Since his early teenage years, Fabrizio Rat has worked simultaneously on classical and electronic music productions, arriving in Paris back in 2007 with the objective of intertwining electronic music with acoustic instruments, but in particular the piano. Inspired by the great Italian double bass player Stefano Scodanibbio, Fabrizio successfully alters the piano’s timbre into a more percussive direction, transforming pitch, intensity and resonance of each note, that results in a wonderfully unique soundtrack. This process truly comes to light during his unfathomable live sets, whereby with his right hand he plays repetitive rhythmical patterns whilst the left one handles the machines and manipulates the piano strings.
Having released a series of hybrid techno records, including several EP’s and a plethora of acclaimed albums such as “The Pianist” and “Shades Of Blue”, the Italian superstar returns to Involve Records with a four-track EP containing some of the finest contemporary techno and a remix from esteemed Spanish producer and DJ, Regal. Aptly named “Move”, the new record contains a unique blend of fast beats, smart melodies and whirring atmospherics to create a blistering masterpiece that is not to be slept on.
How are you? And what have you been getting up to recently?
I am good. I have been working on a lot of new music and projects lately, experimenting in different directions. In particular I would like to mention a new collaboration I am particularly happy about, with Etienne Jaumet. We have been recording an album and preparing a very hypnotic live show which will be on air on Arte Concert the 29 March.
From an artist’s point of view, how have you found lockdown and what keeps you motivated whilst producing?
I am used to being locked down in the studio, so for me it is the natural way to spend my time. The real life change is about not being able to play the music live which is very sad and definitely not very motivating for producing. But one needs to keep the energy and the rhythm in those moments to get through them. As I said I love producing new music, experimenting different ways of doing it, inside and outside techno. I am an extremely routine person, I need to repeat similar things each day, so I can be really free to experiment inside music, and that pure challenge of creation keeps me motivated, no matter what happens outside.
First of all, can you describe your unique sound and its development over the years?
The original idea of my solo project was to mix the prepared piano (putting objects and different materials on the piano strings to modify the sound, developing experimental playing techniques) with electronic instruments. At first I was combining it mainly with drum machines then with modular synthesizers, other synths and working a lot with vintage tape delays and reel to reel. In every record I try a different idea, a different approach, a different way to generate the material or to improvise with new textures even if my sound is recognizable.
The piano plays a huge part in your productions, can you explain how this came about and how you incorporate it into your music?
I have played the piano since I was 5 years old, it has been my instrument forever. I used to play it 7 – 8 hours a day ‘til I was 16. At one point, much later, I had no more fun with the instrument and started losing interest in it. Then I discovered preparations and extended techniques. I started playing the piano with one hand on the strings, putting objects to alter the sound. A new world began, it was like discovering a new instrument with endless possibilities, and I have focused my work into this direction. I would say I perceive the piano as a big synthesizer, and I try to imitate by acoustic means the sound of some analog electronic instruments that I love. I also developed some playing techniques to be able to ‘sequence’ it by hand, as if I were a machine.
Your new “Move” EP is a great listen, can you tell us more about the inspiration behind the record and how you would describe it?
Thanks! The inspiration came from improvising. I was preparing a new live set, for my last pre-Covid gigs at Under Club in Buenos Aires and in Chile. I was trying out some sounds I had never used, and finding melodies with them. I am also very excited about the music video on the track “Move”, directed by Francesco Mori and Alessandro Arianti, and shot in 360° in Paris. Francesco did an incredible editing job which makes the music literally fly, and the video is funny and experimental at the same time. I really love it and cannot wait to show it around.
What was the creative and production process behind “Move”?
I wanted to completely change my live set so I would spend hours improvising melodies on some rhythmic grooves, and then recording just the ideas. I improvised lots of them and that opened up many possibilities for a brand new live set, more fast and ravish then my preceding ones, mixing some vocals with drum beats and synth lines played with my hand. Then I decided which ideas would be worth expanding into real final productions to release for a new EP.
If you had to pick a favourite track from the EP, which one would it be and why?
I think “Say Word”, I like the way the vocal was disassembled and used in ever-changing combinations, it was something I had never tried before.
Returning to Involve Records, how have you found working with the label, and will you be returning again soon?
It is a feeling of being at home actually. I love Involve, and I am always extremely happy to release my music on the label. The team is fantastic and Regal, the label boss, is a friend whom I really trust for the music advice he gives. We don’t see each other regularly as we live far, but each time we spend time together it is really great and inspiring. For this release he also did an amazing remix of my track “Rave Runner”.
Many other artists on Involve are friends, and there is a sort of ‘family’ feeling here. But I cannot talk about this family without thinking of Stefano Brescia, who put all of us together on the roster of Sowhul District agency. He was an amazing manager, professional, and a rare human being who I am missing enormously.
As we return to normality, what have you got in store for the rest of 2021?!
I cannot wait to get lost again on the dancefloor, listen to techno on a massive sound system, ‘til late.
“Move EP” is out now on Involve Records and is available to listen and buy here or on Bandcamp.
2. Say Word
3. Rave Runner
4. Rave Runner (Regal Remix)