By Blake Parker
Fabrizio Paterlini, a popular Italian composer and pianist, recently released the album Winter Stories, his latest addition to his collection of over a dozen records. However, this album is unlike most: the recording process was done live, in one take, while streaming on Facebook. Fans were able to tune in and get a first-hand look at the songs of “Winter Stories” as they were being recorded right in his own living room.
Paterlini, who recently started on his performing schedule for spring 2018, was kind enough to let us interview him on the one-of-a-kind album and the process of its creation.
You have quite an extensive catalog of recordings under your belt. When did music enter your life, and how has the role of music in your life changed over time?
I started playing the piano when I was six years old. My family is mostly composed of musicians, so it was quite natural for me to follow that path. Despite starting to play the piano so young, it was only when I was around 35 years old that I started composing my own music. Before that, to me music was just playing others’ music. Then… yes, you’re right, I composed a lot of music!
My journey with music cannot be seen as separate from my personal life and growth: becoming a more conscious human being has also had positive effects on the music side. At first, music was a hobby; an important one, but still a hobby. I was an accountant, to pay my bills. Slowly, something happened and I became a part-time worker, and then ten years after my first album “Viaggi in aeromobile” was released, I became a full-time musician.
What does your creative process normally look like when creating an album? Has this process evolved as you’ve created and released more music?
My process is more or less always the same: I sit at the piano and start playing. I always make sure to have something to record with, in case an idea comes – it can be the computer, the tape or the Zoom (even the iPhone), because otherwise the music gets lost. Most of my piano solo songs are improvisations that came to find me, and I had the luck to immediately record them.
Your music has a gorgeous, cinematic tone to it. Did you dream, early on, that you would one day make music for short films?
Making music for films is one of my dreams. In the past, I collaborated with several filmmakers, who used my songs for their videos or short movies. But those were songs already released. I really can’t wait to create something new alongside someone’s ideas of a movie.
Your most recent album, Winter Stories, is quite unlike any other because you recorded the tracks while live-streaming on Facebook. What a remarkable and unique way to make an album! What gave you this idea? Did you have any worries or fears specific to this album that don’t come with making a normal album?
The idea was a natural evolution of a concept I envisioned over the years... Only a few years ago, a good way to promote music was to create a track, post it on SoundCloud and let it go, free. In my Autumn Stories project (2012) I did exactly this: one song a week for the entire Autumn season. And it was a great deal because in those days Spotify wasn’t the ‘king’ yet and people still loved to download free tracks!
After the release of that album, I had been asked several times to create a sequel. I liked the idea, but I wanted to make something really different and special. So I asked my team if it was technically possible to do this “Winter Stories” album, in one single take, live from home. I have a small recording studio at home, with all the gear I’ve been collecting over these 10 years and it seemed like a good idea to me to use that equipment.
The project was exciting, to say the least: playing live and knowing that there are people watching online is not much different to playing in a hall… with all the worries that we normally have when playing live. But everything turned out for the best and I was really happy with the result!
Something noticeable about this album’s sound is how personal it is. For instance, during or at the end of many pieces listeners can hear your breath as you exhale. Personally, I enjoy this kind of vulnerability in recorded music, but some say it takes away from the experience. Did you record in such an intimate way by choice? What are your thoughts about its effects on the music itself?
Yes, it was a choice. I wanted it to feel intimate, and I was doing this in my living room so it couldn’t be different. The idea was to give the audience the feeling of being right there at home, with me. And I am happy to notice that this result was obtained.
Were there any challenges about making this album that stand out to you? Was the album rewarding in some way that other albums are not? Would you consider making another album in this way again?
The most difficult challenges were the technical ones - luckily I can rely on a small team of great people, who in the end found a perfect way to stream both audio and video in high quality.
The result was absolutely rewarding: this album is the demonstration of what I have been saying for the past ten years. What matters in music today is exclusively the relation between the artist and their audience. No middlemen, no gate-keepers. Only the music, which goes directly from the people that compose it to the people listening.
I am already working on a “secret” project in line with what I did on “Winter Stories” and soon you’ll see what it is all about.
It seems you have Autumn Stories and Winter Stories completed. Can fans of yours look forward to more full-length albums relating to the seasons? What can listeners of yours get excited about in the future?
I don’t know actually, though I have to confess that the idea of composing a “Summer Stories” is quite intriguing. I love contrasts and composing mostly melancholic music during summer days should give fantastic results!
Stream and purchase Winter Stories on Bandcamp.