Daniele Gaudi spent a lot of his time as a child in a hospital, suffering from crippling asthma. Unable to go out much, he read and watched TV. However, his life changed at seven years old when he and his parents visited family friends. As the adults talked in another room, young Daniele found a piano. “I pressed one key and felt like I’d been catapulted into heaven,” he says. “The surprising thing is I started playing music from the adverts on TV that I’d heard, the only music I knew at the time, with both my right and left hands.”
Not having played before, the experience was utterly transformative. “That was the light at the end of the tunnel and for the first time I had the idea that this was what I wanted to do in life.”
Following his signing to PolyGram in the 90s, his career success beyond his native Italy took off, garnering a high-profile reputation in dub, dance, rap, reggae, world music and electronica. The commercial success of 2004’s Bass, Sweat & Tears and Dub Qawwali (2007), featuring his reimagining of sacred singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, might have given him a lucrative niche, but he wasn’t interested in staying still.
“Another human being might simply carry on doing the same thing over and over in the same field, but for me, that’s the moment where I need to change.”
For his latest album Magnetic, he was given access to the multitrack tapes selected from RareNoise Records’ back catalogue. Emphatically not remixes of existing pieces, for this Gaudi created brand new compositions and has since put together a band, The Gaudi Allstars, to perform the resulting music in concert.
“When you bring together people who don’t know each other, it’s not obvious that it’ll make for great music. I’d been working separately with drummer Nikolaj Bjerre and guitarist Pippo de Palma, and now we’ve added Colin Edwin on bass. I’m so happy. After 10 years of solo gigging around the world, I really wanted a band to play the music from Magnetic. I want that energy and interaction that comes from working together.”
Creativity is all about the challenge, he says, pushing where the inspiration takes you, rather than worrying about where fans might expect or want you to go.
“I love music, full stop, and I follow my instinct wherever it goes. This morning after I woke up, I started my day listening to music by Erik Satie. Then I was working with files sent from Sly And Robbie for a future project. After that, I took a break and then I was listening to King Crimson’s Discipline.
“Music should be divided into two slices with a line in the middle: good music and bad music. And in my opinion, there’s so much beautiful material out there to explore. I’m not interested in boxing myself into one genre. I would get bored!”
Line-up: Gaudi (keyboards)
Sounds like: Spacious grooves percolating with a psychedelic infusion of jazz, prog and dub
Current release: Magnetic is out now on RareNoise Records