Name: Gabriele Poso
Occupation: Producer, percussionist
Current release: Gabriele Poso's new full-length album Tamburo Infinito is out October 1st via Wonderwheel.
Recommendations: Book “The Daily Pratice of Painting” by Gerhard Richter; Album “Song in the key of Life” Steve Wonder
If you enjoyed this interview with Gabriele Poso and would like to dive deeper into his colourful world, head over to his official homepage. He is also on Instagram, Facebook, Soundcloud, and twitter.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I started writing and producing music at the age of 17, but my first release “From The Genuine World” came out in 2008 on Yoruba Records.
I established a deep connection with music early in my childhood through my family’s vinyl collection. It was filled to the brim with the best jazz, soul and Afro-latin music from the 70s and early 80s.
For most artists, originality is 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?
Learning a technique is an exercise that any human being can do with dedication and sacrifice. Being able to transform that into your own personal expressive form of art and voice is an endless research.
For a select few, it's what brings you close to God.
How do you feel your sense of identity influences your creativity?
I take the greatest inspiration for my compositions from everyday life: What we do and how we live everyday defines us as humans and creativity is deeply connected with all this. What we go through every day, what happens around me, people, nature … daily life is my true creative resource.
What were your main creative challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
They are constantly changing every second of my life.
As creative goals and technical abilities change, so does the need for different tools of expression, be it instruments, software tools or recording equipment. Can you describe this path for you, starting from your first studio/first instrument? What motivated some of the choices you made in terms of instruments/tools/equipment over the years?
Right now, I'm very obsessed with sound production. So I‘m very deep into the research of recording equipment for my studio.
I'm trying to mix analog tools and digital devices to get my sound where my ears visualize it.
Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?
For several years now, I've started using Ableton for my live session, both for my solo live performances and those with bands. Growing up as an instrumentalist, you have a totally a different point of view how to perform on stage - using Ableton changes your vision completely.
It took me several years to get the machine and the software to speak the same languages and convey the attitude we want for the live show: It should be honest and take the performance to the next level.
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?
Jamming live with new artist I meet is always the best form the get a direct view for their world and to see if there are any common points to develop new idea and new projects.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please. Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
I always wake up very early, make breakfast for the kids and bring them to school.
Usually, I split my working day in two: Morning is reserved for creative work and the afternoon for office work. I always try to have enough quality time to spend with my family at the end of my day.
Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? When, why and how did you start working on it, what were some of the motivations and ideas behind it?
One of the performances in my career that blew my mind and which has remained one of my favorites until today was at Jazz café London 2004.
We were performing with the full Yoruba Soul Orchestra. It was a very special night – very different vibes compared to all the other live gigs I'd have done before and one of my first events ever outside my own country.
I played all night long with goose bumps – it was that emotional.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
There is no special formula. Creativity is made by every day work, just trying to be the best version of yourself compared to yesterday.
Visualizing your project and working hard - this is what truly revolutionizes your art.
Music and sounds can heal, but they can also hurt. Do you personally have experiences with either or both of these? Where do you personally see the biggest need and potential for music as a tool for healing?
Personally I just experience the positive aspect of music. It's such an incredible tool to balance ourselves. This power of healing knows no limitation.
From my side, it's the only way to keep my sanity even when everything goes wrong.
There is a fine line between cultural exchange and appropriation. What are your thoughts on the limits of copying, using cultural signs and symbols and the cultural/social/gender specificity of art?
I think planet earth should not have a border. The limit is just about the knowledge, study and respect.
If you feel that you would like to include something different and far from your native culture into your work, something that you feel deep connected with your spirit and soul, this a beautfull thing. But it must pass through knowledge and it needs time.
For example, before I started using the secrete languages of drums, I spent a lot of time on the Caribbean islands. I lived there for almost 6 years, studying with the best teachers I can imagine. This allowed me to understand better what role the drum plays in their culture and to respect it in all its different aspects.
Now, after more then 20 years, this language has become my language, too.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work?
My favorite connection is with the sense of taste. I belive there are many common points in both and there is a very similar attitude in the art of music as in the art of cooking.
I've done a lot of research on this and I'm working on my next big big festival project for the next summer season in my own state of Puglia.
Food and music and their connection will be the main focus.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
I do music just for music's sake. There is no political influence on my approach.
What can music express about life and death which words alone may not?
I guess everything. Music is a huge tool of communication when words fail. Its power is endless and aspect like life and death are the main nutrients that feed it.