1 - How did you choose your name - is there a meaning behind it?
Kinda like a tattoo, it’s something I have chosen to wear permanently to remind me of something important to me as a musician. There’s classical myths involved, and something of a cyberpunk obsession I suppose.
2 - Can you tell us a little about your background? And where are you based now?
I am originally from Milan. I was very fortunate to feel a musical calling very young, so I got good at playing guitar early in my life and got to travel thanks to it. I lived in the USA for a few years playing with bands and studying at Berklee on a scholarship, then moved back to Europe when my visas ran out. Various adventures led me to London where I spent a few incredible years playing shows and meeting some of the most inspiring people in the world, and doing some university research in sound arts. London really became home on many levels. Then some friends were building a studio in old Milan town, I felt like I needed to block out the background noise to write music so I am back there right now.
3 - What originally enticed you to start making music?
I think it was my parents. They were both in bands when they were young, and played guitar and sang all the time as I was growing up. In my house there was always music, with this sort of playful yet reverent vibe. Music was sacred and joyful and free. One day my dad taught me a few chords on the guitar and it was literally like a wildfire. It started slow, but ended up burning everything else in its path.
4 - Did you have any mentors when you were starting out? Who helped you get heard and established?
I had many, but the first person to really champion my sound more than anyone was Neil Leonard, an outstanding American composer and saxophonist who was a professor of mine at Berklee. He really pushed me to let my voice come out and to experiment, to abandon schemes and to believe in doing my thing basically, and always believed in me greatly. In terms of getting heard, when I started out as Memory9 it was largely thanks to Soundcrash, a London-based events company that championed my performances and put me on amazing bills with many of my musical heroes before anyone knew about me. Many people still teach me many things and help me in many ways to this day, thankfully. If I can do what I do it is by and large thanks to these amazing people.
5 - What do you think stands out the most about your sound?
I don’t think that’s really for me to say. I try to make music that I find interesting, the rest I remit to the listeners. I am pretty sure bass has some part in it though.
6 - Could you name three tracks that you think were particularly influential for your own style?
Amon Tobin – Bricolage
T-Minus – How Low Instrumental
Squarepusher – Bleep Street
7 - Do you know what kind of track you want to write before you sit down to make it, or is it more a matter of experimenting and just seeing what happens?
Increasingly these days I seem to know what I want to make before I start hacking at it. Sometimes it might just stem from a mood, or a space, or a sample, or a line or a beat I played. I pick some ingredients and then explore with just those, free rein for a short while and then reel it in. I used to get hung up on tracks but now if it ain’t right I just move on.
8 - Where do you look for inspiration?
I listen to a lot of soundtracks, I think nothing sounds better than good film music and good sound design. Then I keep hearing a lot of producers who are doing amazing things, and that always suggests new ideas. There’s always a new nest of unexpected sonic genius cropping up here and there. I also look at kinetic sculpture and various forms of technological art a lot, and spend a fair bit of time in the mountains.
9 - What time of day do you work best?
Whenever I am awake.
10 - Could you tell us a little bit about your studio? What kind of gear are you using?
I work in Logic and Ableton. I tend to use a lot of hardware these days, like a Vermona Kick Lancet for my 808 type kicks/basslines, an Electroharmonix Bass synthesizer for adding fatness to stuff, an MS-20, a Moog Slim Phatty for my textures. I have a vintage electric piano that came with a huge amp, got it off DJ Vadim a couple of years back and it’s just a big fat juicy monster that makes everything sound sweet when you run stuff through it. Then a strat, a Gibson ES-335, a cheap Yamaha bass, loads of little drums and shakers and things. RME Fireface going into Dynaudio Air-6’s with a sub for clean monitoring.
11 - When you perform, what’s your preferred setup and how would you describe your sets? Are they different than your sounds as a producer?
My live stuff is similar, but rawer. I use a Monome to control a MaxMSP patch to cut up samples, then ableton for fx and some clips. Depending on where I play I add bits of live guitar, live bass and live Microkorg. Very rarely I play with a drummer, using two drumkits. It’s the must fun I’ve ever had live though.
12 - A little playlist of your favorite records thesedays?
I have been really digging the recent releases by Machinedrum, Om Unit, Shlohmo, Kuedo, Ital Tek, 123MRK, Falty DL and Illum Sphere. Also been very into “Music for 18 Musicians” by Steve Reich, the music from the videogame “Portal 2” and the score to the film “The Ring”. I also listen to this one Bad Religion cd quite obsessively when I am driving. More of a therapy thing though.
13 - Do you play any instruments?
Guitar, bass, keys, some drums, samplers, other stuff you can hit or pluck.
14 - When you’re not making or playing/making music, what’s your preferred pastime?
15 - Where do you think you will be musically in the next few years?
I have a lot of projects in the works, but I can’t really talk about them yet. There will be loads more Memory9 material though, and hopefully many surprises.
16 - A last word…
How about a good old fashioned quote? « Nobody is in control. The world is rudderless. » Alan Moore