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London, 2021

During this interview, I change seats, place myself in front of another artist and ask him the questions I wish people asked me. Today, I speak to Italian composer Fabrizio Paterlini who has just released LifeBlood and takes the opportunity to talk about music in the 21st century. 


Fabrizio, tell us a little more about you. What have been the highlights of your career so far?


I started my pianist career back in 2007, with my first album, Viaggi in aeromobile, and since then, what an incredible trip it has been! There are moments that I will never forget — these are not necessarily "highlights", but surely they were key moments of this journey. The first international concert I did, in Hasselt, Belgium, was surely one of these. I brought my family with me, and it was such a great feeling to be there to play my music! Another great moment was the concert I did in Moscow with the philharmonic orchestra... such a great hall and really a big emotion in hearing my music taking life with a full string orchestra! Oh and the latest one was in plain pandemic year, when Chris Evans shared a video while playing one of my pieces — another day I will never forget. It is such a weird feeling to go viral for one day. 


What about LifeBlood, your latest solo project?


LifeBlood is a single album with two clear, different souls — you may think of it as two sides of the same vinyl (as it actually is!) — one being a more experimental part, more in line with my previous Secret Book album; with piano, strings and electronics; and the other side being a more intimate take of my music; with just the piano solo leading the melodies. 


So, the album is conceived as a double-sided vinyl; how did you approach its development? Were the intentions well-defined from the start or did you simply follow your intuition until the project took a coherent shape?


I took this decision during the making of the album — it comes a time in which you stop composing new material to see where you are: then you start listening to all your productions and surprisingly enough, all the music I had composed so far was divided in these two categories — piano solo or piano plus something. I did not want to fragment the album into a couple of EPs; I still believe in the importance of a full length album; it is the only way fans can really get to know you. 


How has you approach to music — your listening and creative process — has evolved over the years?


It has evolved a lot over the years. I think that a key moment was when I started composing music of a duration of one minute, to release on my Instagram channel, on a daily basis — the result of that experiment is now in my Transitions trilogy album. Now, the improvisation part in composing is at its core: I sit on the piano, play and record whatever in the exact moment that my hands are playing. I try to keep the original melody as pure as possible, with no composer tricks. In this sense, my Transitions albums represent perfectly what I mean — LifeBlood was composed in a two-year lifespan and, especially the piano solo part, still has a more traditional way of composing. I am now in a different creative moment and, believe me, I have no idea of how my next work will sound like. 


Tell us about being a musician in the 21st century.


Ah, this is quite interesting. Being a musician today means that you can not be only a musician. You have to be in control of your music, your sound, your brand, your rights (most importantly!) and you have to be strong enough to manage your successes and (and nobody talks about this side of the story) the frustrations that come along, which are an inner part of our job. As you probably now, I am a totally DIY artist; I started composing music on a Kawai MP8ii connected to a computer and now, after more than ten years of hard work, I make this for a living and I work in a proper studio — as you can imagine this did not happen overnight; it was a long, magic, sometimes heavy, process. 


Which advice would you give to composers, both young ones and more experienced ones?


Ah, I think I already gave some kind of advice! I will give something more: always remember that the most important part of our job is the connection with our audience; get to know them, talk with them and give them the possibility to know you, to appreciate your music, to understand that you always give your best, being in the studio or on stage. Being honest in what you are doing is the most important thing, always. 


So after Lifeblood what’s next?


I really have no idea and this, as far as I know myself a little bit, is always a good start. 


Thanks very much Fabrizio. Last one for the road — one book, one album, one film —, tell us about your latest cultural pearls?


So difficult right now! Books... I am only reading business books these days, so I will tell you what I am reading right now which is Record Label Marketing; a nice and comprehensive book about all the aspect of running a label (as you know, I also run a small one: Memory Recordings). The album part is so difficult! I will tell you some in no particular order: Nirvana, Live at the Paramount; Pink Floyd, Meddle; and Tom Waits, Mule Variations. The film part is easier though: Interstellar completely captured my imagination and I loved it. 


Bouncing on Fabrizio’s words, being a musician and composer in the 21st century is akin to being an entrepreneur, and perhaps one can learn from the greats of this world! Read my review of LifeBlood.

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