Alti & Bassi, 24 years together. The Italian band celebrates its 24th anniversary with a new album featuring entirely original, unreleased songs.
How did your professional career start?
Our group was founded in 1994 when, in an apartment in the Città Studi area in Milan, we organized what would then become the first rehearsal of the Alti & Bassi (a play on words that, in Italian, means highs and lows as well as altos and basses). We picked the name because Francesco, the tallest member of the group, has the lowest voice (bass), whereas Andrea, the shortest, has the highest voice (soprano). Each of us brought their own experience to the group, whether we had a classical background or a more pop-based one. We were all excited to participate to this new, stimulating project.
Which distinctive elements characterize each of you?
It depends on what kind of elements you mean. We can probably answer this question from three different points of view: voice, professional background and role in the group.
We have five completely different voices: Filippo is the bass, while Andrea is the soprano and has a very soft falsetto. Paolo has a very folk voice, with an enviable extension, to the point that sometimes replaces Filippo when he sings as a soloist. Alberto’s voice is the most pop, while Diego is the tenor and has excellent technical skills.
Our professional backgrounds allow each of us to make our own contribution: three of us worked as choir directors, some have experience in marketing and communication, some have worked in finance, others have studied composition. This allows us to share different roles: Andrea is effectively the manager and the communications director, Alberto takes care of the arrangements, Diego deals with our look, Filippo helps us with the lyrics and Paolo, with his business experience, supports the group by promoting cohesion and planning.
Does working in a group mean turning off individuality or highlighting individual talents?
Both, although individuality is never really taken out of the equation. Rather, one needs to learn to put individuality on the backburner, sometimes, in favour of maximizing group results. Sometimes we help the group by being in the background, other times we do so by putting ourselves in the foreground and highlighting our talents. The point is to always do what’s best for the group.
Your latest album switched your focus from covers from song writing. Is there room for lyrics dealing with contemporary and social issues?
Underneath, almost all our new lyrics deal with current issues: in “Ce l’avevo quasi fatta” young people are encouraged to believe in their dreams and to persevere; in “Adagio con moto” we deal with romantic love through to a series of metaphors linked to music; “Di Mercoledì” talks about divorced fathers’ love for their children; “Quel colore in più” again focuses on romantic love for a partner; “È il calcio” deals with the contradictions of Italy’s most beloved sport; “Roby” tells the poignant love story between an older man and a younger girl; “Stella” is a rock & roll ballad dedicated to an aspiring star who refuses to settle for a compromise with a manager who’s interested in something else.
How are your songs born?
In general, Alberto deals with the music and Andrea and Diego take care of the text. We then refine the text together, and when we are all on the same page Alberto writes the arrangement, which we’ll then study, rehearse and finally sing on stage.
Leadership: is it necessary to have a leader in a band?
There can be many leaders, each excelling in a different role. A true leader does not need to impose his authority: others must recognize him as such.
Who plays this role?
As I said, we have many leaders: Andrea is the leader in terms of management; Alberto leads when it comes to arrangements, etc.
How do you make decisions?
In a very democratic way, but always keeping in mind what’s best for the group.
How much does talent matter compared to study and commitment?
Talent is necessary, but it is not enough. Study and commitment are crucial for achieving results. This is true in music as well as, for example, in sports.
Last question: a dream and a regret.
A dream: that one of our songs will have the opportunity to be widely known, for example by going to the Sanremo festival.
A regret: perhaps not having tried song writing before. This new album is our seventh, after 24 years, but it is the first album featuring entirely original, unreleased songs.