Gianni Paci – I Tried To Right My Wrongs, But I Made A Left
By: Lisa Steinberg
Q) How would you describe your sound?
A) My sound is just an expression of who I am. So, I sometimes feel a little too embedded to put any sort of qualifier on it. I don’t create within the confines of some preconceived idea of what I want to produce—I just kind of ride the wave and take a step back once it’s all channeled through. Others have described my music as pop rock, alternative or something similar, but I actually think the genre title that fits it best is “rock and roll,” in the classic sense. There’s this midcentury kind of spirit that comes out.
Q) Who are some of your musical influences?
A) The stuff that really touches me is those old records by guys like Ritchie Valens, Eddie Cochran, Everly Brothers…but then I’m a musicologist. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can go back even further: Jimmie Rodgers, Robert Johnson. I’m big into the early American recorded music. And then there’s all of the artists from across the pond that those artists influenced, who we all know well.
Q) Talk about the story behind your new song “Pine Hollow Road.”
A) Well, “Pine Hollow Road” is quite a destination. It’s the street I grew up on in Oyster Bay, New York. It’s also where I got the name for my old pseudonym. But in writing the song, I was sort of conflating the two things to create this larger metaphor. “Pine Hollow Road” was born out of this multitude of conflicting emotions, as I was feeling quite torn at the time between the way I wanted things to be going and the way things were actually going. It is a snapshot of my coming to terms with the sort of crossroads I was at, seeing things for what they were with the woman I describe in the song, dealing with my own anxieties about breaking away and gathering the courage to face what I was feeling and carry on. I’m really proud of this one in the way that it twists and turns, both lyrically and musically: the overlapping phrases and uneven bars evoke this feeling of a rough passage or a bumpy road.
Q) What do you think it is about the song that fans connect to?
A) One of my favorite writers, Joan Didion, once said, “I write to figure out what I’m thinking.” I think it’s kind of like that. In the same way that writing the song was a revelation to me, I think that listeners respond to music that serves a greater emotional purpose. These things fill a certain void in us when we can see ourselves in the fracas they describe. But then I guess the fracas sees us: it’s that eerie sense that a song knows us better than we know ourselves that makes us so enthralled, right?
Q) How does the video for the track play into the message behind it?
A) I directed the video for “Pine Hollow Road.” I wanted to pair the song with a visual narrative that elevated the whole experience. What I think is interesting about the video is that it evokes what the sound of the song points to, if not exactly what the song describes. So, it’s almost like a parallel universe or a past lifetime, but it all boils down to the same karma. There is this unfinished business between two individuals—a struggle for dominance. We see that the young girl murders her brother. But in the end, even though one eliminates the other, his ghost continues to haunt her. We see her struggle in vain to scrub all traces of him from her being even after she stabbed him in the back. The final sequence, where the boy and his guitar circle the girl in bed, is most symbolic.
Q) What is your song writing process? Do you need music before you can create lyrics?
A) To be honest, it’s just this kind of rush where everything sort of happens at once. I write a lot. I’ve written over one hundred songs in the past year alone and I have at least two times that many songs from years prior. I was barely in grade school when I first broke out the tape recorder and started doing these things and then in middle school and junior high I would just write and write and write. It’s not so much that the songwriting is a process but rather my process is the songwriting. I suppose it’s my raison d’être.
Q) How much of hand do you have in the production of your music??
A) I have produced every record I’ve released. The two full-lengths under my old pseudonym were co-produced with a collaborator for each, as was the case for my first two solo EP’s. In the beginning I would walk into the studio with everything worked out, ready to share and explain, and then as my engineering chops grew I would just bring in these fully fleshed-out demos that I made at home.
Q) Where did the title of the EP I Tried to Right My Wrongs, But I Made a Left come from?
A) The title for my new EP I Tried To Right My Wrongs, But I Made A Left comes from a verse in the song “Honest Thing.” I think it’s a curious little lyric and it happens to capture quite a lot of present feelings. If we’re really getting into it, I could trace a line from that expression of mine to my continued interest in Taoism, where I have gleaned that there isn’t so much right or wrong as there just So, it’s like a rejection of conflict. “I Tried To Right My Wrongs, But I Made A Left,” or I tried to rectify the situation at hand, but in realizing that there is nothing to gain from all of this, I have decided to remove myself. Of course, there is also a more sinister interpretation, which is also interesting and not incorrect.
Q) What can fans expect from a live Gianni Paci performance?
A) I’m big into the storytelling.
Q) What songs off yourEP are you looking forward to performing live?
A) I think that each of the four songs on I Tried To Right My Wrongs, But I Made A Left will be good to perform live in their own ways. There’s a lot to perform there, as the material is ripe for unpacking.
Q) What do you hope listeners take away from listening to your new EP as a whole?
A) Well, I’m certainly excited to see what they come up with. It’s a continuation of this unraveling. Each ensuing release builds upon what came before it and is also bolstered in its own way by those preceding chapters. In the context of things, I think this is just an elevation of what I’m constantly chipping away at as an artist.
Q) Where are some of your favorite places to perform and what makes those locations so significant to you?
A) Some of the best live performance experience I’ve had so far have been in Europe, to be honest. I think there’s a different culture of listening and participation, especially in countries like Germany. But then I could also use some more national touring experience.
Q) Who would you most like to collaborate with on a song in the future?
A) Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones…any artist who is part of this lineage that could connect our time to the time that came before them. I have had a glimmer of hope in this department, I should mention, though I can’t say more at the moment.
Q) What album/band are you currently listening to and why do you dig them?
A) I’m actually doing a lot of early rock and roll singles right now. Not even full-length records. The Fleetwoods, The Platters, Little Anthony…
Q) You are a part of social media. Why is that such an important way for you to connect with your fans?
A) It is meaningful to have access to a direct channel by which the artist can share his work.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) Thank you. I love you. This is the start of something quite magical…
Watch The Video For “Pine Hollow Road”