Behind the piano: Dino Bastiani

Behind the piano: Dino Bastiani

What is your real name?
My real name is Andrea.

How did you come up with your artist name?
I chose this name as an homage to the Italian artist and writer Dino Buzzati and to his novel “Il deserto dei Tartari” (The Tartar Steppe). The novel’s protagonist, Giovanni Drogo, is a young army officer,stationed inside the Fortress Bastiani, a military post in the middle of nowhere. Drogo spends his entireexistence waiting for “the great event” that will finally give sense to his life: The invasion of the Tartars. At the end (Spoiler) Drogo dies alone, in an anonymous tavern, without ever experiencing the glorious event which he waited for his entire life. I chose this artistic name as a reminder to me: not to let external events give sense to my life. To remember to give value to any present moment, using the time that is given to me to make something of significance.

Where are you from? And where do you live?
I live in Italy, Mesero, a small town in the province of Milano.

How long have you been playing the piano?
For about five years.

Do you play other instruments as well?
Yes, I play guitar, bass, and for some years I played drums.

Tell us about how you started playing music.
Since I was a child, I’ve been particularly fascinated with the music. I started playing and studying seriously when I was 14 years old, and so far I’ve never stopped.

How long have you been making piano music?
I started composing for the piano in 2016. I was going deep in my studies and I wanted to have a go at an instrument that was both versatile and relative “new” (I had just started playing it), so I could assumea different perspective on the music.

Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
I think anybody can write music. The problem was writing something that I would like. I started to write since I started playing, with some deluding results. But it was this difficulty that was pushing me further.

In this way now I write music everyday. The results are still hit and miss, the progress is slow but constant. I think that the best way to learn to compose is simply. To compose. Without influencingyourself with the expectations of the final result. I think that if I’ve obtained good results that’s becauseof daily practice. If you write 30 songs a month, sooner or later something good will come out, maybe also by accident.

Have you made music in other genres before?
Yes, I played for ten years in an Italian rock band “Orizzonte degli eventi”. I used to play the bass, and sometimes I handled the arrangements and the production. But the author of the tracks was the singer, Matteo Petracca.

What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
There are many: for sure I will forget somebody. Philip Glass, Ludovico Einaudi, Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, Yann Tiersen. I listen to a lot of artists, also from other genres. To mention some which have influenced me: Trent Reznor, Ramin Djawadi, Angelo Badalamenti, Darren Korb, Massive Attack.

Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
There are some. The first that comes to my mind is the Theme of Laura Palmer by Angelo Badalamenti,from “Twin Peaks” soundtrack.

What song inspires you the most when you’re making music? Can you name just ONE song/composition?
The inspiration is something unpredictable and unexpected. It can come from one song but also from a book or a TV series. From a conversation with a friend or from a movie. From one single thing from the upper mentioned or more of them at the same time. I usually realize that I got inspired from somethingin particular long after I had finished writing a song. So, no. it’s impossible to identify a single song.

Anything else you want to share?
Schonberg in his “Theory of Harmony” wrote: “…the pupil learns most of all through the example shownhim by the masters in their masterworks. … if composer could have atelier as did painters, then it wouldbe clear how superfluous the music theorist is…” The painters had places where they could share thecreative process, but for the music the places never existed. Also, because with music is a bit moredifficult. I would like to share the creative process. I don’t know how to do it yet but I’m working on itand I think you will hear something about it next month.

The last question is asked by my 5 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from?

To be honest, I don’t know. Maybe as a composer, my job is to explore new places in search of songs.

As if the songs themselves were hidden everywhere, I just need to find them and share them with the world. Or maybe is them finding me, and they’re using me to come into this world.

Thank you for this Andrea!

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