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CATALDO CAPPIELLO

RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW CATALDO CAPPIELLO WHAT HAPPENED?

Hiya, Cataldo Cappiello! Thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

Hello, RGM, and thank you for having me today – It’s honestly great to have this space and chat about music!

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

I haven’t really decided anything, to be totally honest with you. It just kinda happened.
I first grabbed a classical guitar because I loved playing Guitar Hero III as a teenager and wanted to try the real thing, for fun. I just wanted to be cool and play fast solos, you know what I mean?
Well, I didn’t end up playing very fast – the guitar actually hated me at first, and I hated it back. But the more I played and lived the vibrations of the instrument (and the impact they can have), the more I realised that a musical instrument is a key to say what my words cannot. I became a communicator. I started seeking DAWs, learning about music production, arrangement, music theory.

Music simply manifested itself as my natural way of expressing the unseen and, when people around me started resonating with my compositions, that’s when I embraced this whole thing.

Introduce us to you and your musical history.

I am a composer, guitarist and producer from Italy, currently based in the UK.

I refuse to pigeon-hole myself into a specific genre. The way I compose and I express myself is my mirror and it reflects me in any phase and season of life. Therefore, it must be limitless, and as deep as the sky. But I’m recently finding my own identity through the fusion of orchestral arrangements and post-rock elements.

My experience includes 7 studio albums, 5 EPs and more than 25 singles. These include my former experience with the Caelestis project back in Italy, plus my more recent solo career. I’m currently working on several collaborations, a soundtrack for a personal project, and a couple more juicy bits that will likely see the light in the next year or so.

What’s the live music scene like in London right now? Anyone we should be looking out for?

Being a massive metropolis, London is simply bustling with ideas, brilliant minds, and some of literally the best musicians in the world, plus an absolutely enormous indie scene. It’s just very, very easy to stumble upon insanely talented people – the downside of this abundance is how hard it actually is to get noticed.

I’ve kept an eye on this interesting trend lately, it’s called intimate gigs if I’m not mistaken. New mobile apps allow music fans to just choose a genre they like, book a cozy little venue with a very limited number of seats, and the twist is that the artist and setlist remain a surprise until the gig actually begins. It’s cool stuff!

I’ve seen a lot of people struggling for support recently online. Whats your view on the industry?

My gut feeling is that the power is shifting from the labels to the artists. But it’s a slow transition and it’ll take time. In the meantime, the market pushes big names to become bigger, and small names to stay small – so of course reaching that in-between space is difficult.
Anyway, people are hungry for quality, and artists have got a lot to say. As long as that is true, the underground will never die, and that fills me with trust in the future, as anything truly innovative is always born in the underground, to then eventually set the scene for a new mainstream.

What are your thoughts on the new Co-op arena?

It’s a tough reality, but not a truly new one, in my humble opinion. If you want to get big, you’ve got to collaborate with somebody who’s big already. But if they’re big and you’re not, how do you even get noticed or considered in the first place? It is not too rare to see new names who manage to crack the code and end up popping up in the charts, but the vast majority of collabs in the spotlight happen between artists who are very big already. As I said, this is nothing new – think of the early 2010s boom of singles featuring the “aggressive rap vocals + melodic pop singing” combo, for example.

Anyway, the underground collab scene is still going strong, and it’s honestly heartwarming to be part of a reality where smaller artists meet up and make music together just for the sake of building something beautiful.

CATALDO CAPPIELLO

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

I think I’m still finding my place in it. I am currently seeking to become a soundtrack composer for videogames, films, documentaries, or anything under that same umbrella. Maybe that’s what I will do, or maybe I’ll focus on guitar and my online following.
Whatever the future holds for me, rest assured music will be in it.

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.

I am fluent in Mandarin and have been studying it since 2018. 我中文说得很好。

I am a graphic designer and I work on all of my artwork personally.

I once went to see The Fauns live, and I was standing next to Neige from Alcest in the crowd.

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss…

Well, I mainly work on instrumental music, so I’m not giving my listeners much to get offended by in the first place… And anyway, I don’t like getting political to begin with, so I’m quite relaxed on that front. Whenever I collaborate with other artists, I like to give them as much freedom as possible – the only thing I ask them is to keep their lyrics free from anything related to politics, religion, etc.

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not why not?

I will be completely honest on this – I’m so busy just surviving, that I literally do not have any mental space for conspiracy stuff.

I’ve also recently upgraded from a tinfoil hat to a flat cap, so that must be a good sign, right?

What was your best experience on stage?

During my first live gig with Caelestis, the audience was mainly composed of friends of mine, who knew the songs by heart. It was a cozy and warm experience. As we played the encore, they all hugged together, started jumping, and singing our tune at the top of their lungs. They were not just enjoying the music – they were showing me and my bandmates how much they loved us.
Absolute permanent memory.

What was your worst experience on stage?

I had a golden opportunity to open In Tormentata Quiete in 2015.
I got on stage for the soundcheck, and I was feeling decently confident. The sound guy gave me a cue and I tested the clean guitar tone first. All good. Then I engaged the distortion pedal and, suddenly, a loud boom echoed through the venue – my pedal had died, and I had no backup.
So I basically needed to reach out to the guitarist from ITQ and ask if I could use their amp. And let me tell you, calling that experience embarrassing would be a massive understatement. Additionally, I was stuck playing atmospheric post-rock with a death metal distortion, so you can imagine the results… My solos sounded absolutely awful (but the audience still clapped, so maybe nobody noticed… maybe…).

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about.

Everyday, I listen to the most rancid, brutal and outrageous extreme metal I can find. Techdeath, Slam, Grindcore, Depressive, Wall Noise… The more rotten it is, the better. Guttural vocals, pig squeals, raw mixes – that’s the good stuff.

What are the next steps you plan to take as a solo artist to reach the next level?

As I’ve mentioned, I think the quality of my output is mature enough for me to start working as a soundtrack composer. Of course that’s not easy, but I am motivated to find a way.

I also want to broaden my horizons in terms of collaborations – I want to focus less on mere numbers, and more on actual meaningful interactions with brilliant musicians and beautiful people.

I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it?

I am a sensitive soul, and it is in my nature to yearn for higher and higher levels of physical and spiritual freedom. Anyway, modern society keeps finding new ways of trapping me in golden cages and cutting my wings. “Taiga” is my response to that. A walk in the northern trees; stepping on puddles, leaves and small twigs. Feeling it all under my bare feet. The northern lights are peeking through the pines’ shedding branches. This is the calm, dusky setup of “Taiga”‘s introduction. But suddenly, the track spreads its wings, and opens up in a glorious climax – I am one with Earth and Sky at the same time, and I feel Alive. Free to scream, to cry of joy, and to purify myself from the sorrows of mortal life, through the joys of mortal life.

This, with all my might, I want my listeners to feel. And since I still thought it was not enough, I made it happen twice in the same song, but in two different ways. That’s how cheeky I am.

What was the recording process like?

As my collaboration with Don’t Stop Studio keeps getting more and more refined and advanced, new challenges arise during the choice of the source sounds. The main challenge we’ve had to deal with was the loudness of the master. We pushed the limiter as much as we could, we added transient exciters, but we could never get to a point where the perceived loudness was on par with the industry standard. In the end, the lesson we’ve learned is that, if you want a bright master, you need to start off with bright sounds during the very early stages of the arrangement process. That of course affects the choice of plugins, the choice and placement of microphones, panning, EQ, and more.

By the time we were done working on Taiga, we were absolutely exhausted, but we had a smile on our faces, as we realised we had made our best mix+master to date.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

I’m still studying how to write professional-level orchestral scores, but the main takeaway from the Taiga experience is that sometimes, if you’re seeking that massive, majestic sound, less is more.
In some early iterations of the song, I had many more instruments – French horns, marimbas, additional layers of strings, tubas… but after a while I just realised that, in my frenzy to build a wall of sound, the listening experience was becoming cluttered and overwhelming. It took me several days to get the track back to a point where it only involved instruments that were absolutely vital to the composition. That resulted in a clean result, and an easier mixing job for the audio guy.

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

Not at all. And that’s not because I think the track is perfect – actually, quite the opposite. No track is ever going to be perfect, it just needs to get to a point where it’s done and it conveys a solid emotion. Once that happens, it’s time to focus on the next project.
And if, in a year or two, I will listen to Taiga again and I won’t like it anymore, remasters are still a very powerful weapon.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Find your freedom, as any day might be the last, and it’s never too late for loving. You know what they say – happiness is just an abstract and alien concept created by corporates to induce compulsive consumerism.

Well, I actually disagree with that. Happiness is fleeting, but it’s always around the corner. It happens with a smile, with a cool breeze on a sunny day. It happens when you heal. And I hope my music can help with that. 😉

Thank you, RGM, for giving me the space for this wonderful interview. Keep on being amazing. Cheers!

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