Si sa, prima o poi il colpevole torna sempre sul luogo del delitto. Quindi, dopo molto tempo, rieccomi qui a deliziarvi con un’altra intervista, al solito lunga, al solito sciolta, a solito (si spera) interessante.
Stavolta ho avuto il piacere di fare quattro chiacchiere con Alessandro Parisi, producer cui sono state date le definizioni di genere più disparate: acid techno, horror disco, electro anni ’80…trattasi di confusione mentale? Nient’affatto, perché il nostro Alessandro ha le idee ben chiare: realizzare della musica che sia capace di trasportare l’ascoltatore indietro nel tempo e nello spazio, verso i miti di civiltà antiche, immaginarie o meno, e delle loro oscure tecnologie, coadiuvato da sonorità analogiche calde e dark. E comunque, riuscire a convincere la critica infilando una doppietta di album quali Draconia e il celebratissimo Hic Sunt Leones non è cosa da tutti i giorni!
Come al solito, postiamo qui l’intervista con audio in italiano, da ascoltare tutta d’un fiato. Più sotto, invece, trovate la trascrizione in inglese per utenti anglofoni. Buon ascolto a tutti!
Emanuele: Hey there, Radio Bombay guys! Here we are again, after a long time since the last interview I did. College duties and other various commitments kept me away from the radio, so I couldn’t help it! Today I want to proudly introduce you a 100% Italian artist, whom some critics specialized in experimental electronic music have been celebrating in the past weeks. He started practicing music at a very young age, thanks to his mother, a well-trained organ and piano player, who got him in touch with great composers like Bach and Palchbel and all that music that he calls “sacred harmony”. Then he discovered electronic music and so, with the help of a Roland 707 drum machine and a JX3P synth, he gave shape to his very own music, made of a huge variety of influences, coming from the 80s, and also from artists and intellectuals such as Vangelis, H.P. Lovecraft, Hermes Trismegistus, and the horror master John Carpenter (one of the very first directors to heavily use synths in movie soundtracks). His very first officially released record was “La Guerra di Namtar” (“The War of Namtar”), which appeared in the “Urbi et Orbi vol. III” compilation. At the moment his discography can count on two amazing jewels, that most of the internet talked and wrote about lately. The first one is Draconia, released under Swiss label Lux and dealing about the so-called reptilian alien race (if you’re into conspiracy theories, you know what I’m talking about). The second one, Hic Sunt Leones, was released under MinimalRome, and surely has a more reflexive spirit than its “little” brother. Of course, we’ll be talking about these two astounding albums with their own creator, Alessandro Parisi. Welcome on Radio Bombay!
Alessandro Parisi: Hi Emanuele, and thank you for this interview!
E: So, you released your very first interview for the Eclective Collective webzine not so long ago. That’s where you said that you started your musical path hand by hand with your mother. How did she inspire you and helped you to show off your talent? What about these “sacred harmonies” that deeply changed you?
AP: My mom is actually a doctor, but she also attended the Conservatorium, and that’s why we’ve always had a piano. She often plays it when she’s home. Also, my family is catholic at heart, and she also had been working as a pianist in the chapel of the hospital where she used to work as a doctor. She was the one preparing all the chants for the holidays (Christmas, easter…), as well as all the pastorals and the chorals. And Bach and Palchbel were some of the most inspirational artists for her. I’ve never taken regular piano lessons, but I’ve learned all the things I know self-taught, which is something I regret! Anyway, when I need help, I always ask her, and she would give me exercises to practice with. At the moment I can perfectly play my own songs with my own two hands. My harmony is not perfect, so I often need her help to fix it! Now I want to start taking piano lessons so that I can have decent basic skills. Mostly because really talented musicians have it when they play in front of an audience, instead of having a bad training, and I want to have it too. It’s a sign of respect towards listeners and all the other musicians out there, I think.
E: Then one day you discovered electronic music. How did your life change, as soon as you started using your first synths? Why did you decide to pursue the way of electronic music, instead of acoustic one?
AP: Actually, I really hope to be able to record piano music in the future. Anyway, I’ve always had a great passion for computers. The college I attended and my job both deal with informatics, and I always have at least one PC with me. So it was like joining two passions together: music and computer. And, of course, music plus computer equals electronic music! My first experiences were completely digital-made, so I used to have some software to make music. The very first DAW I got was Reason 2.0 ten years ago. As soon as I learned some basic music skills, I found analogical instruments to be more enjoyable, and that’s when I bought my first synthesizers. My very first one was made by Korg, and it was total crap (a digital one actually, not a real analogical one)! You see, it’s not easy to tell the difference between a completely digital synth and a 100% analogical one. What’s analogical might not be fully analogical, and vice versa. Checking out the technical details of what you’re buying is always important! So I started searching, and I ended up with pieces of equipment that I’m happy with. My Roland 707 DM, for example. You know, a peculiar thing about it is that it’s not completely analogic, but it’s a sample-based machine, so all the samples have a digital nature. There’s always a shade of digital in every piece of equipment!
E: You’re an atypical guy to be a rookie electronic musician: while many jocks out there make their first songs or albums by messing up with their equipment and finding out the sound that gels very well with some other ones, your art seems instead to be very rational and meditated. Your wide influences surely prove it: we’ve mentioned Vangelis, Lovecraft, Trismegistus and Carpenter right at the beginning of this interview. Is there any other writer, philosopher, film-maker intellectual or musician that act as some sort of “guru” for you?
AP: I’ll start by mentioning a writer: Michael Ende, the author of the Neverending Story” novel (which has nothing in common with the movie at all). Actually, writers inspired my art more than film-makers, since I’m not a real cinema fan. Writers like Michael Ende deeply inspired my music, because their writing it’s something “spiritual”. They have nothing to do with plain fairytales, as they use storytelling to tell a legend and convey a message of truth. In my opinion, absolute truths, those truths many people don’t know about, travel from ancient times to present days thanks to epic stories, fairytales, myths. Otherwise those messages might not appear as plausible. Fantastic things are easier to tell children, that will remember about them when they’ll be adults. I read “Neverending Story” when I was a child, and I saw a message in it. When I’ve read it again years later, I’ve seen a different message. All these things are the picture of an unknown world that belongs to everybody, but only few people realize it exists and try to go deeper. My investigation about deep mysteries and stories is what influenced me the most, and I’m talking about the Bible too (even if I’m not a practicing catholic). The Bible includes so many fascinating and mysterious stories, some of them hiding and pointing out elements about advanced technology of the past (Noah’s Ark, the archangel Gabriel…), ancient and secret technologies that today we know about under the disguise of fairytales and legends. So books are my main inspiration. If we want to talk about cinema, I can mention John Carpenter, but also Italian directors like Dario Argento…I know, this might sound a little expected, but it’s thanks to him if a bunch of Italian guys called The Goblins reached success (having the great Claudio Simonetti as their leader). Their sound was a big step beyond the canonic American-style horror soundtrack. I can also mention Fabio Frizzi, Pietro Emiliani, and many, many others. It’s hard to say who influenced me the most. I could say I try to take single parts from these artists and join them together to make my own art.
E: Dario Argento and the Goblins are some of the artists you’ve mentioned so far. Because of you being inaccurately compared with Umberto and the obsessive need of most of the critics to confine everything into genres, your music was defined as “italo-horror”, or strictly related to 80s horror soundtracks, anyway. I think this concept needs to be explained, since we are all living in the era of creepy pastas and all the internet spooky junk.
AP: First of all, I should point out I’m not a horror movies fan. I love their soundtracks because of the emotions they give me. But “horror” doesn’t necessarily mean “creepy”. It’s a bad common place that has affected an entire cinematic/literary genre in recent times. I didn’t complain a lot when I discovered I was associated to horror: it’s not a bad definition, but it’s incomplete. What I want to actually make is “epic” music, something conveying pathos and strong feelings. If something like that gets labeled as “horror” is unavoidable, I guess, but, as far as I know, there’s no serious artistic movement dealing only with horrific stuff (maybe excluding some “mysterious” literature genres). I don’t think I’m part of any horror music movement, because I don’t feel part of it. That’s not the music I make, I don’t want to make THAT music. It’s ok if people take my music as horror, but it’s not really what I want to communicate to people. More time has to pass before guys like me will start to get known and be able to develop a niche that can join together horror and epic music.
E: According to your discography, La Guerra di Namtar was your first song to have an official release. It surely sounds like a summary of all the peculiar elements in your music. How did you create this song? Would you mind to tell us where the title comes from?
AP: Namtar is a Babylonian god. “La Guerra di Namtar” is actually the title of a story that I invented. Namtar can be compared to Egyptian god Anubi, as he was a god of death too, whose task was taking away the souls of dead people to lead them to that place that Romans used to call Hades. The atmosphere of the track is completely based on what I call “Ancient Steampunk”, a literary movement dealing with very advanced technologies in ancient times. Stargate movies are an obvious example of this: ancient Egypt having machines working with materials such as marble and laser. As for its composition, it’s my very first piece of electronic music. I took all the things I had in my mind and my heart to create something noxious and sinister, but having an epic accent too, so I used airy and wide orchestral synth sounds, and also a sampled low-pitched voice, which is meant to be a reference to an evil god. Of course, I don’t mean “evil” in the absolute meaning of the word. In ancient religions there always was an harmonic duality between good and evil. It’s not some kind of spirituality I deeply believe in, but I decided to use it anyway to convey my message. And so La Guerra di Namtar is the result of all these elements put together.
E: Speaking about stories, Draconia, your first album, released in April 15th 2012 under Swiss label Lux, talks about another epic story. How did you get the idea that inspired you to make this record? Why the reptilians concept? Can you tell us something the difficulties you had to come through in order to publish it? It seems that you made this record in 2010, but you couldn’t release it immediately.
AP: Actually, Draconia is the second album I composed. And the first one I made is still unreleased! Labels work so strangely, you know…initially I had found this Italian label (I won’t mention its name) focused on sci-fi based music. Since my album deals with a sci-fi scenario and some of the music of this label was somehow related to reptilians, I thought it was a very good one for my record. I’m no expert about reptilians, all the things I know it’s what I had to read in order to make the album. Anyway, I started to imagine this story about this place called Draconia, in which a war-based civilization lived. They were spiritually advanced and had an advanced technology as well (but not in the common way people see something as “advanced”). The war they were leading wasn’t a plain bloody one, but a war of honor, like in the Iliad. This is one of the most intense and straightest records I’ve made so far. I tried to plunge into this draconian civilization and try to recreate elements of it in music form. As a matter of fact, all the song titles are a reference to some elements from the literature about them.
E: According to what you said in your interview for Eclectic Collective, Draconians are a species that reached the highest level of evolution and they represent a theory that can be seen as positive: “intentions before actions”. Are they completely positive beings? Haven’t they something in common with the evil superior beings described by Lovecraft in the Chtulhu novels?
AP: Well, I can answer to this question by telling you what I think about them (it’s not an absolute truth, of course). I thought about them as messengers who delivered a letter to the whole human kind. You see, I’m human and, paradoxically, the message I thought they were delivering has human basics, so the whole thing might appear as biased! “Intentions before actions” means that you shouldn’t judge the action itself (making war, in this case), because there might be no evil intention behind it (purification, in this case). I admit it can sound generic and maybe too risky. I can make anything I want, but that depends on what are my true intentions. For example, in the samurai culture, the act killing could be executed as an act of love.
E: You know, I tend to read this message in a very positive way: we live in a time in which people tend to make and say very dramatic and sensational things, but there’s nothing behind it in most of the cases, just for the sake of the action itself or fame and money.
AP: Well, the message I wanted to convey was meant to be good (I’m no bad guy, really!). And it partly included what you just said: It’s also meant to be a reference to nowadays media and social networks. We should stop making random action and ask ourselves about our real purposes, because intentions always precede actions. It’s a mechanic rule; it can’t work on the opposite or any other way! Actions should definitely be the consequence of an inner preparation to the action itself.
E: Sharp arpeggios and strong rhythmic patterns are the main ingredients of most of the songs in Draconia. Some webzines even talked about house influences in your record, while some others specifically indicated Legowelt as your model. Did you already plan to make such a dancefloor-friendly album? Since Draconia is a concept album, did you create all the songs in a sequence, or did you change and reshape the whole project as you were working it?
AP: I made all the songs one after another, since I was working on a whole story I imagined. So there’s an intro, Rise Of Draconia, and an ending, The Fall Of Draconia, and a sequence of evolutional processes in-between. In Alpha Draconis Realms, we see this civilization flourishing on its native planet, while spaceship technology appears in Hyperspace Cruiser, and some of the songs are a reference to important wars and battles. Every song is the base of the next one, and that’s how I work when I make an album, since they’re music-shaped stories. I already knew that critics were going to point out the dancefloor-friendly attitude of my songs. Legowelt is one of my favorite producers, after all, and I’m happy to know my music is linked to his music. I really respect him; he’s a main point of reference to me. I guess that my album was defined as house music because of how heavily I used my 707 DM, a piece equipment that defined the style of genres such as acid house.
E: I know that some websites labeled your album as acid techno music.
AP: This is a kinda dangerous operation. Nowadays classifying records in single genres is almost impossible, because artists take influences from everywhere. I leave these kind of operations to webzines and all the specialized press. Anyway, house music is surely a very generic term. I listened to various kinds of house music when I was younger, like the French one and the Chicago one, so it’s not something new to me; it’s ok if Draconia gets classified like this. It’s not the kind of music I love the most, but it has been and still is something very important for the music. Electronic music is interesting as a whole and you can potentially take influences from any electronic genre…
E: You know, I have a little experience with concept albums, so I was surprised to see that Silent Warrior, the song that is meant to be the manifesto of Draconia, was put right at the end instead to be an intro. Here’s what it says: “Human Race,
You’re signed for new dimensional rising plan.
This is physic inevitable process and the suffering magnitude depends on you.
Static inner approach cause non-static outer revenge.
Real enemies works behind your own shadows.
Join our divine war defeating yourself, we’re waiting for you.”
Why did you choose to make this track as the final one? What do these words mean exactly?
AP: My choice has something to do with the story: this Silent Warrior is foreseeing the end of its own civilization, and so he wants to pass all the knowledge and techniques acquired by his species on another one, the human one. I think just this interview wouldn’t be enough to explain what those words mean. I tried to synthesize those things I was telling you about: sometime civilizations come to realize that every war (and I’m not referring to nuclear wars, world wars or stuff like that, but to the synonymous words of “conflict” and “clash”) completely depend on us. Wars are our problem, problems are generated by ourselves. The “enemies behind your own shadows” are just ourselves. If something happens in the outer world, it’s because there’s a primary cause in the inner world. And that’s the reason of the “static inner approach cause non-static outer revenge” line.
E: Let’s talk about Hic Sunt Leones, your latest album. I took my time to listen to the whole record, and I can tell you it was like living an experience. Nostalgic and epic atmospheres are strongly mixed together, and it sounds like there are Jean Michel Jarre-esque influences here and there. It surely is a completely different record if compared with Draconia, which was a more “instinctive” album, while Hic Sunt Leones shows off to be the product of a more meditated writing. There are also slower and more reflexive parts in the record, that work as “breaks” and contribute to give the whole record a more changing pace and a wider scale of sensations. I might mention songs like “Sundara Spirit Flight”, where your typically 80s sound meets haunting oriental soundscapes and is surely one of the best songs in the album (even though critics marked it as “weak”), and Gabriel’s Horn, featuring vocals by Andrea Noce from Italian band “Le Rose”. What happened in-between Draconia and Hic Sunt Leones? How did your working technique change? What was the main inspiration that made you produce Hic Sunt Leones? Is that just a compilation of previously unreleased pieces of music or is there a central theme here as well?
AP: Obviously there’s a central idea here, too. Hic Sunt Leones is one the most adult works I’ve come up with so far, and it’s also the latest record I’ve made chronologically. It was the record I was commissioned by MinialRome, a label I love so much. It was the label that made me fall in love with analogical music and the whole scene behind it. So, the first reason why I made this album is that I really wanted to make a damn well-made piece of music. Of course, it’s not perfect, I still can improve, but in the end I can say I’m very satisfied. The main theme here is “ancient steampunk” once again, that is advanced ancient technology found in present times. All the recovered pieces described by the song titles have something to do with some ancient machine. Sundara Spirit Flight, for example, is a reference to Vimanas, Indian flying machines that didn’t work with common energy sources, but they instead were moved by the spirit of the pilot himself, which caused all the fans and rotors to spin. Gold Covenant Energy deals with the so-called Ark of the Covenant, which seems it was a powerful two-way radio to communicate with other dimensions. Gabriel’s Horn is about the horn used by Archangel Gabriel, which could work as a tool to link the sound barrier to other dimensions, according to some esoteric philosophies. I developed all these songs in a very little time, and, as a matter of fact, the album was completed in just one month. I spent the remaining time trying to adjust all the sounds. I’m really satisfied about this record, and I hope it spread lots of emotions, because that was my main intention. There’s also a song with a three quarters rhythm pattern in the album, which is something kinda unusual in electronic music. Just to tell you how much I tried to experiment this time. Sundara Spirit Flight still is my favorite song, no matter if critics didn’t like it. I liked the idea to find a connection with the ethnic world, but seems like the electronic scene is a little picky when it comes to ethnic elements.
E: You mentioned MinimalRome as the label you’re mostly attached to. As a matter of fact, the guys in the label helped you so much by endorsing your music. Wanna tell us more about your boundaries with this music label? How did you get in touch with them? Seems like you got in touch with them during a trip in Rome, is that correct?
AP: Yeah, it all happened back in the days I used to live in Rome. I lived in a quarter of the city called “La Piramide”, in the southern area between Garbatella and Testaccio. This is where MinimalRome has its own headquarters, where they organize parties and have few recording studios. I already knew MinimalRome, and I also knew who Heinrich Dressel was, since he worked with Legowelt in the past. But I didn’t know neither he’s Italian, nor he lives in Rome! I was there as a student to follow a Master’s program. Sometimes my college mates couldn’t hang out with me, so I was feeling lonely and, you know, I was 20 years old, hell, you can’t stay home so often when you’re 20! But I can’t totally blame them, because Rome is a big city, so finding a common place to go to together was kinda hard. Anyway, one night I was feeling lonely, so I took a walk through Testaccio, which is not one of the best zones in the city. And it’s where you can find the worst clubs of Rome! But I didn’t feel hopeless at all, so I started looking for a good place. Soon I found myself in this weird club called Muzak, and that’s where I took part to my first MinimalRome party. I knew most of the records that were played during that night, so at the end of the gig I met the dj’s and that’s how I got in touch with them. I was really digging those parties and those people, so I went to Muzak almost everytime. So I had the chance to give some of my songs to the MinimalRome guys and they liked them. That’s how everything begun and I hope this collaboration will continue for a long time.
E: What can you tell us about Andrea Merlini, the guy who mastered Hic Sunt Leones? You said you’re very grateful to him too.
AP: Yeah, that’s right. He’s also known as Kobol Electronics, and also as Andreas Herz. He’s a very talented musician and he often worked with MinimalRome. He saved me so many times! You see, I record my songs just using my analogical instruments, my mixer and a tape recorder. So I always cause this cracks and clicks due to my amateur recording. But then Andrea would adjust and fix everything, leaving my sound dirty, but smooth at the same time. If you people are looking for a good mastering technician, just ask him for help!
E: What’s your relationship with all the dance-music kinds of electronic music? Do you dj? Do you see djing as an interesting art? Have you ever created songs that should purposely be played in clubs and discotheques?
AP: No, I never did something like that, because making people dance is not my primary focus. But yes, I like djing, and I also tried djing myself. That’s when I saw it wasn’t something good for me, because dj’s are always at the crowd’s service, anyway. And if you’re not a famous dj, you gotta play what the crowd expects you to play, which means playing records liked by me and the people at the same time. Something I wasn’t able to do at all! So I won’t be taking part to dj sets anymore; not at the moment, at least.
E: Let’s talk about you as music listener. You must have collected so many records in your life. Can you tell us something about the albums that marked you the most? Are there any artists, genres and labels you’re very focused on? Who’s your personal “pusher” helping you to get the rarest pieces?
AP: I’m in love with movie soundtracks. I could mention records like The Flight of the Navigator soundtrack, which was a 1986 Disney movie and had Alan Silvestri as its music composer. It’s a very sci-fi oriented record. I also love Vince Di Cola’s soundtrack for Rocky IV. Even though people hate or love this movie (personally, I really like it), its music is great. Vince Di Cola is one of my overall favorite soundtracks producers, even though he just worked for Rocky IV and the Transformers 1986 movie (and, as a matter of fact, these two soundtracks sound very similar). Speaking of electronic music generally, I think of Jean Michel Jarre: Equinox and Chronologique are my favorite records from his discography. Also, I used to have a limited edition Swatch model with ringtones made by Jarre himself. Wait, I think still have it here…uh, nevermind, the battery’s gone! (laughs) Legowelt, Daft Punk (Homework is a piece of music history!), Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Kraftwerk are also artists I love and I might name many other guys. But Jarre and Di Cola are still on the top of my list. I’m also thinking about Bryan Lane, an American guy often using Unit Black Flight as moniker and collaborated with Legowelt. His music is so cool. About historical artists in my collection, I can mention Automat. It used to be an Italian electronic music project at the end of the 70s. One of the best Italian electronic things ever! Everybody should listen to them, as their music is full of influences, from progressive rock to alternative and psychedelic music. Also, I love the Cluster, a krautrock indietronic group, who were still on the run before the Kraftwerk came out. Their sound was a crazy mix of Christian music and psy rock, it’s really interesting. I don’t have a pusher to help me finding all these pearls. I’m mostly relying on platforms like Last.FM. It memorizes all the songs you listen to, creating statistics and also suggesting more artists you might like. Also, Discogs was very useful. It should be some sort of Wikipedia to every musician. You can find releases of any kind, which are linked to other releases. You can also find out what you fave artists did under different monikers. These ones, Youtube, and a lot of curiosity; this is all I need!
E: Let’s talk about the comparison involving you and Umberto. You already said that you guys are both different artists: you’re more into 80s stuff, while he’s into 70s. He’s really into horror music, while you try to achieve epicness. You also said you’re not very annoyed by this comparison, since Umbero is a well-respected producer. Anyway, lots of people seem to judge you according to what someone else is doing. Isn’t this making you feeling uncomfortable?
AP: Well, it’s not a very cool thing, but it’s something you can’t avoid. Artists are often judged in a bad or a good way by comparing them to what someone else did. I try not to care too much about this fact and just make what I want to make. If there are people who will appreciate and understand my art, it’s ok. It’s not my fault if not everybody are going to get the message of my music!
E: We’re almost done: before greeting you, I’d like to know your opinion about today electronic and EDM scene. I couldn’t help to notice that there are lots of webzines on the worldwide web, and the more time goes by, the more they increase in number. In my honest opinion, the only Italian webzine that’s actually notifying music fans about the whole electronic/techno/experimental environment is Electronique.it. The other Italian webzines either close themselves inside the same niches and genres, or just focus on the latest fashionable hip-hop/hipster-appealable jock producing with Ableton, some pitched down accapellas and 808 samples, leaving out guys like who just are not into trap, footwork and stuff like that. Aren’t guys like you having a cultured approach to electronic music a little annoyed by this? Isn’t also the equation electronic music = dance music too short-sighted?
AP: I’m not annoyed at all by that binomial, because dance music always comes right after electronic music. Since electronic music is not necessarily dance music, I don’t have any reason to feel “different”. Speaking of webzines, honestly, I don’t care very much. I like more the idea of being appreciated by a small number of people who truly understood my music than being famous. I have my spaces fortunately, I don’t feel left apart, because I see there’s a good number of guys who like what I’m doing, and I’m very happy. I’ve got few gigs requests from foreign venues, as well as mixtapes and interview requests. I’m happy this way; I don’t care about webzines stylistic choices. I believe that Ableton hipster jocks deserve their space as well. Everybody makes his music in his very own way, no matter if it’s bad or good. Today many people can reach out for music thanks to the internet, so it’s easier to tell the good records from the bad one.
E: Of course. What I wanted to mean is that, yeah, it’s ok there are so many webzines out there, because it’s a sign of plurality, and it’s always good to have different points of view. However, I just think that too many critics are supporting just one type of music, and this is never a good thing.
AP: Sure, you’re right. Before having my records published, I was feeling frustrated about the fact that there are few webzines talking about the same guys over and over, not to mention all the coverings and intercessions to friends (we all know how the world goes). All the people trying to promote themselves with their own work had to face these problems. Anyway, now that I’ve come to this point, I just don’t care.
E: And we do hope you keep up like this. It seems that you’re so into analogical instruments. As a matter of fact, everything in your albums is made with analogical sounds and recorded with audio tape equipment. As you probably know there’s a war out there involving analog and digital worlds, which is most of the times uselessly violent, in my opinion. Who do you support in this war (IF you feel like supporting one of the two factions)? Do you think that there’s something positive about digital? Did it really cause the music to regress in the latest years?
AP: That’s a good question. Honestly, I didn’t take part to this war. I’ve been doing both analog and digital music, to tell you the truth. In this kind of debate, I think of Wendy Carlos who, in her Secret of Synthesis record, energetically defends digital tools. It was back in the days when electronic music was exclusively made with analog machines, and digital technology was slowly rising up, so it was seen as something new. She was defending it because she thought it could bring useful features that analog machines couldn’t have. Personally, I like analog machines the most. It’s just a preference; I don’t mean to take part to any war. Analog machines allow me to express my art in the best way, because my music is based on “ancient” concepts. If I’ll ever feel like doing a record speaking about futuristic technology, I might decide to insert digital elements in my songs, why not? So it’s just a different tool of expression to me. I don’t like taking parts to these debates, and I’m not an analog fetishist. I believe that people should use the tools they have in the way they believe is better, so I don’t judge who uses only analog or only digital tools. Extreme points of view are never good, compromise is always better.
E: What do you think about all this vintage hype affecting today music scene? Just ten years ago electronic music was much more into speaking about the future. Today instead, excluding debatable pop and radio-friendly dance music, there has been a real comeback to vintage styles of music, which is surely something good, because it can be seen as a cultural divulgation that’s making glorious styles of electronic music coming back. But in many other situations, it looks like people are just using decades old music languages because of a serious lack of ideas. Is this one of the many signs of a deep crisis in the music industry?
AP: Well, it can be seen like that, from a certain point of view. On the other hand, we’re coming to a point of complete saturation, so all the possible combinations and transformations in music are slowly coming to a dead end, and that’s why so many people look back at the past. As far as I can see, usually historical cycles in music are about 20 years long, and as soon as these 20 years has passed, something from the former 20 years gets revived. Honestly, I doubt that you can always come up with new genres or new transformations. Nothing gets created, nothing gets destroyed, and everything changes. That’s it. Almost any form of present times music has its roots in something that was already done before. It’s unavoidable, unless you’re a genius capable to make a new kind of music out of nothing. Speaking about crisis in the music industry, I don’t know what to say. I’m not very up to date about the latest music news. Anyway, I agree with you. When you completely lose every contact with the real world, coming back to vintage can represent a shelter, a safe place.
E: …a safe place for something that has yet to come?
AP:…a safe place for that new fantastic Daft Punk album that has yet to come! (laughs)
E: Oh my God! I got so mad about that album. Please, let’s not end up this interview by talking about that! (laughs) Wanna tell us something about your future releases?
AP: Sure! A new album of mine is to be released soon on Giallo Disco Records, a label directed by Antoni Maiovvi and Gianni Vercetti. It was one of my very first records, I worked on it between 2009 and 2010. It’s weird to talk about it as my “latest” one! I guess it was destiny. I’ve also finished working on Love Blast, an EP to be released on a label based in Rome. It’s a 12 minutes long sound experiment. It might sound a little boring, I know, but at least I tried! I also had the chance to make a song to be included in a cosmic-space music compilation for a Brighton-based label called Flight Recordings. I’ve also collaborated with Agamennon (a producer from Bologna) for a song that’s still without a label to be released under. Soon I’ll be working with Gianni Vercetti for a song to be included in another Giallo Disco release. I’m waiting for all this stuff to be released, and then I’ll get back to work for new compositions. I need to change my sounds and see if I can make something different from what I’ve done so far. I’m kinda fed up with my present personal sounds, I squeezed my equipment the most I could so far, so I’ll modify something in my studio. I’m also getting ready for future live acts, since I’m getting asked lots of times about them. I’ll be playing in Rome this summer, and then I’ll head up to Paris, where I’ll be performing in January 2014.
E: Would you give us a piece of advice about producers to keep an eye on in the next months?
AP: First, I could mention Agamennon, the guy I just named few minutes ago. He’s an Italian guy, and he’s mostly into metal music, he also play in a metal band. Anyway, his music is spectacular, which is electronic sounds with lots piano solos; I really love him. I’d also suggest paying attention at the MinimalRome guys, because I think they’re way too underrated. In Italy there aren’t many producers into haunting and dark analogical music. Our country should be proud of having them, because there are very few people making sound like these in Europe, except for Welsh guys. I can also mention Gianni Vercetti and Anton Maiovvi, the Giallo Disco Records heads. I know, it sounds like I’m deliberately sponsoring the people I produced for, but I really appreciate them, I love what they’re doing.
E: And now, a classic question we finish off our interviews with: Radio Bombay is a small independent webradio based in Rome, Perugia, and other Italian cities which is slowly growing up. We’re mostly focused on every kind of underground and non-mainstream music, and there are many other webradios like us out there. Do you like webradios? Do you think they might be a good alternative to big networks?
AP: I like webradios. Actually, thank you for asking me these questions, because I forgot to mention my most favorite web channel, Intergalactic FM, that’s really helping me expanding my music knowledge. I believe that webradios are the future: they’re fully customable, they have their own personality, they’re not into advertising at all costs, and so they’re not obsessed by stuff like what songs to play to get more listeners. Always up for a good webradio!
E: We, as Radio Bombay, can’t do nothing else but agree with your words! Thanks you, Alessandro, talking to you was a real pleasure. Also, thanks to all of our listeners, and see you on the next interview…