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Part 1

Name: Alessandro Tedeschi / Netherworld
Nationality: Italian
Occupation: Producer, Sound Artist
Current Release: Algida Bellezza LP on Glacial Movements
Recommendations: Heaven's Mirror, a book by Graham Hancock.  Baraka, a 1992 documentary film directed by Ron Fricke and original music composed by Michael Stearns.

If you enjoyed this interview with Netherworld and want to find out more about his work, you can find out more on the page of his label Glacial Movements.

When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What what is about music and/or sound that drew you to it?

I started playing my first synths at the age of 14. It was the 90s and Rome was one of the most important techno music centres in Europe. Together with a friend of mine, we had equipped a small recording studio under my father's furniture store. We had the Roland TB303, the TR909 and TR808, a sampler, a Roland JP8000, a SH101 and a series of multi effects pedals. There was also the Numark DJ station with turntable and mixer. At the time I was totally influenced by techno and gabber music. I bought Mokum, Industrial Strength, Rotterdam Records, PCP records and various French label releases.

I was lucky enough to play in several local Rave and radio stations, but then one day I went into a record store and the owner told me: "Try this one". It was a double CD of Virgin Records, whose title was "Ambient 4: Isolationism" from here on it completely changed my vision and my influences which then somehow influenced my approach to writing and musical composition. Included on the album were Zoviet France, Lull, Main, Paul Schutze, Thomas Koner and many others.

In 2003 I met Gianluigi Gasparetti / Oophoi, who besides being the artistic director of the Italian magazine Deep Listening, had his recording studio full of analog synths, samplers etc ... He encouraged me to start my adventure again in world of sound. So I started with a novation synth rack and a couple of mini CD players, with which I composed my first Netherworld signature works.

For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice? What is the the relationship between copying, learning and your own creativity?

There is a contradiction ... in my opinion, when an artist emulates someone else, the concept of originality is lost. I base all my development on the emotion I feel at a precise moment in my life. I can't compose something without having a strong emotional drive that can turn feelings into sound. It is very difficult to have one's own style ...

I prefer to have a story to tell. What really makes the difference is the feeling, not the technique and / or the tools you use. I'm not a profound music connoisseur and I don't even consider myself a musician. When I am inspired I turn on the instrumentation and I handle sounds until I reach my goal. I don't know how to play a specific instrument and I prefer it that way. In my opinion there is no relationship between these three factors, as creativity has nothing to do with copying and learning. The technique can help, but in the end, if you don't have strong ideas, everything loses its meaning and everything sounds the same.

What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?

At the beginning I had really poor equipment. Only a novation rack synth, a multi-effects built into the mixer and a microphone. I didn't have multitracks or even a laptop ... I recorded the sounds on CD-r and then mixed them through my DJ console. I went on like this for several years, but I have to say that this mode allowed me to get to know my few instruments in depth. Later I bought a studio mixer, multi-effects, Waldorf synths and an EMU sampler. I recorded the sounds through Cubase (which I still use today).

What was your first studio like? How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?

As I said at the beginning of the interview, I had set up my first studio in the basement under my father's furniture store. I was 14 years old and this situation lasted until I was 19. There was a lot of humidity that occasionally caused some problems with the electronic instruments. At the time I was also a DJ and this small "underground shelter" was also a meeting point for other DJs and friends.

We played gabber and techno at very high volume ... we made a total mess, and the residents of the area wondered what happened in those parts. Only now that I'm 41, I managed to get my professional studio in a room in my new home. I have everything I need, and my most important tools are the Roland VP9000 and the Eventide Space Reverb.

How do you make use of technology? In terms of the feedback mechanism between technology and creativity, what do humans excel at, what do machines excel at?

In the simplest way possible ... I'm not a technology lover, I'd rather think of the idea of not being totally dependent on them. Humans excel in heart and passion, machines provide tools to make feelings real. The human mind creates machines, machines do not create the human mind.

Production tools, from instruments to complex software environments, contribute to the compositional process. How does this manifest itself in your work? Can you describe the co-authorship between yourself and your tools?

In my case, this does not happen. The only software I use is Cubase but only as a multitrack. The laptop is not used to generate and / or modify sounds. Everything is created, manipulated, effected, cut through analogical instruments. I can say that my compositional process is almost exclusively analogue and I really like it that way. The tools I use most are the VP9000 and the Alesis ION and I love turning their knobs to find the "perfect sound". They are there, at my complete disposal and react to my moods. In fact, when I am very inspired, they seem to understand the situation immediately ... they adapt and the monitors spread the sounds I want to get into the air.

Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?

I believe that the best way to collaborate musically with another artist is to do it together because those precise moments of total feeling and harmony are captured instantly. Unfortunately I never had the chance to do it until today. The reasons: time and space.

I don't have many collaborations with other artists ... what has happened so far has been the remote exchange of audio files such as my album "Himuro" with Eraldo Bernocchi or "Magma to Ice" with Nadja.


 
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