Could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? 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?
Since November 2019, I’ve been involved in an artist residence in Barcelona at the Contemporary Art Center “Fabra i Coats”, so every day I go to the studio and it is a real joy. I wake up, have a coffee and get on the subway to reach the studio. Generally, the first hour is dedicated to study because violin needs to be played in a certain way to have your muscles trained and to cultivate your own sound. Then I usually listen to what I recorded the day before and start playing freely, improvisations carrying the sensations I feel that day. It is a sort of impulsive playing. At this point I write scores and the time comes to record and experiment, search for the right sound. I love spending the days with this sort of routine. However, creativity cannot really follow a rigid schedule, so some days I just feel the need to take long walks and reconnect. What mostly inspires me and calms me is nature. I enjoy living in a city on the sea, which is probably what I love the most after music. The sea clears my mind and recharges my energy. At night, I go often to concerts: Barcelona offers a wide range of music, from classical to experimental, from electronics to world music. For me it is fundamental to listen to live music as much as I can: something always stays in my mind and my heart.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where did the ideas come from, how were they transformed in your mind, what did you start with and how do you refine these beginnings into the finished work of art?
My first album "Fireflies" was born after an important encounter in my personal life: suddenly the music I had inside emerged. Some songs were completely new, others were themes that I found myself playing over the years every now and then. The first song that made me realize that it was time to share my music was "Lucciola", it all started from there. I defined the composition of each track and played and played them until the performance and sound fully satisfied me.
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?
I believe music is first of all a language to communicate, and is at times more instinctive than words. I think the mood of our creativity is strongly influenced on a daily basis by the emotions, the love we give and receive, the experience we make.
I don’t have specific strategies, but once I get to production, I set my mind into a very focused status, which helps me concentrate. When I play, I listen to my breath: it is like getting closer to myself, creating a contact with my body and mind.
How is playing live and writing music in the studio connected? What do you achieve and draw from each experience personally? How do you see the relationship between improvisation and composition in this regard?
I enjoy improvising and being free while playing, it is an important step of my compositional process. Perhaps the most beautiful inspirations are born this way. I often feel that the most interesting cells of a composition are found in the first performance, in fact I always record when I experiment in order not to lose certain inputs or ideas, which I then develop with composition.
The studio is a safe place in which you have the chance to experiment, to rehearse. I see a natural connection between playing in the studio and live, as a circle that closes.
How do you see the relationship between the 'sound' aspects of music and the 'composition' aspects? How do you work with sound and timbre to meet certain production ideas and in which way can certain sounds already take on compositional qualities?
With an instrument like the violin it takes ten years to perform a song with a listenable sound. After having learned and developed the technique you are then ready to work on refining your sound. You always have to play and study, it is fundamental.
I realise how the sound and the way of playing is different when playing live and when recording in the studio. I feel that my muscles move in a different way, the attention is different, the use of the bow is different, concentration and breathing change, they behave differently. Timbre and dynamics must represent the emotions that you want to convey.
Sound is the core: every musician develops a personal sound, which is like the voice of the artist. For me sound is everything, I have been refining it for years and it constantly evolves.
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? What happens to sound at its outermost borders?
Since we are made almost entirely of water, our body perceives music through the vibrations that move our cells. For this reason, I believe it is very important to really select the music we listen to.
Music represents a very deep experience. The bond between the musician and the listener can reach almost a mystical dimension, which involves all senses.
Live music can be the catalyst of a special energy, in which not only all senses within yourself are connected but that also bond with the ones of the audience.
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 believe that art conveys education, openness, aggregation. I truly trust the fact that art can improve us as human beings. A society that does not invest in art, in culture in general is destinated to negative outcomes. Being an artist for me means telling about the very incredible fact of being alive: an artist is capable of translating stories, emotions and sharing them with others. Art has also the power to stimulate and it can truly bring a change, it can have a strong social impact.
It is remarkable, in a way, that we have arrived in the 21st century with the basic concept of music still intact. Do you have a vision of music, an idea of what music could be beyond its current form?
Music has been and always will be a beauty of this world. It is constantly changing but its essence will remain intact. I hope music will develop also as a “therapy” as there are more and more studies that prove the incredible impact that sound can have on our body. As we know, frequency has a strong power on our cells.