Over the last five years I’ve felt the urge to create and produce music in its entirety. Being a session keyboardist wasn’t enough anymore.
I was lucky enough to record albums with many talented artists and recently produce one (Lowdown by Crowd Company for the Vintage League Music label), this gave me the confidence to do it by myself. I felt I was finally ready.
How much are you looking forward to playing live?
A lot, playing live is an integral part of my career and I will never stop.
What’s your favourite song right now from another band currently on your local circuit?
I am really digging “Movin’ Along” by Nigel Price Organ Trio from the album “Wes Reimagined”. The Hammond organist Ross Stanley is an incredible player and a top-notch reference for me to keep pushing my limits.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
No, it’s not my kind of thing !
Who is inspiring you at the minute on the London unsigned scene?
Joel Culpepper is a great upcoming singer I’ve been following, and Ross Stanley in anything he’s doing at the moment.
What useless party trick /talent do you have/?
I am a nerd about vintage 80s racing bicycles !
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
Before moving to London, I used to play with this Trio/singer combo band called PLM. The summer of 2004 was magical, one of those combinations that rarely happens, when you’ve got that chemistry with friendship, it was a thrill before starting every single gig. And the level of musicianship and ability to improvise as a collective was super fun.
I was lucky enough to tour with Paul Garner (an established blues guitarist in London) in 2015, we had this gig in Germany that turned out to be the best we’d ever done. But when we arrived in this secondary school – the venue – we all thought “oh dear it’s one of those…”, but locals explained to us that they couldn’t find a music venue and that’s all they could find. The Hall was full of enthusiasts, they listened to every note we played, stayed with us till the end (I think we played for nearly 3 hours) and bought everything we had !
What was the worst experience on stage?
Ah ! This is funny (Now, but not at that time!). I was new in town in London, during my first jam session, and my English was poor. The jammers called a blues in “C”. Now in Italian a “C” is the key of “B”! So I started full on in B and in 3 millisecond I had 10 angry jammers‘ eyes on me saying “what the hell are you doing….”. I did learn the lesson.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
People in London don’t know that I have a degree in Electrotechnical Engineering. I spent 9 years in Italy studying heavy math equations and physics, when I got that degree, I decided to move to London and start my new life here as a professional musician.
If you had to describe your music to an alienhow would you describe them?
Mmmm……, I’d probably simply play it !!!
If you could play any music festival which would it be?
Lover Supreme Jazz Festival.
Whats your biggest achievement as a band/Artist?
This EP is my biggest achievement. It has been a real challenge to compose, arrange, record and mix my music top to bottom, and getting the green light to be in the Vintage League Music as a solo artist – amazing!
Whats your favourite song to play live and why?
“Can’t get enough” by Crowd Company, a song I co-wrote with the great singer Jo Marshall. I always feel the audience connects to us through that song from the very first notes.
Congrats on your debut EP, what can you tell us about it?
The EP “Laying It Down” is a collection of four original compositions all written, recorded and mixed at my studio Retrofonica in East London.
The EP opens with “Apollo 73”, a cinematic groove inspired by the Jimmy McGriff 70s funk albums.
“Lay It Down”is an uptempo classic funk cut in the vein of Soulive.
“The Expanse” contains acoustic piano and my analogic synth that resembles Stevie Wonder arrangements.
“Live current” is an ethereal Fender Rhodes based motif mixed with more modern elements of sound design.
In this EP I used all my favourite vintage keyboards, Hammond Organ, Fender Rhodes, Clavinet and Wersi AP-6, all through real vintage valve amplifiers. It’s a work where I’m trying to sculp the sound I had in my mind for many years, and where I am presenting myself as solo artist for the first time.” Laying It Down” has been a year in the making and I’ve given it all I had !
Talk me through the thought process of the EP?
A few years’ back we were recording at Alan Evans’ studio Ironwax and I found out that Alan recorded drums loops in his studio. These loops were long though (about 4 minute each). I had the idea of recording the music on top of these super groovy drums stems. It was challenging because I wasn’t free to go where I wanted, the music had to fit perfectly to these grooves. But the quality playing and the challenge of creating my music around these loops were all I needed to get going!
What was the recording process like?
Usually, I start from the structure. If I get that right it it doesn’t take me long to complete the song.
Apart from the drums, I recorded everything else. I would usually start with the bass line or Fender Rhodes and then layer everything else on top. I spent so many hours in finding a sound for each instrument so they could glue together. Sometimes I recorded the parts again and again to replicate a “live feel” that at first wasn’t coming out.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the EP?
Mixing and producing your own music can be very challenging. You can easily lose the objectivity. I learned that the best skill to have is to STOP, take a break, and revaluate your music with fresh ears and brain. Trying to be as detached as you would be if the music wasn’t yours.
Would you change anything now its finished?
Yes, there are little bits that I would redo or do different, but I am very happy about the results.
What are your plans for the year ahead ?
I’ve already started writing the next album!
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Don’t give up. If you are a musician, and have been doing this for a long time, it’s easy to get lost or forget where we start and why. We are and should be music lovers, let that love reach the world.
Thanks for doing us today folks, all the best and keep in touch.