In a sunny, hot july day we have been visiting Federico Landini in his own studio called ParcoSuoni.
With Federico we deepen the themes seen, with another author, when we focused on video games.
Federico is a successful composer who mainly works in the music for pictures field.
Commercials, movies, TV series and documentaries are all covered by his activity. Federico was born in Livorno but his musical background comes from years spent at the Conservatorio si S.Cecilia in Rome. Here he attended Piano and Experimental Music Composition courses mentored by Mauro Bortolotti, (member of Nuova Consonanza). In the same time he had the chance to self study jazz and improvisation to increase his capabilities and cultural background.
He started his professional life making music for theatre shows.
During one of the shows, in which his music was plaied, he received the first proposal to write the soundtrack for a commercial. It was for a Nissan TV spot. That was the beginning then his career developed seriously in that direction.
Just to give you an idea of Federico’s versatility some examples of his achievements follow.
Music for pictures: commercials
After the first spot a lot more client asked his help. We are talking about brands such as Adidas, LiuJo, AGIP, ENI, McDonalds, Ferrero, Toyota, Ford, Sony, Telecom, BLU, ENEL, Diadora, Honda, Jaguar, Morellato, BNL, Banca Intesa, Armani, Bulgari, Pepsi.
Some examples can be found in the Federico’s YouTub channel, here two samples: Other works can be found on Federico’s YouTube channel.
Music for pictures: cinema and television
Federico had also the chance to work in different scenarios.
Several movies such as: Una donna X la vita (Maurizio Casagrande, Neri Marcorè), Smile(Italy-Usa co-prodution), Lista Civica di Provocazione, Classe Mista (by Federico Moccia). 7 vite for Fiction Rai, several documentaries (with Folco Quilici and other directors) and TV programs.
The trailer of Una donna X la vita follows:
Music for pictures : videogames
Federico also worked on a videogame: The Suicide of Rachel Foster.
Here the trailer which helps to understand the mood and the sound he had chosen for the soundtrack.
The approach to composition
Thanks to his wide musical background, Federico has at his disposal a lot of bullets to shoot.
His approach, for sound design, is to combine music and noise allowing the latter to become music and viceversa.
Sounds can be from piano, synthesizers or from the wide selection of musical instruments available in the studio. Those are plaied by the musicians that Federico hires to help in his job (he can obviously play piano but not, for example, guitars, drums, strings and so on).
The noise can be natural (balm crickets is a good example) or artificially generated by synths or self made (mechanical) noise generators.
Federico prefers the music to be plaied (and not sequenced) and the relationship that arises with other musicians. Sample libraries are used only if there are budget constraints (events that, fortunately enough, are very seldom).
The direct relationship with others very often creates sinergies to find the right solution faster and better. This is generally true but, obviously, there are musicians with whom is easier to get along with to get better results.
When available, dialogs in the picture are though as a guide and can assume the funcion of lead instruments. In this case the music needs to be the proper accompainment.
The relationship with the clients
The music for video has its own rules and it is a key point to understand how things go in this context to rapidly get to the desired result.
With commercials, usually, time constrains are very tight. The soundtrack is the last step in a process which can hold for months.
Almost every time the musical part only gets the last available time slot. In one or two days the composer has to understand the requirements and realize the finished product. In the last years the relation is with the Creative Directors. They may not have a musical background and make their requests with words and concepts that might be difficult to understand.
Every one wants a “memorable” music and every one describes what he/she wants with adjectives non exactly easy to translate in the music vocabulary.
However, it has to be said that some of the Creative Director’s advices – properly analyzed and understood – can be enlightening.
When working for movies the time constraint are a little bit more relaxing. The relationship is with the Director. This allows to go deeply into the real understanting of the messages carried by the movie and this helps a lot to give the right direction to the music composition.
Sometimes thare are draft music used by the editing team which help a lot to set the soundtrack’s mood.
Usually the clients are given a couple of proposal but, fortunately, in the last years – thanks to the wide experience gained by Federico – the first proposal is the right one.
For licensing and right management issues (tough land to step into) Federico is helped by a Consultant.
Wrap up (but the story will go on)
As you have clearly understood while reading this post, working in producing music for pictures requires adequate skills and experience. The musicians has to quickly understand the requests and rapidly operate to get to the result.
To do this one needs a huge cultural/musical background, good analysis capability and proper tools to help in the production workflow. We shall talk about this last item in the next posts.