“Love Apparel” was originally only a romantic instrumental piano piece and over the course of a year I slowly developed it into an electronic music piece. Working in my studio in Rome, I first started on a melody that combined both the original piano piece and new electronic instruments. I then worked the vocals in to make sure they harmonized and created an even grander melody. After I felt the melody and vocals went well, I added in the baseline and rhythmics. It took about a year of changes and development until I felt it was fully completed.
Can you tell us about your background and how you first got into Dance music – which DJ’s had the biggest impact on you?
I grew up with parents who are both in the music industry and with their influence I was always surrounded by the music culture. My father is an established composer, conductor, and pianist, while my mother is a singer and owner of the Yamaha Music School in Rome. My first piano lessons were at the age of 4 and I was accepted into the Conservatory at the age of 11. In my teen years is when I first started listening to artists like Aphex Twin and Radiohead, which later produced my interest for composing electronic music.
You were originally trained as a Classical pianist at the Conservatory of Saint Cecilia in Rome. What was that process like, and how do you feel about the standard of musicianship in electronic music today?
When I started at the Conservatory it was very different then it is today. You had to be accepted and it was very difficult to get in. Fortunately I was accepted and started my 10 year program in Piano, Harmony, and Composition. The lessons are built around 3 exams where I would have to study and prepare around 40-50 pieces of music for each exam. The pieces were mainly classical music, such as the Studies on Chopin’s Etudes, Debussy, J.S. Bach, Schumann, Rubenstein and many others.
Today, the standard of musicianship in electronic music is very low because of how easy it is to make with all of the technology. My training is technically for composing classical or symphony pieces. There are just so many producers today that only a few probably come from backgrounds where they actually went and studied how to compose music. This is the main reason I like to include many acoustic instruments when I am producing electronic music or even when I get the chance to play Live using a Grand Piano. I think it sets me apart.
The vocals work particularly well in your music, adding a sense of poignancy. Where do you find the inspiration for the words?
This has actually always been a struggle for me as English is not my first language. In the past few years, I have studied and worked with many singers who have taught me a lot in writing lyrics and working with vocal harmony. For “Love Apparel”, it was an experiment trying to use what I know of composing, harmony and mood of the song into lyrics that would go together. The inspiration was truly just words I knew at the time that reminded me of the sounds I was putting into the song.
How would you describe your set-up playing live/ DJ’ing to people? And how do you compare playing on an acoustic instrument with the possibilities that electronics can afford you?
Well, I definitely have many different set-ups depending where I play, the space, the people, and the mood. I love playing live because it allows me to perform in front of people. I have done a couple of events where I played Grand Piano mixing in electronic sounds with Ableton, a MicroKorg XL, and a Roland Tr-8. If allowed, while traveling, my live sets always consists of these but I will substitute one of my keyboards for the Grand Piano. Each live set, I prepare new unreleased music that is created just for that show. For DJ Sets I try to stick to using a lot of Vinyl. Growing up in Italy and even for my residency at Goa that is what we all learn to DJ on and it holds more respect here as an art-form.
Tell us about your residency at Goa Club in Rome?
This is the second year I have held a residency at GOA Club, where I work with their GOA Ultrabeat night as well as GOA Nozoo. For GOA Ultrabeat, I mainly open with a Live Set for their huge events like Cocoon Rome and Music On. I’ve recently worked a lot with GOA Nozoo not only as a resident but also adding events like a No.19 Music Night and a Culprit Sessions in Rome.
What plans do you have for 2016?
For 2016, I have plans to be in the studio a lot, as well as playing a few important shows around Europe and then heading to America in July and August for a small tour. At the end of this month, I am actually heading to Toronto to meet up with Nitin, one of the heads of No. 19 to spend a week in the studio to finish up an EP.