Rigoni, Alberto (TwinSpirits) (January 2013)

In October 2012, Joshua Turner spoke with TwinSpirits bassist Alberto Rigoni about his newest solo release Three Wise Monkeys (Any and All Records, October 2012), his third following 2008's Something Different(Lion Music) and 2011's Rebirth (Nightmare Records). Most recently, on December 13, 2012, Rigoni presented two songs from the album opening for Jorn Lande (along with Ashent and Eliseum). -ed.

Joshua Turner: What was the inspiration for Three Wise Monkeys and why that particular name?

Alberto Rigoni: I really like the oriental philosophy and while composing this new album I was inspired by the legend of the three wise monkeys that together embody the proverbial principle to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil." The three monkeys are Mizaru, covering his eyes, who sees no evil; Kikazaru, covering his ears, who hears no evil; and Iwazaru, covering his mouth, who speaks no evil.

JT: Have you been to the Toshogu Shrine and what's its link to the album?

AR: Unfortunately not. I've never been there, but I hope that sooner or later I'll be able to visit it! "Toshogu Shrine" is the first track of the album. On that instrumental song I used E-Bow on my fretless bass, and I thought that the atmosphere I created was perfect for the intro of the album.

JT: Where is Shizaru and if you had to pick a song, which one would that be?

AR: I did not consider Shizaru on the album and I have no songs in mind that could fit with that ... but hey! Sooner or later, I'll do a new album so let's see. [smiles]

JT: You have some great guests on the album. I was interested in two in particular. How did you come to get Göran Edman and Kevin Moore involved?

AR: Kevin Moore has always been one of my idols. I started playing bass because of the Dream Theater albums: Image And Words and Awake. Kevin's style was shocking. So I asked him if he would be interested in playing one song of my new album. He enjoyed the tune and accepted. It's a great honor for me!

Göran is one of my favorite singers. His tone is unique. I really love what he did on Malmsteen's albums and also on other projects like Brazen Abott. He did a stunning job on the "Three Wise Monkeys" song as well. People are really digging the tune!

JT: You must really like working with Tommy Ermolli, or he sticks to you like glue, as he's your bandmate elsewhere and now you involve him on your solo project. Who asked who?

AR: I met Tommy when I joined TwinSpirits. He was really young (14 years old), and I was really impressed by his playing... so natural and melodic. I asked him to join my solo project since my first album, and he played on all three of my albums along with other guitar players such as Simone Mularoni, who is pretty stunning as well!

JT: Somebody has to ask but why is the monkey on the cover holding his ears? [I'm being facetious.]

AR: [laughs] Got it! But I dunno what to say [smiles]

JT: Please explain your songwriting process. Does it typically start with a thought, a jam, a digital device, or a sheet of music?

AR: My approach to composition is very natural and instinctive. I take my bass and I just play ("I jam with myself!"). If I feel that a bass riff sounds cool to me then I continue working on song structure. Sometimes what happens is that it all starts from a drum loop.

JT: Any plans in the works for live albums or DVDs?

AR: Actually, my solo project is more of a studio project than a live project, but I have it in mind to set up a band.

JT: Are you in any other projects these days aside from what's been mentioned?

AR: I've just recorded bass for an interesting Italian band. The band name is Klee and the album is in "Nickelback style." I really like what they are doing. More news soon!

JT: Do you have any tours or concerts lined up at the moment?

AR: I'm doing a tour clinic called "BASS & BIZ" which is about independent music production and promotion. I'd like to help young musicians in their approach to the music business.

JT: Tell me about any "significant" musicians that have influenced your playing?

AR: I grew up listening to progressive bands such as Dream Theater, Symphony X, Rush, etc., but I listen to all kinds of music (except Jazz and Hip-hop). One of the musicians that influenced me is Michael Manring. He is a solo bass player with a unique playing and approach to music. Everyone should listen to Michael! He is really original and revolutionary!

JT: I'm assuming you heard the new Karmakanic album. What's your take on it? Is Jonas Reingold an influence?

AR: Oops, no. Sorry! I didn't have the time to listen to it. I've been very focused on the release of my latest projects.

JT: In terms of new players and bands, who impresses you the most?

AR: I'm amazed by some guys I saw on YouTube playing drums and guitars. Young, talented people such as Cobus Potgieter and Daniele Gottardo. Regarding bands, Karnivool is pretty cool!

JT: What do you like that's on the radio?

AR: Italian radio is not my cup of tea. They give airplay just to Italian pop.

JT: Had you ever considered playing a different instrument or pursuing a different career?

AR: Not really. I love playing bass! Still, I think that the best instrument is the piano, but I don't feel that's the right one for me.

JT: Going back to the beginning, how did you get involved in music?

AR: I started playing bass after a friend of mine introduced me to Dream Theater. I was so impressed. The first song I listened to was "A Change of Seasons." 23 minutes of song... wow!!! My aim was to play DT songs, and after a couple of months I was able to play "Erotomania," which is one of my favorite songs. One year later I founded the band called Ascra.

JT: Why did you decide to cover Dream Theater's music and where is Ascra today?

AR: Dream Theater was the reason why I started playing bass. My aim was to create the best cover band ever. We played for many years with a lot of great feedback from the listeners. Ascra is now dead... but there might be a surprise. I'll keep you updated.

JT: At what point did you start to compose your own songs? Like, did this precede Ascra? Was there always some first work in progress, or was there a defining moment when you realized you could and wanted to compose your own music?

AR: I started composing back in 2005, when I was quite by myself and felt necessary making something extremely personal. From the very beginning I didn't want to follow any given music genre; relying exclusively on an instinctive way of composing. The only one thing I was sure of is that it would come out with something progressive (since my musical roots [were along those lines]), but even more experimental.

JT: There are references to Chinese and Japanese culture in your music. Have you been to Asia?

AR: Not yet but I'm very attracted by those countries.

JT: Then why the references to the Forbidden City...

AR: Are you talking about the TwinSpirits album? You should ask Daniele Liverani then [smiles]

JT: In your many experiences around the globe, you must have had a Spinal Tap moment...

AR: Seeing the CD disappearing from the globe is a spinal tap moment…isn't it? [smiles]

JT: I would say so, but has there been any practical joke, mishap, or anything out of the ordinary that occurred in concert, on the road, or in the studio?

AR: Well it's not so out of the ordinary, but two years ago I broke my shinbone while skiing and I had to play a whole tour sitting down. Rock! m/

JT: There you go. Aside from playing with injuries, what's the worst part about being a musician?

AR: Probably that -- at least here in Italy -- being a musician is not considered a job.

JT: That's unfortunate; however, fans are one of the fringe benefits. What's the best fan interaction you've had to date?

AR: I discussed for many hours with a fan regarding the concept behind the Rebirth album. I really appreciate fans who try to find out the sense of my albums.

JT: I'd like to find out about your current musical tastes...

AR: Mmm... I'm back to the 80s and 90s. I'm currently listening a lot to bands such as Megadeth, Pantera, Mr. Big.

JT: It's hard to believe those are the classics now. Bringing us to present purchases, what's the last CD that you bought?

AR: Devin Townsend - Epicloud.

JT: Along the same lines, what's the last concert that you attended as a fan?

AR: I saw Freak Kitchen here in Italy... the amazing trio led by guitar player Mattias Eklundh. They are stunning! Love their albums.

JT: I'd like to find out some of your favorites... what is your favorite album of all-time? Is there any CD or tape for that matter that you've worn out?

AR: Dream Theater A Change Of Seasons, Images And Words and Awake. Then, Ark Burn The Sun. One of the best progressive rock albums ever!

JT: Who is your all-time favorite band?

AR: The old Dream Theater.

JT: Yeah, I know what you mean... Let's talk about some favorites that aren't necessarily related to music...

AR: I love practicing yoga. I started some months ago, and I feel it's a great thing for our mind and body.

JT: I agree, and that's great to hear I'm not alone on that one... what is your favorite movie?

AR: There are many: Batman, A Clockwork Orange, Star Wars saga.

JT: What is your favorite TV show?

AR: I don't watch TV [smiles]

JT: Do you have a favorite book?

AR: The Odyssey (Homer).

JT: A popular one among musicians who create concept albums. [I chuckle] Are you a sports fan and if so, what's your favorite team?

AR: I'm a bit atypical... I'm not a sport fan... I prefer to practice sport! Italians love football. I'm not really interested into that.

JT: I like to ask this question, because it helps me to identify with the artist, but do you have any pets?

AR: I have three cats and I love them. They are like brothers for me (I'm an only child).

JT: Before we wrap up, is there anything you'd like to say to your fans at this time?

AR: I'd like to thanks everyone who is listening and supporting my music!

JT: Well, that's all I have for you at this time and just wanted to say, Three Wise Monkeys is a great, well-rounded, and very fun album. Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to do this interview with me.

AR: Thanks a lot to you for this interview and thanks for your nice words. I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying the album!

TwinSpirits - The Music That Will Heal The World (2007)
Something Different (2008)
TwinSpirits - The Forbidden City (2009)
Tommy Ermolli - Step Ahead (2009)
Lady & THE BASS - Quirky Girl (2010)
Mistheria - Dragon Fire (2010)
TwinSpirits - Legacy (2011)
Rebirth (2011)
Lady & THE BASS - Groovy (2012)
Three Wise Monkeys (2012)
Overloaded (2014)
Badass - Pop In Power Rock (2014) Into The Bass (2015)

Added: January 22nd 2013
Interviewer: Joshua "Prawg Dawg" Turner

Artist website: www.albertorigoni.net
Hits: 5371
Language: english

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