Vittorio Vandelli

DH: Can you please tell me a little bit about you and your artistic development?

V.V. : Since childhood I perceived things in a different way than others, I was more linked to an imaginary world than to reality. I think I appeared as an absent kid or something like that. I didn't listen to music, I come from a strict education and due to that I considered music as an ephemeral thing. One day, my oncle forgot in my house two tapes with 'The fifth' and 'the nineth' symphonies of Beethoven, that day I descovered how much I could feel music, which great emotions it could provoke me.Later, a friend suggested me to listen to the new wave, the first group I listened to where Tones on Tail and I understood that it was not necessary to be a great techncial musician to express what we feel. With that friend we created a band, the only missing instrument was guitar so I started playing it. Vittorio, as a musican, was born that day. I still think that the music instrument is just a means to create a passage among the external and the internal wolrds. I'm fascinated by every sound, a ventilator or a washing machine can give me emotions sometimes. My artistic development is based on the total lack of impositions, it's just the result of a destiny choice.

DH: Your album is called "A Day Of Warm Rain In Heaven". Can you tell us something about the release? Where did you record the album and how long did it take to record it? How did you get in contact with your label Equilibirum?

V.V. : The album is inspired by S.T. Coleridge's poem 'The Rhyme of the ancient mariner" a painful voyage in the sea crossing sin and getting salvation. At the end of the trip the protagonist is a sadder but a wiser man and he's forced to narrate to all the people he meets his adventure, the causes and consequences that brought him there. The sea is also the protagonist of this album (and poem), the sea is a metaphor of life, always the same but constantly changing. The voyage of "A DAY" is most of all a ‘monument’ to a deceiving, false, lost love, to the folly and rebirth of a human being only apparently won. I have the impression that Coleridge lived something similar to this, he probably fell and felt victim of typically cruel human behaviors, and, identifying with the mariner, victim of himself as well. The album was recorded in my own small studio I spent a year on it to arrange, improve the sound and add some instrumental trqcks, at the end I went to a bigger professional studio to put all together and give a definitve shape to the whole. Equilibrium will release soon an acoustic live album of Ataraxia and Autunna et Sa Rose, so they got in contact with me to listen to my tracks, they loved them and when all the mixing and editing work was completed they produced them.

DH: Why did you decide to record a solo album after working several years together with Ataraxia? How did you get in contact with Francesca Nicoli taking part as a fantastic singer on your album?

V.V. : In Ataraxia live together different feelings that create a balance and interact the ones with the others. Giovanni, the keyboards player, seems to come directly from the French Baroque age with all those somptuous palaces and golden halls, he loves precious arrangements and refined orkestral atmospheres; Francesca seems to come directly from ancient Greece and she brings with her the spirit and nature of those places; Vittorio seems to come directly from a Pessoa's book and from the Portuguese suadade (nostalgy of the lost things). All these differences gave life and colour to Ataraxia. Vittorio Vandelli, as a soloist composer, strengthen that typical nostalgic side he owns even if this doesn't mean that I reject hope.This is the main difference among the two project: the first ia a meeting of different cultures, the second is the expression of the feelings of just one man.

Concerning Francesca, she lived indirectly all the unpleasant happenings that inspired this album, she was near me as a friend and she helped me to see the feeble light shining at the end of the tunnel. So this music was also thought and comosed for her voice.

DH: Your style seems to me a mixture between traditional and modern instruments and styles with a neoclassical approach. Why have you decided to make such music?

V.V. I actually don't know ho to express what happens to me in creative moments, I only know that when I have a music instrument in my hands, any music instrument, my inner clock stops, the time inside me stops while the external time start running faster and faster. It often happens that I start playing something and a short while after I see that many hours have passed. It also happens that there are moments in which I absolutely can't afford any creative process, I have nothing to express, I'm absolutely tired mentally. Then magic comes back again. Fingers start moving on the guitar keys and melodies flow even if I don't realize it.

DH: When listening to "A Day Of Warm Rain In Heaven" it`s seems to me that silence is one of your instruments, too. To me, your music sounds very quite and thoughtful. Is your music a reflection of your life?

"A DAY..." is an inner voyage due to a life experience that blessed me deeply. The old mariner's departure soon becomes an harsh sequence of tragedies and folley. It's not possible to find keys to undertsand it nor facing it, the human being is powerless in face of his destiny and this causes painful conflicts and struggle that we have to endure. Step after step with the help of time these conflicts and difficultes can be faced and overcome, they make you wiser: at the end of this voyage we should be sadder but wiser men.

DH: There is a song on the album called "I Killed The Albatross" that I like very much. What is the topic of this song? Which is your favorite song on your new album?

V.V. :This is a topic moment in the album and in the Coleridge's poem, the moment in which the albatross, that means innocence, is killed: he is killed without a reason, to have fun, to joke, to escape from boredom, to defy destiny. From that moment on everything changes: this act will bring harsh consequences in the protagonist's life: The conscience repeats many times ?I killed the albatross', everything turn black, the sky, the sea, the mariner's soul. And exspiation starts...

This is my favourite song together with 'The bay is white in silent light' describing the moment in which, after all that pain and struggle, the protagonist listens to a melodious voice and sees a bay enlightened by the white aura of the full moon. His soul finally finds peace.

DH: Your CD sounds more natural and darker than earlier releases from Ataraxia. Did you want to record an album that sounds different than further Ataraxia recordings? Tell us something about the process of recording a song. Where do you get the ideas for the songs?

V.V. : In Ataraxia we know each other from a very long time, we are a consolidated family and we enjoy each other work. The close collaboration with ATARAXIA and all his members goes on as obvious. My solo project started because, from time to time, I feel the urge to express what I feel in total freedom. Even if we are strictly linked, in ATARAXIA’s ‘home’ co-hexist several different feelings, tastes and ways of expressing, an ataraxia’s song is the sum of multi-sided way to preceive and elaborate life and music while "A DAY…" reflects a life experience I afforded alone, in solitude, a hard experience that Francesca witnessed, sending me several messages that once decoded helped me to reach the dry land.

DH: About what kind of topics is your music in generell? Do you have a a certain message in your songs? Do you want to tell the people something with your music? Are you a kind of protagonist?

V.V. : This album and Coleridge’s "Rhyme of the ancient mariner" are parallel voyages, both of them are metaphorical trips made to explore our ‘inner’ ocean. Starting under very favorable circumstances, this voyage will reveal itself as miserable and unfortunate fight against the adversities caused by the folley of the protagonist who, deprived of every means to control the boat, remains at the mercy of destiny. Then, thanks to an heavenly rain announcing salvation, he can regain new moral strenght and a stronger spirit to fight against his weakest side to achieve a spiritual balance. All that has a cost: it works only if he incessantely discoloses his personal painful experience to the ones who could be called to afford a similar voyage.

DH: How important is your work as musician for yourself?

I’m a quite reserved person and my way of communicating is through music. When I'm submerged by a sea of negative thoughts the only way to soothe this pain is to compose music. Every songs takes away a part of that heavy burden, all of that is sublimated and put on a Cd. The release is not the testimony of myself.

DH: Will you play concerts in Europe in 2005?

I’m working to the concrete possibility to play live some songs of the album, having played all the instruments present in the album, I need a good band to play them live, so it’s not only up to me. With Ataraxia I'll be in tour in Latin America during the next spring.Further Italian and European concerts are going to be scheduled. No problem, some of my songs will be played.

DH: Are there further projects for the future planned such as new releases or sampler contributions? Will there be another Ataraxia album out in the near future?

V.V. : New ideas for coming projects are never missing, in solitude there’s the chance to speak a lot to ourselves. I think that my project and my individual efforts will be very useful for the creative work I’m doing with ATARAXIA. Every personal growth, in any sense, brings new blood and, of course, everybody takes advantage of this.

Concerning Ataraxia two new releases will be out the coming December. The first is called "Arcana Eco" and it will be a photo digibook + Cd. It will be a sort of pilgrimage starting from the stone and the water, crossing the dimensions of dream and contempplation to get the light. Around 50 photos of Livio Bedeschi taken in Italy, Greece, Turkey, France, Portugal and other countries will illustrate the chapters. These photos were taken during the voyages that inspired Ataraxia's concept albums. Ferruccio Filippi (journalist of ‘Grind Zone’ magazine) took care of the chapters, exhaustive interview and detailed discography, Francesca took care of the introduction and poetic writings. The book will be out with a CD containing 7 exclusive tracks exploring all the influnces and genres (from flamenco, to folk ballads, dark-wave songs, mediterranean airs, baroque divertissements, liturgic airs, experimental tunes) that we crossed and transformed all over the years. This digibook will be released by the Italian label Ark Records and it will be the opening issue for a series of book featuring some of the most significant alternative Italian bands (such as Kirlian Camera, Camerata Mediolanense, Argine and others).

The second release is called "Odos eis Ouranon", it will be a double live album collecting two acoustic concerts given on May 2003 by Ataraxia and by the Italian neoclassic ensemble Autunna et sa Rose. The album will be limited to 2000 copies. Here we rearranged and offered new versions of some of our most significant songs. The sound will be essential, naked and pure. A piano, a classic guitar, a clarinet and vocals will depuict intimate moments of struggle and joy while shadows and lights were projected on tha walls and ceiling of the church of S. Michele in Rovigo. Starting from the watery realms of the Ondines, following the steps of a Bal Masqué in the Opera theatre of Paris, exploring once more the forgotten lands of Atlantis and Mu, breathing a touching version of ‘Orlando’ inspired by Virginia Woolf, dancing the French waltz of a haunted soul and running under a refreshing rain in Veules Les Roses we get finally an exclusive instrumental track, an air inspired by fado played only in that occasion.. That concert inaugurated our fulfilling collaboration with Angelo Zanella, an italian artist who releases enigmatic copper masks inspired to the karma of the persons he met. We gave a name to this ritual concert: it’s ‘Strange Lights’.

DH: Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?

V.V. : The respect for anybody's feelings should be the basic point for every human relationship. In long terms, selfishness can damage more who practices it rather than who undergoes it.

DH: Thank you very much for this interview and go on having fun and success. Your famous last words for our readers please:

V.V. : I hope to be soon in Germany for some concerts. Even if Italy doesn't deserve a lot of space to indipendent music I go on hoping things can chage...


Interview: Andreas Ohle
and Vittorio Vandelli