A Quiet Evening is the collaborative EP between Covington-based musician and contemporary composer Philip G Anderson and Italian violinist and composer Laura Masotto. It will be out on December 11th via Lady Blunt Records and was written and recorded in two different locations: Anderson’s home-studio in Covington, Georgia (USA) and the country-side of Bologna were Laura Masotto was temporarly based from March 2020 after returning from her Artist Residency at Fabra I Coats in Barcelona (ES).
“I felt trapped knowing that I could not travel and spent most of my time inside my apartment so my connection to theoutside world was primarily through music. I spent evenings sitting at my piano playing whatever came to mind, andwhatever would distract me from my surroundings. These pieces were born from a stressed and exhausted mind thatwanted to connect again with the outside world. Collaborating with Laura was not only musically rewarding, but it alsohelped provide some semblance of normalcy to life by working with someone else on music again even if it was onlythrough email” says Philip G Anderson.
“When Philip asked me to make an EP together, the lockdown had just started inItaly. The situation was really heavy and dramatic. I immediately felt the beauty that this collaboration was carrying. Hewas at other side of the ocean but we were feeling emotions that were alike, which were conveyed in music. The biggest inspiration was looking the spring blossom outside my window.” continues Laura Masotto.
Today we have the pleasure to premiere a new track called “And A Rainy Morning“. Listen below and check our chat with both artists who detail their collaboration, the feelings about the current situation and much more.
“A Quiet Evening” is your first collaborative EP. How was born this collaboration?
PHILIP: I’d collaborated with Laura on a few pieces before this and had such a wonderful and rewarding experience working with her. I had written all of the pieces on piano but felt they needed another element and another person’s perspective. I immediately thought of Laura and reached out to her to see if she’d like to collaborate. We exchanged ideas on musical structure and development for each piece, but ultimately she wrote and recorded all of the strings parts.
LAURA: Philip is an artist I deeply admire, and he asked me to collaborate on an Ep during the crazy period of the beginning of the pandemic and first lockdown. He sent me the tracks and I have started exploring them one by one. I worked a lot on all the pieces because I think that to create a good collaboration first you have to get into the other person’s head, into his ideas and then develop your own.
For me, each track has a very different mood, in fact, according to how I felt, I worked on the song that came the closest to my emotions. I remember that to record “And a rainy morning” I was waiting for a rainy day that never came as it was the spring in Italy and there was the most beautiful sunny days ever!
What is the concept and the idea behind the EP? An what was the main inspiration?
PHILIP: For me the EP was an escape, a distraction from my surroundings and from a stressed and exhausted mind. It was also a way to connect with the outside world again. While neither Laura or I were able to travel or even leave our local areas, we were able to connect from Georgia to Italy through musical collaboration which I felt was something special. It very much served as a way to get through the lockdowns. The EP’s title comes from the setting of my writing. I wrote and recorded the piano parts in the evenings (something I rarely do as I prefer to write in the mornings) when there was an eerie silence outside from everyone staying home. “A Quiet Evening”.
LAURA: I think that what guided us in the composition was the music itself that already contained all the emotions we had inside. Listening to it now I really feel the simplicity, maybe the essentiality that brings me back to the thoughts that we faced during first lockdown: what do we really expect from life? What are the essential values? What role has music in our lives?
The Artwork is interesting and it shows a window, right?. How did you choose it?
PHILIP: Yes, the artwork created by Alessandro Lugoboni features a window with a view to the outside. I feel it’s the perfect representation of the music as it illustrates the backdrop to which the music was written. Due to Covid lockdowns and restrictions, we were only able to look out our windows at the world, unable to go out and interact with others. Windows were our connection to the outside world. The window also further represents the setting for me as when writing the piano parts I often gazed out of the window that’s right next to my upright piano wondering and wishing.
LAURA: As always Alessandro Lugoboni has perfectly nailed the concept of the Ep with his representation of the window. For me as well as for Philip, the window was the point of contact with the outside, the trees blooming, the birds chirping, the sun, life. The window represented the force of nature. It is interesting to know that Philip and I had a very different climate, every now and then I saw some photos that he posted on IG, his landscape was foggy and seemed very cold, whilst in Italy it was already warm and sunny. That’s why we chose to use a more foggy artwork in the single and a sunnier one in the album to represent our two visions of the world outside.
You are from Convington, Georgia and from Italy. I’m really interested in the connection between the places we live over the years, our roots and the art. How do you feel these themes connect to your music and your way of thinking music? What are your favourite places which have inspired you the most?
PHILIP: I love this question, although I should mention I’ve only lived in Covington for 2 years so I wouldn’t say I’m from here, only that I currently reside here. I’ve previously lived in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. I feel that our environment both geographically and culturally has an impact on the art we create. It may not be a conscious impact, but I’m certain that our surroundings influence our creativity and our artistic expressions. I can remember the feeling and pressure of writing music when I lived in Los Angeles. I felt the need to conform my sound to a certain style, to fit in. I wrote less from the point of artistic expression and more from the point of commercial value. I didn’t really start to discover myself as an artist until I moved to Chicago, a place very dear to my heart. Chicago is a wonderful place to be an artist. I found the city, the people, and the culture incredibly inspiring. There’s a vast number of arts organizations, performance venues, studios, musicians as well as a greater appreciation for the arts. My first EP, Winter, I wrote and released in Chicago. It was very much inspired by the beauty of the snow covered city in the middle of winter. I was also fortunate to work with some incredible musicians when I lived there and I’m sure that working with and learning from them has influenced my music in some way. Covington is a much calmer place. The music I’ve been writing here is very different from the music I’ve previously written and released. I’ve had more time and space to reflect on myself here and to focus on compositions. Whereas in Chicago I think my sound was more influenced by my surroundings, I feel that here in Covington, my compositions are more influenced by the calmer setting and the greater focus on my art that it allows.
LAURA: I composed the Ep in Bologna where I was temporarily based for the lockdown. I arrived from Barcelona in March in the middle of the pandemic. I traveled back to Italy the very last day that traveling was allowed. I found myself in an apartment that I didn’t know, and since I arrived I haven’t left that flat for almost three months, I didn’t even know what was down the street, it was surreal. I remember the trip by plane, then the car trip from the airport to the this small village in the countryside with the first almond trees in bloom and then the house. I went from a city full of people still in full activity to complete silence and isolation. Italy for me is home, it’s family, it’s a place that I love deeply so it has always been a very inspiring place but I love to travel around the world and this has always contributed a lot to my music. The last long trip I had done at the end of January was to India for a concert, maybe I brought some of that adventure in this Ep too.
Let’s talk about current situation. How are you living these strange times and what are the main concerns as an artist?
PHILIP: Here in the U.S. we’ve been impacted since early March and I know it’s been even longer in Europe and other parts of the world. I’ve spent most of my time producing music for various projects (films, TV production music, commercial projects, etc..). My focus has shifted from my own artistic work to more commercial work because that’s a stronger source of income. I have still made time for projects like this collaborative EP with Laura and I feel fortunate I’m still able to work with musicians and artists like her in our current reality. I think the main concern as an artist is the same concern it’s always been: how can you make a living from your art. Only now, in the current situation, this issue is amplified because there is less support and less work. It’s also more difficult now due to restrictions on live in person performances which many artists count on as an income source. I feel very fortunate I’m able to continue working as an artist/composer for now but I know that’s not the reality for many and that’s truly a shame.
LAURA: I think it’s a very difficult time for music, musicians and professionals. Streaming systems are not particularly profitable for musicians, so concerts are such an important source of income. Now everything is frozen.
I hope that we will soon return to play and give importance to this industry and especially that many professionals are not forced to change jobs.
I can’t wait to attend a concert, and certainly also to play for a real audience again. Together with traveling these are the things I miss the most. Luckily in this year I have been very busy recording, I have collaborated with a lot of American, Spanish and Italian artists, I made a record of soundtracks and now I am working intensely on my new album that will be released next year: right now I am in the mixing phase.
For sure this period of time has helped me to focus on my goals. I know how important music is to the people, especially during this period of time, I often think about the listeners while I’m writing. I wish the work that musicians do wasn’t taken for granted and there was more support for them because the system right now has failed to support music (and culture in general) and all the work that there is behind each track, Ep or album.
Ritual question. Have you seen or heard anything good recently?
PHILIP: Yes! Olafur’s new album, ‘Some Kind Of Peace’. It’s beautiful, although I’m sure most people are hearing about it now. I also am very much liking Tobias Svensson’s new album, Intersections. It’s been a while since he last released music so I’m very happy to hear this new work from him.
LAURA: I listen to a lot of music and I really like to discover new releases. Among my favorites these days are Roger Goula’s new single ‘Ontology of Things’ for the 7K! collection ‘Ambient Layers’, the new album by Angèle David-Guillou ‘A question of Angles’, ‘A mythology of Circles’ by Faten Kanaan, the single ‘Anomaly’ by Jameson Nathan Jones.
The albums I have listened to the most during 2020 are ‘Last and First Men’ by Jóhann Jóhannsson and Yair Elazar Glotman, ‘Home’ by Hania Rani, ‘Reconciliation’ by Olec Mün, ‘Cenizas’ by Nicolas Jaar, ‘Monument’ by Keaton Henson, ‘ARMØNIA’ by ATŌMI, the ‘String Layers’ collection by 7K! and ‘Midnight Intervals’ by Glowworm.
And there’s another new album I love, and I can’t wait for it to be released, I can only say that the composer is Philip G Anderson…