A French-Italian musician based in Canada, Giuliano Gullotti released last october an album of ambient-leaning electronic music called "Thaw". After a several year hiatus, he got back to making music in great part thanks to his Joué Pro that enabled him to try out a new approach to composition: intuitive, creative and outdoors!
Your album ‘Thaw’ came out last summer on your own label, Eolian Sounds. You had pretty much stopped making music for a few years before that, correct?
I’ve always played music, mostly in bands when I was younger, on keyboards. Additionally, I started making electronic music by myself, under the name Amberhaze. I used to live in Singapore, and I released an EP and two albums on an independent label there. After that, I moved to Saskatchewan, and for a long time I left music on the back burner. And then this year, thanks in part to the lockdown that gave me more free time, I started getting back to it. It came back quite fast, thanks in large part to the Joué Pro. With it I can make music anywhere, even out in my garden. So one thing led to another and those compositions became an album.
The Joué Pro played a big part in this return to music then?
Absolutely. It was a very natural process. No need to sit at a desk waiting for everything to boot up: with the Joué Pro and its pads, you can make music much more spontaneously, which makes the creative process all the more natural. I’d had a Joué Pro for several years because it intrigued me when it first came out, but it’s only this year that I learned to use it to its full potential.
« The Joué Pro allowed me to compose different melodies than what I usually do and to explore different sounds. »
Does using the Joué Pro impact your way of composing as well?
It depends on the pads I use. For this album, I used the Scaler a lot, which allows you play scales in a wider variety of modes than the classic major/minor. Since you don’t see the notes in black and white like on a classic keyboard, all the notes become equal, so you’re less limited by your knowledge of music and your usual composition reflexes. That allowed me to avoid using the same harmonic foundations as usual. I’m also a guitarist, so I used the Fretboard Pad a lot, which also allowed me to compose different melodies than what I usually do and to explore different sounds. When you’ve been making music for a long time, using the Joué Pro lets you create a track in different ways than what you’re used to. The scaler and the fretboard allowed me to approach electronic sounds differently, and also I can create sounds with them that I couldn’t play on a keyboard.
So you used it to make the album from start to finish…?
Not exactly, but most of the tracks were created on the Joué Pro, at least the fundamental elements. I also used my keyboards, but I laid down all the basics with my Joué Pro.
Why did you use this controller more than any other?
I wanted to approach this album as a rebirth, which is why I chose to call it ‘Thaw’, like the end of a long pause. I also decided to create songs that weren’t based on the reflexes I’ve acquired after thirty years at the piano or on keyboards, by using a different kind of device that looks like a keyboard but on which you can also do other things. I wanted to see if that would lead me to making music in a slightly different way, so the Joué Pro became a central element for what I had in mind. Also, the sounds I was looking for, sounds with an ambient feel, you couldn’t play them on a classic keyboard; with the pads of the Joué Pro, you can create different pitch bends.
Now that your album is out, are you going to put your Joué Pro back in the closet?
Not at all. The Joué Pro remains central in my practice of music. For starters, I like the object: it’s really inviting with its wood finish and its attractive design. From a purely esthetic point of view, it makes you want to use it. So no, I’m not putting it away, I still use it: I actually always keep it handy.
Listen to Giuliano Gullotti’s album here https://eoliansounds.bandcamp.com/
Interview by Patrick Haour