06/10/2017 - Interview with Gianluca Livi & Alex Marenga aka Amptek

Back in July, we made an album review of Gianluca Livi’s blissful “Fleeting Steps”. Today we bring you an exclusive interview with the creator of Fleeting Steps and the Art Director of Eclectic Productions. To keep track you can read the full review HERE.

Alex Marenga (left): aka Amptek, he is the Art Director of Eclectic Productions (www.eclectic.it) and founder member of Entropia, an experimental band from Rome. 

Gianluca Livi (right): Set apart the 70s hard rock mood with his band Anno Mundi - very close to early Black Sabbath - as a soloist, Gianluca Livi’s approach is free and visionary, with a very measured presence of its own instrument, the drums, while opting for electronic percussive devices as well as noise studio devices and effects (here is the review of his solo album).

Gianluca, how was the public reaction to your latest ambient release? 

Gianluca Livi: Globally good! Just two weeks and “Fleeting steps” received magnificent reviews in Italy, UK, and France (https://gllivi.wixsite.com/fleetingsteps). 

The listeners enjoyed the album and this is amazing if you think that I'm a perfect unknown in the range of ambient and experimental music. 

I have to thank, for this, Alex Marenga and all at the Eclectic Productions, his terrific label, which promoted the album in a magnificent way. 

Alex, what is the purpose of Eclectic Productions? 

Alex Marenga: As a producer, I am interested in discovering new languages and artists that are confronted with paradigms of “music and technology” or “sound and noise”. 

Please tell us about your background. 

Alex Marenga: When I was young I studied guitar and jazz harmony. I played in many jazz-rock and rock groups in the 80's. I've always been interested in the rock of the 70's, and in particular in the German cosmic rock and Brian Eno's experiments. In the early 90's, I got closer to the new trends in electronic music with my projects Amptek and Entropia. I graduated in communication sciences with a thesis on Luigi Russolo and Futurism and I am interested in contemporary art. 

Gianluca Livi: I started playing drums when I was a teenager. I stopped at 28 and started again at 40. 
At the same time, I have always stumbled guitar, which allows me to compose music. 

How did your musical career begin? 

Alex Marenga: My career began as a musician in 80's as guitarist in jazz and neo-prog bands. 

Gianluca Livi: I released with Anno Mundi, a hard rock band from Rome, two albums and one cd as independent issues, distributed by the label BTF/Earshock, along with being part of compilations “Kissed By Kiss” and “Metal Years”, published by “Celtic Moon Records” and “Ace Records” respectively. 

At the moment, the band is alive and well, waiting to publish the third vinyl. Our musical style is the mighty seventies, based on a heavy Sabbathian guitar sound. We also experimented with acoustic parts, wind instruments, prog extensions, and tiny experimental parts. As a soloist, I wanted to expand the incursions into experimental music. A very good song came out, then another and so on, until the whole album "Fleeting Steps" was made. 

Explain your musical influences, particular bands, and records that have influenced you. 

Alex Marenga: My musical influences come from very different styles and artists. Miles Davis, Brian Eno, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Ennio Morricone, Parliament Funkadelic, Kraftwerk, Klaus Schulze, Sun Ra, Pink Floyd, John Cage, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, King Crimson, Popol Vuh, Luigi Nono are authors who have had great influence on my work. Brian Eno's and Jon Hassel's "Forth World: Possible Music", Miles Davis's "Bitches Brew", and Pink Floyd's “Ummagumma" or Kraftwerk “Trans Europe Express” were important for my training. 

Gianluca Livi: I started listening to the Beatles. Subsequently, I expanded my mind listening to prog-rock, hard rock, heavy, jazz, experimental. But, I often come back to The Beatles, the band who first proposed all these genres. 

How would you define your own music? 

Alex Marenga: As an author, I realized both works inspired by atonal-noise and contemporary music that IDM and experimental dance. In particular, I am also interested in hybridizing the guitar with new digital technologies to find new spaces for this instrument. 

Gianluca Livi: as a soloist, my music is reflexive and visionary, sometimes cryptic. Just ambient, just experimental, with a little bit of drone. As co-founder of Anno Mundi, I'm just “a soldier in the Rock and Roll Army” (lol). 

What tools do you use to create your music? 

Alex Marenga: I use Steinberg Cubase, Ableton Live and many hardware devices: analog synths, modular eurorack synthesizers, drum machines, guitar synthesizers. 

Gianluca Livi: In “Fleeting Steps”, I played electronic drums and I used Cool Edit Pro 2.0 software. All the others musicians played real instruments (analog synths, piano, bass, and guitar). Stefano Pontani, the guitarist, also used an Echoplex Digital Pro loop station, and Moebius software. 

How do you approach the challenge of being musicians in 2017? 

Alex Marenga: Today a musician lives in a technical revolution age that has no equality since the introduction of electricity at the beginning of the twentieth century. 

Technology is a pervasive element in contemporary society. No man has ever been so intimately connected with others, with so much information available. We are no longer in the world 50 years ago and not even the music is. So today the musician has to be able to represent this new world with the right sounds. 

How difficult is to stand out nowadays among tons of artists brought onto the scene thanks to the internet? 

Alex Marenga: It has always been difficult to get out. Before, you were simply ignored. Yesterday, anyone who wanted to play did but the market decided who was worthy of ending in the media. Today, everyone can access dominant media, the only discrimination is the cost of promotion. Who has more money available can emerge from the internet with greater ease. 

Gianluca Livi: today anyone can propose his own idea. Unfortunately, there is more competition and, sometimes, less visibility. There are too many musicians, not always so professionals and for this reason, the musical journalists are often annoyed by many proposals and they don't identify the most interesting and creative music. 

Which artists are you listening to at the moment? 

Alex Marenga: I listen The Heliocentrics, Jlin, Burial, Max Richter, Machinefabriek , Sigur Ros, FKA Twigs, Shackleton, Alva Noto, Colin Stetson, Dasha Rush, Xiu Xiu, Autechre, Radiohead, Robert Henke, Ryoji Ikeda, Bonobo, Stian Westerhus, Ólafur Arnalds, Kamasi Washington, Sunn O))), Ishq, Aphex Twin, Six Organs Of Admittance and many others. 

Gianluca Livi: At the moment, I'm a hard supporter of Jimi Hendrix, King Crimson, Ezra Winston, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Ennio Morricone, all the Italian prog bands of the seventies, many southern rock bands and thrash metal bands of the eighties. I'm also enjoying since Kate Bush came back on stage and David Lee Roth rejoined Van Halen.

Fleeting Steps has been released under Italian record label ECLECTIC PRODUCTIONS 

Album is available to purchase via JunoDownload and AmazonMp3

Visit Gianluca's Official Website

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