New interview with Giancarlo Erra about working on At The Pier and the new songs, the album next year as well and the cooperation with the new members Chris and Marco!
In addition, a very short mini-interview with Chris Maitland!
Feel free to read.
You’ve mentioned that the new EP would give us an idea of what would be included in the full album next year. Is it a sort of a foretaste of new Nosound?
G: Yes the EP (now released) contains in fact three tracks, and they are all taken from the album's material, with some differences. One of the songs will not be on the album, one of them will be there in a different version, and another one will be the same..! And the usual Nosound/Kscope high quality package and design is also a starter for what to expect in the full album..
There are 3 songs on the EP. Why did you decide to include these songs and not others on your minialbum?
G: Listening to the material for the new album, I wanted to present on the EP a good general overview of what is the new direction for Nosound, so I choose three tracks that I thoought represented the picture. A more focused and 'forward' like The Anger Song, a more acoustic/minimalist one like Two Monkeys, and A New Start that both a bridge between the old and new and a great introduction as a first track of the first studio release of new material after ASOL.
I must admit that the group has made a step forward. Texts seem to be complex, more mysterious. Music is more engaging, in three different compositions. That was the objective or just natural evolution of your music and your approach?
G: I think it's probably both things. I never liked such bands saying that they 'wanted' to change, for me art cannot be something you want, is something that comes to you if it's authentic..otherwise you can be maybe a good 'craftman' but you're not an artist, you just mimic it, for me true inspiration it's something evolving on itself with minimum or no direct interference at all. For Nosound I knew that after ASOL, and what happened since then (also in my life), things were going to be more focused and more 'complex' if you like..maybe 'bolder', because what I felt and what I went through was harder, forcing me to be more mature about several things, and this cannot be not reflected in the lyrics and music I write..
Two Monkeys... Could we say that the text of this song is a hidden allusion or has a secret meaning?
G: Almost all of my lyrics always have allusions or secret meanings..not because I want to, but because I always write about things happening in my life, most of the times directly, and to really feel free to express myself I write then in a way I can only full understand them, or maybe the involved person could...doing this they naturally become rich of 'allusions' and 'metaphores', and I think this also helps everyone reading or feeling in them connecting with something else happening in their own lifes. Two Monleys is not a secret meaning, even if it started from something happening to me, it's more a metaphore about lack of communication in a relationship (of any kind), how sometimes we are unable to do differently or to change the situation, maybe even if we'd like to. And sometimes it's too late when we realize..I think it's probably at the same time one of the most direct and metaphoric lyrics for Nosound, and one of those that come out in a matter of minutes all together.
Two Monkeys and The Anger Song have already been performed live... have you heard any comments about them after concerts?
G: Yes for very different reasons. Two Monkeys was always played in the more intimate gigs (including Union Chapel in London) and it was appreciated being a more direct piano-song than usual for Nosound, while The Anger Song we played it in Germany and Holland and was really well received being a more powerful and stripped down song in terms of sound and structure, also in the less melodic way of using guitars for a solo..
The Anger Song... this song differs most from those previously recorded. Could you tell us what inspired you to write it?
G: I think the title pretty much speaks for itself! I'm not an angry person and it takes really a lot to finish my patience, but when it happens (as usual) it's not easily recoverable because I already consumed the last drop of energy. In that case you get that odd mixed feeling of anger and sadness, because anger built up but there's no proper way of letting it out..so as it often happens to me, music is the way to let things go. I had this demo that I always liked but without still a place because it was 'harsh' and without fitting lyrics..and I remember I was so upset that I played the demo in my headphones and all the lyrics and anger just came out on paper..and The Anger Song was born.
Which of these three songs has the greatest personal meaning for you, if any?
G: I don't know..very hard to say, as I already said all lyrics I write are from personal direct experiences so I'm deeply linked with all of them, and in particular with these three songs I love all of them because they are all 'different' to me in the lyrics as well. Two Monkeys has more complex lyrics than usual, and lots of them, so when I play it just piano and voice it becomes to me more a story than a song, and I love it. The Anger Song is a different theme for me/Nosound (that will be present again in the album in various different ways), so I'm very happy about it because a negative feeling like anger became something 'beautiful' (I hope!). A New Start is probably the one I love the most, because it contains both the 'bleak' side (in the verses) and a very romantic and dreamy chorus section, one of the best I ever wrote I think...I still hope to make a video about it, when I wrote the lyrics I just described a 'film', scenes of my life, in my head..I'd love to actually film them in reality.
How are you getting on working with Chris and Marco?
G: I'm a big fan of positive thinking and no problems way of doing things, but I'm also well aware that Nosound is a place where at the same time I want always to be satisfied 100% (because it's very personal) and at the same time work with other people being able first to 'align' to my wavelenght, and then amplify it with their own feelings. It's a band and music that can work only when everyone can 'feel' the same things I can feel in what I write. As soon as Marco arrived he immediately injected a big positive and relaxed feeling to everyone, and that's very important considering that keyboards are demanding with Nosound. It's not easy to have a balance because I write and work on keyboard/piano parts a lot when I write, so I need at the same time someone accepting this, expanding it, recreate it on stage, and being able to understand what I want and do it even better..it involves big technical skills for the setup and instrumentation (we don't use pre-recorded parts on stage), a very organised mindset to switch between lots of sounds and parts, and a specific feeling for music..and Marco got everything, he's enthusiast about the music and the project, so it's going really well. He's also an experienced engineer so helps me a lot with all the tech things, he also build custom made devices and controllers, and it already built the central pedalboard I use when playing keyboards to switch between my vocals/guitars/keyboards sounds from the computer.
With Chris it was a big surprise and a continuous discovery of how much an 'artist' he is even before being a drummer..he noticed and fell in love with some details in the demos that I previously thought I was the only one able to notice! A chords sequence, a sound, a bass line, I always have an element I think it's the strongest in a song or demo, and he picked them all! When we met in my studio in Italy we went through the music, without drumkit or instruments, just talking about the music and what to do here or there...and we both triggered for the same parts. Starting from this point it makes obviously very easy to feed each other with ideas, experiments, and what I loved working with him is that he never suggested or wanted to change the nature of the music or the arrangement, he always propose ideas that have as a starting point to perfectly fit in what I already made. I always have problems when someone starts from the point of 'change it' (whatever is the reason or even more if it's just for the sake of change), in my personal opinion that is not artistic nor it's constructive criticism. If intead the process starts first entering into what I did and working from there, then things are more free to flow and usually you end up anyway with something different but more artistic and inspired because more natural, no reasoning involved only feelings, that's the way I think about music and the way Nosound music is.
Did the fact that Chris and Marco joined the group have some impact on the final version of the album “At The Pier”?
G: I think I already replied to this question with the previous answer...both of them had the ability to perfectly enter into what I did (I usually come out with quite complete demos) and starting from there everyone involved surprised me..all ideas coming in where not only 'in the mood', but I thought several times 'how did I not think about it? It's brilliant idea!'...it felt like I started the new Nosound but at the end it showed to me in a different and even better way, like if everyone felt the same things I felt..it is such a positive and relaxed time for the band that I could not ask for more, and I think the music speaks for itself...I felt myself and the music enriched but the presence of the others, and at the same time completely supported, helped and trusted when it comes to mix, production and all the work around a new release.
Would like to add something more before we end the interview?
G: First of all a big thank you to all our fans for their incredible support, this EP was the fastest selling release for us till now (it's already almost sold out!), and we're here only because of the incredible support from our incredible fanbase! Then I'd like to say thank you to Paolo Martellacci and Gigi Zito, it was great to work with them and we'll always owe them a thank you for all the work done together on and off stage, and I'm glad the music stays there speaking about it. And most of all I'd like to say thank you to Chris, Marianne, Marco Berni, Alessandro Luci, Paolo Vigliarolo, because more than ever all this was possible only because of them incredible work and support. We had a few days ago a first gig (as a quartet) with this new lineup in the north of Italy, and everyone in the band and attending the gig really felt we were just 'one' playing and enjoying the music and our time together..there are honestly no words to describe when it happens, but they know so I just want to say that what is in the new EP and what will be in the album is there thanks to them and to the hard work of all the people I listed in the EP booklet..it was a not easy time but I owe a lot to these people that were around me.
Thank you very much for another exceptional interview! We are looking forward to your concerts in Poland. See you soon!
I wonder how it happened that you joined Nosound?
Chris: Giancarlo made a connection with me sometime ago and we shared common interests and view points. Then he approached me regarding playing for the whole of his forthcoming album and on listening to his demos I found I could connect and respond to his material... so I said yes!
How would you describe your new role in the group? Do you try to feel into the music atmosphere of Nosound or you simply add something individual?
Chris: The answer is both. I have to feel the atmosphere of the music in order to play with it and my offering can only be individual.
How would you generally describe the music played by Nosound? Do you have any favourite song from the EP?
Chris: Ambient, organic, sensitive. At the moment my favourite track on the EP is 'Two Monkeys'.
Chris, you've had some concerts in Poland, you have here quite a lot of fans, was any of these performances of particular significance for you?
Chris: All concerts in Poland were special for differing reasons. One particular time there was a banner held up in the audience that was thrown onto the stage at the end. I thought it was for Steven; but it read:- 'We Love You Chris'! ....Yes i've kept it!
Fans (mostly PT fans) describe your music as subtle, sophisticated or sensual. I guess this does match Nosound...?