The ‘Monday Is Okay’ Mix: Simone Gatto
Philosophy and dance music aren't necessarily the most obvious of interlinking interests. We often use music to help us disconnect rather than to prompt existential self discovery. However, Simone Gatto is one artist who sees the value in the link between the two. His latest album, as he explains, is a musical take on nature, feelings and pleasure, a reflection on self preservation and well-ness. 'Detachment' is set for release on the 15th of February on Sheik 'N' Beik Records, a label which has maintained a low profile whilst releasing a steady stream of interesting records. Listen Simone Gatto's mix below which features a collection of ambient sounds, field recordings and beyond and read his interview:
Please introduce yourself…Who are you?
I’m a philosophy-graduate and a music activist who finds a dynamic source of emotions, memories and energy in music. My first contact with music was early in 2004 and since then, I've been globe-trotting around the world to perform quality house and techno shows and managing my own label Out Electronic Recordings, releasing music from artists like The Analogue Cops, Regen, Christopher Rau, Efdemin, Orlando Voorn, Terrence Dixon, Conforce and many others.
Where are you?
I’m now based in Salento – Italy.
What are you?
I’m the variety of experiences and musical stimuli that has brought me to research the music potential on an ever-increasing scientific and emotional scale.
You have a new album out right, what was the aim of the record?
The title of my upcoming album, 'Detachment' is the process through which human beings implement a series of actions in order to search, find and maintain interior well- ness. The album is inspired by ethical values many people forgot. Nature is the source of everything, and it's so disappointing how we are destroying it in favor of this capitalistic world. Moneys, war, power are turning people blind.. and I can't accept it. We all should detach from tangible objects and focus on real stimulus, like people dear to us, nature, true feelings and pleasures. It is a very personal work in which I sampled many nature and family sounds. I hope this music will spread my thoughts everywhere, we are ruining our beautiful world and we have to protest.
You have an interest in philosophy, how does that impact the music which you make?
Over the years, I've seen music as a possibility of communication, as a result of personal inspirations, as a bridge for getting in touch with people. Consequently, my musical conception doesn’t stick only to the club environment or to pure home listening: I consider music as a vital source for reaching interior wellness, as a way to communicate successfully, as a means to relieve or cure any wound whatsoever.
Recently I’ve been organized several seminars and workshops happening in between Italy, Germany and Holland, in which artists and music industry experts examine the relationship between sounds and emotions. The tangible findings and collected depositions will be put out on a book to be published in late 2017, where my personal path and the musical context I studied and lived, will be offered to the world of music enthusiasts.
Tell us about the Monday mixtape you’ve put together for us. If it were to be drawn what would it look like?
It would represent a man who’s walking through an abstract landscape full of colors.
If it were a food what would it be?
A mixed salad.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
It’s a versatile mix so there are so many ideal settings to listen to it. Mhm let me think.. you could listen while you’re home, sat on your couch and drinking something; or you could listen while you’re driving your car or while jogging.
What should we be wearing?
Something elegant and simple.
Where was it recorded?
It was recorded in my studio in Nardò – Italy.
Are you on the same wavelength as the boomtown rats or do you actually like Mondays?
No, to be honest I really like Mondays.
Am I excited to dive into the challenges that i have lined up for the week?
Yes that’s one of the reasons.
Am I looking forward to engaging with the people i am meeting or working with?
Am I going to my dream job?
My dream job is every day and every moments. I’m a music activist / composer full time.
Am I being compensated fairly for the value i bring to my job?
Not enough but i’m still young and i have so many projects coming up, so i’m confident about the future.
Do I feel energised, rested, and confident?
If you were trapped on a desert island with one other person, who would you choose? How long would it be before you eat them?
I’m not sure about to answer to this question by the way i’ll never be able to eat an human being, I would prefer to die.
Your doctor says you need more exercise….what do you take up for exercise?
Make more sex.
If you could travel in time…where in time would you go? Why?
I would like to step by the future (like in 3016) to see what happened to the world, if it still exist. Then I would go back to the past and retrace all the great events that have marked the history of the planet and the mankind.
What was the first electronic record you heard and how did it make you feel?
It was Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92. I was 14 years old and i remember that I was at a friend’s place and we were looking into his father vinyl’s collection while we listened to it. At that time i use to listen to hip hop and italo-disco so it sounded to me like something never heard and it got me really interested. I was listening to it with headphones and my eyes were closed whilst I was dreaming.
How does your brain work when making music? How does it work when you aren’t?
That’s a good question and it’s the main topic of my research, that’s why I would need to write some more lines to answer this properly. Making and listening to music are two different experiences that actually are more similar then expected.
Several experiments have shown that both making music and music listening can give rise to physiological responses very similar to those shown to other ‘emotional’ stimuli, including changes in heart rate, skin temperature, skin conductance, breathing and hormone secretion. Further evidence of emotions to music comes from expressive behavior. Music listening makes people cry, smile, laugh, and furrow their eyebrows – as indicated by observations and electromyographic (EMG) measures of facial muscles. The extent of the emotional responses of music depends on the structural features of music, as well as contextual features (such as the location one is while hearing the music, memories associated with the piece of music etc).
Moreover a recent study has allowed us to extend our knowledge about the functioning of the brain.
The research, in fact, has revealed the presence of an empathetic relationship between the musicians engaged in a concert highlighting how, during the performance, they tend to get in empathic communication in an attempt to read emotions and moods. The interesting scientific discovery, in particular, was published in two magazines, Cortex and NeuroImage, and was carried out by researchers from the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan. The study carried out showed that, in fact, a musical concert is the result not only of the competence of the musicians, but also the harmonization of their brains obtained through the activation of certain brain areas natural site at the frontal region and related system of "mirror neurons”. Thanks to the latest generation of instruments, in particular, the researchers were able to simultaneously record the brain activity of musicians and to see the difference about how did their brain work when they were making music and how did it work when they weren’t. So to sum it up and answer to your question: hormone secretion and activation of mirror neurons when making and listening to music makes the difference in the functioning of your brain from when you aren’t.
What were the first and last records you bought?
First record was an album: A Tribe Called Quest – People Instinctive Travels and The Paths of Rhythm. The last one is Bnjmn – Amigdala, i bought it in Berlin before christmas.
What are you obsessed with at the moment?
Trying to define a new musical way into this grey and loopy scenario
What's your answer to everything?
Enjoy every single moment and love what you do.
Anything else we need to discuss.
Hope you’ll enjoy my mix, take care!
Follow Simone Gatto on Soundcloud HERE.