SIP - SoundLAB Interview Project

Arrighi, Mauro

Mauro Arrighi

artist biography


Interview: 10 questions

1. When did you start making music, what is/was your motivation to do it?
I started playing piano when I was six years old after I saw Claudio Simonetti (The Goblin) playing classical compositions on a grand piano wearing a black tie. But I stopped at ten because I lost a position at the Conservatory by a few points. When I was nineteen, I taught myself how to play guitar (acoustic and electric).
I started to make music with computers in 1997. At that time I had already played with several rock bands, but I wanted to mix real instruments and electronic equipment together. So my passage into digital music really began in 2000, and I worked mainly by myself.

2. Tell me something about your living environment and your musical education.
As mentioned, my musical background is both self-taught and trained.
Like most electronic musicians I compose in my bedroom.
I use a limited number of inexpensive equipment: a G4 PowerBook, evolution USB keyboard, sennheiser and AKG headphones.
This is what I carry with me for the performances.
Occasionally I record live instruments, like electric and acoustic guitars played by myself.
I also use Reason and for specific live sets Max/Msp & Jitter.
It depends on the type of project. My last performances were made by mixing audio and video in real time, so the main software used was Jitter.

3.Is making music your profession? What is the context in which you practice music nowadays?
Actually, it is not my profession. I am a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice.
Teaching in the new media department made it easier for me to combine my passion and my profession. In fact I made the soundtrack and the audio for some short movies and performances that were made by my MA students.
I also play as a dj and vj in many clubs in Venice.

4. How do you compose or create music or sound? Do you have certain principles, use certain styles etc?
I am very traditional when I compose with computers: my classical background forces me to think in terms of harmony, melody and rhythm, but I feel free to experiment with timbre, the tone-colour of the sound.
On special occasions, like this one (moviepayback), I work with rough elements, the background noise of houses and streets.
Obviously each project is different from the other, especially due to the fact that I am also a visual artist, so most of the time the animation comes first, then I try to match the music. Sometimes I compose music as a pop songwriter does. This is another aspect of being a musician. These kinds of songs are usually collaborative projects.

5. Tell me something about the instruments, technical equipment or tools you use?
As I mentioned, just what I can fit in a bag.
Reason became my first tool, but I soon became addicted to Sound Forge and Acid.

6. What are the chances of New Media for music production in general? And you personally?
Briefly. I think that working in the digital realm enables artists to collaborate closely and quickly on bigger projects. The Music Industry goes one way while research goes in the opposite direction. Visual and musical artists now have more “instruments” to play with, also more managing tools, but the point is:
It is useless to work with new tools repeating the same things, or worse… trying to imitate the colours and flavours of precedent well-known pieces.

7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?
Making short music is not my main job. It is part of the process of being a teacher of digital art and a vj performer.
In that sense, I mainly finance my productions by myself. I have been paid for shows and lectures. I hope to soon find an established position in a new media agency where I could express my full potential.

8. Do you work individually as a musician/sound artist or in a group or collaborative?
When I work alone I can express myself without any contamination, but I like to talk with other authors in order to produce better work. Recently, I have been working independently.

If you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?
It is totally different. For me it is easier to play with other musicians using real instruments. Playing electronic music in real time with others is very difficult.
Everything depends on the project, the style you are looking for… So, each composition is different from the others.

9. Is there any group, composer, style or movement which has a lasting influence on making music?
It may sound paradoxical, but I don’t listen to musicians who create in the same genre that I do.
I like to listen electronic music of course, but not so often.

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a sound artist or musician?
Actually, I am not planning my future as sound artist.
Despite this, I am working everyday on several projects.
I am going to take part in several exhibitions and performance, in which I will collaborate with visual artists, and sometimes we will exchange roles.

Can your works be experienced online besides on SoundLAB? Where?
List some links & resources
Yes: and