Interview w/ J CRIST  (Giuseppe Cristiano) 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

1-When and why did you start playing?

I started up playing already when I was a kid since my dad had various instruments in the house. I used to play piano and organ first. I picked up the guitar later on and then the bass. I have had several bands in my teen years where I would play piano, bass or in general sing. I always wanted to write my songs. Even when we did covers I tried to change them as much as I could. Sometimes I wouldn’t tell the band where the song came from if it was a cover or I didn’t want them to listen the original but we just jammed on the chords and lyrics I provided. 

2-Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?

It’s a long list. First came the Beatles followed by David Bowie, Genesis and some other prog 70ies band. I had like everyone periods where I would get into a genre or a band but I kind of manteined consistent my choices. In the 80ies the influences started pouring in from everywhere with my favorite bands such as XTC, Talk Talk, Talking Heads, The Smiths, The Cure, The Police, etc. A really wide mix of genre and styles.  

3-Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?

I loved concept albums such as Quadrophenia or Tommy, but also instrumental music like Tubular Bells. I lived through the perfect transitional musical times. The 70ies, 80ies and 90ies were probably the most interesting decades. I still have vynils and tapes. 

4-Have you been in competitions? Fleadh’s? Any prizes?

With an old band once we were selected for Arezzo Wave, and would have been playing that year with Mano Negra I think. It was a Prog Pop very much experimental duo called Beat Out. With my friend Emilio Di Donato we have picked up that project and released two Cds recently and 30 years since we started with our demo. At that time we received a telegram or something but I was doing the service in the Army and my friend was working in the US. Therefore we missed our call. Those were the days, without mobile phones and emails. 

5-Let’s Talk about your music and your last work…

I recorded Scratch That partly in Stockholm, Sweden where I lived for many years and I finished it in Rome where I moved recently with my wife and kid. It’s a transitional album, one of the songs is dedicated to David Bowie who passed just before I finished the recordings. Indeed he was a major influence. Also the CD is an homage to a few of my favorite artists and amond them Peter Gabriel.

6-What are the plans for the future?

I am working on two separate albums and some experiment projects with friends musician. I did a graphic novel recently with a soundtrack recorded by Emilio Di Donato and Beat Out, it is called 2.40:1 and it’s without a single ballon of text, it’s a visual story and includes homages to several music artist (Battiato, Talk Talk, Yes, Genesis). I have a new graphic novel in the work that I hope to finish in the spring, also this one will feature a soundtrack and the music will be written and recorded by Ferruccio Spinetti (Avion Travel, Musica Nuda). 

7-How has your music evolved since you first began playing music?

When I was a kid I used to tape recorders to lay track over track and record my little songs now we are all able to afford a home recording studio and from our desk can upload to whatever platform we want. That’s quite a leap.

Scratch That  

8-Could you briefly describe the music-making process? 

Sometimes I start with a concept or a general mood idea. It could be an image or a sketch I am working on. Since I work as storyboard artist and I write novels all of my life and work rotates around storytelling. So when I work on a project there is always a story wrapped in it.

I am not able to write one singular song also because when I am recording it happens that I get an hint for another one and another one. So in the end I would write down a concept idea, a line to follow, a theme. Then I start doing demos, in any possible way, sometimes even on my phone. I was considering in buying one of those 8 tracks tascam just to be able to quickly put down ideas on the fly, I had one with cassette back in the days and it would be also nostalgic to have that around the house. When I start a new project then I can’t stop until it’s finished, I would stay days in my man-cave going over and over the tracks but I am not a perfectionist in fact often I keep the first track recorded. As for the vocals, it’s the very last thing I do, in many cases I write as I record them.

9- Where does the name J Crist comes from?

My full name is Giuseppe Cristiano since I was a kid I kind of liked the sound of Joshua and I thought my name was lame so when I started playing with friends I shortened my surname and called myself Joshua Crist. Then later on I went with just J Crist. Which is also the name I use to sign my illustration’s work. 

Onward: 2011-2021  (Collezione)     

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