Adam Baker: Infidel Interview #53

First of, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about yourself to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, what instruments you can play, and where you live would be pretty standard?

I'm a 23 yrs old guitarist from Italy. I discovered my passion for music at a very young age... When I was 3 yrs old, I saw "Back To The Future" on know, Michael J Fox playin' Chuck Berry's "Johnny B Goode" and that mysterious cassette titled "Edward Van Halen" with all that concentrated music explosion and fireworks.. That really got me. So, right now, It's almost 20yrs of loud playing! I listen to all kind of music, music that moves me inside, it's not a matter of genre for me. My favourite music artists includes Van Halen, Frank Zappa, Alice In Chains, Primus, NIИ, Tool, Rush, Chet Baker, John Scofield... lots of influences!!! I started writing my own music in the high school years, I played in lots of bands and I played a lot of different genres, even writing songs within a variety of different genres. Last year I decided to start recording at home (I decided to set up a little homestudio both for my own music and for work-related purposes) and I opened the SoundCloud page in June. On my recordings I play all instruments, guitar, bass, piano, synths and I program MIDI drums.

How do you enjoy where you live? Is there a vibrant music community for you to indulge? Would you say you find that your local scene influences your attitude and/or creativity?

I live in Como, Italy, a place made famous by the beautiful lake, as well as being a set of numerous major movie scores, for example "Star Wars Attack of the Clones", "Ocean's Twelve", "Casino Royale", and music video scores, like the video for "All Of Me" by John Legend, and, you know the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas? It's named after the little town which is set on the lake. So I can say my spot is well known all over the world. There is a vibrant music community, lots of musicians here, the local scene is active, but doesn't influence my attitude or my creativity. Your music contains a lot of atmosphere and cinematic quality, without (always) full on delving into the ambient or soundtrack territory. What draws you to create such evolving emotive music, and what are some of your primary influences when it comes to atmospheric music?

I'm driven by passion, the desire to compose new music, experiment new sounds, find new musical solutions. Composing music it's very intimate for me, like a spiritual exercise, basically when I start recording a new song things can go in two different ways: I start recording and after 10 minutes I quit because it's not a good day to get what I want out of my fingers, or I start recording and I do not quit 'til the song is recorded, mixed and mastered. My influences regarding atmospheric music are Pink Floyd (I saw David Gilmour in concert two months ago....what a blast!), Tool, Peter Gabriel, Michael Hedges, Björk, Jeff Beck, Kingston Wall, Michael Manring, Meshuggah, Alessandro Cortini, Brian Eno, Aphex Twin...the list goes on and on! Even though your music definitely has traits of traditional songs, as I mentioned before your music has a very evolving emotive and cinematic feel to it. Have you ever thought about doing soundtracks or scores for video games, movies, or television?

Yes, I'm definetely thinkin' about that, especially since I received some interesting offers.. I would love to do some scores for videogames! When I was a little kid I loved "Spyro 2: Gateway to Glimmer" on PlayStation 1. Guess who scored the soundtrack for that videogame? Stewart Copeland from The Police! That soundtrack was dead good. I think Wes Borland from Limp Bizkit did a videogame related score too and Fredrik Thordendal from Meshuggah contributed to "Wolfenstein: The New Order" soundtrack, it was a real blast!

When it comes to making music it can be difficult to balance atmosphere, song progression, musicality, and excitement. Do you have any tricks, techniques, or methods that you commonly use to help your music sound coherent and engaging?

I think that my methods and techniques come from my subconscious. Once, a friend of mine, Tommaso Bianchi, producer and sound engineer, said about my music that in his own opinion I developed a good ear and a good stylistic taste by years and years of listening from smooth jazz to extreme metal and everything in between, developing a very personal style which includes bits of everything I listened to. So it comes natural to me, giving a specific direction or feeling to a tune, I just follow my own "stream of consciousness". It's about feeling it.

Musical composition nowadays can be aided by so many different tools and devices. Do you favor a complex approach of using lots of different instruments, or are you in the keep it simple until you have to boat of refining certain elements to their maximum potential? Or would you say your philosophy lays in between? How would you describe your relationship with musical technology? When you make music are you primarily a hardware or software oriented musician? Or do you do a fusion of both? Are there any particular instruments, programs, or effects that you would say are vital to you making music? What would you say are your essential hardware and software when creating tracks?

My relation with musical technology is awful. I'm old school, and I'm keeping it simple. By the way, to start recording at home I had to buy an audio interface and learn how to use a software. It was hard, I would have preferred analog all the way, but I had to do that. As I said, I'm old school, so I like to connect the guitar straight into a valve driven amplifier, to preserve sound quality, then I add delays and reverb from the software (even if they are digital effects they sound good). Sometimes I use a Crybaby or a Phase 90 between the amp and guitar, but it's just for little bits of an entire track, for example a solo or breakdown. I bought a talkbox last year and I'm havin' fun with it, some of my heroes used it, Jeff Beck, Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh, Jerry Cantrell, Adam Jones.. I think my fav piece of gear is the Phase 90 by MXR, the vintage script logo one, my favourite effect, superfunky! Anyway the essential hardware I need are my hands, the real tone is in there! Would you say that your choice to pursue music has changed your life since you started? Would you say that creativity has evolved you spiritually, emotionally, or logically? What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your musical career?

Music is my life. Music changed my life in many ways since it all started almost 20 years ago. I'm grateful for being able to make my own music.