What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation?
Altough my father has never been a professional musician, he likes to play the piano, harmonica and the accordion. When I was 10 years old my parents sent me to study music with a piano teacher. I remember that it was really boring and I refused to go, but my father still wanted me to play an instrument, so I choose the guitar to imitate my cousin who was already playing it. I’ve been lucky ’cause my second guitar teacher skipped all the boring music theory and taught me songs for children. I was hopelessly shy and I used the guitar as a shell in my social relationships. I think that music saved my life, I started my job as graphic designer making covers and flyers for my own band until Agostino Tilotta, the guitar player of Uzeda, asked me to do the artwork for their fourth album (the first one for the Touch and Go! Records label) and then some playbills for his booking agency. He organized the Catania concerts for most of the bands that I was listening to at that time (Fugazi, Brainiac, Lungfish, Shellac, Men or Astromen?, Blonde Redhead). Thanks to this experience I started working in a graphic design studio.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
I never thought to make a release. I wrote most of the songs of Cuts because I needed to write music to sublimate my abandonment wound. I went through a very painful period due to a separation. It was “a bolt from the blue” and my life changed completely. I use the music as a medicine that force me to stay focused on the pain until it became bearable. At that time I had a guest at my house, a friend who used to organize the concerts for my bands. In the evening I used to play the songs and he liked them. So, without telling me anything, he organized the first Lomb’s concert.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
There’s a musician that I’ve been listening to a lot lately and I think he is one of the most relevant influences on my sound. It’s strange that nobody of the ones who have reviewed Cuts made his name, that’s Micah P. Hinson. Maybe it’s because when I compose my music I’m focused on what I feel instead of what kind of sound I want to play. I guess this is the subtle difference that saves me from becoming the number two of somebody else. Obviously my listenings have a big influence, apart from the aforementioned Hinson, I really like the music of Timber Timbre, Giant Sand and most of the Howe Gelb solo recordings, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits surely. Also my work as a graphic designer influences my music. The Paul Rend sentence “don’t try to be original, just try to be good” is a sentence that I try to keep in mind in any of my work. However, when I saw the Julian Rosefeldt “Manifesto” installation in Berlin, the sentence “Nothing is original” really blew my mind. I feel more and more relaxed when making music.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
I am really uninterested in attaining a recognizable or not recognizable sound. I just want to be authentic, nothing else! But I think that contamination is the ingredient that makes the art of one person surpass his own expectations. I want the people I work with to feel comfortable in their roles. For example when Paolo Messere produced my album I didn’t interfere with his skills. So the album is completely different from my expectations but I think that’s what makes it unpredictable.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Albums: Timber Timbre / Creep On Creepin’ On — Micah P. Hinson / And the nothing — Tindersticks / Curtains
Movies: Fight Club — Der Himmel über Berlin — The Shining
Books: Mikhail Bulgakov / Master i Margarita — Victor Hugo / Les Miserables — G. I. Gurdjieff / Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
I like both live and studio. I like the tension growing before the concert and that moment when you feel that it breaks out and everything starts to flow. I also like the fact that the music is alive, a song is never the same on stage. For example I use to play very softly when someone is talking loud during the performance, and usually it happens that that person stops talking, changing instantly the relationship with the music to a more careful attitude. The other musicians who play with me (I’m performing my album with a trio line up) magically follow the dynamics and this is amazing. Studio recordings is a kind of meditation; I like the way the songs evolve, getting a new and definitive shape, it’s an out of time setting where you can forget about everything but the music. I also like the interaction with the producer, who’s usually the first person the songs are shared with to be evaluated. As I wrote already, I gave him total freedom to use his creativity on my raw material.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
Perhaps the funniest (or maybe weirdest) thing that happened during my music career was to see the Melt Banana band members washing their teeth for 3 hours in the backstage, when we opened their Catania date as supporters with my old band Baffos.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
I don’t know if it is unique for the ears that listen to it but “What does it matter” is a special one for me, not for a particular reason or a story behind it, just for the fact that I feel moved every time I play it, more than with the other ones.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
This project is taking directions that were unexpected for me, I never thought I’d be reviewed in USA or in the UK, the native lands of the music that I usually listen to. My calendar now is still not busy but the engine is running. I don’t know where to go, what are my possibilities, I’m really blank about music industry or marketing and I’m planning with Monica Melissano (booking and press for A Giant Leap) some gigs in Italy and in the UK.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity.
When I published the album I thought that the first question a journalist would ask me was “why did you decide to sing in English as an Italian?”
So, at first I started to think about that and about the fact that every time I try to sing in Italian I dislike the results. I really prefer the way the English language sounds in rock/folk music. And I have to say that lyrics are not so important for me. I think the music and the sound of the voice with its melody can communicate without words. However, since songs have lyrics, I do everything to take care of them, but I don’t feel their meaning is important for the goodness of a song, I give the text an absolutely secondary role.
Photo credits: Giuseppe Lombardo
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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