FEDERICO SOLAZZO identikit of a young keyboard player
by Leonardo Chiara, July 28th, 2013
This is a Google translated interview, sorry ;), but still interesting I think! Cheers!
He is 27 years old and what might be called a “brain drain”. Italian by birth, lives in Holland and carries on business as a musician at the international level. He plays in the band of Jamal Thomas (drummer Maceo
Parker) and has collaborated with many other Italian and foreign artists more or less known. Since 2008 he has collaborated with the brand Clavia Nord and has contributed to the timbre of the new Nord Lead 4.
BB After the identity crisis of the nineties keyboard, you begin to see young personalities keyboard publications, not surprisingly linked to the brand Clavia,
a manufacturer that has given lifeblood on keyboards live. But how did you get there?
Solazzo As a boy I studied organ and composition at the Conservatory because my father liked these instruments, and was still with him, and to his interest in the notation of the computer, which I could browse as a boy in technology. At six years old I got my first keyboard, a Generalmusic CD-1 to five octaves without dynamic that I literally wrung the neck of exploiting all the possibilities. In early 2000 were fashionable the master keyboard with expanders and so I tried to look around in that world. One day I saw in the store a small red object, a Clavia Micro Modular, and I decided to try it and found that it had a nice potential. The clerk could not find the note with the price and I, who had then 16 years old, told him that an object so small it would have cost no more than € 250. He gave it to me at that price as it would cost at least 800 Euros. It was then that I discovered the series of Clavia Nord. I have always appreciated their instruments because I found them very close to my understanding of the sound, more authentic and personal. Clavia tried to register the authenticity of the instruments to give it into the hands of the musician. The North are not machines that play by themselves but require interaction with keyboardist.
BB What music you listened to and played?
Solazzo How many keyboard players of my generation have been “fleshato” by Dream Theater. Jordan Rudess was those solismi a bit ‘to Keith Emerson once, but with a fresh pasta tone and virtuosity without an end in themselves, at least initially. So at fifteen I started playing in a tribute band that did their pieces. After various experiences, today I am happy to have found one of my size in an area more funk and soul, but always in a key emotional and instinctive. Playing abroad a lot, I realized that a musician has to be convinced of what he does in order to transmit always something to the public. To do so should not fall too much to compromise and accept what is. In education too, a teacher should direct the student so that there is a growth in some direction, not necessarily what the teacher expects.
BB When did you start doing synthesis?
Solazzo The Micro Modular already had a tool that required knowledge bases on the synthesis. And from there I started to look for people who could teach me something. I found Roland Kuit, first, a luminary of modular synthesis that has a completely new approach and not an end in itself. Then I had the good fortune to take the course of sonology in The Hague, where I live. They use advanced equipment and analog at the same time and full of Italian students. Having had the chance to discuss with the likes of Trevor Wishart on how to use noise to create emotions and was one of the most interesting things. But what I noticed in the students present them and unfortunately the absence of planning regardless of the choice of instruments. Almost all start from the equipment and are wondering what they can create only after musically.
BB From this point of view I would say that if you have an idea in his head, maybe you can do with any instrument has a minimum of possibilities. If they gave you a different brand of synth would you use your head to find solutions as interesting …
Solazzo My position in Clavia and another type because they are happily engaged to work in the department of Clavia ideas, being able to discuss what will be the future. About cone ingenuity to find solutions even with different instruments, I remember once I was in Naples to play a White Night with piano and voice, and I expected that there was a real piano. Instead it was a synthesizer to five octaves unweighted. Since I have learned to adapt to what I smile, because if there is no alternative risk only to create contrast, I said “that’s fine.” I lowered the eighth to have a little ‘more than low using your hands to control the pressure and gone. One thing I often see abroad and the ability of many musicians to sound check with no stress for too too long, for example. This means they are always ready.
BB From the point of view of expressiveness, there are other instruments in which the strong and less mediation between musician and instrument. In all keyboards and very simplified, less than not relate so pushed with the synthesis …
Solazzo keys for a keyboard player, at least until now, they have a limit. A keyboard has a switch for each key. O and on or off. It is also true that the way you manage the release of a key and very important yet few consider it as an expressive element. One thing that the keyboard should aim more precisely and that there is space between the push of a button and the other. It happens on the clavinet, for example, where it is very important to the moment of detachment, especially when using a wah effect. For example, with the clones need to use alternative ways to get to have acceptable expressiveness. Once the sounds of the real thing and not easy to get back on the digital one, but if I can avoid carrying around 190 pounds of Hammond I am easily able to accept the compromise committing myself to the maximum in order to play the clone at best. Even the synth can give us a feedback if we pay attention to detail. When I program the sounds of the Nord Lead, for example, I always look for an interaction with the instrument. For example, on strings there is always a certain tenacity to emulate something that already exists, and I think we should go in a new direction. For example, on many stamps which are emulations of the filters I have devoted a Minimoog LFO sync button, so that when you press it it triggers the LFO waveform at rest on a random step in, assigned to the pitch with extension of a few cents. So that there is a kind of random detuning minimal. I really like the inaccuracies. For example on strings, when you exceed the pinch the rope does not sound more but it breaks down. Even if by a punch in the piano the same thing happens and the natural decay is reduced because the sound chokes. And therefore interesting to apply this principle of pizzicato in high velocity values, to other types of timbre. In addition to the damping timbre, also moves the pitch, as when the rope is slabbra. Another thing I like to do and use the noise as a rhythmic element, but by introducing a noise in an unexpected point of the sound envelope.
BB What other tools are you working on now?
Solazzo I’m collaborating with the Americans of the Studio Electronics, synth realize that in the seventies after the service at Moog and by dint have to learn first made MidiMoog and then built their synth very interesting, such as the SE-1 and ATC .
BB Apart from the classics, such as synthesizers they hit you in the recent past?
Solazzo The things that attracted me in the past as electronic instruments are those who own a paste. But one thing I can mention particular, the Teenage Engineering OP-1. A small tool that has revolutionized the concept of summary, because an interface with color very instinctive and can offer the possibility to create sounds and those who know of synthesis that those who did not know. If I had to take a little keyboard to take her on a classic desert island, I would take that.
Keyboard Player Federico Solazzo talks to My Keyboard Lessons
My Keyboard Lessons caught up with Federico recently: