Like that much-loved suitcase which travels with you on your most memorable journeys, filled to the brim with your hopes and dreams, Pete Molinari’s music has done some miles, sounding well travelled and a little rough around the edges. Listening to his music you feel like you’ve been on a lifelong journey to this point and are finally being welcomed home.
Years of travelling and performing have culminated in his first release, the folk and blues rich ‘Walking Off the Map’. The album is warm and intimate, representing a true shared experience between artist and listener. ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ shares a raw and real emotional journey, using perfect pace to convey pain and longing. With heartfelt lyrics and uncluttered musical accompaniment, this is a song which is deeply felt. ‘Tomorrow is a Long Time’ extends the bluesy feeling, taking listeners into a deeper, darker place. The sublime vocal performance evokes both sorrow and beauty, creating a song you want to spend more time with, either to lose yourself completely or simply extend some comfort.
‘We Belong Together’ is a song that will charm you with its wonderful questioning lyrics and meaningful vocal performance. Just like walking under a sun dappled tree, Molinari’s voice demonstrates lightness and shade, conveying both vulnerability and heart-breaking tenderness. ‘Satisfy Me’ uses rich musical accompaniment to create a dreamy, full-bodied sound. This hopeful song further demonstrates Molinari’s wide vocal range, delivering the poetic lyrics with honesty.
Pete Molinari has the rare ability to create music that lasts, withstanding musical fads and fashions which come and go. He captures echoes of a past time when music really meant something and where artists gave themselves completely to the practice of their craft. For listeners, every song offers a journey in music and in voice. Molinari builds musical atmospheres heavy with emotion and inspirational meaning, connecting with his travelling companions in a very direct way, ensuring that no one is lost on their way.
I recently caught up with Pete Molinari to discuss musical meaning, his songwriting processes and creative inspirations.
TS: I notice that you list your family amongst your influences. Are they influences on you in a musical sense?
PM: My Family were of course a major influence. Probably the most influential in the early part of my life. It was my older brothers that were really into Rock ‘n’ Roll and all kinds of music. They used to go to a lot of Record fairs and bring back all sorts. I’d be at home waiting patiently for what I was going to get. They would usually keep all the Chuck Berry and Little Richard stuff and I would get Edith Piaf, Billy Holiday, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn and all that kind of stuff they didn’t want. I sat there hours on end listening and watching those records go round that old record player we had. I would of course eventually also find away of getting the Chuck Berry and Little Richard records too. My Brother was also the first to get a guitar and when they were not around I would sit there all day trying to make sense of it all.
TS: Which of your songs means the most to you and why?
PM: It’s hard to choose. There are many for many different reasons. If I had a gun held to my head and asked to choose from the first Album perhaps ‘Indescribably Blue’ because it is simply just that.
TS: Your lyrics have a very raw, real sound, like they come straight from the heart. Do your own life experiences act as a major source of inspiration for your work or does your muse take another form?
PM: Well I believe an Artist should always address his/her muse. They are all about experience in some way or form. All about a time, a place and certain experience. A lot of it is about the people I guess and the way I may have seen the world at that point in time. I probably see it really different now. But truth is truth. Everything changes but that.
TS: Your music sounds the way that music should sound, like a shared conversational story. Do you think this ability to connect with your audiences has been an important part of your success?
PM: I think my ability to connect with an audience is every part of my success. If you don’t connect then it means nothing. I see Music, Art, Poetry, Acting….All of it as a medium to connect with each other. So to keep that as simple and close to the ground as possible is always going to be the best and easiest way. Less fuss. Less confusion. It’s a pity politicians can’t adopt a similar approach.
TS: Who would be your dream artist to perform with?
PM: Charlie Chaplin or Vincent Van Gogh
TS: Is your songwriting process quite an intensive experience, or does it ebb and flow over a longer period of time?
PM: It can happen in both ways. Some of the time it can be somewhat intensive and listening back to certain songs this is very evident. A lot of the time this is the case. There have been times when you can be on the road somewhere and I may write something here and there and even over write and take the best bits that make sense to me. I don’t like to change and rework much as some people do. So it’s not to contrived. I like to try and keep it just the way I felt it at the time.
TS: Your songs have a wonderful weathered and well-travelled feel. Is being on the road performing your songs where you prefer to be?
PM: Thank you. I think a lot comes out of me being on the road somewhere and travelling to different places and being among different cultures. I know that we really don’t need to travel anywhere to learn and it’s all really about what’s within and in which way you choose to bring that out of you. But to travel I find is something that helps the process. Helps you express something in a way. It’s like a mechanism we use to escape from some kind of reality or what we perceive to be reality at that moment in time.
TS: How do you choose what your CD cover artwork will be?
PM: A lot of the time I like a bit of help with this. I know what I like most of the time. I’m sure none of us really like photos of ourselves (Unless you love yourself that much of course). But I have my say and ask a few other people I trust and see what they think. Then I usually choose what I had in the beginning. It has to be some sort of representation of what the record is about in a way.
TS: When can we expect to welcome you onto Australian shores?
PM: I would really like to Come to Australia. I have spent a lot of time in the UK, USA and in Europe but I have never been to Australia. I also have some family there which would be real nice for me to see. So lets say hopefully early in the new year. I have a European winter tour coming up and I’m supporting Holly Golightly which will be great. Cold but great. So I said to Ian at Damaged Goods that I’d love to go to Australia when the sun is shining of course.
TS: Dog or cat person?
PM: I’m not the best person to answer this as we never had either when I was growing up and I don’t have any pets now. I’m quite fond of them both I guess. Cats are a little more chewy and harder to digest. I’ve never eaten a whole dog but tasted a few smaller ones and they are quite appetising.