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Interview to GIUSEPPE VERTICCHIO/NIMH, by Philippe Blache
From the book "The Art of Duration and Resonance - The experimental stages of italian industrial drone music",
by Philippe Blache, Première Edition, April 2009

P.: First of all I would like to discuss about the stylistic approach of Nimh. Your music admits a wide range of styles. Your long evocative pieces for electronics contain lot of noisy, brutal metallic, industrial elements. These sounds seem to fluctuate into blackness whole. What are the technical conditions which produce this range of sounds? From which sources do they come and what are the treatments and processes required?

G.: In some ways we have already spoken a little bit about it when we met here in Rome... About sound sources I use software and physical synthesizers, a lot of ethnic instruments, various objects (made of metal, wood , ceramics), field recordings and electric guitar... At the "centre" of my composition process there is the PC and my favourite software Wavelab. For the treatments I use many software effects and plug-ins in combination with physical pedal effects (delay, reverb, distorsion, wah wah...). As you have seen my equipment is not over sophisticated, and not very expensive...

P.: These noisy, abrasive fragments are intertwined with expressive static drones focused on duration and frequency. How do you reconcile these two sides of your music in one movement?

G.: When I make music, first of all I work a lot researching various “special”, and in some way "original" sounds... Having good and "effective" sounds to start, it almost becomes "easy" to mix and join them into a single track with good results... My general approach is first of all to collect a lot of parts and good sounds, of different natures, without limits in choice of sound sources and "style" of recordings, parts and "melodies"... I use ethnic sounds, noises, guitar, electronic sounds, drones, field recordings... and each time I search a new way to "combine" them obtaining something of good... I work a lot to decide on duration of single parts, fades, the layering of different parts and dynamic of composition... I think that there is no problem in using static drones together with noisy parts or with other kinds of sound, and sometimes the contrast is very effective and surprising... The "secret" on my opinion, as I already said, is before everything else an accurate research of "special" sounds and recorded parts to work with, and afterwards in a very accurate, "fanciful" and technically "rigorous" effort in montage/mixing/layering them...

P.: Guitars seem to reinforce a certain tragic, emotional tense. How do describe the function of guitar sequences in the musical process?

G.: I think that guitar, used in different way, can effectively offer a special "emotion" when combined with drones or generally with obscure sounds and parts... On my opinion, when used in "melodic" way, guitar represents a little ray of light when it emerges from masses of dark, disquiet, and deep and obsessive background sounds... On the contrary when used with heavy distortion effect, it can add a sense of heavy anguish, desperation, "dram"... Sometimes the sound of the guitar is heavily treated to became unrecognizable, and its function is just that of "background", as with some drone textures... Guitar, used in combination with effects and sometimes treated by software, can offer a wide range of sounds and possibilities, and some tracks of my recent CDs are born just starting from a single recorded guitar part...

P.: Maybe I’m wrong, but after several listens I was thinking that you could be sensitive to “music as a gradual process” (classic minimalists). I mean the duration of sound is almost unlimited (like a buzzing droning raga). We can only perceive subtle series of contrasts in sounds and moods. It seems to be spacious music with a non linear but circular sense of time, only admitting punctual picks of excess and distortion. Do acknowledge a certain filiation with these groups of avant-garde experimentalists or do you act more spontaneously outside of methodological / conceptual perspectives.

G.: To be honest my music is not born directly from influences of classic minimalism, but probably from the music (and the artists) that for many years I've listened to who where in some way substantially influenced by the experiences of classic minimalism... So I really would not be surprised if you find in my music elements that seems to have analogies and connection with classic minimalism, but I think that these analogies are "filtered" by the experience of more recent generations of artists and musical experiences that probably influenced me in a more "direct" way...

P.: The voluntary hermetic, dark, sinister dimensions of your music seem to penetrate the “underside” of meaning, decoding secrets, lost memories, what is obscurities and mutation. Can you give me your interpretation about this prevailing aesthetic?

G.: I think this musical aesthetic simply reflects in some way my inmost, hidden and unrevealed sentiments, doubts, contradictions, fears, hopes and anguishes...In ordinary life I need to connive daily with other people, in determinate situations and contexts, and I have the consequent necessity to "control" in each moment sentiments, manners, reactions... On the contrary in my music I can capture in each moment without any constrictions everything I have in my mind and everything I feel in my soul; so probably the content of my music describe better than a lot of words my real but unknown self way to be as person and my inmost and unknown personality...

P.: Have to made some live electronic works, do you make some live performances and improvisations, if yes, when?

G.: My music is generally birth in studio, through long and articulated processes of composition, recording, treating, layering and mixing, and for these reasons it's not technically possible to recreate live in concert in the same way as you can listen to on a Nimh's CD... At the same time I don't like (even if some do it frequently...) to undertake "live" performances using massive pre-recorded parts and playing live just a minimal part of what you can listen to during the "performance"... So my live performances are very rare, a kind of "event" for me... Generally I do them in collaboration with some friends/musicians, we compose together the music and prepare our performances for months, and during the performances we never use pre-recorded tracks, apart from little parts such as field recordings, ethnic voices or similar kind of stuff...

P.: You’ve released several important albums in collaboration with the great composer, sound creator and avant garde-industrial pioneer Maurizio Bianchi. Can you describe the history and objectives behind this cooperation?

G.: As I said to you when you were here in Rome, when Maurizio asked me for a collaboration, I didn't know too much about him and his music... At that time Andrea Marutti (Afe) had just published my "Frozen" CDR and a CD of Maurizio (with Telepherique), and somehow Maurizio got a copy of "Frozen", and I got a copy of the Maurizio's CD, and we started to keep in touch ... After three or four emails, Maurizio asked me to work on a collaborative CD, we spoke and agreed about various details, and after some months we meet for the first time in Milan at the home of Andrea Marutti... Then Maurizio gave me a tape containing some recorded parts (loops, drones, buzzes...) and a picture to use for graphics, and when I come back to Rome, as already planned, I started to work on our first collaborative CD (Secluded Truths) using his parts in various ways which were then re-edited and mixed with other my musical stuff... The "concept" we agreed to work around was the spirituality, so this concept has been in my mind during the entire time I was working on the music. When "Secluded Truths" was finished, Stefano Gentile from Silentes, who had already agreed to publish it, proposed that we work to one more collaborative CD, the "split" "Togheter's Symphony", and to make a special 4 CD Boxset edition containing the two collaborative CDs, my solo CD "Subterranean Thoughts" and the solo CD of Maurizio "Niddah Emmhna". These last two titles and the CD "Secluded Truths" are now available also as single separate CDs, but the split "Togheter's Symphony" is available only with the complete 4 CD Boxset "Toghether's Symphony Box".

P.: What are your impressions about the increasing interest of artists in electronic, computer, programmed music?

G.: Obviously I see generally with great pleasure to the growth and interest for electronic, programmed, computer and electronic music, even if this interest often especially grows around a certain kind of "popular" and much too "easy" electronic music that is not close to my interest and my preferences... Anyway I know that for some people the interest in "popular" electronic music is just the first "step" in a process that, in the future, probably will open for them the door to knowing electronic and experimental music of different style and higher artistic level, so anyway I think that the general diffusion of interest around computer/electronic music is a a positive thing...

P.: What are your musical projects for the future?

G.: I have a lot of ideas for my new music for the future, but at the moment I have nothing planned in a definitive way... At this moment I'm working on the possibility to re-releasing, my old CDRs "Distant Skylines" and "Lanna Mamories" as a single official CD, in a different, re-edited, enriched and completely remastered version... At the same time I hope soon to see published the second CD of my collaborative project with Amon/Andrea Marutti "Hall of Mirrors" , the CD "Forgotten Realm" that you already listened here in Rome.

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