Supersimmetria is an Italian solo-project set up and driven by Armando Alibrandi. I always experienced his music as an intelligent composition mixing Industrial and IDM with Techno elements on top. Quite curiously I compared his work to science, this interview revealing Armando indeed is a scientist. His newest work “Double Helix” released by Hands however is first of all a sonic exposure of this artist’s genius.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: I noticed your debut album “Chimaera“ was released ten years ago now. That’s an opportunity to look back to what you’ve achieved so far. What did you keep in mind from the past ten years and how did you see Supersimmetria evolving from “Chimaera” towards the newest album “Double Helix”?
Armando: Whenever it happens I’m listening to old material of mine, especially the very early works, my first thought is mostly how sweet, technically unskilled, and young I was when I created that. That material awakes in me memories of my broke, care-free, and happy first years in Berlin.
It´s hard for me to judge my own sound evolution but often I was told that my tunes turned more mature and deep with time. What I believe remained unaltered across the years is the passion for scientific topics and the appreciation for a cold sense of obscurity in my sounds.
That appreciation for those scientific topics though changed with time, especially in the moment I also started to work in science. From a fuzzy and very general interest to something more thought through and related to my own daily work. I work with microbial DNA in the field molecular biology lab investigating deep subsurface microbial ecology. The concept and track titles from “Double Helix” were inspired by my daily job. Prior to this current job I was working for bit more of a year in a research group of astrobiology.. hence the title and concept of the album “Abiogenesis”. At some point in my life, I encountered a very inspiring Venn diagram meme where in one circle was written ‘science’ the second circle ‘art’ and in the intersecting point ‘wonder’. Science and art, to be deeply meaningful, need each other.
Q: But what means music and Supersimmetria to you? Tell us a bit more in your sound- and composing approach?
Armando: Music, as all art forms, is a way to express concepts where words, with exception of poetry, become ineffective. Nailed down to the core, music, in my opinion, is a way to express an emotional message. The message departs from a transmitter and can be felt and trigger the emotions of the receiver or not.
This is what Supersimmetria is to me, a mechanism to socialize at the emotional level with people I don´t know; finding receivers that can process and back inspiring me with new ideas and new aesthetics. Supersimmetria is to me also a pleasure that goes from the moment I sit down at my desk experimenting with sounds to the moments this sounds are blasted at high volume with a crowd dancing to it. Is a passion.
On regard of my composing approach that differs from track to track. Sometimes I listen to something and I want to recreate with my own touch, sometimes I just put myself in front of the machines and I play around until the combinations of sounds are satisfying me. Mostly is the latter.
Q: You clearly like to work with concepts and already revealed information about “Double Helix”? Can you give us more details?
Armando: Yes, I like to work with concepts… I’m not sure myself why I do that… I guess it’s because I like to share chunks of information that trigger my curiosity with my listeners with the hope to transfer my passion to them.
“Double Helix” is the last chapter of the four albums released on hands label. The first chapter was “Kosmogonie” (universe coming to existence), the second “Materia” (where all matter scattered around the universe and formed heavier elements), “Abiogenesis” (where inert chemicals turned into organics) and “Double Helix” (where these inert organic chemicals turned into a life coding system).
“Double Helix” is the album dedicated to the four letters alphabet that code life as we know it (RNA virus excluded lol). The album cover is the phylogenetic tree of life that starts from the center with the simplest common ancestor and evolved to the branches where we can admire the enormous variety of life as we know it. The album is a cheering to the fact that we are part of that tree ourselves and that we gathered the knowledge to figure out how this magnificent system casually evolved from inert chemicals produced in a nuclear fusion of a star until being part of sentient beings.
All these topics are dear to me and are for me highly inspiring.
Q: How do you transpose the concept into sounds and songs? Did you way of working evolved and/or changed throughout the years?
Armando: I don´t have a specific technique, the concept is associated, depending on the track, before, during or after the track is completed. Across time there has been a shift towards associating the concepts a posteriori.
Q: You’re based in Berlin which is a renowned and visionary place when it comes to Techno- and related music genres. What’s the impact of the Berliner scene on Supersimmetria?
Armando: I chose to live in Berlin because I wanted to live in a place that could give me a multifaceted inspiration. I think the Berlin Techno scene, although I’m myself not a particularly hardcore clubber, indeed has influenced my tunes. In which way exactly I cannot pinpoint. Maybe the dark and hazy aesthetics, maybe the deep organic feeling of the kickdrums… hard to say.
Q: How important are live performances to you and what are your criteria to speak about a successful show?
Armando: Live shows are one of the motivations that kept me doing music across all this time. Often after a live show, once I´m back in my ‘cave’, I directly start doing music. Frequently on such occasions I have opportunity to assist to other artist performances and that is often inspiring.
Furthermore, the feeling of being on stage and see a nice bunch of people being driven by my tunes is exceptionally rewarding. A successful show depends on multitude of factors ranging from lack of technical issues to good event organization but generally speaking, if the listeners are caught by my sounds and phase out into my tunes that is for me a good show.
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