Interview with Luca Lampis (March 2016)

When did you start playing the guitar and why?

I started playing guitar when I was in second year of italian primary school (about 7 years old) because at home I had an old Eko classical guitar that my father and my mother had bought when an instrument store was closing and selling everything at cheap price. They liked the shape and bought it, neither of us ever made a statement. When I was home alone I pulled it out of the case and I tried to playing it imagining to be a great musician. Then, as I said more or less to 6/7 years, with my companion I began a course in the music’ school of the city where among other things today, after many rounds, I’m teaching: the Musical Institute “F. Marini “.
In seventh grade I quit to devote to sport, basketball, where I was getting good results, I started playing electric guitar in the first upper class, playing very seriously and taking private lessons in
various academies. Later I resented by chance the sound of the classical guitar when I was 17, when I were at the top of my rock / metal period, and I fall in it headlong keeping the electric guitar’s
study that in the meantime had become increasingly consolidated in my life playing with my progressive group Nefesh, we keep on playing still with more than ten years of activity.
At 18 I prepared privately for the entrance’s examination at the Ferrara’s Conservatory to study with Stefano Cardi who I listened to in concert and I had talked all wonderfully. I was fascinated by
his stylistic versatility and his interest in contemporary music and especially the fact that disdained the electric guitar, or rather used it also for the contemporary pieces.
I had the feeling of having lost so much time behind useless things but over the years I discovered that all the experiences made by the electric guitar to the discipline learned in competitive sports were valuable.
I graduated in the Conservatory with the old system and I did two years of II interpretive and compositional level with a 110 degree and I did it in just eight years instead of 12 studying “with my head down.” Over the years I won three scholarships at the Conservatory through internal competitions among all students of all instruments and I won two scholarships abroad who have given me the opportunity to study in England and in Spain, I studied and did master classes with other teachers in Italy and abroad and I have particular pleasure in remembering Stefano Viola, Paolo Pegoraro they gave me great advice, Paul Galbraith and many others.
What’s your musical background?
I consider my musical background extremely broad since it includes many different genres together, from metal to classical, blues, jazz, Indian music, free improvisation, music “classic” contemporary …
With that guitars do you play and have you played?
As a classical guitar I play a Locatto that sometimes I match to a Scatasta (great luthier in Marche, Italy), as electric guitar I always play my Jackson with Floyd Rose made in the USA changed in
several parts so that I do not consider longer even a Jackson. My pickups are made by Bill Lawrence for example.
How did start the idea of your last solo record D’Improvviso? And how was it recorded?
I would say that the idea of an album like “D’Improvviso” has come forward as a natural onsequence of an instinctive preference to the impromptu creativity. I remember the first year I picked up an electric guitar, 14 years or so, with my father I built a preamp rack and crafts effects by buying the pieces through a magazine called “E” that gave the basic circuit, all the necessary parts and then you had to assemble it all correctly, welding and all the rest … a kind of Ikea for electronic equipment. I assembled all under the supervision of my father and I began to experience the world and the effects of the electric guitar not knowing virtually nothing of theory and played hours improvising
sipping sounds. I recorded several ideas on cassette via an old recorder that my father had at home and I had so many ideas bubbling incomprehensible even to myself. 
In the first period of studies at the Conservatory, I mostly deleted these moments of simple pleasure of sounds and research of their internal emotional charges beyond any theoretical knowledge because the academicism had put me more and more “posts” and only after several time I took time to look for these inner freedom concentrating only in being able to follow the flow of the moment. I began to put some improvisations during concerts . Then a breakthrough stronger was when I went to England to study at the Conservatory of Birmingham where I followed between the various courses also to “Free Improvisation” where I opened a world and a large part of the push to improvisation “free” that he already had always demanded more consideration, as if my fancy, my
ambition had found a solid footing to try to become truly possible. I continued with more and more enthusiasm to carve out moments where you try not to think about all that I had learned and simply
listening to me play.
At one point, the thought of a disc in which to record this kind of “experiment”, perhaps even childish, it was natural. I chose to record it all in one session. Initially I wanted to do only a test but then I had fun and I chose to take that material as it was, track after track because it was the best reflection of what I wanted to do an experiment with myself, like trying to take photos of my inner flow.
The recording was made in “Music Explosion Studio” by Stefano Carloni with a microphone (Avantone) and my two Locatto Scatasta guitars and a tuned normal and the second granted in a completely unconventional following another realization that I had had years first, playing the fifth string so slow enough to play us pulling it up with a finger from below.

Do you draw up a “default form” making adjustments when necessary, or you let the “form” itself to emerge in different situations, or exploit both creative approaches?

I choose both approaches depending on how I want to feel “free” or “lost” with the guitar in hand and sometimes an approach changes the other. Even in some tracks of the album it is successful to have started a piece thinking of wanting to have three total blocks and rather then things have gone very differently, displacing me too. Sometimes the “errors” that came out or a note played without having been conceived before or muted note played before when I wanted in that while I was playing suddenly opened doors that I had not even thought about it and I chose to go in without expectations . It’s like running on a road and see at some point a side road that had not been seen before because it was behind a low wall, you can choose in a moment of plunging into it and see what you are or not. If you do not want to throw you can consider the new street view suddenly as a “distraction” (error) or you can change direction and turn down the street as a new possibility. The point, which often shakes the fingers and returns to roads already know, is that you do not know what we can find in the streets or in general improvising in this way. It can objectively get out of a series of sounds absolutely “not effective” or “silly” so as to suggest to the listener (me included) “why should I continue listening to these sounds?”.


What does improvisation in your music research? You can go back to talking of improvisation in a repertoire so encoded as the classic or you’re forced to leave and turn to other repertoires, jazz, contemporary, etc?

West has developed over the centuries a harmonic and structural depth at times impressive, (Giants come to mind as Ockeghem, Bach and Wagner, for example) and a refined melodic sophistication. In other parts of the world other roads are traveled. The world we now call “classic” was live music all the time, I think very often born from those who might be called “improvisations”. We know for a fact the improvisation tilt J.S.Bach, of N. Paganini, of all the musicians of the previous period to Bach and many others. Of course everyone “improvising” within its period with the influences of
their path and often through the stylistic rules of their time. Jazz, also seen in the history of music, is yet another musical expression in which improvisation has a vital role but here we have in most cases an improvisation with its structural and formal rules. For example, in the time of Bach the art of improvisation could express through the impromptu variations on a given theme, the proof is the very old Reinken that excites and moves feeling playing Bach in Hamburg in 1720 a series of variations on a chorale leading him to say “I thought that this art was dead. Instead, I see that lives
in you … “.
Basically what I want to say is that improvisation, conceiving this word with the widest possible sense, it is almost always that activity through which the ideas have an
important opportunity to “come into the world”. So often a theme of a symphony, an aria, a sonata comes to the world through an improvisation, a “mistake” … so in the end the improvisation has always been part of it. In my musical research improvisation is a soft ground, liquid, not clearly defined from which emerge more or less clear things, more or less done and from which we’ll have to be good at we see one organic being from an embryo. Even my record “D’Improvviso” does not want to be the manifestation of my compositional art, but is simply a series of paths.
The repertoire of “classic” now appears as a series of ivory towers powerful and perfect in a sense, as if everything had been born exactly like you see it as accomplished, but
of course, with minor exceptions, is the result of a process more or less tormented and workings of a continuous and constant times on some pretty clear ideas. Ideas for the note often born from “a small table intuitions” but just as often as insights “in
the hand tool.” Although jazz is encoded, as you say, except a few strands that take specific names like “free jazz” that often most jazz musicians stand apart among others. Contemporary classical “music” has in recent decades given rise to
movements like the one I mentioned the “free improvisation” going to get in another vein still being researched, and if we look at the ‘900 we find other movements such as the “aleatory music “I sincerely believe that in a sense part of my research is going to place between the aleatory music and free improvisation as sometimes some lines or very small issues we have just defined in  starting them.
In today’s final the word “improvisation”, like many other words, it should mean a little ‘everything and a bit’ nothing looking at the long history that has experienced. And I avoided talking about the experience of the improvisational music of other cultures such as Indian and Middle Eastern.

Your record is very special, more reminiscent of a kind of “stream of Consciousness” that does not articulate a more defined project and presented .. so is there a risk of overloading listening with excessive repetitions and iterations which can move without an organic development?

The answer to this question may be “Yes. And then?”. In the sense that today we are obsessed in principle first of all to label what we hear necessarily having to put it into
a loaf rather than in another. By doing so we are first of all reassured by the fact that we know that we are listening to such a kind and not another, that we are part of a thing and not another. It is often an involuntary attitude that has been instilled in our time
from the commercialization of the music that must necessarily create circles calls with a name so that all fans can mettercisi in and buy more easily with the reassurance of being part of something definite from another (metal, rock, jazz, blues, pop, house …). Just think about it often enough to change a word in a definition to ensure that a listener not a priori exclude another kind (Rock’nRoll, hard rock, british rock, alternative rock, progressive rock, psychedelic rock …).
Secondly, above all arrived in this era, in this century, I have to ask “why should there be an organic development? Why I should avoid excessive repetitions? Why should I try to make sense of a socially acceptable music rather than worrying about the best
expression of what I need to express? “. The point then, regarding this particular record, is that “D?improvviso”
is a series of photos of my precisely sudden emotional flow taken through the language of sounds. It’s definitely not a composition, it is more like a declaration of love trivially expressed no time to think of poetry, a belly flop instinct in which the problem that if
it can be aesthetically “beautiful” or “ugly” I do not ask myself . The point and purpose are totally different from communicating and much more on expressing. Maybe … maybe it is a naive and sincere form of “uninteresting improvisational expressionism ” … random music soaked in a bit of romance …

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