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Favorite ThisGAUDI: In Between Times Review + Interview

Published: July 18, 2013
Review by: Chris Schwarzkopf
Interview by: Jordan Calvano

At first listen, GAUDI’s music may remind many people of Thievery Corporation. Daniele Gaudi’s career, however, predates that of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton by a good 15 years.
A big difference between these two acts is GAUDI’s greater emphasis on electronic elements: distortion, effects, glitching, and so forth.  Also, unlike Thievery Corporation, GAUDI frequently gets away from a purely ambient sound and ventures more into danceable territory.   
One prominent feature of Gaudi’s music throughout his career is social awareness and, more importantly, social conscience. This, and Gaudi’s typical, faithful renderings of various ethnic musical traditions can both be found on his latest release, In Between Times.
The proper way to present a social conscience is a delicate edge for any performer to walk. It’s entirely possible for an artist to go from sincere and reasonable to heavy handed and preachy in the blink of an eye. This is one of GAUDI’s strengths. He never bludgeons listeners with his message. The message is there, but it’s up to the listeners to discover it and come to their own conclusions about it.
Several guest vocalists help to get listeners thinking about what is going on around them. In the opening track, “Put Your Guns Down,” vocalist Michael Rose sings, “It doesn’t take a wrong and a wrong to make a right. All of us must unite and stay right." Later, in the closing track, “Unlimited Possibilities,” vocalist Danny Ladwa entreats, “So much information, news, and technology. Watch what you read. Don’t take it all literally.” Lyrically, these may seem to be a bit on the simplistic side but when combined with Gaudi’s beats and instrumentation, it makes for some quite catchy offerings.  
A thread of thoughtfulness and reverence runs through all twelve of the tracks on In Between Times, as well. In “Spiritual Orphans” a warbling audio sample declares, “The atoms within our bodies were born within the body of a star. We are recycled stardust, powered by starlight. We are children of the stars, and until we realize this, we are spiritual orphans.“
GAUDI, as an entity, continues to grow and change as Daniele Gaudi gains more musical perspectives through his tours all around the world and his collaborations with dozens and dozens of other artists and musicians. Gaudi himself already has an obsessive need to evolve as an artist and this will no doubt continue to inform his music as he absorbs all he can.

GAUDICongratulations on your new album, The Untz fam is diggin’ what we’re hearing. Can you tell us a little about the creative process for the release, and any major themes that really tie the album together?

Thanks for your kind words about my new album, much appreciated. For the creative process and production of this album In Between Times I spent the last three years in the recording studio, assembling all the sketches I collected while I was on tour in several continents. Answering to your question "major themes that really tie the album together," as in my previous albums, I used my music as a platform to communicate ideas and thoughts I had in mind exploring various subjects such as political opinions, spirituality, space travelling, life visions, media brainwashing, etc. I strongly think that in order to have more impact and make people more aware of certain matters, we have to join forces and create a sort of collective that fearlessly delivers our intentions. The "ONE LOVE" criteria that Robert Nesta Marley prophesied is humbly applied on this album. 

In Between Times features a slew of collaborations with different producers and vocalists. Who are some of the artists you worked with on the album, and what did they contribute to the finished product?

The contribution from the artists I choose to collaborate with in my album, helped to shape all my artistic concepts and translate them in the form of quality music. Many of the artists involved are pioneers in their respective musical genres and all of them are highly respected in their own right. From The opening track “Put Your Guns Down” featuring vocals by  Black Uhuru frontman Michael Rose, which was written in collaboration with highly respected dub producer Twilight Circus, to the powerful anthem “Life”, featuring rising reggae star Jahmai, which combines hard hitting vocals and deep electro bass contrasted with melancholic and hauntingly emotive piano riffs. The atmospheric and ethereal electro-dub adventures of “Tamino and the Temple of Dub”, featuring on flute one of the godfathers of psychedelic trance music Raja Ram (from electronic duo Shpongle), contrasts with the entirely more earthy and rootsy dub number “I Start to Pray”: a truly distinguished collaboration between legendary dub producer and vocalist Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and UK electronic pioneers The Orb with the inimitable Dennis ‘Dubmaster’ Bovell adding his characteristically uncompromising bass to the mix. Hedflux, one of the UK’s hottest breaks producers, together with dub maestro Twilight Circus made a spontaneous trio with myself on the track “Crucial Data”; Moroccan artist Tahar from Momo Project collaborated on “Hurriya” (meaning ‘Freedom’ in Arabic) adding vocals and traditional Moroccan Mondol to this powerful and stirring track.  Highly respected author,  philosopher and agent for change Greg Sams contributed his words and his voice to the soothingly deep and thought provoking track “Spiritual Orphans”. Star of the UK reggae and hip-hop scenes Deadly Hunta brings his raw vocal energy, ragga-style, to the contrastingly niyabinghi tones of “Babylon is Fallin”; while my "on-stage partner in rhyme", vocalist and prodigiously talented beatboxer, Danny Ladwa features on both “Why You Wanna Run” and “Unlimited Possibilities”.

Let’s back up a little bit now. What was your introduction to producing electronic music, and did you dabble in any genres before this?

I have started making music professionally in 1981, where my inspirations were founded in experimental electronic music. I always worked with electronica since when I started my music adventure. My major source of influences were bands such as The Residents, Can, Devo, Tuxedomoon, Bauhaus, DAF, Talking Heads, Kraftwerk, NEU., then I slowly matched my music taste with roots reggae music, with artists such as Third World, King Tubby, Steel Pulse, Black Uhuru, Lee Scratch Perry, Jimmy Cliff, Eek a mouse, Scientist, Burning Spear and of course Bob Marley.

You’ve been composing innovative tunes long before members of The Untz staff were even born, dating back to the 80’s. How have you been able to keep each new remix and album fresh and forward thinking since the beginning of your career?

Thanks for this compliment guys; I don't think there is a specific formula to be innovative and fresh, really - I think what makes you "switched on" in the music industry (and in life in general i suppose) is primarily the ability of having the awareness of what's around you, musically and spiritually. For me, loving music as much as I love my life, it comes naturally to be informed on what the new technological devices are that may be suitable for my recording studio for example or, watching reactions of the crowd on the dancefloor at a festival and understanding what make them move and what doesn't, or again, listening to what all my music-colleagues are up to and taking the opposite direction (laughs). Really, there's not formula, you just need to LOVE what you do and be fearless.      

The Big UpOne of the many festivals your taking part in this summer is The Big Up. What makes this particular performance special for you, besides of course the wildly diverse lineup in a beautiful, intimate setting?

In the last 5 years I have toured extensively the USA, from East to West (primarily West), from North to South, as well as Canada and South America; I always heard from colleagues and festival goers this name "The Big Up festival", mentioned with a few other festis as "a must go", so I investigated a bit deeper and I've noticed that the lineup was selected with a sort of criteria very similar to mine when I select my music or when I create CD compilations: I do not care about the music genre or trends or whatever, I give priority to the music flow, all has to be smooth and groovy, a sort of "music journey"; this is exactly what I noticed about this festival and I've been instantly intrigued. I look so forward to bring my live performance there for the first time, I have the feeling that it will be smashing! 

What other festivals and tour dates are you looking forward to in the upcoming months? Seems you got yourself a wild summer.

Yes, I have a really solid summer tour in front of me - all the gigs are equally important for me, I put the same amount of energy into all of them. I just came back from the Indigo festival in Israel which was fabulous, earlier in the year I played Envision in Costa Rica which was fantastic, then the Sula fest in india, The Great Convergence in Egypt, Peats Ridge in Australia, all amazing festivals. I am now getting ready for more US action with the Beloved (OR), Sierra Nevada World Music Festival (CA), Photosynthesis (WA), Cascadia (OR) and many others overseas including Sonica festival in Italy, The Rollright Fayre (UK).... and the story continues. 

For those who haven’t had the chance to experience a Gaudi performance just yet, what can they expect to see and hear?
My live set is very "old school oriented"; I have never brought my computer on stage for my live performances,  it is a live journey through my 13 albums where I play live Theremin, Mimimoog, Vocoder, Electronic percussion, analogue synthesizers, dub sirens, vocals, live dub manipulation using with tape echoes, reverbs, multieffects etc. stylistically I explore solid beats mixed with sexy reggae basslines and live vocals provided by my "on stage partner in rhymes" Danny Ladwa, also from the UK. 

Which artists and specific works have continually inspired your musical journey since the beginning?

Many artists influenced my sound, many artists have my respect for what they do, the did, and what they subliminally gave me, but really and truly there is only one artist that continually inspired my musical journey: ROBERT NESTA MARLEY. he was not simply "making music", he did and was something else.
So you’ve got the new album, and a long list of tour dates. Any other big news for the future of Gaudi you’d like to share with us?

I am part of an amazing music project due to be released on 3cd/vinyl in the next couple of months: it is a reggae tribute to The Beatles called The Green Album, where international reggae artists perform a track by the "fab four", all rigorously inna reggae style! I am very happy to be in good company with: Mad Professor, Pato Banton, Rootz Underground, Yellowman, Groundation, Big Mountain, Sly & Robbie, Cultura Profetica, UB40, Luciano, Dennis Bovell, Rebelution and Steel Pulse amongst others. Stay tuned!