Saturday 20 April 2013

Gaudi interviewed

Q: Which music did you hear in your very early years and maybe in your teenage years that you would describe as influential for your approach? What stood out and made you think I want to be a part of this?  …and can you remember the point at which you decided that a career in music was the way forward for you?

A: Well, this question here above for me has to be divided in three different Qs:

1) "Which music did you hear in your very early years and maybe in your teenage years that you would describe as influential for your approach?"
--I grew up with avant-garde psychedelic electronica and reggae dub music. From The Residents to Black Uhuru, from Tuxedomoon to Lee Scratch Perry, from Kraftwerk to Burning Spear, from Devo to Scientist, from DAF to Desmond Dekker, from Bauhaus to Third World.

2) “What stood out and made you think I want to be a part of this?”

--Frankly I never thought I wanted to be part of it...I was just part of it, I found myself in it. That movement reflected exactly what I loved in music, and that was the music I was naturally playing. In that scene I found amazing sources of inspiration which were pretty much the antithesis of what I’ve studied for years, i.e. classical piano, so maybe my “rebel side” was subconsciously searching for the opposite side. 

3) “can you remember the point at which you decided that a career in music was the way forward for you?”

--I was only 7 years old when I had very clear in my mind that music would have been my life.

Q: If we go back the mid-nineties you had made a name for yourself in Italy and were having a lot of success and then you realised that if you were going to expand on that success you would have to move…and you decided to relocate to London. That must have seemed quite daunting at the time?

A: It has been an extremely difficult move, but definitely the best decision I took in my entire life. I knew it even from much, much earlier that was a move I had to do in my career sooner or later, but I couldn’t leave my native country until my five years record deal with Polygram/Universal expired, so in 1995 at the top of my success for my first two solo albums, I moved to London and started again from scratch. At the beginning it was super tough….then I started to fly.

Q: How would you describe the music community when you first arrived in London? Which particular scenes were you drawn towards back then?
A: It was probably one of the most fertile music periods of the last two decades I’d say; …the “jungle” phenomenon was starting to fade and a new amazing energetic fusion was about to start: Drum 'n' Bass. I was highly intrigued by it, everyone was exploring it, from the deepest underground scene, to David Bowie,  for example. Any type of music when u live in London filters thru ur productions. It is unavoidable and this is what I love about music. Interchanging and exploring with no fear!!! At that time I was working on my third solo album Earthbound, I was trying to materialise the vision I had a few years before of fusing music genres such as dub, world-music and electronica, an experiment that I started already back in 1989 releasing a 12" vinyl titled EtnoTechno under the name 4T Thieves.  Really and truly I’ve never been drawn by any specific music scene. I love music in its totality, so to answer to ur question, when I moved to London I was exploring every music I could: on Wednesdays I used to go to the Dub Club in Tuffnel Park for a solid injection of dub subfrequencies, on Thursdays there was Anoka night with Talvin Singh, Fridays at the Fridge for an healthy psy-trance journey with Return to the Source or Escape from Samsara, Mondays with Fabio and Grooverider for a sweaty night of DnB… and so on.

Q: Looking back over your career you seem to have been incredibly busy. I wonder how there have been enough hours in the day for all of the projects you’ve been involved with. Which amongst these would you say you have enjoyed the most and why?
A: When I worked with Lee Scratch Perry was certainly one of my peaks, also when I remixed Bob Marley was something unbelievable, the album Dub Qawwali with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was an amazing achievement, and certainly our collaborative album Re:sonate was a formidable experience!

Q: Two questions that may or may not be linked together: When did you first become aware of Fax Records? …and when did you first have contact with Pete Namlook?
A: I became aware of Fax Records in 1998 when I discovered the sublime The Dark Side of the Moog 7 featuring three music legends such as: Bill Laswell, Klaus Schulze, and Pete Namlook of course!  It was year 2005 when  I contacted Peter. I just wanted to send him my latest collaborative album GAUDI:TESTA – Continuum released on the legendary electronica label EM:T Records. The production of that album came out particularly good so I wanted to send it to him as a gift and make him aware of my existence in the music industry as a producer. Peter replied with a beautiful e-mail of compliments about my production skills and revealed that he owned two of my previous albums and loved them…. Bass, Sweat & Tears (Interchill Records 2004) and Earthbound (Bustin Loose 1997).  OMG I couldn’t believe those words. It was like a dream come true. The day after, I received another e-mail from him asking if I wanted to collaborate on an album….and RE:SONATE was born.

Q: Do you have a favourite Fax record (or records)?
A: Well, in my humble opinion the whole Fax catalogue has a sort of magic continuity throughout the two decades of its history. I can see each of the Fax releases as if they were all chapters of a book –for example if you read a good book it is quite difficult to say what the best chapter was... - I feel exactly like this. Fax Records was, and still is, a marvellous music journey where every release contributed to the creation of this unique music experience.

Q: Am I right in thinking that Re:sonate was recorded at your Metatron Studio in London? Did yourself and Pete actually work together in the same location on the record or bounce ideas backwards and forwards online…or both?
A: You are not right. Pete and I recorded our album RE:SONATE together in his studio in Germany. He invited me there with all my analogue synthesizers to compose and produce the album together so I spent one month with him under the same roof.  An unforgettable experience!
Q: The first two tracks on Re:sonate sound as if Pete started them and you added to this, whereas the last one sounds the other way around. Is that accurate or wide of the mark?

A: Before Pete and I started the production of the album, Pete called me in London and suggested to bring some sketches and ideas with me to his studio, so we could start our collaboration from somewhere. I brought then the idea of the first track (consisting in groove + bass and dub flavors) and he added pads and a vocal sample saying “I’m scanning the city for the 7th spirit”, which gave the direction to the song and the title too. I also programmed the rhythm of our track #2 NAFK, then he finalised the production and added a german speaking sample which was, he said, the original 1969 instruction booklet for the two tracks recording system Revox that his dad bought when Peter was a child. That was a great touch, genius. Last track on the album has been created from scratch, together at Traben Trarbach studio.

Q: What are your memories of working with Pete?
A: I remember that in his studio all the equipment was working impeccably perfect, something pretty unusual for producers like us that live in a total studio chaos. Every single piece of gear was immaculate; no dust on keys or knobs, no visible cables, all was pristine and efficient. I have to admit that the first couple of days of work in the studio I felt a bit nervous and not fully comfortable. I didn’t know how to behave 100% naturally. We just met two days before so we were still knowing each other. I had the impression that he was a super strong person, with a super strong personality…. then something happened… and I understood him totally, and we clicked, and we laughed together, and we discovered an amazing synergy between us. Basically, his daughter called him on Skype and I saw him transformed in the most sweetest person on Earth. The World disappeared when he was talking with her; he allowed me to see his soft side, I will never forget that moment. I miss him badly.   

Q: Just out of interest do you know where the track title NAFK came from?

A: Of course I know. Here is the story, as I mentioned in the previous answer: this track started with an idea of rhythm that I created in London, then I recorded it on DAT tape and took it with me to Germany. At that time I was also working on my album Dub Qawwali, featuring the amazing voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. This album was pretty much finished and stored in the same DAT where my rhythm idea was – named N.F.A.K (stands for Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan); Peter misread that word as NAFK, we both loved it as a potentially mysterious title for our new track, which ended to be called exactly NAFK.

Q: Did you ever get a chance to visit Pete in Traben Trarbach and if so what are your memories of the place?

A: As I said here above, Pete and I spent one month there in Traben Trarbach for the recording, composition and production of our collaborative album RE:SONATE. It was a huge place (if I recall correctly I think it was an ex-big restaurant on two floors, the studio was upstairs) where he used to live on his own. The atmosphere there was absolutely positive. I remember every single inch of that place was impregnated by Pete’s strong beautiful energy. He didn’t have a big social life; he was highly selective with his friendships. He knew what he wanted.

I remember a funny episode: one morning while I was sleeping in my room I heard a very strange repetitive knock at my door so I got up and opened the door…… it was a little yellow robot that was automatically cleaning the house, hovering every corner like a maniac and frankly I nearly freaked out because at that time that robot was absolutely innovative, never seen one before; when I asked Pete about that thing he told me that it was a prototype, then a few years later it became quite popular. Pete has always been ahead of its time.

Q: There is a big Pete Namlook tribute record coming up soon. Do you have anything planned for this yet….or is your contribution a secret right now?

A: Yes. I have already been contacted by the organisers of it and I’ve happily contributed to the release of this amazing tribute album with one of my tracks that I remember Pete used to love! It is a song never appeared in any of my albums. I don’t wanna reveal the title yet.

Q: Your last solo album, No Prisoners seemed like a bit of a new direction. Very energetic, upbeat songs. A new album In Between Times is coming very soon. Listening to the teasers this sounds as if it is heading in a similar direction. The production certainly sounds very sharp and cutting edge. What can we expect from the new record?
A: Everytime I create an album I follow my instinct and taste, trying to not to pay too much attention at the direction I’m naturally pursuing. As I said in a recent interview, I make music because it makes me feel free. I love this sense of freedom and I hope I’ll be able to keep it with me forever. This is something that also Pete and I had in common. I remember when in his studio he played a series of heavy industrial techno tunes from 12" vinyls and was smiling at me in silence…. I was smiling back at him, without really know why…. then he revealed that was his production of 10 years earlier, saying that at that time this genre of music made him feel free then he found his happiness making ambient music. We both exchanged a “five” with our hands I remember. On my latest album No Prisoners I felt the need to assemble two parallel routes that were running together in my music activity: all my solo albums until then were primarily mid-tempo, experimental dub, global-beat, dancehall, and all my remixes I did (about 90 of them) were pretty much upbeat, so I wanted to combine both my “music souls” in one album. The result is No Prisoners which I wouldn’t describe as “new direction” but simply a “merging point”. My new album In Between Times, out in May on Six Degrees Records, adopts the same formula but is a bit more “edgy”.   
Q: Finally how would you pay tribute to the great Pete Namlook in words?
A: An amazing artist, an amazing person, an amazing brother!

Massive thanks to Gaudi for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions. He's a good guy.

You can find his official website here:

Catch him on Facebook here:

...and check out some teasers from his new record, In Between Times here:

Sounds great! The album will be released worldwide on 14th May 2013.

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