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Nosound

Ik ben wel eens jaloers op sommige muzikanten. Ik kan wel een beetje zingen, een klein beetje gitaar spelen en ook een liedje componeren gaat me niet slecht af. Je hebt muzikanten die weergaloos een bepaald instrument bespelen, virtuoos zijn in hun vak. Maar ik ben vooral jaloers op diegenen die meerdere disciplines perfect beheersen. Zo iemand is Giancarlo Erra, het brein achter het Italiaanse gezelschap Nosound. De man speelt weergaloos gitaar, zingt verdienstelijk, schrijft geweldige composities, heeft een perfect gehoor om fantastisch te kunnen produceren en schroomt niet om achter de drums of keyboards plaats te nemen. Nu er een re-issue wordt uitgebracht van het debuutalbum van de band – het voortreffelijke 'Sol29'- leek mij de tijd rijp om eens met Giancarlo van gedachten te wisselen over verschillende (muzikale) aspecten. Erra blijkt een meer dan interessante gesprekspartner.

Door: Wim | Archiveer onder prog / sympho metal

Hello there, congratulations with the re-release of your debut album – originally from 2005 - 'Sol29'. Finally the album is available again!
Hi and hello to all the readers! Yes, it really is a pleasure to have 'Sol29' available again and in the classic Kscope high package quality! After almost two years being out of print and five years since the first release, we agreed with the band and our label that now was the right moment to put it out again. After signing up with Kscope and the release of the 'A Sense Of Loss' album I was receiving requests almost daily about 'Sol29' and I think it was worth the wait for it considering the quality and the content of the new release.

How many copies of the album were printed back in 2005? Was the success of the release a surprise, both to the band as to the record company?
I don't remember how many copies we printed. I'm sure we had something like 300 promos; we printed and packaged them manually at my home and send them to journalists and fans. The response was so amazing that we soon realized it was time to properly print (industrial and not at home) a release and so the first release of 'Sol29' was born. I remember the first 500 copies went out very quickly as the first reviews were very positive. I think the first edition was something about 2000 copies in total, while the second edition in 2008 (different mastering and some extras) were another 1000, plus about 500 dvd-r ('The World Is Outside') containing extra studio audio/video material and some live footage. All the studio audio/video, plus a completely new video, is included in the dvd of this last and definitive Kscope edition! For sure the way 'Sol29' was considered by press, other important artists and the audience was surprising, considering I started everything not being sure I would even sell the first 500 copies!

The audio cd features completely new digitally restored and analogue mastered audio from the original album. What exactly did you do in the studio and for me as a listener; what is the main difference between the original album and this release soundwise?
Obviously your two questions are related. As I said before, there already was a remastered edition released in 2008 for which I did the remastering in the studio were the original album was done, while for this new edition I used the new studio I made and were also 'A Sense Of Loss' was recorded. I made it from the original 24bit mixes, trying to push things a little bit harder still keeping the original dynamics and sound even if pushing out lots of details. I also thought about remixing or singing/playing again some parts that were not that good, but I was never a fan of such things so I decided for a midway between the original thing and something with a more modern and high quality sound. I have to say that I'm quite satisfied with the result and indeed this release deserves the name of definitive release of the album. The listener will find lots more details, even probably things that were barely audible before, all with some more volume and dynamics, a more even sound between the songs, a more correct stereo imaging of some instruments, all with the same original sound character. And if you want to spot these differences there are also the original mixes on the dvd for you to check and compare.

In my review of the album I draw parallels between Porcupine Tree and Nosound. Not only is the music of 'Sol29' similar to the music of Porcupine Tree on their first releases, but both bands started as sort of solo projects and have evolved into real bands over the years. Do you agree?
Yes, I agree. I have always admired the production abilities of Steven Wilson and his most recent solo and collaborations work. I think he really worked hard to get Porcupine Tree where they are today and for sure he is an example of quality and hard work always paying back at some point. When I started Nosound I had to start alone as it's not easy to find good musicians following you in a project, so I think starting alone was a good way to keep control over things and as a test bench. However, I think at some point you need to share and join with others to extend your vision. It is not easy but I feel really lucky to have found and work with these friends that are in Nosound with me.

What are the differences between Nosound in 2005 and Nosound 2010, in music, approach, line up, etc.?
There are a couple of changes between the first band and the band today, but I think the main difference is both in music and in the way we all think about our own music. Personally I am influenced by lots of contemporary non 'rock' music, and I think probably at first Nosound were more influenced by their inspirational bands. Today I think after 'Sol29' and 'Lightdark' we moved a little bit away from the more 'rock' side with 'A Sense Of Loss' and that was intentional. I really like the alt/folk/postrock scene from Northern Europe a lot and I'd like to create something sharing that music approach with some more 'song' oriented lyrics and melodies. Often when I listen to some of this 'large' instrumental band music I find myself imaging words and lyrics..

Let's focus on a few songs of the album. First of all the title track. Can you tell us a bit more about the meaning of that song. It's an instrumental track with music that reminds me of David Sylvian. I guess it is perfect to use for a documentary or something like that. And please give us more information about the new video; it's hard to understand what you want to show us with that video?
Mmm well I think it's not that hard! Basically it is the tale of snowfall. That song made me think of snowfall, and so the video is a snowfall tale from the start, peak, and then all the way back. So the start is also the end; when the sun comes out again melting snow into water from the trees (the closing scene). I think the track - even if not a song - is still one of my favourites from the album, and that's why I named the album after it. I found myself listening (or playing it) even for 20 minutes, there's just 'something' I knew there was for me in that song, also the few times we played it live. I agree it would be perfect for some visual, that's why it was the selected track for the video instead of the more 'famous' (or rock) ones like 'Idle End' or 'The Moment She Knew'.

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Speaking of David Sylvian, I think of his 'Gone To Earth' period while listening to both 'The Child's Game' and 'Waves Of Time'. Something you recognize?
For sure David Sylvian is , with Brian Eno, one of the very few things I loved from the eighties, and 'Gone To Earth' is still his best album for me. So yes for sure there's some influence from it. I think in some way he was able to join the 'ambient' music with the songwriter mood and his amazing voice and feeling did the rest. I think 'Damage' is one of my all time favourite songs.

I think the guitar parts in songs like 'Wearing Lies On Your Lips' and 'Idle End' (my favourite track of the album) are absolutely brilliant. It almost has the same vibe and sound as David Gilmour and that is a true compliment. Is he an inspiration for you as a guitar player?
Thanks for the nice words. Yes, I particularly like the solo on 'Idle End', I think it has that 'melodic' theme that I always try to put in solos. And yes, David Gilmour obviously is one of my 'guitar heroes' when I started playing guitar and he is now one of the most expressive guitarist around I think. I was never attracted by the technical side of guitar playing, I just like to play the music I like and to be able to put some 'soul' and feeling in it. Gilmour can do just that like no one else. I just think that a lot of modern guitarists tend to go too much on the technical or speed (or odd noisy stuff) side, while they should keep some more attention just on the feeling and melodic aspect.

A question about the dvd and the three video's of Neptune, Mars and the Moon. What is that all about? What is there to contemplate about those three planets?
I have a strong passion for astrophotography and astronomy in general, and at the time I just had some ambient pieces that I liked but they did not fit on the album. So when we had the live footage I decided to compile a dvd with this music and with some 'astronomic' videos and make a compilation of all the 'left out' material from 'Sol29'. At the time this dvd-r called 'The World Is Outside' was printed in just 1000 copies, so it was long out of print. With this new Kscope 'Sol29'-edition we just collected all the studio material related to 'Sol29' and added also these 'Contemplating' videos. Looking at them now I really think they were just an experiment, but I just wanted to have everything in this release to be a real 'complete' one about the first year of Nosound and the start of it all.

Giancarlo, what are you: a singer who is also playing various instruments, a guitarist who is also a composer, a bandleader, or something else? What activity gives you the most satisfaction?
No easy answer to this. Usually I like to wear different hats at different times, I can get bored quite easily doing the same thing so I just love to be a songwriter, then a producer or sound engineer, and a singer/bandleader or guitarist on stage or when rehearsing in the studio. Sometimes it's not easy as you have to wear different hats at the same time, but having a band means also that often we just share the hats to have better results and sharing point of views. Personally I really like the songwriting and production part, even if the more we play the more I really like to be on stage and give a 'live soul' to the music, feeling the audience being with me. I think that interaction is so exciting.

What are the plans for Nosound right now: are you going on tour, are you working on new material? Or are you busy with projects like Memories Of Machines with Tim Bowness? Can you please tell us a bit more about that project?
Lots of plans actually. I did a 'Nosound solo' gig in London and we are about to release an EP with all the rehearsal sessions.I think it's quite interesting as it's just me alone on piano/keyboards or acoustic guitar and voice, so a really different arrangement that gave a different life to some tracks. I am also working on new material for the fourth Nosound album, to be released sometime next year, and it's already almost 'shaped' in the sound and 'meaning', it will be again a departure from more 'rock' stuff but will be different from 'A Sense Of Loss', going more to the 'obscure' side of life. The Memories Of Machines-project I did with Tim is now finished and we are discussing final details with a label. Steven Wilson mixed it and we were lucky enough to also have people like Robert Fripp and Peter Hammill contributing on it. I think it's somehow different from Nosound or No-Man, being more 'song' oriented still with an 'artistic' feeling. Release date should be early 2011. We will soon have more details online!

To conclude the interview: did you miss a question and if so, what is the answer to that question? And if not, something else you would like to tell our readers?
I would just like to thank you for the space and the interesting questions, and also I would like to name the other band members of Nosound: Paolo Martellacci on keyboards and backing vocals, Paolo Vigliarolo on acoustic and electric guitars, Alessandro Luci on bass and upright bass, Gigi Zito at drums and backing vocals. I think they are Nosound as well as I am! By the way if any of you will be in Italy in December, we'll have a gig on 17th of December in Rome, more official news to come soon on website about this.

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