The Italian duo Gioli & Assia are making beautiful music together both on and off the stage. This lesbian couple met as a manager and artist breaking into the music business when their relationship developed into something much more together.
Assia Nania is now the lead singer and Gioli Liparo handles most of the musical instruments including piano, cello, drums and guitar.
They founded their own record label imprint called Diesis Records and released their debut album in 201 called Istantanee. These out and proud members of the LGBTQ+ community are dropping their third album Fire, Hell and Holy Water on September 9, 2022.
The two talked backstage at ARC Music Festival shortly after their set on the Expansions Stage.
JN: (Jerry Nunn) How did you feel your set at ARC went?
AN: (Assia Nania) It went great. We loved it. The rain wasn’t too bad and we loved the energy out there.
JN: You have an after-party next. Aren’t you tired?
GL: (Gioli Liparo) No. When we turn the music on everything else disappears.
AN: It is always amazing!
JN: What part of Italy are you from?
AN: Sicily. It is very hot there right now.
JN: Where did you meet?
AN: She wrote me on Facebook in December 2015. We talked for hours about our goals and the music that we loved.
GL: We wanted to work together. In the beginning, she was my manager. I was just playing drums then I became a DJ. I started touring with her as my manager.
We saw what The Chainsmokers did and decided to make vocals over our instrumentals. That is how we became a duo and had our first Ibiza residency. It was at a club called Privilege every Thursday. It was amazing and it was our first time playing our music together. For my first experience, it was the best ever!
AN: Playing for the LGBTQ+ community there was very affirming for us.
JN: It must be nice to have each other when playing out on the road.
GL: It is, so many people tour alone but for us, it is the best.
AN: It is like having a small part of your family with you wherever you go.
JN: Was it a big decision for you to be out of the closet as far as your career?
GL: We did the official video for “Feel Good” and we kissed. We told people that we were a couple but sometimes they just enjoy the music and forget about it.
AN: Sometimes when we show up as a couple people think we are doing it for attention.
GL: We believe in waving the rainbow flag at our set because we feel it is important. In Italy, there are some people that want to remove gay rights. This is crazy and it is 2022!
We were scared to show the video because we worried that some countries wouldn’t allow us to travel there as a couple. Now it is more important to us to support our fans and our community. Maybe we can be part of the change.
AN: If people hadn’t stood up for LGBTQ+ rights in the past we possibly wouldn’t be here. As a couple and DJs, we are seeing the difference right now. We can be together and play music. GL: This is our dream, but we also have to remember that there is a reality to it too. We have to keep fighting and voting. The rules can change one day and people have to remember that they have a voice to say what is right.
JN: So you definitely took a risk by coming out.
GL: Yes and though some people don’t like it, there are many people that thank us through messages. We want people to support the community while listening to our music.
JN: Do you come up with the treatments for your music videos?
GL: We do the editing because it is always coming from us. The idea for #DiesisLive social media streaming came from us wanting to show what we do live. We have almost a million subscribers so this is huge for us.
AN: For the new album wanted Iceland to be the country where we shoot all the videos. It was perfect and part of our vision.
GL: The people of Iceland respect their country so much that they don’t even want people to walk on the moss.
JN: Who picks out the fashion for your videos?
AN: Both of us, but in Iceland, we had stylists to help us for the 10 days we were there.
JN: There’s a song about chess on the new album. Do you play chess?
GL: Yes, I always win.
AN: I let her win!
GL: The idea came to us last year when we got COVID. We spent one week inside a room and she was very sick. I started comparing chess to life and how the checkerboard changes, just like society.
AN: You have to play smarter and not accept the way life is.
JN: How was mythology used to make the single “Eurydice?”
GL: She came up with the name for the title, but I love Greek mythology so I wanted it to refer to the title of the album Fire Hell and Holy Water. Hell is a metaphor for depression. Eurydice and Orpheus are two lovers. She dies and Orpheus tries to appease the gods of Hell to bring her back to life by singing. He is allowed to lead her out but was told to not look back at her. They are almost out when he looks back at her and loses her forever.
The lesson is that sometimes the love we receive is toxic and will suffocate someone. Our album is about finding your back to art and escaping from aggression.
AN: It is also a metaphorical way to express duality both love and hate.
JN: Your music seems ready for movie soundtracks. Do you want to move into that?
AN: That would be my dream.
GL: I would like our music to be in a Marvel Studios movie.
JN: As artists what would you like to be known for?
AN: We like to help people. Fans will write to us and tell us how our music helped them.
GL: I like that people know who we are. They can associate us with the beauty in the videos and the two of us as a couple.
AN: We like people to know our story and hopefully it can help them, not just with the music.
GL: Girls will come up to us and say that we gave them the idea to start DJing or playing the piano.
AN: Yes, they will tell us about coming out to their family and friends. It is important to us.
JN: So the rest of the year you have the new album and tour?
GL: Yes, we end the United States tour late in September, but then we tour in Europe and Australia in October.
AN: We debut Fire Hell and Holy Water in LA for the first live show this September. The full tour with the new album will be next year.
JN: So back to Chicago then?
GL: Of course!