In conversation with time-warping composer Mattia Cupelli

In the mood for an ambient sound experience that feels like a passage to forgotten lands and spaces? Look no further than composer Mattia Cupelli’s new song ‘MONOLITH’, which will feature on his forthcoming album release RUINS in July via MC Records. The Italian producer is heavily inspired by revolutionary neo-classical artists, hence why his sound bounces between experimental textures in the electronic music landscape. ‘MONOLITH’ is sure to give one guaranteed goosebumps with its gloomy atmosphere throughout, adding further tension as we wait for the song to beat to progress further on this track. The listener is left with the haunting echoes lingering in their thoughts as they go through their day – a suspenseful listen.

We chatted with groundbreaking composer Mattia Cupelli below. 

Stream/ download: ‘MONOLITH’

Describe your sound for us. What do you want people to feel when they hear your music?

With my music, I’m trying to let people perceive time passing, ancestral memories from our past as human beings on this planet. I want to make evocative music more similar to a ritual or a divine presence.

Which 3 artists have influenced you the most growing up?

The artist that completely changed the way I make music is surely Nicolas Jaar. I love all of his music. My new album RUINS is also largely influenced by Cenizas ( his last work). My second favourite artist is Nils Frahm, he revolutionized the concept of “modern classical music” bringing it closer to the electronic music sphere. In this period I rediscovered the music of Ben Frost. I always loved all of his super distorted sounds, and he is the absolute master on that.

Why have you chosen ‘MONOLITH’ as the first song to feature your RUINS album tracklist?

‘MONOLITH’ opens the new album because it’s the most experimental song featured. My intent is to shock the listener from the beginning. It’s a really new sound for me and many won’t like it at all. But I think that it’s a small piece of a more complete idea that is all in the album, and needs to be considered as more “complicated”. ‘MONOLITH’ to me is also the symbol of change, and for sure this new album is a step forward from my previous works.

How did you discover your particular sound?

I haven’t found it yet, I think. I like to reinvent myself with every project. As a kid, I started with classical music and some playing solo piano songs. Now I produce a fully experimental, ambient sound. Tomorrow, who knows.

Tell us about one of the first struggles you faced (as a group or a solo artist) and how you overcame it?

Well, one of the first struggles of all artists I think would be comparing your music to the masters you love, and feeling inexorable as you are not able to reach that level of “perfection”. I think overcoming this is really difficult. You have to really believe in what are you doing as a musician. Sometimes you have to be arrogant because it’s the only way to escape from comparing yourself with great masters. This is also a good thing though, as it pushes you to be more creative & ambitious.

What are the most important pieces of equipment to you?

Well, I have several analog synths and modular stuff, but the most important is surely my computer. I have worked so long with just having a PC with a low-quality master keyboard as the only input. Hands are everything you need if you had to choose just one piece of equipment. Today there is so much great emulations of famous sounds, so it isn’t so easy to make some music with a computer.

Music for the individual or the masses – which do you want to create?

For the individual absolutely. Masses are an indefinite group of people, that listen to music in a non-critical way. I want to speak one on one regarding my music. I’d always prefer one critical listener than 1000 people that find my music on TikTok.

Do you have a favourite memory of your career so far?

I remember after a couple of months uploading my orchestral music on Youtube, I got contacted by a USA film school student to make a soundtrack for their short film. I was seventeen and this blew my mind. I was so happy to actually work with someone on their movie soundtrack. It was a really low budget indie film, but a really good memory that I will always remember with joy.

If you could work with, or perform alongside any artist living or passed, who would it be?

Nicolas Jaar, I’d like just to perform with him. His live shows are awesome. I love how he remixes and reinvent his songs. He has to use a lot of improvisation to revisit the same song every time. Sometimes destroying them and sometimes just changing a melody line, I love this approach.

What kind of message are you trying to send with your music?

There are some recurring themes around my music, as music is such an abstract form of art. I want to make and feel transcendence, a sense of time. I want to feel a kind of God-like presence in my sound and echoes from the past.

What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

After releasing my new album RUINS I think I’ll go back to working on some project I have taken on in the background. Also, I would like to start working on a new sound for the next album, and some secondary musical project.

RUINS will be your first album release since 2019, what motivated you to produce this forthcoming album?

I think today the concept of the album has evolved in a way, at least in my opinion. It needs a really strong inner narration. 

In this sense, RUINS was born. it’s an album about time, religion and human beings. I tried to work on this project staying focused on these principles. All the pieces of music on this album reflects on that.

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