‘Road To Universe‘ was one of my favorite releases this year. And I really enjoyed my chat with Andrea Pizzo and Raffaella Turbino talking about the Andrea Pizzo & The Purple Mice concept, music, and more. Let’s find out below!
Q: I have noticed that nature was a big influence on your music. I am curious, do you believe there’s a relation between physics, the universe, and music?
Andrea: Yes absolutely, nature is singing its own music, it’s all around us. Have you ever heard the sonification of some celestial bodies by NASA JPL? They are poetic.
Sometimes, when I think about a new song, a new story to tell, I remember a quote from Michelangelo Buonarroti about a work of art: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
I look at ourselves as storytellers with so many stories to tell, stories just waiting to be told.
Raffaella: I think music is a part of nature: sound waves move through air and space and can touch some inner chords of our soul as we all are a part of nature. As Andrea said, sometimes the first way to get in contact with the universe is by listening to its voice. It also happens with sonar in the deep sea or when we are trying to explore something new and mysterious as the depths of dark matter.
Also, music has the “magic” power to express feelings and emotions in a way words can’t do
because it speaks to a deep part of our being. I think music is a universal language that can affect every creature. We don’t necessarily have to know a language to appreciate a song, and even plants and animals seem to benefit from some kinds of music.
Q: You and Raffaella decided to express your thoughts and philosophies in lyrics and music. When the idea of The Purple Mice shaped?
Andrea: On this argument I let Raffaella speak because she has composed almost all the lyrics and is such a talented lyricist.
Raffaella: Andrea has always loved music and singing since before we met. I think music also was a seductive part of our relationship from the beginning. So, as he needed to keep cultivating his passion by practicing various musical genres with different teachers, I thought it would be important to try to create something new of his own instead of keeping studying other singers’ songs for so much time.
Also, I have always loved poetry and I often write verses in secret to express my feelings and reflections, so I thought I could have helped by writing something for him to sing, to give also voice to my soul, in fact, I’ve always loved music but I have never been able to sing even a single note!
Poetry seems to be voiceless nowadays and I was excited at the idea of mixing music and poetry to express some inner meaning in a new way and to enjoy together.
So I started writing a lyric as a gift for him and also as an experiment, a sort of a bet with him, but then Andrea and Riccardo transformed my lyric into a beautiful and touching song, Song of Nothing.
Finally one of my feelings had a voice! They were very satisfied too, so Andrea had the idea to create a concept album about both his passions: music and science.
Even if it’s a little bit different from my initial idea, I love this project because we make it together and have a good time. Besides Andrea is very methodic and focused on these goals, unlike me who live a messy life often losing track of what I started.
So, many lyrics I would like to write – also using my mother tongue – can wait, for now, we’ll surely find an agreement about that. Also, lyrics’ subjects are interesting topics of discussion between us. Andrea usually tells me the topic he would like to sing about and I try to write down some poetic lines and put them together in a lyric he and Riccardo can use to work on. He’s the voice I’m writing for and I think his melodies are amazing.
We choose to call ourselves “The Purple Mice” for different reasons: firstly, we usually tenderly call each other “mouse”. Secondly, purple – which is our daughter’s favorite color – if applied to mice can suggest the idea of something weird happening to our environment, that is one of my leading ideas, about what I would like to sensitize people. I mean, when you think of a purple mouse you probably think to radioactivity or chemical pollution consequences. If we don’t care about our world, our descendants will probably have to speed up to start the extraordinary journey about outer space in search of some improbable alternative to our planet.
Q: Although you have a great number of listeners per month, still, many artists go for trendy topics nowadays, aren’t you afraid that space rock won’t stand up to this fake world?
Andrea: It is a great challenge that is worth facing. In the world out there, social media offers so many and enormous possibilities, a story – if it is beautiful and well-told – can be heard by many people and this was not possible until 10 years ago. I think that an artist must be able to create captivating content, to focus interest on his work.
Raffaella: I believe listeners, in general, pay more attention to melodies than to lyrics. Also, we try to experiment with various musical genres hoping to attract listeners with different musical tastes.
Furthermore, we are not in search of celebrity at all costs, but we like to find a way to express
I think a lot of listeners could appreciate the topics of our songs; maybe music could help to increase interest in these topics too.
I’m inspired by Lucretio’s latin philosophic poem De rerum natura, in which the author write that poetry can help to make amusing even a hard subject like philosophy.
Anyway our lyrics are about topics related to the deepest and fundamental questions of life and I believe that’s something we all humans can share, so this can be the very strength of the songs, in order to attract listeners.
Q: Is Roberto Tiranti play all instruments in Road to Universe only or all your releases?
Andrea: Roberto plays all the instruments in all the songs, except in the suite Jupiter and the Galilean moons, in which I also play steel tongue drum and kalimba while Riccardo Morello plays piano.
Roberto is well known in Italy as the lead singer of the metal band “Labyrinth”, he is an extraordinary vocalist, but he also is a fantastic bass player, a talented guitarist and he plays very well keyboards and drums.
In this project Roberto plays the role of producer and arranger, he is fantastic. It is wonderful working with Roberto Tiranti and Riccardo Morello, Riccardo is a fantastic pianist, a harmonies composer, and a talented singer too.
Q: Your singing style is one of the most unique voices that I have heard this year. How do you manage such singing pitches and keep your vocals in good shape?
Andrea: Wow! Thank you, I’m honored. I have been taking singing lessons since I was 19. I take care of my instrument: I go to singing lessons once or twice a month. I have had and I still have great singing teachers.
Q: So tell me more about ‘Potatoes On Mars,’ and what is it about?
Andrea: Raffaella and I have developed the idea of making a concept album about the history of mankind and its relationship with space, the history of the conquest of space, projecting it from the present-day into the future.
We wanted something epic that harks back to great science fiction (from Star Trek to 2001 A Space Odyssey), but we wanted something that was very ironic, something akin to “Intergalactic highway hitchhiker’s guide”. We wanted to go on an epic journey with irony.
Q: The common for albums and EPs are at least 4 songs, but I noticed that you don’t follow such a system. Is it intentional?
Andrea: It is intentional, we think of our songs as chapters of a book, a serial novel, we made this choice to give our audience some time to metabolize them; it also gives Raffaella time to create the videos.
Q: Finally, thank you for the chat, and tell your fans about your next 2021 plans.
Andrea: We will release a new single, called Starship to Heaven, in July. The title clearly is a tribute to our beloved Led Zeppelin, it is a beautiful pop-rock track about the Omega Point; as B-side, we will release a hard rock song called Masters of the Galaxy.
We are going to release our first album next fall; we are still working on the last song, but we have already written five songs of a second album. It will be a work focused on human evolution and the relationship between human beings, science, and technology.