Listening is also an active, rather than just a passive process. How do you see the role of the listener in the musical communication process?
T: This guy called Gordon (the person that showed me an SSL G-series for the first time) asked me if I “loved listening to music” during a recording session something like eight years ago. I replied with “of course” and he quickly looked disappointed and then turned towards the control room’s door. “If you start working in music,” he told me “you will no longer love music the same way you do now. You will over-analyse everything and you will forever wonder about what mic was used on the vocals and what compressor was used for the drums, the magic will be completely lost.”
While I don’t agree completely with what he was telling me, there is a lot of truth in that. Once you invest so much in music, “listening” is very rarely a passive activity … Occasionally there will be an album that will make me forget about the technical details behind a piece of work, but it’s incredibly rare. In order to not get an idea overload or just too confused I now tend to listen to little music while in the process of writing my own. Now that our CW/A album is done I’ve been finally catching up on all this great music I missed while working on my own.
F: For as arduous as it can be, I always try to analyse my music as an outsider which is probably why I tend to change so many elements during the writing process, which can be quite counterproductive at times. This is generally triggered by how I want people to perceive my music, but at the end of the day I think it’s the decisions that make me comfortable that end up satisfying me the most. Going outside my comfort zone and experimenting with what I have is also something I sometimes attempt as it keeps things interesting and occasionally delivers some great unexpected results. This doesn’t happen as often as it should.
Reaching audiences usually involves reaching out to the press and possibly working with a PR company. What's your perspective on the promo system? In which way do music journalism and PR companies change the way music is perceived by the public?
F: For Parachute (the record label Thomas and I own and run together with Manfredi) we don’t want our promotional material to be “invasive” so we carefully pin point media outlets, radios and artists we want to reach with our press manager. Unfortunately reaching out to these outlets nowadays is pretty determining if you want to get the word out there and, sadly, without any press you can be forgotten in seconds.
Journalists can make or break a record nowadays due to the influential power they have on their followers and this can be abused. When press is based on favouritism and fear of new territories you are not helping the scene move forward. I think we live in an incredibly exciting time and taking more risks and testing new grounds should be prized rather than penalised. I hear so much great music everyday from new up and coming artists that it saddens me when I see and read the same articles about the same artists that are doing nothing but taking from their respective scenes. Giving something back is not only self gratifying, it helps and motivates others and the results can be nothing but positive.
Do you have a musical vision that you haven't been able to realise for technical or financial reasons – or an idea of what music itself could be beyond its current form?
F: As of now I’m completely focused on our CW/A project and our label which take up all of my time, and I’m totally fine with that. I decided to dedicate myself full time to these two projects simply because I believe in them and feel I am growing with them day by day so for now this is what I want to concentrate on. Having said that I do have a few visions in the back of my head of what I want to execute next but I will get back to them only when I feel the time is right.
T: Yes! It might sound a bit insane, but I’ve had this project at the back of my head for the past three or so years … I can’t even describe it, in fact I’m not even sure I know what it is myself, but it’s there. A complete lack of free time and a few technical limitations have stopped me from trying it so far, but I definitely want to explore new ideas once the time is right.
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