Interview with Ivan Verrastro

Sentience by Ivan VerrastroLet’s break the ice. Let our readers know who you are, where you are from, and what style of music you create.

I was born in Southern Italy, but I am currently living and working in Birmingham, UK which is also where most of my album ‘Sentience’ was recorded.

It’s very hard for me to define my own music, and I also think that any definition would probably confuse people rather than help them figuring out what it really is. It would probably be easier for people to just listen to the album and try to come up with a name for my style. Whatever name comes to your mind, that’s the right one!

Who or what influences your writing/playing style? Have your musical tastes changed with time?

As a matter of fact, when I create music I don’t really sit down and write on a score paper or a computer screen. I guess it’s more some sort of direct, spontaneous process. Most of the time I just play guitar or keyboards, improvising over some chord progression, and that’s how I come up with the tunes. My musical tastes? I like exploring new things every day, trying to be always open-minded to both mainstream and underground stuff. I think that this kind of approach is what really helped me to grow as a musician and a composer.

What was the last song you listened to?

Special EFX- When the Earth Was Flat, and all the ’Mystique’ album. I think it’s simply amazing and unbelievably underrated!

What was your goal when creating, writing, and recording your new album, Sentience?

Well, with ‘Sentience’ the goal was probably to push instrumental guitar music in a totally new dimension, also getting beyond the typical mindless, over-technical stuff. I have been deeply influenced by Nobuo Uematsu’s music, and I think I was unconsciously trying to create some sort of Final Fantasy-like atmosphere to describe magical creatures, landscapes, battles, and emotional scenes. I even came up with a short story to ‘suggest’ what the music is supposed to mean (you can check it out on http://ivanverrastro.com/tales to get an idea), although this wasn’t really conceived as a strict interpretation.

What role is the Internet/Social Media playing in connecting with fans and gaining exposure for your music?

I reckon that a good use of the Social Media is absolutely crucial for artists/bands that are serious about their music. We are most certainly living hard times for emerging musicians, but on the other hand artists these days can be their own label, manager, promoter, and record pretty much any kind of music at a reasonable cost.

Is there one piece of advice you could give to someone new to making music that you wish you knew when you first started?

I remember that when I first started I was extremely focused on my technique, working hard to improve my speed and accuracy on the guitar, and also trying to expand my knowledge of music harmony and theory. However, I eventually found out that you can make beautiful music at any technical level, just by following your passion and inspiration, and by listening to other people’s work. Some practice is required, of course, but I think that creativity and open-mindedness is what really matters when it comes to create original music.

Do you play live shows? Tour? Where can people see you perform?

I am sort of working on that too. I hope to be able to play some shows in the UK next year to promote the album. I had been performing live extensively in the Birmingham/Midlands area with my former rock band over the last year, but with the solo project it’s a completely different story. As you know I played all the instruments on the album, and I still need to find the right musicians to perform with.

Where can we grab the album? And where can we connect with you online?

The album is available online on iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, and many more platforms worldwide. You can also buy it from my website http://ivanverrastro.com

Follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ivanverrastromusic or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Iverrastro.

You can also check out a couple of new demos and sounds on my Soundcloud at soundcloud.com/ivanverrastro.

Any last thoughts? Shout outs?

I think that music is the closest thing to infinity as it can easily open new dimensions in time and space, and even change the perception of reality by unlocking certain energy fields within our body and soul.

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