Skip to main content

3rd November 2023

Fabrizio Paterlini: “It’s a state of mind”

Revealing his inspirations behind his latest album ‘Riverscape’, Fabrizio Paterlini explores his relationship with home, touring, and his passion for music in an intimate interview
Fabrizio Paterlini: “It’s a state of mind”
Credit: Dawbell @ Press

In the heart of Manchester, a city pulsating with musical fervour, Fabrizio Paterlini is preparing to captivate audiences once again. The Italian composer, known for his evocative and soul-stirring piano compositions, will perform in Manchester on November 10—following a performance in London on the 9th—bringing a rich palette of musical colours to the stage.

A figure synonymous with the enchanting world of minimalist and new-age music, Paterlini carries the legacy of influential composers like Erik Satie and Ludovico Einaudi, yet his voice remains uniquely his own.

Our conversation, under the contemplative backdrop of rain in Mantua, revealed his deep connection to the places his music takes him. He fondly recalled shopping at the Trafford Centre and was excited to return to Manchester’s famously music-loving audience. Manchester’s Stoller Hall, where his concert will take place, is a “lovely, very intimate venue with one of the best acoustics I have ever heard during my career,” he says.

Fabrizio Paterlini’s musical journey, particularly highlighted by his recent album Riverscape (2023), showcases a remarkable evolution.

After studying Music Theory, he played rock and Rock’n’Roll as a teenager. Surprisingly, it was not until the age of 34 that he began composing music. “Einaudi influenced my first works,” Paterlini admits. “Then, of course, I started making my own thing,” he explains, signalling his shift towards a broader musical palette. This evolution saw the gradual inclusion of strings and electronics in his compositions, which enriched and diversified his musical expression.

His compositional technique is distinguished by its authenticity and immediacy. “I try to stay as close to the spark of inspiration as possible,” he shared. This philosophy is evident in his album Autumn Stories (2012), wherein he wrote and released a track weekly throughout the autumn season.

The natural world, with its vivid and ever-changing forms, continues to be a profound source of inspiration for him. His affinity for nature is reflected in his albums’ and compositions’ titles and themes, often evoking images of fire, rivers, seasons, and times of day.

The rhythms and moods of the Italian landscape also influence his creative process. “What I live through, and see daily, is my artistic inspiration,” Paterlini notes. The striking scene of a “cloudless winter dawn, with its flaming red and orange sky,” epitomises the profound impact of these experiences on his artistic output. However, his connection to nature extends beyond the artistic realm; it is an integral part of his everyday life in the countryside near Mantua. Surrounded by the stark beauty of winter mornings, the enveloping fog, and the warmth of summer days in his garden, he experiences the elements in their rawest forms.

Fabrizio Paterlini’s musical evolution is marked by a continuous exploration and refinement of his style. Since his earlier works, like his debut album Viaggi in Aeromobile (2007), there has been a notable shift in his approach to composition.

Initially, his pieces were longer, with developed themes often repeated to enhance their beauty. However, in more recent works, such as Transitions (2019-2021), he has embraced a more focused and concentrated form, exploring how a breadth of emotions can be conveyed in shorter compositions. “What people truly want to hear is the pure inspiration.” These compact pieces, though brief, are rich in emotional depth, proving that the length of a composition does not constrain his ability to evoke strong feelings.

Paterlini’s evolution reflects his ongoing quest to find his compositional voice, a journey that unfolds with each new project. Through this process, he demonstrates a keen ability to adapt and innovate within his chosen musical style, constantly seeking new ways to express the myriad emotions that music can evoke. Paterlini’s view on music and time is introspective. “It’s a state of mind,” he says, explaining how a short piece can evoke a profound and lasting emotional journey. His music, often tinged with melancholy, brings a sense of catharsis and joy, a paradox that defines his art.

The composer’s discography provides a window into his artistic development. Each album is a chapter in his musical journey, inviting listeners to explore the depth and breadth of his creativity. Viandanze (2009), in particular, holds a special place in Paterlini’s heart.

Inspired by his honeymoon trip to Madagascar, this album is a fusion of travel and music, a concept encapsulated in its title, a portmanteau of ‘viandante’ (traveller) and ‘danze’ (dance). It reflects Paterlini’s experiences and observations during his travels, transforming them into musical narratives that resonate with a sense of place and emotion. Through Viandanze, Paterlini takes his listeners on a journey that transcends geographical boundaries, offering a rhythmic exploration of the landscapes and cultures that inspired him. In this manner, he persistently pushes the boundaries of his musical expression, continually seeking fresh inspirations and experiences to translate into his distinctive sound language.

His journey as an independent artist is a testament to his dedication and the power of connectivity in the digital age. Operating largely solo from his home studio, Paterlini has navigated the music industry without the backing of a large team. His early foray into social media, starting with MySpace in 2006, laid the foundation for a robust and dedicated fan base. This early adoption of digital platforms allowed his solo piano music to resonate with listeners worldwide, finding its niche in a then less convoluted musical milieu. On Spotify, he now reaches nearly 3 million monthly listeners. Reflecting on the future of the music industry and streaming, Paterlini sees both benefits and challenges. “It gave me quite a boost, as it has democratised music,” he acknowledged while maintaining his love for traditional physical records.

His music’s alignment with the emerging genres and styles of the time facilitated its inclusion in influential playlists, a serendipitous blend of timing and talent. The unexpected endorsement by actor Chris Evans, who played Paterlini’s “Rue des trois frères” in a viral video, catapulted his music to a global audience, amplifying his reach. Nevertheless, Fabrizio Paterlini attributes his enduring success to his loyal fans, who consistently engage with his music. Their unwavering support has been a cornerstone of his career, underscoring the profound impact of a dedicated fan base for independent artists in the evolving world of music.

Riverscape, the highlight of the upcoming concert in Manchester, stands as Fabrizio Paterlini’s favourite project to date, transcending the boundaries of solo piano music with cinematic elements and a rich soundscape. “It is like a glass of Italian red wine on a summer evening.” At the same time, he candidly expressed a slight apprehension about its possible reception: “The audience usually doesn’t like my favourite pieces and, in return, I don’t like my most popular pieces as much as they do. In this sense, I’m a bit afraid of what they will say about Riverscape, as this album is really complex.” As Fabrizio Paterlini is performing the album with a string trio, there will be a “unique dimension” to this concert. His Manchester concert will blend new works and classics, offering a rich musical journey.

Paterlini’s musical artistry extends beyond the conventional, delving into vivid imagery and emotive storytelling through sound. A poignant example of this is his ability to musically depict a river, a feat that highlights his exceptional skill and creative vision. He acknowledges the complexity of this task, especially given the limitations of using just a single percussion instrument to convey the multifaceted nature of a river. This challenge underscores his deep understanding of musical composition and his ability to use a limited sonic palette to paint a rich, auditory canvas.

The compositional process of some of the tracks on Riverscape—‘Discoveries’, ‘River’s Voice’, and ‘Morning Walk’—are unique in that the listeners hear the very first take. This approach reflects an unfiltered and authentic representation of Paterlini’s artistry. The album, he recalls, is “spontaneous” and “intimate”: it is the product of  “sitting at the piano, opening Ableton, and improvising.”

The recordings from these initial sessions are what he chose to include in the album, unadulterated, with all their inherent nuances and imperfections. By presenting these first takes, Fabrizio Paterlini invites listeners into a more personal space, almost as if they are sitting beside him in the studio, experiencing his creative process’ raw, unpolished beauty. This level of honesty in the recording is rare and offers a refreshing departure from the norm, allowing his music’s genuine emotion to shine through. These pieces, therefore, are not just compositions but snapshots of moments in time captured and shared in their most authentic form.

The method reveals a willingness to embrace the natural flow of creativity, accepting both the “good and the bad” of the moment. It’s a bold statement in a musical culture often obsessed with perfection and overproduction. But Fabrizio Paterlini is philosophical. He believes that embracing imperfection is key to creativity and productivity. “Perfection is not part of this world,” he says, emphasising the importance of conveying a message through music rather than striving for unattainable perfection.

Looking ahead, Paterlini is poised to bring his unique musical compositions to a global audience, with a tour set to span Turkey, the Netherlands, and China in the coming year. This tour marks a significant phase in his career and offers new audiences a chance to immerse themselves in his evocative soundscapes. It promises to enchant new and old fans alike with the soulful melodies that have come to define his illustrious career. Paterlini’s concerts are not merely performances; they are experiences that invite the audience to traverse the emotional tapestries he skillfully crafts. His musical journey continues to evolve, much like the rivers and seasons that inspire him, offering a unique musical experience to audiences worldwide.

As each of Fabrizio Paterlini’s performances draws to a close, it’s not just the resonance of his melodies that endures, but the profound emotional journey he escorts his audience through. His music, transcending simple notes and rhythms, transforms into a universal language that speaks directly to the soul. In a world often overloaded with noise, His compositions emerge as a sanctuary of tranquillity, reminding us of the beauty and depth that pure music can convey. Whether in the intimate ambience of a concert hall, or the personal retreat of a listener’s home, Paterlini’s music promises to be a timeless companion, mirroring the relentless flow of life’s rivers and the ever-evolving seasons of the human heart.

Fabrizio Paterlini extends a warm invitation to his UK-based fans. Following his performances in London and Manchester, he plans to stay behind to personally interact with his audience, listening to their stories and sharing moments of connection, which is just as much of his passion as creating music.

His website, Fabrizio Paterlini’s Official Site, is a gateway for fans to explore his music, learn about his tours, and stay connected with his journey.

More Coverage

John Power: “The idea was to make a seminal record”

During his solo tour of the UK, we catch up with John Power to discuss new Cast music, the Liverpool music scene and his relationship with Lee Mavers

Peace live in Manchester: Worcester indie rockers return to their roots

Worcester’s finest, Peace, embark on a return to live performances following a five-year hiatus

The BBC Radio 6 Music Festival returns to Manchester in March 2024

Now stationed permanently in Greater Manchester, The BBC Radio 6 Music Festival returns in March 2024

CMAT live in Manchester: “…or, should I say CMATchester?”

A gut-wrenching new LP, but the same old cowboy boots… the Irish singer/songwriter enthrals Manchester’s 02 Ritz