UTG INTERVIEW: Andrea Remondini Talks ‘Non Sequitur’

andrea remondini

Verona, Italy’s Andrea Remondini has released one of the most interesting and cohesive albums of 2014. Non Sequitur serves as a 45-minute, single-track release that covers many areas of experimental, ambient, and progressive electronic pop with classical elements heavily strewn throughout. It’s as engrossing as that sounds. We’ll elaborate on those points in our review that will be up soon.

Meanwhile, you can check below to read through our interview with Remondini himself as we discuss his roots in the music scene and how they’ve led to what Non Sequitur has become. You can also stream an excerpt from Non Sequitur following the conversation (or during — your choice).

You’ve been at this for many years at this point. What originally inspired you as a child to want to get involved with music?

Early exposure to lots of good music must have played a part. I come from a very musical family. Several relatives of mine play an instrument, and at home there was always the most diverse music selection: from classical, to prog rock, folk music, even disco music. As a child, a record was my favourite gift.

At what point did you realize that being a musician was the path you wanted to pursue?

At age 12, when I started getting acquainted with the piano at home. I used to spend hours on it every day, making quick progress while teaching myself to play.

And how did you actually get your start? What were your first steps that led to where you’re at now?

At about 20, I started hanging around a couple of recording studios near my home town. This was where I cut my teeth recording and mixing with pro equipment, sometimes on my own, other times assisting experienced sound engineers, peeking over their shoulders, copping tricks, learning their craft. That experience proved invaluable a couple of years later, when I landed a job as a studio musician, staff songwriter and sound engineer at an indie dance label. While there, I scored a good number of hits working with prominent Italian and European DJs. That label went on to become a multinational record company during my time there.

Your sound spans a pretty impressive variety of genres and ideas, so I’m curious who or what some of your most important influences have been over the years that have helped shape the ideas that go into your music.

One early and important influence was Rick Wakeman’s fundamental album The Six Wives of Henry VIII, a keyboard-based record that crossed boundaries between rock and classical music. Then Jean-Michel Jarre’s albums Oxygene and Equinoxe. I consider them to be still unsurpassed synthesizer albums, despite all the advances in technology. And Mike Oldfield’s early works. Tubular Bells of course, but also Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn… Most of his albums, up to and including Amarok, were central to my musical upbringing.

So tell me about Non Sequitur. First off, it appears to be one giant 45-minute track. Is that the case?

Yes, it’s a single-track album, for artistic and technical reasons. The artistic reason is that it was conceived as a symphonic poem, which is a one-part composition. As for the technical reason, with many of today’s popular music players, there is no way to ensure seamless transitions from one track to the next. You’ll get a short gap between tracks, which kills the music flow.

How would you say this effort differs from your previous works? Do you see any specific changes or progressions in your sound?

It’s very different. In fact, one of the reasons why I called it Non Sequitur is that “it doesn’t follow” from my previous works. A long, eclectic, sort-of-but-not-quite classical sounding composition, whereas my old releases were mostly dance singles.

And what kind of equipment and instruments did you work with on this release? You have your own studio, right?

Yes, I have a studio equipped with nice monitors, mixers, and an array of synths and effect processors I’ve collected over the years. On Non Sequitur, though, I went 100% virtual, which means all the sounds you hear were generated, recorded, mixed and mastered in software. That gave me advantages like: utmost control over the sound, perfect timing on mixing automation, and zero background noise.

I feel like most of this album could serve as a score for films or video games. Is that something you’ve ever been involved with or considered doing before?

I actually scored a couple of documentaries years ago. It was an interesting gig, although probably nowhere as challenging as scoring a full-length movie or video game.

Do you play any of this stuff live or have plans to in the future?

Not really. I would need a large ensemble of keyboard players to render a live version of Non Sequitur, and I’m not sure the result would be quite as polished as the record is. What I’d really like to do, instead, is an adaptation for symphony orchestra; like Mike Oldfield and David Bedford did on Tubular Bells. But that’s also a matter of finding suitable people to work with.

Does your local music scene in Italy have any musicians creating stuff similar to what you’re doing at all?

Not that I know of, but then I’m a somewhat reclusive type and not really involved in the scene. Still, I’m rather confident of my music’s uniqueness.

Do you see yourself changing course at all in terms of genre on your next release or will this general ambient, classical, and experimental sound probably stay prominent in your work from now on?

Non Sequitur is my manifesto: This is the kind of music I want to make in the future.

Overall, what is your ultimate goal for what you want to gain out of this project?

I would like to see this record reach the success I think it deserves. I consider it to be the best thing I’ve ever done.

Brian Leak

Editor-In-Chief. King of forgetting drinks in the freezer. Pop culture pack rat. X-Phile. LOST apologist.
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