Multi-instrumentalist, electronic music producer and composer Perdurabo just released ‘The Time Traveller’, the collaborative album created with !K7 artist Davide Tomat, out now – Stream ‘The Time Traveller’ here
The nine tracks included in the album were written in 2014 and rediscovered on a hard drive during last year’s lockdown. The album focuses on the idea of OOBE – out-of-body experience, a phenomenon in which a person perceives the world from a location outside their physical body. The inspiration comes from reworking the same music compositions at different periods in the artist’s life; each track represents a personal journey and singular OOBE. Music becomes the binder, capable of taking us far during a year of loneliness and immobility.
Perdurabo is the moniker of classically trained multi-instrumentalist, electronic music producer and composer Davide Arneodo. Living between Berlin and Turin, Italy, Davide has worked both in the studio and live with some of the biggest names in electronic and rock music, including members of Einstürzende Neubauten, Apparat, Placebo, Howie B and Skin, playing and releasing records across the world on both major and independent record labels. As the 5th member of seminal italian alt-rock band Marlene Kuntz; he contributed to the tremendous impact the band had on the Italian independent music scene, while as Perdurabo his most recent release was with Apparat’s drummer Jörg Wähner, releasing the collaborative EP ‘Komponent’, featuring Roman Rappak from Miro Shot and recorded at the iconic Funkhaus Studio in Berlin. Early singles, ‘Leads Me Outside’ and ‘Miss You More’, released on Bad Panda Records caught the attention of innovative London-based Kowloon Records, who went on to release ‘Mad’ featuring Chloe Charles. His most recent release comes in the form of ‘The Answer’, a piano composition chosen by Nils Frahm for his Piano Day 2021 Playlist .
Hey Perdurabo, welcome to DMCWORLD! That’s an interesting name – what’s the meaning behind it?
Hey, thanks for having me! Perdurabo is a Latin word meaning “I will endure to the end” – a motto to remind me how difficult the music world is, and how hard you have to fight to find your own space. Many people think it’s connected to Aleister Crowley, but I just really liked the intrinsic meaning of this word.
It’s been a strange year; how have you been keeping busy?
I would say a tough year – everyone suffered because of the Pandemic, but the music business was one of those that suffered the most. With no live shows on the horizon and no possibility to travel, I tried to keep creative, moving my studio at home and producing a lot more music. So from day one of lockdown I had my studio ready and I started producing – three unreleased tracks taken from Komponent, a collaborative project with Shramm (Jörg Wähner, Apparat drummer) produced years before at Funkhaus in Berlin – a new piano track for Piano Day 2021, originally written for the forthcoming record of my band Marlene Kuntz, chosen by Nils Frahm for its official Piano Day Spotify playlist – and I decided to give a final production touch to the collaborative record I started years ago in Turin with Tomat (!K7) and never released; ‘The Time Traveller’, which has just been released. So basically I would say that the last year helped me to clear my mind, working on all the music that I left behind. I feel so much better now knowing that all the years spent working on this music were worth it and people can finally listen to it. I’ve been more able to look inside myself and find time for things that couldn’t find space before.
Your new album ‘The Time Traveller’, is a collaboration with Davide Tomat. Can you tell us how the collaboration came about and how you managed it during lockdown?
I met Davide years ago in Turin – he knew I was playing with Marlene Kuntz, and he attended a theatre show in Turin where I was playing a live soundtrack… Thanks to common friends, he got in contact with me. We became close friends and started to make music together. The music we were creating was one of my first electronic music experiences and I must say I learned a lot from working with him in the studio. I think this record is interesting from that point of view, there’s a lot of programming, but all the piano, strings, and guitars are played live by me. There’s a soundtrack vibe in it and I’m quite proud of the result; how it sounds, and also because people can’t really catalog it into a genre, it’s kind of experimental, but experimental electronic sounds different, it’s straight but not techno, sounds like a soundtrack, but in a personal and totally different way. You know, it’s hard to release a record like this nowadays, because music industry people need to categorize your music, they need to understand where your music belongs, in order to place it on a playlist or write a review. And I perfectly know and in some way understand their reaction when they can’t understand where to place it. That’s great, but somehow also painful, because I know it will take a lot more time for people to understand what I do. Coming back to the production side, I knew I had this music on a hard drive, but it was sort of forgotten there – we were full of other projects going on and we just left it there like frozen. So I simply thought that was the right moment to work on it again and self-release it.
What was the creative process and inspiration?
We first started creating at Superbudda, Tomat’s studio on the northern outskirts of Turin, we set up and connected all our instruments, so that we were able to record and create new music quick while playing around…as soon as a new idea was coming up we were ready to record it, that’s why almost every sound of this record is so true and inspired – it’s the sound that came up at that certain moment of inspiration, maybe at three or four in the night or while lazily playing around after lunch. The environment was essential, the urban atmosphere typical of Docks Dora in Barriera di Milano, the northern part of Turin, and also creating with no timeline, we were in the studio all the time we wanted, morning, day and night. No rules…the only rule was to be creative without any limitation. At that time I was also working at Funkhaus, another studio complex in the outskirt part of Berlin, so I was constantly traveling between these two spots: journeys and a sort of lonely metropolitan feeling are at the end the main ingredients.
The album focuses on the idea of OOBE – out-of-body experience, can you tell us about one of the best out of body experiences you had?
The idea of OOBE came up later while producing the record over lockdown. I was searching for a connection between those tracks, and I realized that the record was created over years: the same place, but in different moments of life. The Netflix series “Dark” came to my mind. I felt like a time traveller, moving between sessions made in 2013, 2015, 2017. Each time there was a small improvement, new ideas, new emotions, but always keeping the original vibe of the previous years. I started to read a book, “Journeys Out Of The Body” by Robert Monroe and I discovered and understood a lot more about this topic. I can’t really say I had an OOBE, it would be very pretentious, but I can say I had a couple of very strange events in my life, one of those was very powerful; I could see myself sleeping, then I moved from my room to the studio and started to drive my studio like if my room was the cockpit and the whole building a sort of spaceship, out in the cosmos, in the outer space.
What was the production process like for the album?
As I mentioned before, all instruments were set up and ready to be recorded. Everything started from a rhythm programmed by Tomat with his Elektron Rytm or some loop or sequence programmed by me on the Teenage Engineering OP-1, Moog Little Phatty, or Prophet 8. When the loop or sequence would start coming to life, we would start building around it until the track was sketched and finished. Here’s where the time travelling feeling comes up; the tracks were recorded quite fast, but the real deepness is created by reopening and rearranging layer after layer, each of those sessions, with a different consciousness and better understanding of what was necessary and what was not. That’s the main thing in production, 99,9% of the time things are unnecessary, the real thing is to find and understand what that track really needs.
The album has a very consistent sound. Do you have any go-to bits of studio kit or hardware that you always find yourself returning to?
I’m glad you’ve noticed it – that is not about pushing the limit over the top while mastering (the mastering was done by the excellent Bo Kondren at Calyx in Berlin, having a very interesting exchange of views on how this record should have sounded), but it’s about the whole process, from the moment you record an instrument, you treat it and you find its own space inside the music. When you do it properly the track starts to sound big. Also, we were lucky enough to work with excellent pieces of gear – for example, each instrument has been recorded passing through a millennia preamp, nothing was directly going to the audio interface. And last but not least we used only analog instruments, Moog/Elektron/Prophet and acoustic instruments, piano/violin/guitar – the only exception is the OP-1 by Teenage Engineering.
Do you use reference tracks when you produce? Or do you prefer to start from a completely blank canvas?
Never, I find it quite confusing, it would be like writing a book reading another book. I prefer to have a completely blank canvas, I find it relaxing and the only way I have to create something completely new and unique. It could happen that I use a reference track while mixing if I want to understand how another artist found a certain way to treat a specific sound, but only when my track is finished and has its own identity.
What is the italian electronic music scene currently like?
There are a lot of established and new interesting artists pushing their music out right now. Italy has always been a minor player in the electronic music and in the international music scene in general, with a few exceptions of course. The artists I follow and I find very inspiring right now are Alessandro Cortini, Caterina Barbieri, and Lorenzo Senni. I think these artists changed the perception that people have of the Italian electronic music scene abroad. There are many others, Tomat himself is doing awesome things for example, but I don’t feel part of any scene.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would that be and why?
That’s what I find inspiring; connecting with artists coming from other music worlds, with the same sensibility but with a different background, it’s the best way to learn. I’m actually working on a new collaborative record with an awesome artist, which I can’t reveal anything about yet, but it’s something very intense. Finally, answering your question, I would love to have Thom Yorke featuring on a track of mine, he’s been a constant inspiration for me. Years ago I produced a cover of Karma Police for my band Marlene Kuntz, for the celebration of ‘OK Computer’. Our version reached him and he congratulated us personally, that was a big gratification for me.
Is there anyone who inspires your sound?
My sound, besides the artists I love, is the result of my music journey, which I must say is quite complex and diverse. I started as a classical violinist, listening to and playing a lot of classical music and getting to know the composition, then I explored folk, jazz, Indian classical music, I played with pop major artists and joined one of the most influential Italian rock bands as a multi-instrumentalist. When I discovered electronic music, I felt that it was the only way to be really myself, the only way I could express my own feelings, with the same variety of classical music, the same intensity of rock, in a way that could be deep and forward thinking at the same time. For the first time in my career, I clearly felt I was finally shaping my own sound.
What is one record that never leaves your record bag?
Anima by Thom Yorke. Oh, especially what Nigel Godrich did on that record.
Finally, what can we expect from you after this album? Any big plans for the rest of the year?
I just finished my debut album – I have been working on it since the early beginning of Perdurabo, there’s everything in it: my travels, my discoveries, and all of my experiences. I love it and I’m just looking for the right label to release it. I really want the best for it.