Claudio Melis is an Italian music-poet who lives in Berlin. His brand new single "Occhiali da vista" is a poem he had written years ago and then transformed into a song — like all of his songs. We had a chat with him to discover more about his fascinating creative process.
Can you tell us something about yourself and how your career as a musician started?
I am Claudio, a short-sighted Italian musician living in Berlin. I have always had a very strong connection with music. Some songs from the 60s bring back the images of my family driving to the ocean; I was very young, but those songs have stayed in my heart. More concrete memories date back to when, as a child, I got sick and my older sisters would lend me her Walkman and my headache would go away. I've always experienced music as a manifestation of love, first from my family, then from unknown musicians who brought me magical worlds and new ideas through records; they acted as binoculars and mirrors, they made me grow.
In Berlin I studied saxophone and spent a lot of time on classical music, but also on arrangements and pieces designed for performance, dance or theater contexts. A few years ago I picked up the guitar again and started to play to music and sing my own lyrics, and I realized that it is one of the things I like doing the most.
What can you tell us about your inspirations and creative process for "Occhiali da vista"?
The lyrics of "Occhiali da vista" (Italian word for "eyeglasses") were born as a poem four years ago, I liked it a lot and made a song out of it. I was missing a person, and when I thought of them I thought of the whole universe, how and why we live and many other thoughts of overwhelming dimensions, but the image that then prevailed over the others was that of their broken glasses, fixed with tape, practically oblique to the face, and I burst out laughing.
The music for this song was produced thinking about the fact that I will be doing a lot of concerts by myself, so the musical arrangement had to be as interesting as possible, despite using one of the most "trivial" instruments. The creative process is both beautiful and exhausting, because I try not to change the lyrics,
which for me above all is a poem. The music has to adapt completely to it, this has sometimes cost me weeks, in most cases months, and in some cases years, but in this case we are talking about songs that are never finished.
What does being an independent artist mean to you and what is your relationship with streaming and download platforms?
It means having a mess in my mind most of the time and dealing with different things that don't always have strictly to do with music, but are part of the way music is consumed today. One good thing is that as an artist you have a lot of freedom and at the same time the ability to reach a lot of people. I personally use different platforms to listen to music. Nowadays you can find everything online, access to music has become easier, this is definitely one of the positive aspects.
What are your plans for 2021?
Writing more songs and preparing for upcoming live shows. At the moment I am finishing arranging and recording some songs that will be released on my first EP, but there is still a lot of work (and I am slow...) and there is always a lot to learn. I have several ideas but I am open to changing plans as I go along, depending on what happens. My idea is to produce an EP with three songs, which will also become a vinyl: on one side there will be three songs and on the other side the same songs in a "home recorded" version, that is just guitar and voice.
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