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INTERVIEW: Livio Improta


Tiella Sound is on a mission to blur the boundaries of electronic genres and offer something new and unique. Following on from their long-running radio show and guest mix series, Tiella Sound launched in 2023 with a self-titled LP by Perugian artist VAISA, setting the stage perfectly with its lo-fi maelstrom of field recordings, beats dark and tribal textures. . Livio Improta follows his lead with ‘Fondamentalismi’, a 10-track exploration of slow-motion broken beats covered in crunchy vinyl and layers of atmospheric dust.

We have had the pleasure of interviewing Livio and this has been the result.

Hello Livio Improta! First of all, where do we find you currently and how are you doing?

Hello everyone!!! I divide my life between music and cooking as a consultant in the restaurant business. I have been in Rome for the past two months, involved in an exciting challenge in Fischio’s pop up bar for the Romaeuropa festival at Ex-Mattatoio. Food and art in one place, I couldn’t say no!!! In late November, I start the album promotion tour, and I resume my life between Naples, Puglia and Tuscany, where, with my partner Isabella, we run B&Bs. I’m looking forward to other exciting projects in the food world. A nomadic life between music, food and tourism.

Your latest release ‘Fondamentalismi’ is set to come out this December via Luca Bigote’s Tiella Sound. What can you tell us about the release?

«Fondamentalismi» tells the story of a tempest at sea where my musical and personal worries and restlessness converge, eventually reaching a sense of tranquillity, or maybe just the appearance of it (who’s to say?).

A rough, raw narrative with no half-measures or compromises that finds its manifesto in the mysterious wise words of the closing track, «Omega,» which advises against seeking recommendations and shortcuts in life.

Although you’ve been releasing singles since 2013, this is your first full-length LP. What led you to release a full album?

It stems from the desire to bring together my different musical souls in one project.

A clash without rules, where the beating rhythms of my self-titled project, the dub and dark sounds of Vesàlio and the ambient and ethnic forays of Baldovino clash and fight and then find harmony. Luca (aka Sameness), a brother more than a friend, played a key role in the birth of the album, where in his studio in the hills of Giovi, the project took shape amidst incessant listening, good food and close comparisons in 2014.

The album has a pleasingly lo-fi aesthetic, especially in the textures of the pads and the drums. Are there any specific processes you used to achieve this?

Thank you for capturing the sonic soul of the record, it is challenging to answer questions like this. “Fondamentalismi” is a narrative without half-measures, so I rigidly imposed on myself the use of only analogue machines on this album. All instruments converged on a crappy ’80s Tascam and an effects pedal chain that I worked out in 2013 and remains a staple in my studio setup. The whole thing was recorded on tape (otherwise, what lo-fi would it be no?!), but in all this grime and rustle, Marco Antonio Spaventi’s mastery managed to bring out all the rage of the machines while staying completely true to the philosophy of the record with masterful mastering.

This is only Tiella Sound’s second-ever release. How have you found working with the label?

Luca is a brotherly friend, someone who is always there when the sea is calm and especially when there is a gale. When he first heard the record without any hesitation, he said «This record must see the light, and I will be the one to release it!» and here we are! Grazie Luca! It is a luxury to be able to collaborate with people as passionate, precise and professional as he is. A topic I hold especially close to my heart with this album, which I jealously guarded for years after it ended up in the wrong hands. I had decided to stop with music in 2016, disappointed by too many acrobats and barkers, then the few true friends and the last meeting with Claudio Coccoluto, a master for me in Taranto in 2020 in an event related to food (music and food meeting once again in my life) changed my way of looking at things. Guys, excuse me, but I am back!

As an artist, who are your biggest musical influences?

Dangerous question, there are many, too many! The Arab world and the popular music of the Mediterranean, Chicago and Detroit. Also, in one word, Naples, a city painted with sound that is the result of many different influences: it can be funk, find itself immersed in techno and become dub, and then see itself as folk.

How do you feel the scene in Naples compares to other scenes in Europe? 

Naples is experiencing a new musical renaissance, the rediscovery of the disco and funk heritage of the late 1970s and early 1980s in the city, and the new movement related to it has been a wave that has been unimpeded in the world. Naples is historically a protagonist of the underground music scene, just think of the house movement in the 1990s, where it was a city of reference for the parties organized by the Angels of Love with the arrival of the «DJs from America» (Knuckles, Humphries, Morales etc.) on a par with London or Ibiza, as well as in the techno environment it has been a hotbed of artists and performers who have become absolute pillars of the genre. For me, Naples is everything, I am sentimentally linked to the house scene of the 90s as I grew up musically with cassette recordings of those parties, and I am personally linked to everything that is happening now in Naples as the artists involved in this movement are first and foremost friends of mine.

Are there any artists you’ve been obsessed with this year?

None in particular, but if we talk about obsession, certainly a spasmodic and unbridled search for 70s and 80s music from the Mediterranean basin, especially in the Arab world, without any genre distinction.

Finally, what else do you have lined up in the near future?

Return to the studio, I miss my days between cables and machines tremendously

and carrying on the Baldovino music project, which, after fifteen years of ethnomusicology studies and field recording campaigns around the Mediterranean, saw the light after the pandemic with the first album (unreleased at the moment) and some sound and visual installations in Italian art galleries. Ciao Guagliò!!!

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