Interview: Plaster [Kvitnu]
Plaster is an electronic music project that was born in Rome in 2008, originally comprising of Gianclaudio Hashem Moniri and Giuseppe Carlini.
Their music is mostly characterized by a dark attitude, and a direction which aims to mix ambient music, deep beats and Sharp sounds; with a technique that always balances the deepness of the sound and where every sound can be interpreted as a story in itself.
Currently the project is comprised of Gianclaudio H. Moniri while Giuseppe is taking a personal break.
TF: Tell us something about you. What’s your background? Where did you studied and who influenced you to explore musical processes?
PT: Hi Edgar, here is Gianclaudio from Plaster, thank you for inviting me to join the podcast series of The Forgotten and for this interview.
I’m an electronic musician and sound engineer based in Rome and i run the projects Plaster and Kaeba. To be more specific Plaster is not my own creature, in fact originally it was a band founded by my long time friend Giuseppe Carlini and Me, but since Giuseppe tooks a personal break I decided to continue on developing it by my own.
My music background comes from rock music, when I was a child I started to play the guitar, and like every adolescent in the world, I had several local bands until my Mum bought me a computer at the age of 17. So I started to learn music softwares for recording my riffs and solos and day by day my passion for electronic music has grown. After a year as self-taught, I decided to study electronic music and I went to the Scuola Di Musica Popolare Di Testaccio in Rome, where I met the professor Luca Spagnoletti. He's a well known figure in the Italian electronic music scene, he drove me to the experimental and glitch music and he also teached me the most important lesson: “think out of the box”. Thanks to Luca I went to the Saint Louis College Of Music where I studied Sound Engineering and Music Production. After this academic period I started to work as musician and sound engineer.
TF. You live in Rome. How does this place influence you as an artist?
PT: Rome is a controversial city, where most of the times your life is in risk and due to the bad of organization of the city you can't make long terms planning, maybe you can spent one entire day on a post office and not solve your tasks, but in other hands is a city that you can't stop to love if you born there.
Honestly I'm not attracted anymore to the city musical offer, I continue to repeat to my friends that after the end of Dissonanze Festival, where I've been lucky enough to attend to several editions and to play at an event organized by them, most of the cultural scene related to the electronic music has died. To be realistic the Roman audience is always difficult to satisfy, I still remember that at one of the last concert of Autechre in Rome (I guess 2008 at Brancaleone Club), the audience during the show was yelling them to put A STRAIGHT KICK in 4/4! I mean, you can’t ask to Autechre something like this. Even the Raster Noton annual event at Villa Massimo has drastically changed during the years and in a bad way, so i think that there's no chance to improve the Roman attitude. In any case small events and virtuous promoters still make the difference in the city, I'm happily seeing that the people are tired of the same soup, and they accept with enthusiasm new spaces besides clubs and a different musical proposal than straight techno.
TF: Can you describe from beginning to end how your new album – is made?
PT: Well, for Transition I don't had a specific way of work, most of the tracks are pure improvisations between my daily job and my childrens. For example, on some tracks happened that I had to held my younger son in one arm and with the other hand moving the filter of a synth while answering to my elder son, all of this while recording. So if I have to define a method is not possible, but the idea was to make it simple but effective, removing a lot of unuseful decorations and giving importance to the music itself. I wanted to go back to the roots, so I embraced again my guitar for some songs, and I accepted the human error as a resource and not as a thing to avoid.
TF: What new hardwares did you apply to make 'Transtion' album? Do you have a particular method while working in the studio?
PT: As explained above, I usually don't have a specific method, I also don't have a studio, I don't like to relate my music to a specific site or instruments, so most of the time I do music with the instruments that I own in that moment and I try not to get font to them. For Transition I've used monophonic synthesizers, a guitar, 2 grooveboxes, one modern and one vintage, bass and guitar pedals for processing the signals, and valve preamps to record the sounds.
TF: Do you pay attention to the strong reactions of others to your work? Does that affect what you create?
PT: At the beginning, when I started to make and release music yes, but now I don't care. I prefer to make the music that I like and which makes me satisfied. For this album I'm sure that I'll lose a big portion of my audience, people who relate Plaster's music only to the techno world, but i'm sure that I'll find new people and I'm curious for that. I think that a musician who define himself as experimental, needs to push the boundaries and not to repeat himself, I've seen a lot of colleagues and artists that I estimated, try to satisfy their audience and fit their music to the trends and in my opinion this is the death of an artist.
TF: Historically the ‘ambient’ was a key part of the sonic and spatial architecture of electronic scene. Can you comment on this function of ambient music within the context of the club scene?
PT: To be honest, I'm not really expert of club music, so I don't have a clue for it. What I like is the mixture of the 2 worlds which can be translated to the mental techno, and I like to dance it.
TF: Can you tell us more about your next release? Do you have in mind other projects?
PT: This year Plaster turns 10, so with Giuseppe we're planning to make some music together again and see what's will going on. I don't know if this will become a release or just material to preserve on an hard drive. At the moment I'm working on the live session of Transition, I don't want to bring my synthesizers on the stage, so I'm translating the album to an Ableton Live session and this is a bit challenging because I don't want to loose its spontaneity. I also have some new material with my other project Kaeba and I need to find a way to release it.
TF: Recently, have you seen any movie or documentary, or heard an album that has influenced the way you make music? What other art forms or music inspire you as a person?
PT: As a sound engineer for Italian Dubbing companies I'm always subject to listen to soundtracks, so slowly they became an important part of my music listening and i find them very inspiring. I've recently worked to a movie for Netflix with the soundtracks of Atticus Ross, he's a great musician and sound designer. About the albums that recently made me think differently of electronic music, for sure Risveglio by Alessandro Cortini is one of them. I've watched an interview on Youtube where he explain that he recorded the album via boombox and an handy recorder, on hotels rooms. For me this is a great approach to minimalism and essentiality.
With the death of Mika Vainio, I went back to listen again his discography and it's incredible how profound is his music and his straight and minimalistic approach. About other forms of art which inspire me, there's painting with artists like Burri or Rothko and literature mostly social or sci-fi.
TF: Any last words from Plaster to our readers?
PT: Yes, all together it's possible.
TF: Thank you for the time and the mix for the serie Gianclaudio.
01. Bunsen Burner - Cuts
02. Mingle - Lost
03. Boards Of Canada - Collapse
04. Plaster - Imaginary Friend
05. Sigha - Stabbing
06. Tm404 - 202_202_303_303_606
07. Alessandro Cortini - Stanbecco
08. Cluster Lizard - Stellar
09. Gomila Park - Leipniz
10. Death From Above 1979 - Going Steedy
11. Roly Porter - Giant
12. Disney - I Tre Porcellini
13. Deamdike Stare - Suspicious Drone
14. Porter Ricks - Prismatic Error
15. Franck Vigroux - H+
16. Mika Vainio - Weight