By GLENN TILSON
“Long-standing member of the world’s greatest horror-music band” is a first-rate entry on anyone’s resume. Add self-taught, “collaborated with another of horror’s best-loved composers,” and “helped score theatre’s most notorious play live,” and we’re talking about a genius. Italian expat and current Toronto resident Maurizio Guarini joined Goblin on keyboards between their classic score for Profondo Rosso and their first studio album, Roller, and has been a member of various incarnations of the band ever since. His latest project, A Goblin’s Chamber, reinterprets Goblin compositions in classical chamber music format. Both classics (“Profondo Rosso”, “Zombi”, a particularly effective “Suspiria”) and lesser-known works (“Dialogue” and “Lost My Camera”) are well-served by the musical transition.
Guarini was gracious enough to share his music, time, and insights with Rue Morgue before some live dates. Step into a Goblin’s chamber below and catch them live if you can in Toronto on Jan. 30th. get your Tickets HERE.
Claudio Simonetti previously adapted several of these songs into heavy metal versions and now you’ve done them as chamber music. It seems to demonstrate how the songs stand as classics, regardless of how they’re interpreted. Are there any other musical genres you’d like to hear them in?
Anything would work. Thinking of Fusion or Jazz could be a natural choice, not too distant from what some of the songs are. How about some techno? I would be curious of hearing them in other versions. How about country? I know you would have to add some funny lyrics… In my opinion the essence of a song/piece of music is the melody, the counterpoints, the arpeggios—not the sounds or the effects. No matter how you want to dress it, the thing that sticks in your brain is the melody; once you have absorbed it, it’s not going away. Never. This is what is missing in recent soundtracks, in my opinion. Great sound design; no melody. No music.
As a frequent member of Goblin who has also collaborated with Fabio Frizzi, what can you tell us about the differences between working with these two legends of horror music?
We are talking of the studio work in the mid seventies, mostly for horror soundtracks. Seen from a technical perspective, there is not much difference. I was actually using the same synthesizers for our stuff with Goblin and Frizzi production. Maybe that’s the thing that makes some of my keyboards recognizable and one of the reasons why Fabio was calling me, I assume. On the other side, there is a huge difference. With Goblin, we were 100% responsible of our choices and to decide what we liked and what to do and how, that can’t be the same when you work for somebody else, including Frizzi, where you have, of course, some limitation of freedom.
What exactly is “the fudda” referred to in Goblin’s record label “Back To the Fudda?”
You know what? I never revealed this mystery… People have asked me since 2006, the year I founded Back to the Fudda. Ok, I’ll give you huge hint: It’s a Sicilian word. You can check English/Sicilian dictionaries online. I checked; it’s listed.
When crafting your own original music, do you tend to have a scene or image in your mind which inspires the composition or is it the other way around, with the music inspiring the title (and, if applicable, lyrics)?
Can be both ways. If a song jumps in your mind for some reason, go for it and find a title. But, I think having an image or a scene as a reference to create something new can be a very good way to push yourself in a more creative status if something doesn’t come into your mind by itself. Not for the inspiration, but to have something solid to follow. It can be anything—picture, an object on your desk, a face, a color. I learned this from a great producer in Italy, Lilli Greco. He told me if you don’t have ideas, think to an object and start to describe it with music. For example, a hat. Try to trace the contour of a cowboy hat with the music.
Speaking of a couple of horror productions you’ve been involved with scoring, George Romero’s Martin is a masterpiece of ambiguity. What’s your take on the film—is Martin a deeply-disturbed teen or an eighty year-old vampire?
How about both? I see both aspects.
Additionally, you’ve contributed to the score of a live production of Macbeth, the infamous “cursed play.” Did anything eerie or unusual happen?
Wow, what a question… Never thought about the cursed play aspect. You know what? Nothing happened. Actually, I am pretty rational, despite the fact that I do irrational things like being a musician… I think the only way these kinds of things can influence people is having an excuse to explain anything bad that can happen. Every day we have good and bad news, if one day you happen to say Macbeth, all the bad news has a reason. Does that sound stupid?
If you could re-score any film, which would you choose?
2001 A space Odyssey. They did a perfect choice with classical music, an incredible job, and I love it. It works great and it’s my favorite movie ever. It would be challenging composing original music as powerful, but I would love to try.
Don’t miss the live performance of A Goblin’s Chamber Thursday January 30th and for more information about upcoming shows and projects, go to Maurizio Guarini’s web page.