Aldo Leopardi in the Studio – What’s on the Horizon?

October 12, 2011

Villains and Heroes was a major step forward for Aldo Leopardi, both musically and personally. The lyrical and sonic texture of the record touch thematically on a number of universal concepts and personal experiences, from love and relationships to coming of age and hard won wisdom. Each song on Villains and Heroes carries layers of meaning for Aldo and in many ways, it was a record that was begging to be produced.

“This was an important record for me. It was a reflection of some things that were going on in my life and I needed to write it to get it out of my system,” says Aldo.

Many of the songs that Aldo writes are deeply personal, such as the title track from Villains and Heroes, which plumbs the emotional complexities of an ill-fated relationship. But Aldo also hoped to articulate the songs in a way that others could appreciate. “My Parade” is inspired by Aldo’s own story of coming of age and finding his own way, but the themes of the song are easily relatable to anyone who has struggled for independence and identity.

Given the importance of the record’s substance, Aldo spent an immense amount of time and effort vetting producers to bring the EP to life. “I was looking for someone to modernize my sound without getting lost within it,” says Aldo.

For Villains and Heroes, Aldo chose to work with Lee Miles. Lee is best known as the frontman for Oh My Stars, but he’s also done production work for Rise Against, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Puddle of Mudd, Tickle Me Pink and Darling Thieves. Introduced by a mutual friend, Lee first gained respect for Aldo after seeing his video for “Always Be.”

“As a producer and musician, I trust Lee 100%. But it took a while to build up that trust,” explains Aldo. “We spent four solid days exploring each other’s music and songwriting, getting to know each other, drinking a lot and developing a bond. After that, I learned that he was the right guy to trust.”

Aldo hopes to work with Lee again to release a second EP next year. One of the songs to appear on the next record has already been written. The content and concepts explored in the remaining tracks will depend on how the songwriting process unfolds. Although Aldo’s songs are often directly inspired by his real life experiences and observations, the sound and mood of a song typically precede the actual lyrics. In fact, the title track “The Villain and The Hero,” which serves as the conceptual focal point of the record, began as a melody and took form once Aldo explored the meaning behind its sound.

“I have to pick up a guitar or it’s not going to happen. It begins with a guitar riff and then I break that into chords and melody and think about how that sound makes me feel,” says Aldo. “This record was very personal and introspective. The next one could be more social, more political—I’m just disgusted with what’s been going on in Washington lately. Or, it may be personal again. It depends on what’s going on in and around my life.”

No matter what happens in the studio, Aldo Leopardi fans have plenty to look forward to. After the second EP, Aldo Leopardi is planning to begin work on his next full length. But for now, enjoy Villains and Heroes and keep an eye out for the official music video, made for the fans by the fans.

Aldo Leopardi on Modern Rock Bands

October 5, 2011

Aldo has straightforward ambitions for his latest EP, Villains and Heroes: “What I want most is for as many people to hear this record as possible,” he says. In fact, he’s donating the proceeds from the EP’s sale to Paulina’s Promise. But just because money’s no object doesn’t mean that Aldo’s goals aren’t big.

As a veteran musician with over 20 years of experience playing in cities across the globe, Aldo has learned quite a bit about the challenges that face an independent artist. A perennial fan of respectable rock and roll, Aldo’s admiration for successful musicians has changed slightly now that he’s a musician. “It’ll always be about the music,” he explains. “But one thing that I’m really impressed with now is the utter tenacity of these bands that make it. You’ve got to be incredibly talented, incredibly persistent and incredibly lucky to get anyone to notice you.”

This is particularly true today, where the music industry stacks the deck heavily against emerging artists. But while struggling musicians have it rough, it’s ultimately the fans that suffer. A&R departments of traditional recording companies aren’t doing the job the same way they did decades ago. Instead, everything’s market-driven, which results in a pervasive lack of originality within the mainstream.

“Those sons of bitches in Congress have made a real mess of things,” says Aldo, referring to the legislation that deregulated the broadcast markets in the 1990s. “Now, there are just a few major players deciding what 300 million people listen to on a daily basis. Because of that, there aren’t many ways for the masses to experience new music. It makes me want to throw up.”

Aldo hopes that innovative musicians and independent artists can help reverse that trend. He wants to help build the foundation that will allow good musicians to circumvent the music industry machine. “I’m offering music that puts a different twist on the genre,” he says. “Something different that’s quality and has a good message. In most music, there’s not a whole lot of movement that makes you feel good. It’s prefabricated rubbish.”

In spite of the inhospitable climate for fresh musicians, Aldo has hope for intrepid modern rock musicians who wish to further the genre. Acts like the Foo Fighters, Papa Roach, Saliva, Crossfade, Powderfinger and Linkin Park and other bands that introduce originality to the masses top Aldo’s list of contemporary inspirations. He also recognizes and appreciates some of the exciting artists that haven’t yet become household names, such as Oh My Stars, Tickle Me Pink, 3OH!3, OneRepublic, and Carolina Liar “There are many bands in the local music scenes that have something interesting to say, but unfortunately, they never get an opportunity to share their music with millions,” says Aldo.

By heavily promoting Villains and Heroes through social media, the iPad2 giveaway video contest, and connections with local fans and artists, Aldo hopes to add more quality and diversity to the airwaves. He’s out to prove that if you stay true to yourself and never give up on your dreams, you can connect with the masses in a meaningful way.