Corey Fuller talks with Andrea Gabriele of 'Mou, Lips!'
about life and the latest CD entitled "Untree"
released on the mOAR division of and/OAR.
*This is the first of an ongoing series of artist interviews
revolving around the latest releases on the and/OAR label,
conducted by sound artist Corey Fuller.
Andrea Gabriele is a musician, sound designer, software developer
and events curator. He has played music since 1994 with electronic
devices, acoustic instruments and all the sounds around.
He composes original music and sound design for videos,
commercials, exhibitions and realizes interactive audio video
Andrea has worked for brands such as MTV, BMW, Breil, Pirelli,
Tudor, Arena, Heineken, Ballantyne Cashmere etc. He has
released records with the band Tu m' (until 2003), next as
'Mou, lips!' , since 2003 as Pirandèlo together with Claudio Sinatti
and Marita Cosma, and with many other projects from
experimental to disco music.
Andrea's shows, featuring real time audio video interaction, have
been presented at the main electronic arts festival around Europe
(Netmage, Peam, Avril.dot, Dissonanze, Sintesi, Kals'art, Sprawl..),
and events like Venice Biennale. His records are distributed world
Together with Luigi Pagliarini, Andrea is the main curator and
organizer of PEAM (Pescara Electronic Artists Meeting). He gave
lectures about sound design and interactive installations at art
schools such as Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) and Nuova
Accademia delle Belle Arti (Naba) in Milano. He works as creative
artist and events curator at Post Post Studio.
CF: Could you briefly explain your previous background and activities
leading up to Mou, Lips!?
AG: I grow up in Pescara, Italy. A small nice town in southeast Italy,
sun... sea... hills...food.. family... Started to study pop guitar and
electric bass at 12, and started to play with tape and everything
that could make sounds the same year. While doing my unconscious
experiments all alone, I became a bass and double bass player...
and I played many different kinds of music... from shit Italian folk
music, to pop rock, reggae, and lots of jazz and Latin music. Bizarre
jazz oriented remix of old songs was my main job as music player.
In '97 or '98 i started to play with the Tu m' trio, and knew more
about the experimental music world, so i finally realized that i wasn't
totally crazy after realizing a few records with Tu m'. Mou, lips! was
a duo with Emanuela De Angelis started right after this and I found
myself more free to do my own music. Next I kept studying music
and the experimental world where I found myself free to do my own
music... so records cames out.. gigs... and jobs and so on...
Now I'm writing you from my house here, where I live with my wife
and 3 year old daughter, and just back from Madrid where I did
music, sound design and sound generator software for a Rolex (....)
Tomorrow I need to wake up to take Joy to school... and next setup
an interactive audio video installation for an exhibition.. where a
drop of water generates everything and today Fiat asked me to play
a gig.... life is weird.... you never know what (will) happen the day
after... I could never imagine 14 years ago that it would be like this...
CF: How did you approach the composition of these songs?
Were your methods for 'Untree' a departure or a continuation of your
previous working methods?
AG: I made them a long time ago... so can't remember exactly the
method... I guess that usually I play and record lots of different
instruments and sounds... rearranging and "destroying" the original
mood on the computer. But the real story is that every track has
something deep and intimate... that I can't "simply" identify as
"sounds" made by "instruments"... They are made of "words".. each
of them remind me a very precise time and situation of my life...
they are my diary.
For example, there's one track that talk about 2 people very close
to me and it's an incredible story... One of them is very very old
and has a problem with depression (going from very happy
moments to big depression) and the other one is young and had
mental problems. And so, they were helping each other... in a very
natural and lovely way... I recorded a message on the answerphone
saying " please please please... come come come... com'n...
please... do it... com'n..."
Thinking to another track on my Pirandèlo record for Baskaru,
"Rebus Malrisolto" it's a totally different situation of me and Marita
living in a seaside flat in the spring time (that means lot of light
and flowers and great sea without a lot of people and lot of fresh
food) and we sang a few words we quickly wrote recording the
sounds with the headphones... having fun.... Why did i never
record those voices again in the studio, or try to make them more
in-tune and in the right tempo? Because... this way... there's more...
CF: What roles does improvisation play in your music?
AG: Most of the tracks on the record are half improvised. I prepare
the material using various software and then play, play, play and
record... Improvisation is like nature...I'm thinking of plants...
they start to grow with seed, earth and water. Next they take
different directions due to what's happening around.
CF: Yes, your music does feel very 'natural' in that sense. The
structures and arrangements feel like they have a natural and
organic asymmetry to them. In structural terms, does "chance" or
"randomness" play any role in your music? If so, how?
AG: Well, as it's not written music, so I think so. Also there's a big
intimate and personal matter on my tracks, that sometimes come
out from titles or on field recordings that are stored on them...so
sometimes i see them like untouchable improvisations. It's like
writing on a diary for a writer maybe?...
CF: I'm equally curious of your wide array and selection of sound
sources/instruments used in the work. Did you consciously set
out to make an album with a wide variety of instruments and
sources or is this a case of what was simply "lying around?"
AG: :) I don't know... it's simply my way of doing music... I do
beats using my daughter toys... or use lead instruments to create
tunes... (harmony)... put what's supposed to stay in the
background on top... vinyls on loop... cheap instruments together
with hi quality sound processing... and so on... we could say it's
maybe close to a ready-made mood of doing things. I have lots of
unplayable instruments like old mixers or analog synths for
harmoniums... things that everyone who makes electronic music
would hate... broken guitars and mandolins and things like that...
that I always found useful... I guess they have something to say...
even one note..
CF: I'm particularly intrigued by the album title. What was your
inspiration or reason for this title?
AG: That was an Emanuela's idea. She took a lo-fi snapshot of a
small tree without leaves... so un-tree.... sounded good...
CF: Could you briefly explain your current projects and activities?
AG: After 10 years of being into experimental music I did many
different projects trying to keep my own voice safe... My actual
experimental music projects are Pirandelo and Symbiosis Orchestra,
but I also play disco music with Clap Rules or techno with
Mario Masullo, or electro pop with Ococo, and do original sound
design and music for fashion events.