Vampiric Capitalism: European Vampire Reflects on the Superficiality & Fragility of Modern-Day Living

Rome, Italy
Editor-In-Chief: Jamee Livingston
Livingston Publishing
Photography: Filippo Candotti

4 mins read

Idiosyncratic, elusive and cursed, European Vampire explores the night and the characters who populate it with their ruthless social commentary over house music beats. Examining consumption and consumerism, the vampire is deployed as a metaphor for capitalism and modern distress. The allegorical vampire character is the embodiment of the decadence and moral corruption of society. The vampiric characteristics of capitalism drains people with the vanities of life, shallow luxuries and materialistic cravings, leading them to forsake the true joys of life and sacrifice the essence of living.

The musical offering is spearheaded by model/musician Lorenzo Sutto and producer Mark Ceiling. Joining the Italian duo are a series of creatives, artists and performers participating between Rome, Paris, London and New York including model/musician Angus Spike McGuinness and director Michele Formica. The international scope of the project is reflected in the adoption of multilingual lyrics and aesthetic research that has its roots in a pan-European culture which orients itself between literature, cinema, music and haute couture. Burroughsian cut-ups that frame glimpses of life, of night and of damnation.

Vampiric Capitalism: European Vampire covers Livingston Magazine

Despite the evolving nature of the fashion industry, the detrimental atmosphere is still in place, motivating Lorenzo to initiate the project based on his experience as a model and Mark’s background studying electronic music at college. Their debut single “Tom Ford,” was a candid portrayal of the fashion world behind closed doors exposing the industry’s hidden secrets. “European Vampire examines the philosophy of the model-influencers and of what Nino Ferrer called “petites jeunes filles de bonne famille,” the new European status quo of the vain appearance and of feasting on the ruins of Western culture for the sole purpose of social appearance and ostension to inspire this metaphorical vampire’s new militancy manifesto. UAL or Science Po students, nepo babies with American Express in their Birkin, tourists out of boredom, not out of vocation.”

The notion of a man transforming and at the same time decaying through his emotions and deeds is a key factor of European Vampire. That sense of despair in the face of something that needs to be transformed but will never be. People never talk about money, that would be vulgar, however they can’t live without it, nor without status or other people’s attention. The capitalist vampire frequents them, seduces them and lets themself be seduced by them in a psychological game that culminates with a moral, but not moralizing, consequence which reveals their hypocrisy and fragility.

European Vampire for Livingston Magazine

At the end of European Vampire’s debut album Forever Speeding Through Darkness, the symbolic figure promises to immerse himself in a frenzied auto race in the shadows. Akin to the unhinged actor Toby Dammit Fellini, who drives with the headlights off towards his fate in a Roman nightscape without ever stopping. The darkness that European Vampire explores is the figurative one of the soul. Piercing the hypocrisy of his personal demon with beats at 110 bpm and words as sharp as the blade of St. George’s sward. As always tormented by his demons, the vampire is both slave and censor of hedonism. Moving through the velvety corridors of a Parisian villa, between the cold concrete walls of a Berlin club, European Vampire lets himself be dragged towards the abyss but trying to get rid of it, once and for all. It mirrors the turbulence and instability of the current era, particularly in the pandemic’s aftermath and the burgeoning presence of algorithms in our lives.

Our cultural fixation with egotism hinders our collective capacity for cooperative action to control risks like climate change and the effect of technology on labour. With the prosperity of societies came the ominous sound of the monster’s footsteps. As societies arose, this metaphorical monster also began to take form. For instance, in Das Kapital, Karl Marx wrote about capital as “dead labor, that, vampire-like, only lives sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.” Capitalism feeds on the working class like a vampire feeds on blood.

Single photography by Francis Delacroix

The electronic duo’s latest release “International Girls Club” tackles such themes while moving elegantly between French, English and Spanish; the three European languages ​​that the group know best. It exposes those endlessly seeking FOMO (fear of missing out), bound by a long list of privileges that would make this pursuit impossible without them. Clubbing is their lifeblood, and it reveals how disconnected from reality we’ve become. These are what the artist defines as “cocaine barbies” and the “BCBG daughters of the new millennium.” Bret Easton Ellis, whose novel Rules of Attraction and the character of Lara (played by Jessica Biel) in the subsequent film adaptation inspired the song. Lara is the most calculating and egotistically self-serving character in the film, taking advantage of men and women in order to achieve her desired ambitions.

The song was written after La Flèche de Nôtre Dame in Paris burnt down and it’s original name was “La Flèche” meaning arrow. Nôtre Dame symbolizes a more profound meaning than the hustle and bustle of our lives. Nôtre Dame is the core of religious and secular France as well as an emblem of European civilization. “We opted for the word emergencies in the chorus of the song instead of urgencies, even though the French used wasn’t technically correct to create the impression of broken French being spoken by a non-native speaker. The song that also includes some Spanish in it, courtesy of Tom Ayerbe. The main idea of this song came to us from a conversation with an American girl in NYC.”

European Vampire shouts and whispers stories, from raw to enigmatic, of moral decay and renaissance over voluptuous house beats and cinematic nuances. The tormented soul of an artist, a demi-God, The Vampire does it, and oh, he does it sublimely. Half Richard Hell half the Bolero of Ravel, European Vampire is a Brett Easton Ellis’ morbid fantasy that has come to redeem the fatal sins of post-contemporary society. Mark Fisher’s dystopian premonitions that are devouring themselves. Don’t be afraid, follow him into the night.

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