Entertainment Magazine

A Ripple Conversation With Luca Pasini, Guitarist of the Band Arya

Posted on the 21 November 2020 by Ripplemusic
A Ripple Conversation With Luca Pasini, guitarist of the band Arya A Ripple Conversation With Luca Pasini, guitarist of the band Arya

When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.

What have been your musical epiphany moments?

I clearly remember hearing for the first time Hope For Happiness, the opening track of the first Soft Machine album. It was during the first years of high school, I had only been into rock music for a few years, and I had never heard something like that: no chorus, just those double psychedelic vocals, then the whole band joined and there was this stunning distorted organ solo at the end. I think I had found the band on a big book called “Rock Encyclopedia” I had at home, where I had also read about King Crimson, and I had just discovered you could find music on Youtube. At first I felt almost afraid to listen to that song too often. I think that band has influenced my music in a really immeasurable way. The double vocals at the beginning of the song Roma on our new album For Ever are really a homage to that song.

Since then I’ve had many other similar musical epiphanies: for example when I first listened to songs like Second Son of R. by Oathbreaker, Leak Water by Bent Knee or Too Much by Sufjan Stevens.

Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

Usually the lyrics come last. Sometimes I randomly come up with something interesting while I’m playing an instrument, I record it with my camera or on the computer and try to develop that idea. Sometimes I pick up an instrument with an idea in mind of what kind of mood I’d like to express (usually a really bad one) or, more prosaically, of what song or band I’d like to imitate.

I try to put great care into building the structure of a song, whose main idea could be mine or by someone else in the band: the usual one with verses, choruses, bridge and solo usually doesn’t work right. Sometimes you feel what you have in mind needs a long time to fully express itself, sometimes a short and direct song is enough: what’s important to me is the coherence of all the parts. One shouldn’t feel lost inside a composition where different sections follow each other without a common idea or without reminding one another by sharing some similarities in note choices or rhythm patterns. You also help the listener to feel home by making parts come back in a different version, or by making the whole thing start again, but head in a different direction afterwards.

Nonetheless, even if it’s usually me who focuses more on making the structure of the song flow well, each one in the band usually creates his parts while we’re rehearsing or recording together.

Who has influenced you the most?

I have to name my bandmates first, whoever they are: when I have to decide on which ideas to work on in order to propose them to others, I really like to make sure each of them will enjoy them and will have something to add with their own style and taste.

In a more general sense, during my life I’ve been influenced by countless musicians. Most have influenced me musically, some also in a more existential sense: among the famous figures I’ve admired the most are Robert Wyatt, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Steven Wilson and Ben Levin.

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

A Ripple Conversation With Luca Pasini, guitarist of the band Arya
I listen to a lot of different music (sometimes I’ve come up with songs, read many books, watch some good movies, but most of all I try to survive in this wild world and live my life. What happens to me and others day after day, the feelings I experience and my personal reflections on what I see happening have probably always been my main inspirations.


We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?

We’re from Rimini, a city on the East coast of Italy that’s quite famous internationally as a seaside resort. The landscape of the city, especially the views of the empty beach and of desolate hotel neighbourhoods in winter have really influenced the visual imagery of the band during our first years, for example in the artwork of our debut record In Distant Oceans. I don’t know if this has been true for our music as well: for sure we have nothing to do with the hectic nightlife Rimini is famous for. Our music has always been full of hidden field recordings, but now that I think about it, none was recorded in Rimini itself, but rather in other cities, such as Bologna, were I went to university, Rome (where I’m currently living part-time) or in rural areas.

All that said, Rimini is not really an ideal place to grow a fan-base for a band like us, as there isn’t much people interested in live music in general, even less care about heavy music, and even less about the less codified and more experimental kind of music that we make. We often try to set up concerts and to promote them, but there’s just not a big audience interested in watching rock and metal bands playing live. Most of the fans of the genre are also older than we are, so it’s difficult for us to reach them by, for example, hanging out together.

Where'd the band name come from?

When we first formed and were looking for a name, we struggled quite a bit to find a simple and effective one that hadn’t been taken by others and wouldn’t be associated with a specific genre of music. I was studying for an Indian philosophy university exam at the time, and I came across the word Arya, which is an adjective that means “noble”, or “aristocratic” in Sanskrit. As it seemed like there were no bands with the same name, the other members at the time accepted it.

Only later I found out that there used to be a band somewhere in Russia with the same name; however, way more famous is the character with the same name from Game Of Thrones: not being confused with her on search engines is the main reason why we quickly added “Italy” on most of our social media profiles.

You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?

Among many active and relatively young film directors, I really admire Pawel Pawlikowski. If you’ve seen the masterpiece that is his film Cold War, you’ll probably be aware of how important is music in his work and how good it is. I wish I was good enough to work for him! Nonetheless, I’m currently studying at a quite famous cinema school, where I’ve some directing students and I may for real beg one of them to let me compose something for him in the future.


You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?). You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?


A Ripple Conversation With Luca Pasini, guitarist of the band Arya
I may choose Everything Now by Arcade Fire. I did put some lines from that song on the opening page of my master’s degree thesis, which was about the influence of information technology on our perception of the world, and its relationship with classic rationalism. I think that songs really expresses the uniqueness of what the internet has brought into our lives, and how its consequences aren’t totally good and positive. I guess I would find something to say on that topic.

Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?

My most hardcore moment on stage was when I fell on my back while running backwards. I think that, after the dramatic events that hit the band shortly after that live performance, that took even more of my energy away from me, I stopped moving so hysterically on stage.

Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans? 

So far we’ve never used backing tracks or a click, so you can experience our music with all the mistakes and imperfections, but also with all the raw energy we can give. Our music has always been some kind of catharsis for us all, and this is true for our live performances as well. We try to be our music, to incarnate it, just like our music is an image of us, of our fears, our regrets.

What makes a great song?

I think it’s a matter of many different factors: good formal elements (harmony or rhythm patterns), a good song structure that makes every part reach its potential, a good arrangement, good lyrics, a good choice of sounds, a good performance by the musicians and a good recording. But I think in a really great songs all those aspects have to be coherent with each other, and work together to communicate effectively what the song is trying to say.

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

It’s called Red Years, and it’s a ballad about love. The song name is similar to the literal English translation of the Italian name of I girl I liked at the time. I played it with my first ever band, called OOP27, that included Alessandro Crociati, who’s now the drummer of Arya: I had created a very psychedelic drone on my old keyboard using the sustain pedal and the pitch wheel with a pad sound. After a few years, I played and recorded it with another band called State Male, whose vocalist was Virginia Bertozzi, who later joined Arya for a while, singing on three of our albums. Meanwhile I had picked up the guitar, we added two guitar solos, and gave an overall much more “hard rock” feel to the song, which you can listen here: https://youtu.be/bndl-NG56zk

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

I would probably say Apple Body, from our 2018 album Endesires. Not because it’s the longest song we’ve ever recorded so far, but because I think it’s well crafted, ideas come back in different variations, sometimes heavy and sometimes soft. It’s probably a good representation of what Arya can do overall but, most importantly, everyone is playing with passion on the recording, vocals are really intense for me, and it reminds me of a happier time in the history of our band I really miss now. That’s why I never listen back to that recording!


Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?


A Ripple Conversation With Luca Pasini, guitarist of the band Arya
I’ve been impressed by the American art rock band Bent Knee since the first time I’ve heard them: they’re young, have put out many records in few years and still have a lot to say. I think they just master the art of clever and effective songwriting, taking inspiration from many genres while always sounding like themselves. They also deliver really intense live performances (which I’ve only watched on Youtube so far).

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

I like to have CDs of bands I like because I can listen to them while I’m driving and experience an album from start to finish without many distractions (except for careless drivers). Overall, digital is the format I use the most to listen to music, because I can think of a song, look for it and listen to it in a matter of seconds: we’re the first generation to be able to instantly have access to most of the music ever recorded, and I think it’s a huge opportunity we have. Sadly, digital is also doing much harm, in my opinion, to originality in music, above all due to how streaming services are presenting it to people: they feed everyone with music they know each person will like, so it’s getting more and more difficult to be surprised by unexpected music, few huge record labels are almost monopolizing the audience, gather almost all the few money left in the business, and every artist is basically forced to adapt to each genre’s ongoing trends in order to reach someone through them.

Whiskey or beer? And defend your choice

Definitely beer: I don’t drink many alcoholics, and when I do a small, light wheat beer is just right for me.

We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

There are not many left in Rimini: I’m just aware of a small one in Via Sigismondo, in the city center. I think the best choice for you would be to cross the border into the Republic of San Marino and head to the Music Store inside the Atlante Shopping Center in Dogana.It’s not huge, but you can find most famous artists, and the different taxation there makes prices a little lower. That’s where I usually go if I need something new to listen in my car.

What's next for the band?

We really don’t know, right now the second wave of the Covid pandemic is hitting Europe, and I can’t even tell for sure if I’ll be able to meet with the others in the band again next week! I’d like to play shows again to support the new album, maybe to work on some totally different new music, but right now it’s impossible for everyone to know when it will be possible again.

Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?

Well, thank you for reading this far, I hope I haven’t been too boring! If you’re curious to hear what Arya sounds like, including the new album For Ever we’ve just released, you can find us and our music here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/werearya

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/werearya

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/aryaitaly

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/4WfuNd1szecUkB9alBgTdK

Bandcamp: https://werearya.bandcamp.com

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