Italian composer and producer Mattia Cupelli brings us his latest endeavour with the release of ONWARDS, an atmospheric sonic journey paired with an abstract visual offering.
The Rome-based artist merges neo-classical and ambient sounds with modern minimal electronic music to create sprawling soundscapes full of rich textural instrumentation, electro-acoustic percussion and vocal samples. His most recent works are highly influenced by artists such as Nils Frahm and Nicolas Jaar, and try to make acoustic and electronic instruments co-exist to set the basis for his sound.
How did you first get into producing music?
I started making music at 11 years old. At the time I was studying classical guitar, so I started to make some little songs on it. Later I found interesting to write music for an orchestra, in this way I get into computer music production. I started making my stuff and uploading it on Youtube, today my channel has more than 100k subscribers and 25 million plays. I never stopped to learn and study music, from my academic classical background to the modern composition. In these years I got several influences by many artists, that shaped my sound as you can listen to it today.
Which artist do you draw most inspiration from?
I love artists like Nils Frahm, I love his approach to music composition. He makes acoustic instruments sound as electronic instruments and vice-versa. I became deeply influenced by him, but also from Nicolas Jaar, his electronic world really hit me the first time I listened to his “Nymphs” records. The sound design and musical composition opened up my eyes to my possibilities.
You’ve just released the new track ONWARDS. What was the biggest challenge in creating this piece?
ONWARDS was born as an alternate version of my old track “Cerulean” but from the first creative process, it evolved into something new. The biggest challenge was to balance several different sounds. I love to incorporate weird or distant sounds from other cultures in my music, and make my musical composition far from what I had in my mind, so often I have to reset it to find my way back on the song.
Were there any particular influences for this new release?
My main goal was to reinvent my sound. I came from the film music and classical/neo-classical world, and now I’m deeply in the electronic music realm. On this project, I tried to make a sum of what I did in these years but also to set a new sound for the years to come. I want to be out of the rules and break my comfort zone song after song.
How did you work on incorporating the visual images in the music video to reflect the sound?
In this project, I tried to narrate what the music could mean with some natural and urban images, mixed and merged with each other, the same as I want in my music.
Has developing such a deep connection with visual elements for your music influenced how you create music now?
My creative process with the experience has become more complex. As a really prolific composer, I write tons of new songs, but I learned to throw away the ones I don’t feel are good enough. Anyway, the creative process always starts with just an idea, that can be melodic or percussive or often just a sound, that creates the ambience around itself.
What would you say is the perfect setting for listeners to enjoy your sound?
The eclectic form of this LP makes different settings to listen to it. Some can enjoy songs with more neoclassical/ambient influences, others can enjoy more the electronic abstract tracks or even “dance” club moments. So it’s hard to give a uniform setting.
What artist have you been listening to most recently?
In addition to my favourite artists already mentioned I’d say Forest Swords, which I love, David August, Thom Yorke and stuff like this.
What’s been your favourite live show so far?
I have seen a concert by Nils Frahm this winter, and it was just amazing. Really incredible. This week I’ve been to the last Thom Yorke tour here in Rome, and I just loved it. I hope to start to make some shows soon too.
Do you have any advice for a new artist wanting to follow your footsteps?
I think my musical career has officially started this year with the release of my album on August 8th, but what I can suggest to a new artist is to be yourself and try to make something new, not to just imitate something you think is the best. Listen to several different genres and keep something from all of it, never stop learning and break your limits.
What’s the main thing you want people to get out of listening to your music?
Conflicting emotions. I want to let the listener feels like at they’re home, then dancing in a club and then dreamy and inspired.
Finally, looking forward, what do you have lined up for the near future?
I had a new LP done before this new one is released. But I thought my fans are not ready to listen to it, so I worked on this one. Anyway, it will be revealed next year, and I promise that will be mindblowing.
Help support Plastic Magazine