Portrait of an artist: Gaudi presents Everlasting
Reported by Tara
Submitted 13-03-12 13:13
Since starting out as a keyboard player in a new wave band in his native Italy 30 years ago, Daniele Gaudi has traversed the peaks of an incredible range of genres and scenes: from dub and reggae to punk, world music to pop, underground art exhibitions to No. 1 hits, his music continues to grow and evolve.
When he’s not touring the world playing at the coolest festivals and clubs, he’s in his Metatron Studio in London, conjuring up more aural magic. With the recent release of his Everlasting compilation on Iboga Records, we were given the rare opportunity of an exclusive interview…
You're originally from Italy but you’ve been based in London for 17 years; please tell us how you first got into making music and how the journey has lead to your present life in London. How did one of the founders of the Italian reggae scene become one of the world’s most prolific electronic artists?
I started with music when I was seven; I studied piano and music composition for 12 years. At the age of 18 I started working professionally as a musician. It was 1981, I was playing keyboard in a New Wave band, then subsequently exploring reggae, punk and experimental electronica.
In 1990 I signed a five-year record deal with Polygram who released my first and second solo albums as a reggae singer. Releasing the first Raggamuffin album using Italian language, I was one of the catalysts of an important underground movement which laid the foundations on which Italy became an important part of the international reggae scene. Being an artist in constant evolution, in 1995 I felt the need to expand my music and bring it to a wider international audience, so I moved to London, where I still live.
Your music covers a diverse range of styles, from dub to reggae to progressive and electro. How would you describe your sound?
My sound is a sonic representation of whatever I’m feeling at a given point in time… communicated using whichever sounds are stimulating my radar at that time. Obviously I have my roots, which are in dub, reggae and electronica. However my branches are waving in the breeze and constantly searching for and picking up new fresh sonic signals from all over the place.
Your musical career spans an incredible 30 years and during that time you’ve played all over the world, headlined some of the most important international festivals, released 12 solo albums, more than 250 music productions and worked on over 90 remixes, ranging from Simple Minds to Trentemøller. What do you reckon have been the highlights of your musical career so far?
My collaborative album Dub Qawwali with Pakistan’s Premier Ambassador of Qawwali music Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Six Degrees Records, 2007), and remixing Bob Marley’s ‘Soul Shake Down Party’ (Universal, 2003).
Following on from that, what haven’t you done yet, that you would like to do?
Many things I haven’t done yet and many things that I will do. I’m a quite focused and determined person and in true dub style I’m not in a hurry. So I will continue to make the best of the situations I find myself in and follow up on the opportunities that I’m given and all being good I would like to be able to continue in this career that I love for another 30 years.
Why the name Gaudi? Are you a big art fan?
It is actually my surname. Daniel is my first name. Daniel Gaudi.
Speaking of which, you played a wicked set at the closing party of up_rize, the Android Jones art exhibition, at Hoxton Gallery at the end of last year – thank you! How did you become friends with Andrew and a fan of his visionary art?
Andrew and I are regularly touring the world and often we are together at the same events or festivals or exhibitions. That’s where we met, in events all around the world. For example, last week we were in Costa Rica together, three weeks before in Australia, last November in Europe, and in October in the USA. I think the very first time we met was in Canada @ Shambala Festival. We are reciprocal fans of each others work; when he came to London I accepted to play at his exhibition, where he did something incredible for me: during my set he got inspired and created a portrait of me in real time! Something incredibly beautiful and amazing! You can check it on my Facebook page and on Andrew Jones’ official website.
Your latest release Everlasting contains tracks from some of the biggest names in electronica, which you've handpicked for the Iboga Records compilation. Please talk us through the tracks you’ve chosen. Was it difficult to choose the tunes you wanted for it?
To create this “sonic journey” condensed in a double CD, I just followed my instincts and my taste in music. I wanted to amalgamate the elements that are part of my own music compositions such as, electronica, dub and psychedelic. So I got in touch with the artists I had in mind and explained my concept. Most of them I knew personally, so it wasn’t too difficult to bring together such an incredible array of top-notch musicians. When I proposed my project they all understood and enthusiastically accepted it and most of them composed brand-new, unreleased material.
The compilation is essentially a “best of” electronic music, including tracks from The Orb, System 7, Eat Static, Pitch Black, Trentemøller, Lamb, Mad Professor, Shpongle to name a few…. Is this the kind of music you’d play in a typical Gaudi set?
Neither is it a “best of” (although the artists involved are some of the best in the business) nor is it a typical “Gaudi set” … if it were a “best of” they would all be classic tracks that we know and love. The tracks in Everlasting I hope will all become classics in time, however they are all new, and mostly previously unreleased tracks. It has a flavour of what I play in my live performances in the colour and depth of the sounds, however the overall tone is different. My live sets are altogether a bit more floor shaking and less introspective.
You’re also about to launch the debut album from SCREEN, your collaboration with Alex Patterson of Orb fame and Chester, scheduled for release on punk label Malicious Damage on 9th April. How does the kind of music you’re making in SCREEN differ from your solo Gaudi work?
It is different from my solo work in many ways, but I guess most obviously, when I produce my own stuff it is all me, my composition, my production, my inspiration… however SCREEN is a band, there are three of us and the input and resulting output reflects this. What I like about what we have achieved is that I feel you can hear all of our individual inputs, while the album and our live stuff emerges as something new, something which is greater than the sum of its parts.
Over the years you've inspired many people. Who's influenced and inspired your music the most?
I am an explorer, I love music in its totality, many genres, many fusions, every one of them transmits a different emotion; of course many artists have inspired me over the years. To name a few who left a deep mark in my “multidimensional music vision”: The Resident, Robert Nesta Marley, Devo, Talking Heads, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, The Smiths, Roots Reggae Music, Brian Eno, The Beatles, Erik Satie, Kraftwerk, The Cure, Lee Scratch Perry, Joy Division, Sex Pistols, the Jamaican 80s/90s dancehall movement, The Specials and Sly & Robbie.
Having been a judge on the XFactor, what do you think about the recent idea for an XFactor-style DJ competition? Would you like to be on the judging panel? What are the main things you’d look for in an X Factor DJ?
Yes I did 3 XFactor series, I selected contestants from about 33,000 auditions. I quite enjoyed the whole adventure for the most part . . . but really, it is not my main thing and I wouldn’t do it again. I personally think that an XFactor for DJs is not a good idea, with that you risk to homogenise and conform all the nuances that a good DJ needs to transmit his music. Just my humble opinion.
You’re a prolific producer: what software and hardware are you currently using? Do you have a favourite piece of kit?
For my productions I use analogue studio gear and vintage synthesisers. Tape echoes and spring reverbs give to my sound an incredible texture; valve compressors add extra depth to it! As a recording platform I use Logic9 on Apple Mac.
My favourite piece of kit? Well I have a few: my inseparable 1975 Minimoog, Arp2600 modular synth, Fender Rhodes, Korg MS20, Arp Odyssey, Roland TB303, all going through my Soundcraft 32ch analogue desk.
You've recently returned from a tour of Australia, which included playing at the legendary Rainbow Serpent festival. Did you enjoy Oz and how was the festie?
Australia is an amazing place for music and parties! Aussies definitely know how to party! This was my second tour after my 2006 debut experience and both of them were fabulous. Rainbow Serpent is surely one of my favourite festivals to play at, impeccable organisation, top notch location, great music quality, and great great crowd!
What up and coming DJs and producers have caught your eyes and ears recently?
James Blake, Opiuo, Kalya Scintilla and Bird of Prey.
Your discography is incredibly diverse, spanning everything from reggae to classical. Are there any styles or genres you haven't tried yet that you'd like to have a crack at a bit further down the line?
I can’t really plan what I will do musically in the future, I just go with my own flow, this is my only formula. Again, I love music in his totality, music for me represents a sort of “quintessential form of freedom” so I will keep doing whatever I’m feeling at a given point in time.
When I first saw you play was on the outdoor stage at Waveform 2008 with a fire dancer performing. Do you have a favourite gig or festival or do you reckon you're only as good as your last gig?
Every time I play a gig it is different from all the previous times. The crowd is different, I am different, the environment is different, the sound is different, emotions are different too. I surely have some memorable gigs to highlight such as my performances at the Burning Man in the Nevada desert, Universo Paralello and Skol Beat in Brasil, my Glastonbury and Glade gigs in the UK, Earthcore and Rainbow Serpent in Australia, Shambhala and Vancouver gigs in Canada, and one of my peak gig of my career at The Coliseum in Rome (Italy) with an audience of 350,000 people!
Given that you’re usually either on tour or in the studio, you mustn’t get much down time. What do you like to do to relax?
Spending quality time with my four-year-old daughter and my wife.
If you could hold a dinner party for any five people – living or dead – who would you invite?
Bob Marley and The Beatles.
You’re just got back from your tour in Costa Rica, and over summer will be touring the USA, Canada and Europe, performing at Glade Festival, Sunrise Celebration, Waveform, One Love Reggae Festival in England, Body and Soul Festival in Ireland, Boom Festival in Portugal and Ozora in Hungary. What are the three things you always have with you when you’re on the road?
Patience, a sense of humour and my dancing shoes!
I know what goes on tour is supposed to stay on tour… but what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen at a festival?
One of the most funny things I have personally experienced at a festival was when I was headlining an event in Mendocino County in California called the Emerald Cannabis Cup, which is basically a gathering of marijuana growers collecting the award for the best ganja. Well, all the organizers, the stage manager, the presenter, the security crew, the crowd and every single living thing in the area was completely and utterly stoned, including the jury of course… so much so that when it came time to present the massive trophy for the #1 best ganja, no-one knew where the trophy was. The mike on stage was on, and the stoned conversation that ensued (and was broadcast out over the PA) as the presenters and organisers tried to work out what had happened to it was classic – a real-live Cheech and Chong moment! My set that day was also delayed by 5 hours – which has got to be some sort of delay record!
Finally, what’s the one piece of advice you wish you’d been given when you started making music?
Any advice would have been good, but back when I started it was very much a solo mission of trial and error. Mistakes however are good – as it’s when we do our best learning.
Thanks for your time Gaudi! Looking forward to seeing you at Glade!
For more info about Gaudi check out his website and Facebook page.
For more info about Iboga Records check: www.iboga.dk
Images courtesy of Gaudi and Rosie @CypherPR. Not to be reproduced without permission.
Glade Festival 2012
Thursday 14th June
Houghton Hall [map]
12:00 - 00:00 17.06.12
Click here to buy tickets
Deep in the English Countryside, diverse electronic genres unite in this mighty melting pot of a festival. Four days of groundbreaking and visually stunning venues, installation art, immersive decor, interactive performances and mind-blowing spectacles, you’ve never been to a party like this before...
Forming the central hub for electronic dance music, we welcome the Glade Stage to 2012. Since the inaugural inception and various name changes, it’s played host to an eclecticism of music like no other, always endeavoring to break boundaries and bring the best of electronic dance music to you, this year we’ve pushed the barriers so you’re moving for 3 days straight… Are you ready?
The Psychedelic Village
* Origin Stage * Liquid Stage * inSpiral *
The planet has an alternative cultural movement which can be found in all its corners… born from the beaches of Goa, become a lifestyle choice for many and one of the most exciting counter cultural phenomena. We love it and we live it. And the UK is in so many ways central to it. It is only right that we have an area at Glade that is totally dedicated to this...
So much of the music that inspired the scene was made by people from the UK; Youth and his Butterfly Studios, Raja Ram and TIP and Hallucinogen, Shpongle and Twisted Records, The Green Nuns of the Revolution, Flying Rhino and so on… In so many ways it began here.
The Psychedelic Village is a celebration of this… With the mighty Origin Stage and Nano Records 10th birthday party, the new open air in the forest running till it’s light Liquid Stage, InSpiral chillout, Healing areas, Psychedelic Cinema, World Shift, talks, art, food and so much more… Come and join us. This is going to be proper… it really is… The team that built the incredible Ozora festival over 7 years from 2005 until 2011 have joined us, alongside Nano, Alchemy and Liquid, to take this part of the Glade to a level not previously seen in our green and pleasant land…. COME ON!
Well what can we say???! Of course in so many ways the stage that started this festival in the first place. And this year going to be a massive. Firstly, it’s Nano Records’ 10th Birthday party. Secondly we have décor from the amazing Artescape.. We think this is the best psychedelic décor on the planet right now and if you’ve been to Ozora or Origin in recent years I’m sure you’ll agree… And then, well, a searing line up of the finest and most brain popping psychedelic music on this world of ours played through Funktion One, set up by Funktion One themselves… This is going to be mayhem…
We missed this. You missed this. And it’s back… The Liquid Stage is back at Glade. And it’s not just back.. it’s improved… it’s open air. It’s in the woods. And it runs until after sunrise… yes you heard that right… We have outdoor sunrise psychedelic trance in the woods… Repeat? You heard the first time… No we’ll say it again.. Open Air Forest party running until after the sun comes up. YES! With an eclectic representation of the very most excellent psychedelic music from the UK and beyond this is going to be pure brilliance…
inSpiral will be going back to its roots for Glade 2012. A tranquil & stimulating space that will take you on a journey with chilled out dubs and grooves, intelligent electronica and world music running throughout the day and night. inSpiral will be a place where you can explore musical landscapes in peaceful surroundings outside the whirlpool of the festival. Sit back and turn on, tune in and drop out.
Other stages include:
The Rabbit Hole
Dance Off Stage
• Spectacles & Performance
• Healing Fields
• Spa and Hot Tubs
Join us on Facebook:
Trance. Acid Trance. Hard Trance. Tech Trance. Psy Trance. House. Bouncy House. Deep House. Funky House. Prog House. Tribal House. US House. Vocal House. Electro House. Acid House. Soulful House. Tech House. Acid Techno. Deep Techno. Funky Techno. Minimal Techno. Techno. Breaks. Club Classics. Electro. Soul. Chillout / Leftfield.
SVEN VATH (Cocoon)
ANDY C : ALIVE
EXCLUSIVE UK FESTIVAL APPEARANCE from PLANTAGE 13
SYSTEM 7 (Live)
THE CORRESPONDENTS (Live)
PRETTY LIGHTS (live)
FOREIGN BEGGARS (live)
TODDLA T & MC SEROCEE
MARC ROMBOY (live)
DRUMSOUND & BASSLINE SMITH
TRICKOLOGEY (Krafty Kuts, A SKILLZ & DYNAMITE MC)
DUB PISTOLS (live)
ROBERT BABICZ (live)
BEN & LEX
KILLERWATTS, TRISTAN, Max Cooper, ACE VENTURA, AVALON, ANS VS REGAN (NANO RECORDS 10 YEAR SPECIAL!), HEDFLUX, DICKSTER, MASTERBLASTERS, LIQUID SOUL, DR ALEX PATERSON, AMD, PSYMMETRIX, SCREEN, CIRCUIT BREAKERS, ALLABY, JAMES MONRO, LUCAS, SOLAR FIELDS, Beardy WEIRDY, ALIJI, LIQUID ROSS, COMMERCIAL HIPPIES, LAUGHING BUDDHA, LOUD, IPCRESS, Shane Gobi, ZEN MECHANICS, ELECTRIXX, EITEN RIETER, RINKADINK, BURN IN NOISE, HIBERNATION, SLACKBABA, POGO, OOOD, DIGITONAL, MONK3YLOGIC, ATOMIC DROP, TWENTY EIGHT, TSUBI, GORGO, NAKED NICK, NOVA, ADE LAUGEE
Plus many many many many many more to be confirmed...
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