Camera Soul – Not For Ordinary People Album
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?
Piero: “Go Big or Go Home” by K. Ballard Shut!
Kathryn: (laughs) I said that to Piero during our first run at a Grammy nomination for Not For Ordinary People last year, and while we did not earn a nomination, it’s still a great piece of advice. The music business is so very competitive, so you have to give it all you have. My favorite quote to support that is from statesman Benjamin D’israeli, who said, “Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go higher than you think.”
How has your practice change over time?
Piero: At first, I worked in Blues, then Rock, then Progressive Rock, Fusion, Jazz, and Bossa Nova, Soul Jazz … and I’ve stopped at the root of Soul Jazz, the genre I love most.
Kathryn: I can hear all of these influences in the new Dress Code album, and that’s what makes Piero and Pippo’s writing so amazing; with each offering, they can bring out more of their experience to completely “wow” the listener.
For me, my background was completely the opposite. I was classically trained and started studying music on the piano when I was 8 years old, and I even did three years of music education at the university level, so I have had to break out of adhering to completely “academic” ways of writing and learn to to use my ear together with my training. The result is heard in the harmonics (chords) on our previous album’s Locked Inside and underneath the new progressive jazz-samba on ‘Dress Code’, Around The World. Of course, the Brothers took both of my little pieces to stunning new heights.
WHAT’S YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT?
Piero: I have always tried to avoid embarrassing moments, and so far, I have succeeded!
Kathryn: I wish I were like Piero – I have had several. The most recent one was when I had the opportunity to meet the wonderful vocalist-composer, Mr. Bobby Caldwell here in Denver. My family and I had just seen his tremendous live show, and I was hoping to be able to meet him afterwards. However, his management said that Bobby would not be signing autographs after the show. We were packing up to leave, and my mother whispers, “Turn around! Turn around!” Bobby was standing right behind me, holding a soda. I was so surprised to see him there that I exclaimed “Oh, my God!!!” really loudly, but Bobby took it in stride, saying, “It’s meeee.” We shook his hand, took pictures, and exchanged a Camera Soul album. I believe he is now a fan – he’s a super nice guy. We’d love to partner Camera Soul with him and his band on a live show one of these days 🙂
ARE YOU MORE OF A HUNTER OR A GATHERER ?
Kathryn: (laughs) In this business, you have to be both. You have to ‘hunt’ for radio play, press, listeners, and sales opportunities, and then be relaxed enough to enjoy the ‘gathering’ of the successes of that hard work. At this stage, we’re still hungry, so I think we’re mostly hunters
HOW HAVE YOU CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?
Piero: With the passage of time, I have a greater propensity to forgive.
Kathryn: I think what Piero says is wise and very key. I have had to learn forgiveness, and also patience. I am not by nature a patient person, but over the years of managing people and projects, I have had to learn it or lose it.
Francesco Palmitessa -Lead Guitar
WHAT’S THE SIDE OF YOU THAT THE PUBLIC NEVER SEES?
Piero: When we write songs, we always talk a little bit about ourselves.
Kathryn: Piero is right. I have found that songwriting can be a raw experience because you set your heart to music and then hope that it reaches — connects with — someone. I think we’re both fairly private people and tend to let the romanticism, sadness, joy, anger, or whatever emotions we feel do the talking in the music.
HOW HARD DO YOU PUSH YOURSELF?
Piero: Character is a great motivator!
Kathryn: (laughs) I push myself very hard. I grew up in a family of perfectionists and people that never gave up, and to work in music, you have to do that. You may get 1,000no‘s for the rare moments that someone says yes, and it’s the yes that keeps you coming back for more. You have to be ready for that negativity and “shake it off”, to quote a very famous songwriter we all know that’s made it.
WHEN ARE YOU COMPLETELY SATISFIED WITH YOUR WORK?
Piero: When I replay a song again and again, several times over, until I know it by heart. Basically I write music that I would buy myself.
Kathryn: That’s so well-said. I think as artists, we are also extremely self-critical, and my barometer is that if it moves me at first, and moves me once again at a deeper level, it is sure to move someone else. To take it a step further, while I may be satisfied with something I have created, I still love to see the public’s reaction to really bring it home. There’s nothing like having your own lyrics quoted back to you.
Gianfranco Campagnoli -Session Trumpet
WHAT’S YOUR STRONGEST MEMORY OF YOUR CHILDHOOD?
Piero: I was 6 years old when I saw a soccer team losing a very important trophy at the last minute, and it hit me hard when I saw the players crying …. since then, it became the team that I support today.
Kathryn: I can relate to that. When I was 15, I was one of only two people who tried out for drum major in my sophomore year of high school, and I lost. There were a lot of underdog events like that growing up that just pushed me to try harder for something better next time. Those events shaped me, but not always in positive ways.
WHAT ABOUT THE INDUSTRY DO YOU NOT LIKE?
Piero: The attention that is given to mediocrity and vulgarity, not to actual talent or sophistication.
Kathryn: I agree fully, but as a music promoter, I also constantly compete with the limitations of the budget of independent artist. For example, although radio payola is in itself illegal, it still exists in terrestrial / corporate radio and is often done ‘legally’ by labels that purchase huge blocks of advertising space instead of song spins. It is very difficult to be an independent artist, because you swim upstream against major label money, press, radio, television, and performance opportunities. I believe it’s the #1 reason why so many bands quit; they simply cannot compete in the long term. You have to have capital, which is why Piero and I still have day jobs to support our dreams. However, social media and the Internet has offered an outstanding platform for us to reach people at often low cost, and we use it as fully as we can.
Liviana Ferri and Daniele Scannapieco
WHAT IS THE FUNNIEST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU RECENTLY?
Piero: I am amused by the strong expectation that is created around our third album, our fans are waiting, and this is very nice and funny.
Kathryn: It is AWESOME to have fans!! See the Bobby Caldwell story above 🙂
DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A TEACHER OR PHILOSOPHER OR BOTH?
Piero: I consider myself a normal person that loves to write beautiful songs.
Kathryn: Early in my professional career, I actually was a Spanish teacher, and I tend to write philosophical lyrics, especially on the upcoming Dress Code album, so I’d say a little of both.
HOW IMPORTANT IS MARKETING AND PROMOTIONS? DO YOU THINK WRITE UPS, BLOGS, MAGAZINES ETC ARE IMPORTANT?
Piero: If you work at something and only you are aware of the fruit of your labors, that’s very sad. Today, there are so many ways to do marketing so that your music becomes accessible to everyone. We definitely use it
and people keep inventing new ways to market – so far, it seems to work.
Kathryn: Marketing and promotions are crucial to our survival as a band and also as abrand. Radio was, is, and always shall be the #1 way to get an artist’s voice heard; however, a promoter must first establish contacts and friendships in order to get the music on the air, and that’s where the true work begins. Program directors generally do not like to take chances that a given artist might draw listeners; like a booking agent in a club, they want a sure thing to keep people listening, and as I mentioned for larger market stations, to pitch advertising.
Fabio Delle Foglie
Camera Soul is a great case in point. You have heard the music from the group’s first two albums, and many insiders know that it’s an outstanding band, but we still have a long way to go to reach the jazz-funk and soul listener communities at large, but with your help, and reviews and interviews like this, you are part of our global team – thank you!
When I first learned of Camera Soul on a random tweet from Piero on Twitter in 2012, there was a lot of marketing that needed to be done, because the Brothers were focused on the actual music production. Many artists are not marketing agents, nor did they aspire to be, so advertising can be a really daunting task. This activity can take all of an artist’s time and money, so much that there’s little to nothing left to spend on getting the message to the people.
In my case, I am not only a songwriter, but am also credited on Dress Code as aninternational press agent, and that is true. Over the past almost-three years since I joined, Camera Soul now has a Facebook page with over 1,000 legitimate likes, Twitter (manned by Piero), ReverbNation, WikiPedia page, Jango Radio station page, and actual multi-page presence on a Google search. This shows that the group is viable, working, and is no longer in the shadows.
Much of my time both pre- post-release is spent in generating excitement for Camera Soul in order to create name recognition. That’s the whole name of the game, regardless of if you want top billing on a show or the majority of votes on a Grammy ballot — people simply must know who you are by name. One of the best quotes I know about this is, “What is the worst press you can have? Answer: None at all.“
Speaking of which, Dress Code will release on January 20, 2015 from Azzurra Music in Verona, and in early February in the U.S. via CDBABY and all major mp3 stores. The group is currently working on a new video, and we have some great fan videos for people to discover us in the meantime on YouTube, so come and enjoy.
WHAT PUTS A S.M.I.L.E. ON YOUR FACE?
Piero: “Tutto ció che é vita.” Everything that life offers.
Kathryn: This interview, knowing you Ralan, and working with Camera Soul. We’ve tried to make it all look easy — even though it’s not! Thank you so much for the opportunity to share our music with your readers.
CAMERA SOUL LINKS: