"Nature Is An Essential Part Of My Music"
Francesco Perra started his ambient/post-rock/acoustic/psychedelic project, Perry Frank, in 2005. From that day on, the Sardinian musician dived into music and released several pieces. I now interviewed him to get to know him and his art better.
The one-man-band Perry Frank released the three albums, "Music To Disappear"(2012), "The Neptune Sessions" (2013), and "Soundscape Box 1" (2014). Francesco also collaborated with artists like Chords of Orion, Monochrome Season, PCM, Enrico Venturini, Matteo Cantaluppi, Make Like a Tree, and Andrea Carri. Influenced by early post-rock, and Drone his music is not very genre-related. It isn't easy to put it into a box. In July 2020, he released his new album "Reverie" with the New York-based label Dynamo Tapes. On November, 9th he will release his new single "Today Is Long Gone" in all digital stores.
Anne: Hi Francesco! Thank you for taking the time! How are you doing today? As COVID numbers are going up again worldwide, I hope everything is alright with you and your dear ones?
"COVID-19 has spoiled my plans"
Francesco: Hello Anne, it's nice to be here on your blog, I appreciate it, and I thank you so much. My family and I are safe for now, these are strange times, and we must be careful, wear a mask, and pay attention.
Anne: How does the pandemic affect your work as a musician?
Francesco: COVID-19 has changed my 2020 plans completely. I had planned many gigs that I needed to cancel. But I don't like to feel sorry for myself, and I've used the lockdown time as an opportunity to improve and increase my web pages like youtube and Spotify.
Anne: Do you miss playing live on stage?
"I love performing live"
Francesco: Yes. I love performing my music on stage. It is an essential part of my creative process when I write new stuff, but we can't figure out what is happening right now in our world. So we must wait and hold on. Better times will come.
Anne: You've released your new album "Reverie" in July. Congrats on that! It's extraordinary. I like its soundscapes! Are you satisfied with the outcome of your work?
Francesco: Thank you so much! Well, I released my last album in 2014, so it has been much time since I've officially published new music. In these years, I've run other projects and released singles like "Oneiroi" and "Decades".
"I am proud of my new album"
I'm very proud of this new album, one of the things I love the most is that it has been released in a cassette edition too and it's the first time that I released my music in a cassette edition. I love this. I've written all the tracks during these years in many different ways.
Anne: Why is it called "Reverie"?
Francesco: "Reverie" has two primary meanings: first, it's a tribute to Debussy, one of my favourite composers. "Reverie" means daydreaming. When I've selected the tracks I've written over the years, I always had a story about a man in mind. He falls asleep in a field just for a minute on a hot summer day.
In that minute, he dreams all his life, and in the end, he can't tell if he's awake or still sleeping, if he has lived or his life has been all a dream.
Anne: Your Youtube channel has over 1.500.000 views and 12.000 subscribers, which is quite a lot for an ambient artist. How did you gain that many followers?
"I was looking for a new channel for my music"
Francesco: I opened my channel in 2014 when I decided to stop making albums and look for other ways to release my music. I've gained experience in making videos and writing music in a new way during these years. I've started new projects like the "Ambient Guitar Sessions".
The right key to gain followers on Youtube is to do something original: All ambient musicians use to shoot their clips in studios or rooms. Hence, I decided to record my videos outdoor in scenic places to be different.
Anne: Is Youtube a good way tool to promote your music?
Francesco: I think that Youtube is an excellent opportunity, a useful tool that you need to use in the right way. But it's a thin border to move on because you always risk being a "simple Youtuber". It would be best if you never forgot to be first a musician and the main goal is to promote your music.
Anne: What did you like better: Playing indoors like in a museum or concert hall or on a field or in a garden? What was your favourite location when shooting "Ambient Guitar Sessions"?
"I love playing outside"
Francesco: Probably, I like the most playing outdoor in scenic places; they are very inspiring and appear to be an essential part of my music.
But I love playing in museums too, seeing all those old relics while I'm performing makes me fly away in the past to dream of a time that I've never known.
Anne: These are exceptional times for music. Everyone seems to like vinyl records and tapes again, and there are also very modern digital channels like Youtube, Bandcamp, and Spotify, where you can share your art. Do you see this as an advantage, or do you think the age of CDs has been a better area for musicians?
Francesco: I think that CDs will completely disappear. The reason is straightforward: We can have the same CD audio quality with an mp3, and you can download it from the web. But an mp3 or a wave will never have the vinyl or the typical cassette sound; it's impossible. That's why we can't substitute vinyl and cassettes, and they are becoming again so popular.
Anne: As you have just mentioned: In October 2014, you started a new project called "Ambient Guitar Sessions". You filmed all the sessions in different outdoor and indoor places like gardens, studios, museums, and verandas. To me, this sounds like a lot of fun. Did you enjoy it? How did you come up with the idea? Besides the fact that you wanted to stand out from other ambient projects.
"I wanted to improve my creative process"
Francesco: Well, in that period, I decided to stop making albums, and I was looking for new ways to release my music.
One of the possible choices was to open a Youtube channel. I had the goal to record and shoot ambient sessions to improve my creative process. I live in Sardinia, an island that is still wild for most of its territory and has stunning landscapes, so I bought a suitcase generator and began writing music outdoors.
Now I've sold my generator and decided to be completely eco-friendly: all my equipment is powered with rechargeable batteries with zero CO2 emissions.
Anne: How is the music scene in Sardinia? Can I imagine it quite traditional?
"The radio only has eyes for traditional music"
Francesco: Well, there's every kind of music but ambient. Of course, there's a lot of traditional music, but the main scene is Jazz, Reggae, and blues. The main problem is that the local radio and television stations have eyes only for traditional music. That's why I often perform my music in other countries like England or Germany.
Anne: In December 2018, you did a project based on tape loops. It's a unique journey through Sardinian Folk Music combined with Ambient. I listened to it and enjoyed it a lot. I think it's very intense and pictorial. Is it well known in Sardinia?
Francesco: For now, Lacanas is only a youtube series of four clips. It's a mix of traditional Sardinian and Ambient Music, and it needs to be improved. I sometimes perform the whole project in live gigs, and I hope to record and release it as an album in the future. Maybe a vinyl.
Anne: Do you want to tell me something about your new single "Today Is Long Gone"? You are planning to release it on November 9th, am I right?
"My new single has been released today"
Francesco: "Today is Long Gone" is my new single. In my town, there's an abandoned hospital I've visited in September. It gave me a lot of inspiration to write new music, and I've recorded two songs about the passing of time, one is "Today is Long Gone", and the other is "Future is a Ghost", that I will release in December.
Anne: Are you currently working on new projects? Are there more "Ambient Guitar Sessions" coming up or a new record?
Francesco: At the beginning of 2021, I will release a new single called "Landforms" with Valley View Records. My other music project is a band (PCM) with two other musicians from Milan. We released an album called "Attraverso" in October 2019, and n5MD will publish our new work in the spring of 2021.
Anne: Thank you very much for this interview! It was exciting getting to know you! I wish you all the best for your upcoming projects. Please stay safe!
Francesco: I want to thank you, too, for your kindness. It's been a pleasure to be a guest on your blog. Please take care and stay safe. We must hold on!
"Today Is Long Gone" by Perry Frank
Pictures: Perry Frank