2008 when Talco came to St. Pauli for the first time, the beginning of an German-Italian football and punk rock relationship. In 2009 Talco released the first joint single with the Fanräume, and in 2010 they played at the centenary festival. A host of smaller encounters at all manner of events were to follow. The band are back at the Millerntor for Sunday's game against Holstein Kiel and after the final whistle they'll be playing a free concert in the fan rooms. We spoked to lead singer Dema about the connection to St. Pauli, the future of the game, and the lads' new album.

You fell in love with FC St. Pauli 10 years ago - how did that come about?

We already knew St. Pauli since they have been always popular on the alternative Italian music scene, and when we played there ten years ago, we decided to dedicate a song to the club and the fans, since they are a unique thing in Europe. We recorded the St. Pauli song for our third record, Mazel Tov, and the connection has been always tight thanks to the Fan Rooms project. The bond has been strong ever since.

Since your first encounter with the club you've been coming back to Hamburg on a regular basis. Why is that?

Now we're much more popular as a band, but the city of Hamburg has always treated us fantastically. Since 2008, thanks to the connection to the St. Pauli fans, it's been growing every day. For us it's mandatory to schedule dates on every German tour in Hamburg, where we're connected in both football and politics. To put it differently, we speak the same language.

Of all the moments you have spent with FC St. Pauli, what do you remember most and what happened?

Maybe two moments: the first was the day we played at the ground in front of 22.000 fans for the club's centenary. Amazing. The second was the first time we played Hamburg and we went to see the match. Second division, a sell-out crowd and everyone was singing… we've never seen such a thing in Italy!

How do you watch football? Emotionally? Calmly? Matter-of-factly?

I do watch a lot of football, as well as St. Pauli I follow Venezia, Milan and Barcelona. When I was 18, I was a member of Venezia for a couple years. Then I started playing myself, but I'm still passionate… almost fanatic.

What's the connection between football and music in your opinion?

Apart from the political side, it's pretty evident in our songs that both music and football are art forms. Both generate emotions, and both can go hand in hand and help each other.

Is there anything football can learn from music when it comes to political education?

Sure, since the stadium is a part of society and a lot of people go there. Antonio Gramsci said that politics is taught to people, and people must be educated. The stadium is an opportunity to create culture, to show respect to each other, and to be together as society. When I played for my team, some of my teammates came from troubled families, and many of them saved their careers through playing football. This is the spirit that still makes me love the game, even when it's being distorted...

Your new album deals a lot with relevant social topics. Are we living in a time in which the engagement of every individual is becoming increasingly important?

Individualism and the quest for popularity, along with populism and ignorance, are devastating morality and modern society. Football is just one of many examples, and to be honest I'm pessimistic about the future. As for football, here in Italy Totti has retired. He was a symbol of the Roma team, same as Maldini at Milan or Zanetti at Inter. There were soooo many people offering opinions about how he had screwed up his career by not going to Real Madrid to achieve higher goals. This is the mentality that has fed egoism and the business that is trying to kill this sport.

What's the challenge, the duty or task for every one of us?

Go back to the moment in the past where the passion and the global conscience will make us forge a better future, more honest and moral, enjoying technology in a better way than we do now.

You also talk about the commercialisation of football – what are you criticising?

As I said before, selfishness, corruption, the urge for power, have been killing the sport, with managers, doctors, TV… it's a parallel world that has turned poetry into a race for money and the need to feel a winner. Innocence and morality, all lost. And we do see at it as “normal”.

Are you scared for the future of football?

A lot, especially in Italy, where corruption is a part of politics and it's turned into chaos. If not playing at the World Cup is considered dramatic, then nothing has changed. If things don't change now, I see a difficult and dark road ahead.

What's the solution?

Start educating from the beginning, at home. Forget about fame, money, managers, and contracts, and give education a bigger role in the game. Still, it's utopian.

What's your goal, what drives you to keep putting your finger on what's wrong?

Personally, we've always liked to talk about the things we love. We don't have any teaching goals, but it's true that music is a form of art, and art has the power of teaching. If people draw pleasure from listening to us, I don't see anything dangerous there.

FC St. Pauli play Holstein Kiel today, what would you say to the players in the dressing room to prepare them for the game?

Better than words, as a musician I would give them a song to concentrate their thinking on the match. That's what I used to do before stepping on the field. It worked!