Image Credits: Danilo Gallo © Danilo Gallo.
July 03, 2018
To play, to travel, to know places and people is already a dream
Danilo Gallo is a creative and versatile bass player capable of being at ease and personal in all the musical languages in which he is involved. We interviewed him on his recent tour in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Doha.
> Ivano Rossato
How do you make your improviser's soul coexist with that of a session musician struggling with more defined musical structures?
It might seem that, for an improviser, structured music is limiting, but in reality improvisation means going to touch meanders, microcosms that do not necessarily mean playing free notes on a free structure or a free rhythm. There is also the improvisation of the timbre, that of the breath and that of the pause. These are all small cells that together make the difference between organized music played by improvisers and one played by non-improvisers.
What are the characteristics you look for in another musician?
When you improvise you create the famous interplay. Affinities are created that often are not even attributable to an explanation or a decision. For me the ideal condition to look for is to feel good together and, above all, respect and mutual trust. It is essential to know how to rely on the role that your colleague musician is currently providing and offering, which is not decided before and therefore we must know how to wait and then propose again. This is the game.
In light of your experience with El Gallo Rojo Records, what is your opinion on the future of the production and distribution of musical contents?
El Gallo Rojo was an experience of sharing ideas, musical projects, attitudes, aperitifs, holidays, friendship, human and musical growth of a collective. The label was just one of the many manifestations of this relationship. As a member of the collective, I never considered myself a record producer in the strict sense of the term, but the "co-holder" of a “moving container” in which some musical ideas sedimented and were phonographically documented to give space to others to come. I believe that today any production and distribution system can be valid. It's true, it's the era of Spotify, YouTube etc ... and you can make a lot of talk about the fact that a phonographic support can be obsolete and things like that. But we live in an age in which we can choose how to produce, how to divulge and how to make use of it. The palette is wide, and one medium does not exclude the other. The real problem is not how to distribute and how to arrive, but how to be able to intrigue and ensure that listening can be passionate and authentic, and not fleeting or "clickable". This is a broad discourse that touches socio-cultural aspects and I would even say anthropological.
Is the musician just an entertainer or does he still have the role of "educator"?
I believe that the musician is not a teacher in the strict sense, and therefore does not have a real educational role. However, he is a person who communicates with other people through the medium he has, his instrument, his music, his groups, what he can say through his notes or his singing. So he somehow has the opportunity to express his thoughts. This is a privilege, it does not happen to everyone to be able to put in front of tens, hundreds or even thousands of people and be able to say their own. The musician has this privilege. This communicative aspect is subjective, I have nothing to teach anyone, I simply say who I am, what I am and how I think. I do not believe in musicians as educators but I believe in music as a form of education.
What is the main advice you would give to a young musician wishing to pursue a professional career?
My advice is to never think that it is a "job" in the strict sense, where you learn concepts and skills to "produce" and that's it. But also and above all that it is the wake of a conscious dream, which is the privilege of doing the most beautiful and intimate thing to be able to live. I suggest to always keep the thought of "what I will do when I grow up" as if it were a goal never reached and commit to it and always have so much curiosity so that the study is always parallel and functional to their sensitivity and their soul, then subjective, never detached and objective.
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