„Music comes from silence and dies in it“

Wie klingt eigentlich Stille? Darüber sprechen wir in unserem Interview mit Luca Fucci. Seit 2015 arrangiert der italienische Künstler mit seinem Solo-Projekt Hidden Scars akustische und elektronische Klänge zu kontrastreichen Klanglandschaften aus hypnotischer Euphorie und dunkler Melancholie, welche beinahe zeitlos (inter-)agieren und fragile Momente der Stille zurückhaltend integrieren.  

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„Unsolved“ heißt der neuste Output von Hidden Scars – ein fesselndes Album mit einem Auf und Ab bewegender und drängender Passagen sowie ruhigeren und introspektiven Momenten. In seinen Kompositionen zeigt der Künstler einige Facetten von Stille und seine Faszination für Musik, die unter der Oberfläche verborgen ist. In unserem Interview richten wir den Fokus auf Klang und den musikalischen und visuellen Aspekt von Stille. Vielen herzlichen Dank, Luca!

What are your thoughts about silence? What does silence mean to you? What do you associate with silence?
That’s a beautiful question to start with! A lot of people are scared by silence and think it’s like a void needing to be filled. On the contrary, I love silence, it’s a primary asset and experience to me. I associate it mostly with night, with stars and the universe. Silence to me doesn’t necessarily have to imply the absence of sound. When I think of silence I think of the inner one firstly, which brings me in close contact with my own true self. I think it’s so powerful, because it allows a deep perception of the outer and inner world and space. It’s like an intimate and safe place, a dimension, where my reflections and feelings take form.

Even musically speaking silence is very important. Think of rests… they give that feeling of „suspension“ … that very moment when you can absorb what you have just heard, and then they emphasize what comes next, giving a greater impact. I associate silence also with sound. Silence lets sound to be: if you think about it, music comes from silence and dies in it.
I’m not used to speak through quotes, but in the 19th century a very famous Italian poet and writer, Giacomo Leopardi, wrote in one of his most famous works „Zibaldone“: „Il silenzio è il linguaggio di tutte le forti passioni, dell’amore (…), dell’ira, della meraviglia, del timore“ („Silence is the language of all strong passions, of love (…), of anger, of wonder, of fear“).

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What impact do your surroundings have on your art? How important is nature to you? What role does nature play in your life and in your art?
I live in the surroundings of Florence (Tuscany, Italy) between hills and countryside. I’m very lucky because I’m surrounded by nature and green. No traffic, no acoustic pollution, no noises, apart from those by nature.
Sometimes in the fast-paced world we live in, we lose the ability to recognize beauty around us. I think nature continuously gives us beauty: marvelous breathtaking and powerful shows, colours and perfumes. I find refuge in it whenever I need to, and I never miss the chance to get lost in the woods because I need closer contact with trees and vegetation. The sounds and silence of nature fill me with creative energy and tranquillity at the same time and help me see things with other eyes. So this is very positive both for my life and my art. Furthermore, I love taking pictures with my reflex camera at dawn or late at night, and my subjects are mostly natural landscapes and night skies. So you can imagine how important nature is to me. In those moments, when I’m alone in silence and surrounded by nature, the feeling of being at one with her makes me feel alive.

How would you describe the visual aspect of silence?
Silence is something you cannot touch or see, it’s elusive, but it’s something you can feel deeply, so much that you can represent it in various forms. If I should associate an image to silence, I would think of a black & white, long exposure photo. For example, when I watch Michael Kenna’s works (link), I can feel the silence and almost touch it. Even some cloudy landscape paintings by Monet make me visualise silence. The communicative power of these artists is really overwhelming!

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Do you have a favorite artistic medium to compose/represent/visualize silence?
It may seem counterintuitive to associate silence with some kind of artistic creativity. But I think silence could be found and represented in every form of art. Music, photography, painting, poetry are equally powerful to do that. Music and photography are of course my favourites.

What are your first musical memories?
The first approach with „played music“ was when my parents gave me a little orange toy organ. It was a Christmas gift when I was seven years old I think. Of course the first songs I learned to play by ear were the Christmas ones (LOL)!! Then the piano came in, and I began to study music. Afterwards I discovered synthesizers and nothing has been like before!

What is sound to you? What is the sound of silence/what does silence sound like?
Sound, in physics, is by definition a vibration… and to me sound is everything that gives me an emotional vibration. I think sound and silence are both faces of the same coin. As I said before, sound needs silence to be, and vice versa. Listening to sound requires us to keep silence. And keeping silence doesn’t necessarily involve a sonic absence. It’s just an attitude, a way to hear and to connect to the world and the universe. Silence is a necessary condition for listening and being conscious of any sound. I could say that sIlence is sound itself!

Which piece of music feels to you like silence turned into sound?
Short answer: „I should not dare“ by David Sylvian!

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How did the idea and concept of your new album „Unsolved“ get seeded and what was the process like to turn these thoughts into music and visuals?
„Unsolved“ is an album made of contrasts, rises and falls, lights and shadows. It’s divided in two parts, the first one can be associated with an „ascent“ and the second with a „descent“. They are meant to be part of a cycle of life, a journey through the highs and the depths of soul and psyche. It’s also a walk through a dual system made of concurrent or mutually opposing impulses: the tendency for sustaining life and ascending to happiness versus a tendency for dissolution of life and descending to self destruction. In a Freudian vision, Eros versus Thanatos. Musically speaking, the first part is very piano based. I also used a six strings bass for melodic parts. I think electronics rather play a supporting role in the first five songs. In the second part acoustic instruments give way to electronic ones. I used a lot of modular synthesizers to shape drums sounds and beats. Also a lot of analog outboards and vintage synths were used. The peculiarity is that all of these instruments do not have memories for storing sounds and patches. So all of the sounds used to record the album cannot be reproduced again as they were. They cannot be recalled any more. Gone forever.

As far as the visuals, I always try to strengthen the message given by the music. Up to now I have published two videos „When we met“ (from the „Ascent“ part of the album) and „Repetition compulsion“ (from the „Descent“ part). In „When we met“ water is the main element, meant as a symbol of birth and life. In „Repetition compulsion“ glitch and distorted images are synched to the beat of the drum machine in a claustrophobic way. I think they represent quite well the two halves of „Unsolved“.

What are your plans and hopes? What are you most looking forward to?
It may sound clichè, but nowadays my hopes are for a better world. I hope the self-destructive behaviour of humans may come to an end before it’s too late but unfortunately I’ve not so much faith in mankind in this regard. This is the first answer that comes to my mind.
As far as myself, I simply hope to keep finding something to wonder about and something that makes me feel alive. That’s the sense of my making music and photography. I’m of course looking forward to bringing „Unsolved“ live, through some selected shows.

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