WITH NICO PISTOLESI

London, 2020

During this interview, I change seat, place myself in front of another artist and ask him the questions I wish people asked me. Today, I speak to Italian composer Nico Pistolesi. The pianist has just released one of his most personal project, Home, and takes the opportunity to share a thing or two with us. 

 

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

 

I grew up with many different musical inputs from my family. Italian and international music from the 1980-90s, jazz, fusion and, of course, classical music. It was in 1996 that I discovered the piano as an instrument, and at the age of fourteen I decided that I would want to become a musician. During the last seventeen years, I graduated in jazz piano, studied with some of the extraordinary musicians and played more than a thousand concerts across Europe, whether in festivals or clubs. I released my first solo piano album 6 Milioni di domande with Cama Records in 2012.

 

Tell us more about Home, your latest project.

 

Home has gone through an intense process that lasted eight years. I recorded the album in August 2020, in my home studio, on my Bechstein grand piano. These twelve tracks are like a journey, where the departure and the end coincide with a safe place; home. It is a solo piano album in which I chose to record some of the pieces with a felt, because I think that my music comes from the most hidden part of me and that reflects quite well with this musical technique. 

 

Home’s approach seems autobiographical. What made you decide that this was the right time for this project to emerge?

 

I needed to release it. As a professional musician, I have always invested in my career as a 360 artist : sideman, frontman, solo artist, and obviously composer. I love to write music, and I also write lyrics for other artists. Home, for me, is a safe place. A place to grow as a child as well as an adult. I believe in the idea of ​​home as a life story and continuous research, primarily as an artist. That’s why in 2020, I opened a bagful of music and started to record it. 

 

One can hear a wish for descriptions and sensations in your works. Is that conscious, and if yes how do you approach it?

 

I love to composing music as a mean of describing a story. Every piece has his own path; through the pieces, it is easy to see titles that refer to various moments of life, both as an introspective path, and also as emotions that intertwine and create an inner feeling of security — the determination of everyday life. Someone can listen to my music and think about how it is simple, but you must close your eyes and carry on to what the story brings you. 

 

Give us an insight on how you compose music.

 

I open the piano and play. I have a lot of lost ideas in my mind, from my childhood and also from my everyday life. I love lyrics, which is why I compose as if I was describing a story. I prefer paper music sheet and pencil for my notes but if I can I record everything — today’s  pace of life is so fast , it is always a good idea. 

 

You write mostly for the keyboard — including the toy piano —, which instrument would you like to compose for in the near future?

 

In 2019, I had the opportunity to compose a string trio, but the idea crashed after a couple of weeks, and I ended up writing new piano music. I love string instruments and I hope to write something for them soon. 

 

So after Home, what’s next?

 

The current world situation does not help the arts, especially in Italy. I recently signed with a new management team and I hope I can come back to performing soon. I would like to bring Home in front of an audience. 

 

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

 

My last book has been Herbie Hancock. Jazz, Buddha e funky a 88 tasti by the great Stefano Zenni. The album Lumen by Hibou Moyen and series I can recommend are perhaps The Queen’s Gambit and The Crown. 

 

Bouncing on Nico’s words, if you like The Beatles and Italian language, Hibou Moyen is the way to go! Read my review of Home