Name: Alessandro Rebesani aka Rbsn
Occupation: Multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, producer,
Recent release: Rbsn’s new single featuring James Chatburn, "- 0 Rh+", is out via A Borges' Dream.
Recommendations: Historia de la eternidad by J.L Borges and Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Kandisky (Books) as well as Spectacle of Ritual by Kali Malone (Music) and Walk Away Renee (Visual Art).
If you enjoyed this interview with Rbsn, visit him on Instagram, Facebook, and Soundcloud.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I was always around music.
I grew up in an international household, therefore something creative was always going on. I’ve perceived music in a very cathartic way and started playing at a very young age, then I discovered jazz and became a student because I wanted to learn the craft behind translating a lot of meaning into sound.
Recently sound became this entity, some sort of God that gives you information if you really listen, from both a harmonic and physical point of view. It’s beautiful to play with it, and even though my own music is often shaped in a more fruitful way. Experimenting a lot in the studio, and looking for new instruments to discover new sounds is the way to go.
Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?
I’m very focused on the sound when I listen to a piece or I’m writing one myself.
Now that I think about it, it’s great to discover new things about a mix or trying to create the vibe you’re looking for by listening over and over. Repetition makes my listening experience like a mantra of some sort.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
The search for my voice marked the beginning of my development for sure. All the projects I embarked on were an expression of my creative language and I’d say that is the most entertaining element. The outcome of some projects was great because they allowed me and my crew to work with more interesting artists and distributions, festivals etc.
I think breakthroughs are at hand if the objective is clear. Knowing what you like as an artist is fundamental and I think the exchange with fellow artists is, too. I like to work as a performer as well as a composer, so I try to work with festivals and venues as well as the movie and audio-visual industry.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
I’m really interested in building a coherent taste for myself, and I’m very attentive to not listening to what I dislike, I find it deceiving. I defend those pillars of jealousy because they allow us to understand a lot of important things. Like why I want to work with certain topics and certain people and using a certain sound. This is the base of whatever I’ve found myself building and approaching.
My interests led me to some beautiful experiences and collaborations, and I wish to continue to educate myself in a smart way to continue those nutritious adventures.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
A bond with nature, archetypes, feel and emotional meaning. There is some sort of spiritual vibe that permeates the way I approach music, both listening and writing. Interplay and sharing a frequency or a progression.
For me, musicians and artists have powerful enough antennas to get a glimpse of this godly language that is harmony and they have the technical expressions of art to give the message back to the people.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
I see this topic as a circle, folklore, and technology plays an important role in this.
I grew up listing to Hendrix and contemporary blues but then became obsessed with jazz, soul and many other genres. I find my heroes precisely in those artists who had a unique style, and the ones able to coherently make you able to dream in a certain way when you approach their work. J. L Borges and Nick Hakim, for instance.
Carving an original sound is an incredibly enjoyable process and I often find my sound in vintage instruments. But the topics and sounds want to be approached in a very personal way.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
Besides making records that I enjoy and learning from them, I found the performative experience the most fruitful. Performing live and giving a sense of community and familiarity to the audience was the key for me / us to grow.
Involving people that I liked the work of and collaborating with them on an ambitious project, whether a video-clip or live recorded performance - I found having skilful collaborators made me grow up a lot.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
I exercise with yoga breathing and all that stuff, it’s actually an important part of my life. I have students with whom I approach music, teaching them jazz harmony, creative production or the basics and complementary singing to pair with their performative work. It is fun and keeps my musical brain very alive.
I have a studio in a hip part of town, where we produced most of our material. My friends work with music or images and they’re all in the area. We made a lot of material for my own project, but we also collaborate on theirs. We make events with a collective called ODD. Clique and intent with A Borges’ Dream, founded by Rbsn and Brando Pacitto.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
Well, I’m releasing a single in May, it’s called Stranger Days and it started a long stream of creativity that revivified the next album.
I ignited the songs and gave them a basic structure and groove. I then bring my songs to Pyramid Produzioni and properly produce them with Luca Gaudenzi. Stranger Days has Federico Romeo on drums, Adriano Matcovich on bass and Benjamin Ventura on keys, with additional recording from Daniel Ventura.
It’s the simplest tune I’ve written, yet I can see the achievements this crew has had in the last two years – there’s a lot.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
Quite often I like doing both together. I like to give my collaborators many hints - the way I want the piece to go and we follow them together.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
I like to interact with most aspects of the creative industry. It became difficult to find a place that you can truly enjoy, and right now for me it is exciting because I’m creating my circle successfully.
Music could be more educational in society and more well-structured, especially in my own country. Generally speaking, I think it is a catalyst for community and communication in our society.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
Always, it shaped where I want to go and who I want to be close to in life. It’s a great way to discover who your people are and gain knowledge.
There seems to be increasing interest in a functional, “rational” and scientific approach to music. How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
There is a science to music, it’s very fascinating to me.
I’m not the engineer in my crew but I have developed my own science to approach certain aspects of production and I look forward to discovering and learning more.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
It’s a different type of energy altogether, a real ritual that unlocks different aspects of each personality. There is no comparison with other aspects of life even though it’s made of them.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it’s able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
That is the thing that fascinates me most, it’s a privilege to be searching and studying this matter. My research revolves around this topic and it’s making it more refined in the way I make music and communicate my message to listeners.
A powerful drive and message can change the way certain music affects us, which is definitely the emotional component.