Rock Impressions

by Giancarlo Bolther and Laura Medei

Superb album, it seems that you’ve got a lot of fun in the making. How did this collaboration start and which were your goals?
It's a nice challenge to team up with some players you respect, and see what can come out of the project. Sometimes the result isn't as good as you hoped -- sometimes it's better. This time the compositions came out really well -- not based on jams at all, and I'm very happy with the musical result.

What’s the difference between this project and the experience you’ve had with Liquid Tension Experiment?
To me, each album, each project, and each tour is different - so it's hard to compare them. I'll try with these two, though: the big difference was we wrote the material in our home studios, then shared it with the other players. LTE was all written together and quickly - so no time to second guess the material. That's not a bad thing, just different. Then, the writing was just different. And Jordan was left a bigger role in this music (there being no lead guitar player in the group)

The album shows a very high technical level, but there is also a great feeling between you. In your opinion, how important is the technical ability in playing compared to the search for a good melodic composition?

That's a good question. I value technique a lot, but no so much the 'playing fast' technique, but the touch, and phrasing -- the stuff that make you sound different than other players. But there are a lot of kinds of technique -- and for a player like me, I'm still practicing plenty, to try to get better at it all. The technique is, to me, like the TOOLS you're using. It's not as important, in the end, as what you called the 'feeling between' us… i.e. the quality of the music.

Making the album, have you worked together or in a separated way?

Each at his home studio, except for some jamming that Jordan and I did together at his studio -- that is (in video) on the DVD version of the album.

Are you planning to represent live the album or is it going to remain only a studio project?
Maybe after second album is done we may tour.

Nowadays collaborations between musicians are increasing in rock, while in jazz represent the norm since a long time. According to you why is it not the norm in rock as well?
I don't know. I have done a lot of collaborations in rock, through the years. I think it's pretty common

Dealing with all the albums you’ve played in, could you tell us your favorite five and why would you choose them?
I don't have favorite albums or musicians. I like a lot of different music, and if it's very good, than it's special to me, (whether I have played on it or not) and hopefully I can grow as a musician by being exposed to that kind of music. I don't go through my old albums and listen to them - not that it wouldn't be fun, but I am usually busy working on new music - and that's more important to me.

In your career you’ve made a lot of experimental music. Do you think experimenting is still possible nowadays? And which are the artists or the young bands you consider able to make that?
I'm always listening for new bands (or old ones) that break the rules, in a musically good way, so that I can be inspired with my music. To me that's what 'progressive music' is about, and it's not always easy to push yourself beyond the boundaries of what you've done before. Hearing other bands is a big help.

You have a long time experience. When did you realize for the very first time something important was happening in you musical career and which has been the greatest satisfaction happened to you?
Like many musicians, I'm not so good at seeing an 'overview' of my career. So, rather than realizing I'm doing something important, all I ever did was listen to the music I am involved with, and try to make up a really good bass part!

You have played with many artists from different countries and covering different musical genres, from jazz to progressive, from pop to fusion. Which collaboration has meant more to you in a professional way?
I have enjoyed all the music I've got to play… well, all the GOOD music - and most of it was very good.

Aside from the projects you’re involved in, you’re just back in King Crimson lineup. Would you describe in a few words how the band looks today if compared to foregoing experiences?
We haven't started rehearsing yet with the new King Crimson, so I don't have a good idea how it will sound (nobody does, yet!) I know there will be three drummers, so it's going to be very interesting to hear what happens, and as always with that band, I am sure it will be very challenging for all of us.

During the past two decades you’ve worked with several Italian artists. Have you got any anecdotes to tell about those collaborations?
No anecdotes, but I love the music sensibility in Italy (maybe because I was always a big opera fan!) and I've been very lucky to play with some great Italian artists.

Is there a musician you’d like to work with or a musical genre you’re intending to explore in the next future?
The near future for me is taken up with tours in the coming year - all with musicians I already know (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, Stick Men, The Crimson ProjeKCt). I hope, in the future, to expand and play with other players, but probably it won't be until these coming tours are done.

This is the last question. If you mind, you can end this interview with something you have in aim to say. A kind of message to the Italian audience. You’re free.
I love being in Italy, and playing concerts there. It's a great audience, there is great understanding of Progressive Rock, and … well, like most of the world, I agree it's just a great place to be!

Review: Levin Minnemann Rudess

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