GANZO: If a stranger asks you “Where are you from?” what do you answer?
GAUDI: Alpha Centauri.
If you like facts, then you can quantify the success of Italian native Daniele Gaudi: 12 solo albums to date, 250 music productions, 90 remixes and more than 100 compilations featuring his tracks.
Look Gaudi up and you’ll find plenty of titles as well: keyboard player, producer, songwriter, remixer and soundtrack author. In 2008 he added the title of voice coach to this list when joined the first of what would be his three seasons working with Morgan on X Factor Italy (a journalist for the newspaper La Repubblica claimed their team was on the only reason the show was worth watching). Each title is backed up with results – hit songs for Irene Grandi, remixes of Fatboy Slim, Mazzy Star, Lamb and Patty Pravo, and scores for Sony PlayStation, Fiat, Fiorruci, MTV and Energie.
However, like me Gaudi isn’t as concerned with the numbers and titles that reflect his accomplishments as he is with what has driven his success: a vital passion for music. All his activities are different expressions of this craft “I love MUSIC, and I want to explore avery aspect of it!” Don’t call him a dreamer though “I hate this word ‘dreams,’ let’s call them ‘goals.’ I’m not dreaming with my music I’m expressing myself with it.”
Since his career began in the 80s these ‘goals’ have driven him on a musical journey that has taken him around the world to festivals such as Burning Man, Glastonbury and Sonica as well as to a performance in the Colisseum for an audience of 350,000 people. He draws inspiration from time spent in Jamaica and Burinka Faso.
It’s this eclectic vibe and spirited openness that makes Gaudi such a great fit for the upcoming event Elixir of Life in London. Saturday, October 1st Gaudi will join artists he’s worked with before such as The Egg, The Orb and Chester to present a psychedelic celebration of creativity and music benefiting the charity D.E.C. East Africa Appeal. Held on the south bank of London, Gaudi’s adopted home, Elixir’s huge three room party will cap off the festival season as the city’s first legal, but underground psychedelic party.
This desire to explore, travel and push the boundaries led Gaudi to London’s great parties like Elixir of Life and let him broaden his classical training through instruments such as the theremin, the moog and the unique orgue a feu created by French artist Michel Moglia. After 30 years of living music as a process of positive discovery, Gaudi continues to take new directions, blending reggae, dub, electronica and worldbeat into a sound that resonates with African chanting, vocal distortion and echoes. In the end his success in the music, not the numbers.
Have any experiences or sounds from your childhood in Bologna influenced your relationship with music or your musical style?
In terms of my relationship with music .. the unbreakable bond was unquestionably forged in my childhood… I was very ill as a child and was unable to be out with other children doing things that kids do… I was constantly in and out of hospital and physically in quite a solitary space.. an observer rather than a participant.
At 7 years old I was given a keyboard and this changed my life. In fact it saved it in some sense… music became my life and the thing that gave the days their meaning.
But the sounds of my childhood did not influence my music in anyway… it was the sounds that came after as I moved away from a tough childhood that influenced me, they were like the light that led me away from that place.
One of your early influences was Reggae music. Did your relationship with Reggae change when you spent time in Jamaica?
Yes, my main influence is Reggae music, and still is! In all my productions, songwriting, remixes you hear this solid reference to Reggae music, it has been in my blood since I was young. There’s not a specific reason, it just speaks the language that I speak with my music! In Reggae Music the message is always positive even when the lyrics deal with weighty issues. It definitely reflects my philosophy of life!
What was the first Reggae song you ever heard and what did you think or how did you feel about it?
The first reggae song I heard was “Punky Reggae Party” by Bob Marley, I was only 14 years old and I remember I was blown away by this “off-beat” movement in the song…..
That track literally changed my vision of music! I was studying classical piano at the time and I remember saying to myself that one day I would work with this artist. I was already really determined with my music plans -a bit of utopia but hey, I was just 14 and full of excitement. Then, unfortunately, Marley passed away 4 years after my declaration.
The funny thing is, several years after, what I had said came true in a different form : in 2003 Universal Music commissioned me to make a remix of the Bob Marley classic “Soul shake down party”!! And that’s not all….. in 2009 I had the honor of working in studio with the songwriter who, with Bob Marley, wrote the song that changed my life “Punky Reggae Party”, music producer / undisputed genius Lee Scratch Perry! ….and guess what…. we worked on 3 classic Marley/Perry songs “Kaya”, “The sun is shining” and…..yes, “Punky Reggae Party”! Magic happens Sir, just believe in it.
When people describe your music they mention multiple genres, sub-genres and countries followed by the term “fusion.” What do you think fusion music is and would you describe your music any other way?
All music is a fusion of sorts… Everything is influenced by something else, no musical style exist in isolation from other styles.
The word “fusion” is also commonly used to describe a specific genre of music (which is not what i do), people that use “fusion” to describe my music are describing a process rather than a style.
I personally have a broad range of influences and therefore draw my inspiration from many different places, the result is a mix (or fusion) of elements from different genres that come together to make something new …
I wouldn’t describe my music as “fusion” but i would say that i’m (sonically speaking) ‘painting with a full spectrum palette’!
Twice you have been a vocal coach for X Factor Italy and both times your groups were successful. Were there any surprises or challenges to participating in a TV show? What, if any, are the advantages and drawbacks of the trend to televised music competitions?
I did 3 seasons of XFactor as a vocal coach. I selected new talents from about 33.000 auditions!…. yes it was a bit of a challenge! It was a whole new experience for me, ultimately I am a musician not a TV personality, and in a TV program like this you deal with all the politics and weirdness that goes with TV.
Let’s not forget that XFactor is a TV show, it is not a music show, music is just an ingredient that complements the tv program. As i said before, i love MUSIC and i want to explore every corner of it, I was really curious to see what’s behind this highly successful TV format, what’s happening in the “main stream music world”, so when they contacted me I accepted.
After my experience I can say that music for me is something different, but I was surprised with how much I enjoyed actually being able to pass something I know on to young talents who were, despite the nature of the TV show, passionate about music (not all of them, but some of them are).
When you cut through the ones that just wanna be famous, there were some very talented people there. What I realized about this tv format is, yes there is talent there, but it automatically falls into the machine and if it doesn’t perform as the machine wants, it gets chewed up and spat out from the other end!
Is there any sound or piece of music for which you would prefer to pay a fine rather than listen to multiple times?
Yes … contentless commercial rubbish made by puppets for muppets
You have played many international music and dance festivals (Glastonbury, Sonica…). What is the best part of participating in these events? Is a traditional festival like San Remo still relevant today?
There are many great aspects to performing on the festival circuit … i guess primarily it’s the live contact with the audience/dancefloor … that circular exchange of vibes that you don’t get from making music in the studio – on stage you give out and get instant feedback. You get to experience your music on the frontline, ‘at the coal face’ and share the physical experience of the music.
San Remo? i wouldn’t describe it as a festival in the same sentence as the ones before … it’s a TV show primarily.. a very long running one the likes of which were the essentially the precursors to shows like X-Factor.. as to its relevance…for me it really doesn’t have any, but then i’ve been away from Italy for 18 years now, and even when I was there it didn’t represent anything for me in terms of my music.
Would you rather be on tour or in the studio? What makes you feel at home when you are on the road?
They’re both integral parts of my work and couldn’t do one without the other… as long as there is balance i like them both in turn. Really and truly, nothing makes me feel at home on the road – when i’m on the road i’m on the road.
October tour in Canada, California, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii, (see tour schedule here below), then a new album I did with The Orb and Chester will be released under the name SCREEN, then the double CD compilation “Everlasting” I did for Iboga Records will be released worldwide in November, then my remixes of Lamb, Trentemoller and The Orb will appear on their new releases, and my new 13th album will see the light in February 2012! Many things in the pot, stay tuned…
GAUDI TOUR 2011
October 1 London, Elixir Of Life (UK)
October 2 Seattle, WA. Decibel festival (Gaudi + Mad Professor + Twilight Circus) USA
October 5 Santa Cruz, CA. Moe’s Alley (USA)
October 11 San Diego, CA. Belly Up (Gaudi + Mad Professor + Twilight Circus) USA
October 13 Los Angeles, CA. King King (USA)
October 14 San Francisco, CA. 103 Harriet (Gaudi + Mad Professor + Twilight Circus) USA
October 15 Arcata, CA. Humboldt University (Gaudi + Mad Professor + Twilight Circus) USA
October 20 Vancouver, BC. The Rickshaw Theater (Canada)
October 21 Cumberland, Waverly, BC (Canada)
October 22 Salt Spring Island, BC. Beaver Point (Canada)
October 28 Honolulu, Hallowbaloo, Hawaii (USA)
October 29 Honolulu, Soho, Hawaii (USA)
November 4 Kauai, Portofino, Hawaii (USA)
November 5 Paia, Maui, Charley’s, Hawaii (USA)
December, Tour New Zealand
January 2012, Tour Australia