'The Mother Of All Musical Creations'
Whether he's composing scores for films in his native Italy, recording albums with jazz and rock legends or — as on his latest independent CD, Neopagan — creating every single melodic and funky sound himself, Paolo Rustichelli always brings a touch of the spiritual-mystical to his creative experience.
In the 90s, the Roman born musician balanced his busy scoring career — which includes over 100 Italian films since the early 70s, in addition to the U.S. made Gunshy and Double Exposure — with two incredible jazz oriented projects, aptly titled Mystic Jazz (redubbed Capri for its Stateside release) and Mystic Man.
In a remarkable marketing move for an independent artist, Rustichelli is releasing two versions of Neopagan at the same time—one for the Adult Contemporary audience with more vocals, another for the smooth jazz format with more instrumentals; the album feature him singing primarily in English, with some words of Ancient Latin spiced in. Both in stores and on download sites, fans can purchase each version of the album separately or as a double CD collection.
Having written both smooth jazz, spiritually-aware recordings, and even movie scores, I'm wondering which is your favorite niche to slip into? "I love every spot a good music can be."
And just where does one find the time to score over 100 Italian films since the early 70s anyway?! "Some movies were done with pre-existing material from my publishing company. I'm also pretty much fast in scoring!"
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying the new CD, how would you yourself describe your sound? "The musical genre names are the same but took different styles though the years. As an example, you can say that the UK band Cream (Ginger Baker-Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce) was a Pop band, then what's the meaning of Pop? Surely this kind of Pop is really different from Michael Bolton's Pop?! The same concept can be applied for my music style. What I call Next Age music; meaning a fusion of different styles mainly "Pop - Rock - Nu - Jazz - Hip - hop" fusion."
It seems that jazz-orientated projects are relatively new to you (circa 1992). What is it about so-called smooth jazz that has since captured your recording interest? "When I was signed to Island Records they decided to promote my song 'Paisa' on the Smooth jazz radios. Then I was considered as a smooth jazz artist too!"
If there was one track on this new album that truly encapsulated Paolo Rustichelli at his current musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "It is 'Goodfella' and will be released on the Neopagan Pop rock version!"
At a time when the music industry is seemingly full of one-named artists and easy-to-remember names, your last name is a humdinger! Ever think of shortening it to just Paolo Rusti, perhaps?! Come on, it's kinda got a ring to it! "I'm not following industry wisdom! Plus everybody generally call me Paolo."
OK, so what's the deal with naming your new album 'Neopagan'? "Many people asked me about the repetitive use of the word "Mystic" in my previous works. And even more what was the meaning 'x'? So then I decided to compose a more explicative album that is dedicated to the Universal physical and spiritual forces that rules this universe. With a special dedication for our Planet Earth."
"Today, Neopagans around the world call the Earth by the ancient Greek name "Gaia", which is also the song 'Gaia Mater' (which means "mother earth" in ancient Latin. That opens the Neopagan smooth jazz special edition. With this musical celebration it is also my intention to drive people's attention to the scary situation of global warming. And to show on my friendly neopagan.com website what it means today to be Neopagan. And hopefully to put together all kinds of good people from around the world - whatever religion or culture they are from - to help our threatened living planet, Mother Earth. This website will be ready in December of '06."
Your CD cover artwork has you extremely close up to the camera ...and not even smiling! Having a bad day, were we?! "Yeah, that was a really bad day that one! Before the shoot was taken I had an unpleasant conversation with my ex-girlfriend! However, I like the sunset light and intensity of this photo!!"
If you could re-cover any '80s (possibly cheesy!) pop song, which one would it be ... and why?! "If not from the '80s, but earlier, I will say 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale.' It's a terrific song from Procol Harum that made my days when I was a young kid. Just arrived fresh from Italy in Los Angeles watching the neopagan "flower power" good vibes flowing around me ... fantastic !"
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "Absolutely so! I love them as they are funny and elegant, but I don't like cold weather! Hopefully one of these days I will get to meet one in Southern California!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Paolo's new CD, just answer this easy question: Growing up in Rome, Paolo naturally followed in the musical footsteps of his parents, three time Oscar nominated film composer Carlo Rustichelli and his mother. But, just what profession was his mother a part of?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before December 1st with your answer and the subject title 'CONTEST: PAOLO RUSTICHELLI SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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