Alberto Rigoni is an Italian bass player and composer, internationally known for his career as a solo artist and as a member of the progressive rock band TwinSpirits, Lady & THE BASS and co-producer of the Vivaldi Metal Project. Alberto has been featured on the cover of many prestigious industry magazines such as Bass Magazine (Japan), Bass Musician Magazine (USA), Bajos Y Bajistas (Spain), Basistas (Poland), TOP BASS (Poland) and Bass Guitar Magazine (UK). He has also recorded for several international artists such as Italian pop singer Alexia and is now playing bass for Canadian rock singer and songwriter Kim Bingham (Nelly Furtado) and The Italians, sharing stages with artists such as Alan Parsons, Suzanne Vega, Jørn Lande, Paul Gilbert and others. Alberto Rigoni’s his sixth solo studio album “Duality” will be released on September 20th 2017.
- Let’s pretend no one has ever heard of you. Where did the Alberto Rigoni story all start and how did you become a professional musician?
ALBERTO RIGONI: I started playing bass when I was around 16 years old, after a friend of mine introduced me to Dream Theater music. My aim was to cover Dream Theater songs, which was pretty challenging! I really studied like a mad for months, then I created a band called Ascra with which I play for around 5 years playing DT covers. During one show of Ascra, Daniele Liverani, multi-instrumentalist (Genius Rock Opera, Empty Tremor) started talking me about a new prog band project called TwinSpirits. Some months later I joined the band. I would say that from that time everything changed and I entered the professional world.
- Who were your first and strongest musical influences that you can remember?
ALBERTO RIGONI: Dream Theater indeed, but also many bands such as YES, Rush, Symphony X, as well as rock and metal bands from ’70 ’80 ’90.
- Who or what drew you towards playing the bass guitar?
ALBERTO RIGONI: My passion for Dream Theater was so strong that gave me the drive to focus just on bass. My friend Enrico Buttol, drummer of Ascra, helped me a lot in my career. We spent hours and hours together playing just bass and drums.
- What do you feel are the key elements in your style of bass playing that separates you from the rest?
ALBERTO RIGONI: I’m not a virtuoso. I always tried to focus on melodies and groovy riffs. My aim is to make Music and not “chops”. Also in most of the tracks on my albums, the bass has mainly three roles (rhythm, solos and arrangements) that ensures a kind of homogeneous style.
- I heard somewhere that you don’t like playing 4 string basses. Is there a specific reason for that?
ALBERTO RIGONI: At the beginning I played 4 string bass for just some months, but John Myung of Dream Theater was using a 6 string bass so…
For many years I played 6 string bass, now I love 5 string. The reason? I love the deep sound of the low B string 🙂
- What is your current favorite setup – bass guitar brand, amp and type of strings you prefer using?
ALBERTO RIGONI: I’m currently using Warwick bass (custom Thumb NT and Corvette models) as well as Ibanez bass (SR1405, Ashula 2, SR305). Those are my main basses but I also have Fender Jazz ’76 and some other basses.
- Picks or Fingerstyle? How did you start out playing, and do you only use one style now?
ALBERTO RIGONI: I always felt comfortable playing with my fingers. I can play with pick but it’s not really my cup of tea.
- You’ve assembled an impressive range of playing experiences thus far. What would you consider a successful or high point in your career so far?
ALBERTO RIGONI: In the last few years I’ve featured on the cover of many bass magazines. Not because of my technique, I think, but because in some way I brought some new bass music (I hope).
- What key ingredients do you always try and infuse into your music, regardless of style or tempo?
ALBERTO RIGONI: I always try to make new albums sounding different than the previous one. One of the key ingredients is probably the fact that I never followed any given music genre, relying exclusively on an instinctive way of composing. Another ingredient is that I like to experiment and to find new bass sounds. That helps to give the tracks a more fresh sound (or at least I hope that it does).
- You’re releasing your sixth solo album “Duality”. How does this one differ from the others? And which aspect do you think you’ve improved the most from your previous releases?
ALBERTO RIGONI: I would say that this album is more similar to Something Different, which was my first album released in 2008 by Lion Music. Let’s say “back to the roots”. But “Duality” is more minimal compared to SD as well as my other albums. There are much less bass over dubs and it’s mostly bass and drums, except for a few tracks where some other musicians joined (guitarist Matthias Eklundh and Frank Caruso, keyboardists Ryo Okumoto, Mistheria and Jonah Weingarten). I think this new album has brand new sound. Hard to describe music you know… just listen 🙂
- Where was “Duality” recorded? And how long did you work to complete the project?
ALBERTO RIGONI: Duality was recorded in my own studio and to complete the whole album it took around 3 months.
- You’ve been playing anything from pop to metal and progressive rock? How would you describe the core sound of “Duality”?
ALBERTO RIGONI: Hard question! I would stay it’s a mix between melodic, experimental and prog music.
- How did you choose the featured guest players on the album? Were they just casually free at time and you invited them over. Or was each player hand selected for a specific task within the intended song?
ALBERTO RIGONI: For each song I already had mind who could be the right guest. I was lucky that everyone was free at the time in which I asked them to join!
- Is there anybody specific you’d love to record or play with, besides your usual projects, and why?
ALBERTO RIGONI: Steve Vai, Satriani, Richard Barbieri and some others. Some of my idols, indeed!
- Stuck on a desert island for 6 months, which 3 albums would you want to have with you?
ALBERTO RIGONI: 1) Dream Theater – Images and Words 2) Ark – Burn the Sun 3) Megadeth – Rust in Peace.
- Who are your personal favorite bass players?
ALBERTO RIGONI: Randy Coven (Ark, Steve Vai), Doug Wimbish (Living Colour), Michael Manring (solo).
- What is the first tip you would give to any young bass player just starting out, to help improve their playing technique.
ALBERTO RIGONI: Be methodic, patient and stay focused on what you’re doing.
- Which do you ultimately prefer, playing live, or creating in a studio setting?
ALBERTO RIGONI: I definitely love playing live but I also need to compose when I feel inspired.
- If you had the opportunity to change one thing about how the music business works right now, what would that be?
ALBERTO RIGONI: Ah! Good question. Internet changed the world in a few years, nothing new. People hardly buy music, and the web is overloaded with music, let’s say that you can listen to music for free because of the streaming services. I wish it would be possible to play more live gigs, but people prefer to watch bands on their smartphones or PCs instead of going to live shows of new bands. For sure people still go to famous and legendary bands live gigs, but that does not happen for new, less famous bands. That’s quite frustrating. At least here in Italy, venues ask only for cover bands… very hard to find gigs for original music. Wish something will change soon!
- What’s the next upcoming project on the agenda for ALBERTO RIGONI?
ALBERTO RIGONI: Together with my metal band Ardityon we are currently working on our second album and we are willing to play live as much as possible. Thanks so much for this interview!!!! Rock on!