Rock Doesn’t Die. It Reinvents: AL Music on Bands Influenced by The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin

August 10, 2012

This post is one in a series of interviews about Aldo Leopardi and his music. Below, we hear from Curt Sautter, independent record producer and the founder of indie label Delirium Records.

Classic rock has had an impact on a lot of today’s music, but the term gets used in a lot of different ways. Settle the debate. What are we really talking about when we say “classic rock?”

Well, you can think about it in two ways. The first is the sound that came out of the 1960s and 1970s, when members of a lot of the modern era bands were growing up. These are bands influenced by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin, among others.

The music that shows this classic rock influence has quality songwriting across multiple levels. The songs don’t just have good harmony or a raging guitar solo or any one particular thing, but they have all of them together.

And the second way to think about classic rock?

Complexity. If there’s a musical spectrum of basic to complex, music before classic rock was a simpler sound with more repetitive choruses. In classic rock, you see bands adding bridges, more complicated layers and patterns of sounds, and more complex ideas.

It isn’t as overwhelming a sound as jazz, but it requires more thought and consideration than what came before it. I hear these types of classic rock influences in Aldo’s music.

What specifically makes you think “classic rock” when you listen to Aldo Leopardi?

I mentioned bands influenced by Led Zeppelin and some of the others. Because of the complexity classic rock has, you may not immediately recognize what’s driving the emotion of a song—like a specific guitar melody or vocal harmony or vocal phrasing—but the more you listen, the more you find them and appreciate them. You’re not just done with it or bored of it after a few listens.

I see this sort of complexity and attention to detail in Aldo’s music. In addition to being technically on-point and rich in vocals, there’s an overall quality and sophistication in the songwriting. It’s going to keep you coming back to the songs to hear elements you might have missed. And if you want to lose yourself in the music, it’s great for listening, too.

Hear Aldo Leopardi for yourself by streaming his songs on Spotify.

Simply Awesome: AL Music Looks at Bands Influenced by The Cars, Icehouse, and the Power Pop / New Wave Revolution

August 10, 2012

This post is one in a series of interviews about Aldo Leopardi and his music. This time, we talk with Curt Sautter, independent record producer and the founder of indie label Delirium Records.

 

Curt, do you think pop and new wave still have a place in modern rock?

Absolutely. I think it’s easy to argue that bands influenced by classic rock in the 60s and 70s were also bands influenced by The Cars and Billy Idol in the 80s. It’s history, it’s culture, and so if you’re a musician growing up on that sound, you’re likely going to carry it with you into the modern era.

And these are distinct sounds from classic rock?

New wave and pop, which came after classic rock, simplified music and brought back some of the repetition and catchy choruses that had come before. These were great tunes that you could just enjoy without getting lost in complexity.

New wave and pop also distinguished themselves because the late 70s and the 80s were the era where synthesizers made their impact. Bands used keyboards and electric pianos before that, but the development of the microchip helped you go from huge instruments to something that was much more portable and affordable.

You saw genres grow out of these changes, like synth pop. There was also high-energy punk rock, which was less abrasive and more pop-oriented than other punk rock. Each was different from classic rock.

What do you hear in Aldo Leopardi’s music that makes you think, “Yeah, power pop and new wave are getting represented here”?

On Aldo’s initial self-titled record, you notice these influences. For example, some of his songs make use of a synth intro, and the music has a little “jump” to it. It’s uplifting, put-a-smile-on-your-face kind of music in the pop style.

In that album, Aldo sounds like one of those bands influenced by The Cars and others from the 80s because the songs have an energetic rhythm, keep a solid tempo, and don’t become erratic or noisy. Take a listen to “You’re All I Got Tonight” by The Cars and compare it to Aldo’s “Nowhere To Run” and “Everyone’s Talking But Nothing’s Been Said” and you can see this similarity.

It’s interesting that Aldo’s got these American influences since his career started in Australia. What about Australian influences?

 

Aldo sounds like one of the modern bands influenced by Icehouse and other great Australian rockers from the 80s. His vocal melody is in the style of Iva Davies, something you hear when you listen to “Charles Sky” or “Touch the Fire.” Compare those Icehouse songs to Aldo’s “Kings and Queens” and you’ll recognize that while they’re artists with distinct identities, they’ve got these similar sounds.

So you think Aldo’s modern music retains those 1980s sensibilities?

Definitely, but the modern rock sound in his more recent albums show how Aldo’s band has grown. You get all of these influences of the pop and new wave era, and you also get to follow his progression as the band discovers its identity. It’s great to experience.

Listen to Aldo Leopardi’s music through Spotify and Jango.