It felt like ages since I updated my Sphere Music blog. This pandemic has either moved people in the positive or negative direction. There is no middle ground. You either do things, or you avoid doing them. So, for a year now, I have lost passion for something that consumed my life back in 2009. It’s about writing posts about new releases and exciting artists who are not in the mainstream environment. I prided myself on knowing genres and bands that only people with sophisticated ears listen to. It is almost like an elitist game which is not something I am proud of. Still, it is really great considering that mainstream music is so dull and boring. Anyway, let’s move along as this post is not about my situation but about an artist named Alex Pardini.
My correspondence with him goes all the way back to the early part of my music blogging years. He has released quite an extensive discography of singles, EPs, albums and even music videos. He is into fitness and healthy food, and I think that is why we click.
Chating with him again is like a breath of fresh air amid a pandemic. I mean, I’ve been riding my bike without any dip in passion, but my blogging is not doing great. Yes, you need to take care of your fitness music is the soul’s food, and you need to balance things out. So this conversation is quite interesting because I get to ask him something close to me: creativity, the process of creating music and also the current situation. The album is called “Honest Li(f)es”, and the release date is October 22, 2021. There will be two singles up front, with according music videos.
Alex: Hello Baxter. How are you doing? Riding that bike like a pro?
Me: Listening to it now. Wow, I am loving it and digging the groove!
Alex: Thanks, Baxter, glad you like it.
Me: I got questions.
What inspired you to write this album?
The songs came together over a period of time and are influenced by things that I encountered in my life, directly or indirectly. It is as much about me as it is about you. It is about life and about the world we live in. The album covers topics like privilege and bullying, relationships, climate change, the pandemic, faith, religion, doubt and self-awareness.
What’s the process of writing and recording?
Could you elaborate on question two for me? Do you mean in a technical way?
Oh yes technically
There is no clear process concerning the creative part. Sometimes I come up with a certain sound that gets me going; other times, it is a chord progression (although usually, it is as much the sound I use to play the chord as it is the chord progression itself), or a drum pattern with a special feel to it.
What happens a lot is that if I feel that certain musical spark I strive for, after a while, I come up with lyrics. Just a sentence or two, but that is usually enough to finish them. Still, music pretty much always comes first.
Technically speaking, I use a combination of hardware and software. I embrace both worlds.
Classical instruments like bass, guitar, keys etc., but also (soft and hardware-) synths, a modular synth, plugins, sampling. I record everything at my studio, including vocals. As I have limited skills as a classical musician, whatever that might be, I often record a draft to get things going and later re-record until I get it right. In more than one way, limitations can push your creativity.
Creation, arrangement, mix-down and mastering are the usual steps. They tend to overlap, and I tend to make a mess out of the steps. C’est la vie.
“Who are you” has this gorgeous piano solo part. What’s the story behind that
Actually, “Who Are You” was not supposed to be on the album. The album was finished. I was experimenting and having fun in the studio. I had this slow musical loop going and, even though I’m no piano player at all, was jamming a little to it. I posted a short video of it on the usual social networks, and people liked it, so I sat down again and made a whole song from that little jam.
As the solo was somehow the main part of the video I posted, I placed it in the middle of the song. It is something that you don’t hear quite often in popular music, but I actually like having solos in the middle or even at the start of a song (or more than one of them). A solo is a very personal and precious little creature inside a song.
How did the pandemic affect you artistically and personally?
I suppose this is where privilege comes into play. While the pandemic was (and still is) interfering with my life and is responsible for a lot of suffering, I am very aware that I am, like most Europeans, in a privileged position. A roof over my head, enough to eat, heating, a working healthcare system, proper ways to protect myself and hell, even an internet connection.
Work-wise (musically), it didn’t affect me as much as I have my studio at home, but obviously, the pandemic found its way into my music. The song “Crown” is proof of that. I suspect that other songs like “Who Are You” or “Lose You” might have been affected by the pandemic too. To what degree, I don’t know, as introspection and extrospection are an integral part of the work I do and the human being I am.
Glad to have this short but sweet interview with Alex Pardini. His album Honest Li(f)es will be available this October so watch out for it!