Andrea Aguzzi was born in Milan in 1969, but lives and works in Mestre near Venice.
He has a degree in Business Administration from the University Ca' Foscari of Venice and has always been passionate about internet, music and guitar.
He is the webmaster of Blog Chitarra e Dintorni Nuove Musiche devoted to classical, jazz, contemporary and avangarde guitar music.
He is co-founder of the netlabel AlchEmistica devoted to classical and contemporary music with Creative Commons license. His last book is Visionary Guitars: Chatting with Guitarist. Twelve interviews with Noël Akchoté, Magnus Andersson, Lucia D’Errico, Davide Ficco, Hans Jürgen Gerung, Scott Johnson, Seth Josel, Heike Matthiesen, Amanda Monaco, Pablo Montagne, Joe Morris and Marco Oppedisano, wirh a foreword by Miguel Copon.
What do you remember about your first approach to guitar?
Oh my... some times ago my mother showed me an old photo. I was 4-5 years old I think and I was strumming an old guitar toy, you know the small guitars you can still find in old toy store? My younger sister was sitting closer to me, maybe I was playing for her, but by the expression on her face was I can't really tell thay she liked was I was playing. (laughs)
Another thing that I remember is that my father loved to listen to music and he had an LP, a collection of Carlos Santana's best songs... I think I spent hours listening to it. I bought my first classical guitar when I was 18 years old, a Yamaha CG 120, I still play it today and I started having guitar lessons with a great teacher, Liliana Amato, she is the wife of Angelo Amato, a great italian guitar player, he played the ten strings guitar and he teached at Venice' Conservatory. She tought me all I know about guitar technique (I still play with nails and fingers, I have never used a pick) and she introduced me to classical guitar music. The was a great teacher! I was studying Economics at Ca' Foscary University in Venice, at those times. I played bass too, I have always loved Jaco Pastorius!
Then when I was 22 I stopped playing and studying guitar and I started to pratice Aikido, a Japanise martial art, that i still practice today.
Then I started playing again in 2006 but I stopped when my son Nicola was born in 2007. In October 2007 I started my blog, Blog Chitarra e Dintorni, and I started to write about guitar's music, Contemporary guitar's music in particular … and I never stopped. Four years ago I lost a great friend, Maurizio Bortali, I was a guitar lover like me, he did a crash car and he lost his life. It was so bad. His mother gave me his electric guitars: a Fender Stratocaster made in Mexico in 1996 and an old italian Eko guitar, a Les Paul model, that was completely destroyed. Thanks to my great friend Tiziano Vecchiato, a great guitar luthier, now I play them both. I add a Seymour Duncan JB pickup on Strato at the bridge, I'm a great fan of Seymour Duncan pickup and I lobe the JB fat, huge and strong tone! My Strato is a great guitar, great sound, great neck!
Tiziano Vecchiato completely rebuilt the old Eko and … wow, it's great! He rewind the pickup too, he paint it in a fantastic cand apple red color, he chenage the mechanics using Groove Tulip, the Eko is all mogany made, great fat sound, great sustain, beautiful! It was a great satisfaction for me to give her life back after several years.
Tiziano Vecchiato made me a fretless guitar too, a headless guitar. I have a crush for headless guitars, I love Steinberger's design! Playing my fretless guitar is so great, I have not a good musical ear and playing it I'm learning a lot, it opend me to new idea, new points of view, new possibilities and to a lot of medioriental music.
Which was the first and the last record you bought with your own money?
Oh well. I'm an LPs and cds collector. I never stop buying and listenning to records. My first record was a 45 record: “Every little thing she do is magic by The Police. I bought it in 1981, when I was 11 years old and I still have it! I love Police's music and I adore Andy Summer.
He is a great guitarist and I love to play his music, he found a new minimal way to play our favourite instrument using chords played only in jazz before and using guitar's effects in a new, creative way. I enjoed a lot reading his autobiography, it was fun to learned that he played classic guitar too.
The last record I bought was “Turning Towards the Light” by Adam Rudolph Go: Organic Guitar Orchestra. Great record! Eleven guitar players all toghter under the conduction of Adam Rudolph! I have to thank my friend Marco Cappelli (great guitarist) for introducing me to Adam Rudolph, the last time he went with him playing in Venezia. It was a real pleasure to meet him, Rudolph is a great person, a great musician and a great thinker, you should read his ideas on John Zorn's book Arcana V: Musicians on Music, Magic & Mysticism (Arcana (Hip Road)).
In between these records there thousands and thousands of records. I usually buy 4-5 cd every month.
How's your musical listening routine?
It starts at 7 o'clock, when I go out of my home and I go to job, I have my mp3 player and my headphones on, I have to use public transport, i don't like listening to noises and rumors and conversations made by other people so … I prefer to immerge myself into music, I have always something new to listen to.
Then I do the same when I come back home, so I can listen to almost two hours of music, I like to listen to music in my home, at night, when all is quiet, I put a record or a cd on the player and I listen to it, no headphones.
I don't do it everyday anyway, sometimes I'm tired of music and I need to stop listening to, I have to make order inside my mind, my ears and my thoughs
Where are your roots? What are your secret influences?
Oh my roots....not so easy to define, I'm a mix of diffent things. First of all I don't think there is anything secret about me or my experiences or my musical tastes. I studied Economic, I work in a bank, I practice Aikido, I love to listen to and to play music, I like to read book, I love architecure, I'm a husband and a father. Like everyone of us I have several influences: my guitar teacher Liliana Amato, my wife Serena, my son, the book I read, all the records and the concerts I went … so many things, maybe too many things. (laughs) Seriusly I think I was influenced by 3 books: Ocean of Sound by David Toop), Atlas of Emotions by Giuliana Bruno and Arcana by John Zorn.
Why did you select a blog like a medium to investigate about music?
Because it's cheap, usefull, easy, it works well with social networks, it's easy to keep and to play with. I'm not into complicated things, I have a busy day everyday, you know.. life, job, family... so I have only small time to do my things. When I stared it in 2007 I had the bad experience of guitar forum, I have been into guitar forums, like Delcamp classical guitar forum, but I was tired of them: so many controversy, so many rumors, so many people against each other... I left them all and I made my blog, I just to talk about music, I'm a not a person who love gossip or controversy, I don't like to waste my time in those things.I believe in what I'm doing. Life is so short and I want to listen to as much music as possible and to meet nice people, drink nice wines, enjoy good food, play my guitars... Blog was the perfect tool for me.
What's the relevance of technique in music, in your opinion?
Great question. When I think about technique I always think about Robert Frip, in the seventies he was attacked by punks, he was called “a dinosaur” because his guitar technique and he answered “Who is a technique slave? One who has too much technique or one who has nothing?”. I think he did a great answer. We need to get a good technique because technique permits a player to express himself better and how he prefer. At the same time technique makes all of us to the same level and if your want to express yourself at you best you have to reach a diffent step: you have to get style, your own style. Style is the last step, it defines your “Form”, your musical identity. I'm interested about Form and style, all great guitars players have their own style and form, and know it and, sometimes, like to talk about it.
Why do you need music? Can we live without music?
Another great question! Let's see. I need music because music, after several year, is a part of my life, I'm not a musician, I'm a fan, but music is part of my daily routine. Music helps me to calm down, to think about life, to give me ideas. It's a filter that helps me to define reality and our world. In this sense I like guitar so much. Guitar, like percussions and voice, is present in almost every kind of music, so I can move myself between any musical genres, still having a “guide”. I prefer to be non-specialist. Can we live without music? No. No, I don't think so. We need music, everybody need his music. Monster like Stalin and Hitler loved music too. A person without music is really a miserable personality.
Tell me one impossible project do you like to realize?
Oh my.... I would love to make a record playing reinacense music with my fretless guitar.. maybe one day....
What are the challenges and benefits of today's digital music scene?
Well, I don't think there is a digital music scene, because all “printed” and “recorded” music is digital music today. It's just a matter about technology. Technlogy gives, technlogy gets, and ever technology changing give us new opportunity. Technologies also reflect our societies, we are into a great period of changes that involve our societies, our jobs, our way of life and for a lot of things we have no answer because we have lost what i call “the sense of future”. Maybe we don't dream anymore, it seems we have lost the possibility to organise our future. Look at the music market, now there are only three Majors, also Emi closed a few years ago. And nobody still seems to understand how to organise the market and to stop illegal music downloads.
Small music shops are closing and distribution is changing again. I have founded with my friend Lorenzo Isacco a netlabel a few years ago, it's called AlchEmistica and I wrote a book in italian called “Netlabels” . We have produced our first cd with Bach Guitar Duo too. And all my books are in paper and ebook formats. I don't think it's a problem about digital music and technology, I think it's more a problem about distributions and informations.
How do you feel reading to your own writings?
I don't like it. (laughs) I can do it only some times later.. and I'm always surprised about how many errors I did. I'm sure it will be the same with this last new book Visionary Guitars Chatting with Guitarists.
I read my books back after some months. They are like snapshots, I like to confront the to what I'm doing and thinking now.
Which is the main pleasure of the guitar? What are their main limitation?
The main pleasure about guitar is …. playing it! I love everything about guitar, the touch, the sound, the feeling, everything... I'm a guitar addicted. (laughs)
Limitations? A tool, an instrument has no limitations, we create our limits, then .. one day.. you go to a concert, meet a new guy called Jimy Hendrix and he shows you how to push your limits so far. This is one of the reasons why I love avangard music, I don't like borders.
Which living or dead artist would you like to interview?
Talking about guitars, I would love to talk with Django Reinhardt, Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix, I think I would enjoy myself a lot. I would like to meet Miles Davis and John Coltrane too, I love them. I would love to meet Picasso too, I think he was the most important artist in XX century. And yes, I would like to meet Mississippi John Hurt and play with him, I adore to play his music and I'm studying his songs.
Living artists? As I told you before I'm a fan. I would love to interview Jimmy Page, Allan Holdsworth, John Zorn and Pat Metheny. I really like them and I have tons of records to ask them to autograph too. (laughs)
What projects are you working on now and what does the future hold?
I have several ideas. First of all I would like to transform my blog, I'll make an announcement about in a few days. Then I'm working on the second volume of “Visionary Guitars” and I have another project about a book on Steve Reich. And I would like to promote better my netlabel AlchEmistica and produce more cds. I would love to play my guitars more, the fretless one expecially, to practise more Aikido and … have a good sleep! (laughs)
Visionary Guitars Chatting with Guitarist
Paper format | Ebook
Chitarre visionarie. Conversazioni con chitarristi alternativi
Netlabels. Musica, Economia, Diritto, Società in Internet
Blog | Youtube | Chitarra ed Intorni | Alchemistica