One year after the collaboration with German artist Jochen Arbeit (Einstürzende Neubauten), Italian musician Paolo Spaccamonti just released a new solo album. Volume Quattro is out now via Escape From Today/Dunque. We had a talk with him about the different angles of new full-length, live shows, visual arts and more. Cheeck it below after the official video of the track “Fumo Negli Occhi“.
Let’s Start from your “Volume Quattro”. What about the inspiration and the creative process of the album?
Gup Alcaro, producer and sound designer with whom I work since long, proposed me to record new material using only vintage equipment (tape microphones, guitars and amplifiers). The idea behind that, was to keep as much as possible the original sound as it was. And then process it with the maximum use of the frequencies of the guitar, so that we could transforming it into “something else”. I brought some draft attempts to the studio. We started a process of selection and step by step we made the album finally emerge. It has been a natural and cathartic process
Artwork of the album is stunning. How did you choose it?
Years ago I stumbled upon some drawings by Laura Fortin. I was really moved by them. What struck me was the sense of empathy with the viewer’s mood that those images were capable to infuse. I got in contact with Laura and she told me that the same was happening to her with my music. We became friends. When I needed to chose a cover for the new album, I thought about this canvas from 2017. The title is “Maybe I Am Billie Holiday”. I immediately thought that would be perfect to describe the album. I find it extraordinary.
I was also impressed by the official video of “Ablazioni”. What about it? What is your relationship with visual arts connected to your music?
I think that music in general (also instrumental music) has all the needed information to walk with its own legs. But things can happen when a musician meets a visual artist with ideas and a vision alike. I am a longtime fan and a friend of Donato Sansone and his visual poetry amuses and moves me. The video for Ablazioni was his present to me and I will be forever grateful. Is minimal, without any frill. He directed it with a careful process of removal of anything that could have been redundant. Is the same process that I applied to this specific song and in general to the album. He caught perfectly the spirit of it.
Considering your relationship with the instrument and your music, what is your way to give new shape to the sound and what is your idea of experimentation in art?
To be frank, I have no idea, really. I know it does not sound cool but for me is only a matter of urgency and intuition rather than planned research. I am what I play and I try to play at the best of my possibilities.
You are from Turin. What do you think of the current situation of the local music scene and how this place affected your way to make music?
Turin has always been a city of creative unrest and is still exciting. This last year I particularly appreciated the works of Love Trap, Tomat / Petrella, the EP by Larsen, just to mention some. But more than the area, the people I met through my journey have been the most influencing to me. For example, when I saw live Daniele Brusaschetto in 2003. He was playing all alone with his guitar and his effects, and his bizarre approach stroke me. Or Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo who introduced me to his “family” in 2008, supporting every project I started. Without him I would not have known and collaborate with Julia Kent or Jochen Arbeit. All those experiences have definitively influenced the way I play and the way I approach recording
What is the best thing of live shows you like the most compared to studio recordings?
When you are on stage, you have no possibilities, no way outs. You can either succeed or fail. I appreciate that unpredictability. The sound of the theater, the reaction of the audience, your mood when you got out from bed that morning. All elements that will have an impact on your live performance, making it unique and, one way or the other, precious.
Ritual question. What are the best releases you recently appreciated?
Alessandro Cortini, Carla Dal Forno, Clipping, Iggy Pop, Dope Lemon, Danny Brown