Le Lavatrici Rosse:
Andrea Beccaro (AB) drums and electronics and
Riccardo Ruggeri (RR) vocals and electronics
Interview: 10 questions
1. When did you start making music, what is/was your motivation to do it?
AB: I started in my childhood with classical guitar, then I got involved with drums and percussion. I was (and still am) attracted by the magic of sound and rhythm.
RR: I started in the high school years, as a guitar player and singer in a rock band.
I was always interested in fluidly marrying melodies and lyrics in an interesting and contemporary way, without forgetting the popular traditions.
2. Tell me something about your living environment and the musical education.
AB: I live in Biella (north-west of Italy) in a culturally underdeveloped area which is luckily balanced by a healthy underground scene.
I was musically trained in classical percussion in Milano, studied drumset privately and finally graduated at the Musicians Institute of L.A. under the guidance of Ralph Humphrey, Steve Houghton and Joe Porcaro among others.
RR: I started self-taught, then studied singing privately and at the conservatory.
The Gisela Romhert (Lichtenberg Institute) method and traditional folk music are the two things that I’ve learned the most from; things that I try to pass on my students today in my teaching practice (activity that I survive on)
3. Is making music your profession? What is the context in which you practice music nowadays?
AB:Making and teaching music are my professional activities. My main projects are Le Lavatrici Rosse and a Trio with Andrea Manzoni (piano) and Luca Bertinaria (double bass). Choosing to basically staying away from any commercially-driven context lessens the chances to play but makes them much more exciting because I’m always pushed to give 101%.
RR I’m tryin’ to make music my profession. Today I’m singing with: Le Lavatrici Rosse, Lomè (www.lome.it), OPLab contemporary ensemble and other minor projects.
Chances to perform with Lomè and Le Lavatrici Rosse are few but of relevance (Biennale of Naples 2005, Percfest, Premio Umberto Bindi among others). With the other projects there are more opportunities to play but they dont’offer chances to develop, being mainly commissioned and performed for a single event.
4. How do you compose or create music or sound? Have you certain principles, use certain styles etc.?
AB+RR: As Le Lavatrici Rosse we mainly start from improvising freely or on a rhythmic or melodic idea. We record our impro and then transcribe and rearrange and add to it; it’s a constant work-in-progress of recording and listening without a specific musical method; we simply follow and trust our instincts and inspiration which can be drawed from the croaking of the frogs to the 60’s twist.
5. Tell me something about the instruments, technical equipment or tools you use.
AB: I use a regular set of drums (mainly Pearl Masters Mahogany), I endorse UFIP cymbals, I have a Boss SP 505 sampler and a Drumkat pad controller.
For recording and mixing I use a Mac Powerbook G4 with Presonus preamps, various mics and Logic pro7 software.
RR: I use effects on my voice like overdrive and some from Lexicon mpx1. I also use live recording with my loop-station “Repeter – electrix”.
6. What are the chances of New Media for the music production in general and for you personally?
AB+RR: We think that the advent of New Media gives the chance to many non-conventional artists to expose their products bypassing the idiotic behaviour of the vast majority of record companies and managing agencies. For us it means conceiving an idea and developing it without compromise. We think that there is an audience that is hungry for creativity and progress. Our aim is to reach them and share honestly our music.
7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?
AB+RR: That’s what we already do for Le Lavatrici Rosse and other projects. Thanks to modern technology producing costs are greatly reduced so the chances are that basically anybody can have its home-bred cd, dvd or else.
8. Do you work individually as a musician/soundartist or in a group or collaborative?
If you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?
AB: I have experience in and enjoy both ways. Alone it’s a challenge with youself to keep the focus – on the other hand it’s deeply rewarding to bring an idea to life and following it through all the stages, from its inception to its distribution.
In a group you have interplay, which is an irreplaceable ingredient in music.
If I had to choose, I would say that there is still nothing that beats the uniqueness of people playing together and interacting in the moment, feeding off each other and from/to an audience of active listeners.
RR: I enjoy both ways. In a group you have to be humble and convinced of your ideas at the same time.
9. Is there any group, composer, style or movement which has a lasting influence on making music?
AB: Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, Igor Stravinsky and The Beatles more than others. I listen to a ton of different artists anyway.
RR: There are a lot of them, mainly fron the second half of ‘900. Their influence is mostly in their approach.
10. What are your future plans or dreams as a soundartist or musician?
AB: To keep on creating my music and progressing as a musician and as a human being.
RR: Surely to increase the opportunities to propose and promote my work as an artist; to keep on researching and studying my instument and, but it is a dream, to have an educative and therapeutic social role with music, not necessarily of my own.