Not too long ago, I reviewed Keys of Mine, the new album from Italy’s Luca Bash. I loved it because of its originality and Bash’s distinctive, rich voice, which is lower than a tenor, but not quite a baritone. So I thought it might be interesting to interview him. I’m glad he agreed, for he reminds me of the author Henry Miller, who called himself “the happiest man alive.” Bash refers to himself as “a lucky human being,” and you can tell from the way he expresses himself that like Miller, he is happy, too.
How would you describe yourself?
A Lucky Human … I mean that I work, I love, I dream and I do everything to be happy, like everybody, I think. The good thing is that I have always reached my happiness.
What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
A trouble is something that you cannot solve. In this sense, very few things could be highlighted. At the end of all, the only trouble I constantly have is understanding the continuous lack of sense this world seems to love. I do not understand politicians, ineffective solutions, insane behaviors, violence … taken as individuals we are all good, but, as a mass, we are destroying our nature.
What do you do for fun?
The Songwriter! The mortgage cannot be paid by indie attempts or independent video clips. Music is my passion; my work is for surviving and financing my passion projects, like Keys of Mine. It is a sunk cost, but I feel grand when I can touch the fruit of my love for music. Anyway, I am a lucky human, because I love my job too.
What’s your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?
“Superstition,” by Stevie Wonder, and “Use Me,” by Bill Withers. I suppose my songs are out the “question perimeter”…
What kind of guitar do you play? And why?
Acoustic, a Taylor GA – because acoustic is something so close to the root of songwriting, more than other instruments, and more than the electronic mods that the last four decades brought to sound engineering. The acoustic guitar is intimate. When played, it lets your belly feel its body vibrations. Its sound is rich and, if well played, it works like a healing spell for me. And, if the songwriter’s target is to communicate something (as it should be), the acoustic guitar remains his best channel for transferring his emotions.
Which musicians, singers, and songwriters influenced you the most?
Dave Matthews Band, Sting, Ben Harper, John Mayer, Eric Clapton, Queen, Pearl Jam, Tower of Power, Bryan Adams, Norah Jones, Metallica, Beatles, and … oh, there are a lot. I prefer bands or jam bands versus lone songwriters. In the history of music, in my opinion, the best the songwriting could get was from merging songwriting ideas with unique musicians’ skills. I do not like to consider, as models, great artists that sing others’ songs.
How would you define your musical style?
Oh, well … whatever genre-tag I may pin on my jacket, I would probably offend any eventual expert’s sensitivity! I would say something unusual. I treat music genres as colors, not as canvas. If I want to communicate sarcasm, funk is fantastic. Soft rock fits best with love or regret. Soul may express a positive thinking with a bitter sweet in the back of your mouth. Arpeggios and riffs facilitate storytelling, while fusion’s rushing rhythms give me a chance to ride emotions and feelings. Finally, you can hear a lot of influences in Keys of Mine. Sometimes this characteristic has been appreciated, sometimes not. I do not know and I do not care so much. The songs and the genres marry each other with their own message. This is best for me.
How do your musical influences impact your music, if at all?
Every artist got his skills from reproducing his models. So, for sure everything I do comes from the music I like and the music I have studied. But for sure I try to drift from any track and any tag somebody could assign to me. I try to be unique, because I feel unique … as every artist should feel.
What is your songwriting process? Do the lyrics come first, followed by the music, or is it the other way around?
I always write music first, with my guitar – for a logical reason. Basically, if you try to find a melody from a blank canvas, your mind will pick motives from the memory, unconsciously. Thus, writing the words first hinders your creative process. Writing the music first, finding an attractive harmony to play, gets the chance to have an infinite quantity of melodies based on a unique harmony. This helps a lot. I generally compose the harmony, singing in false, unspeakable English. Then, I think of what images this harmony and melody could recall in my mind. Once I have decided the message to tell, I start writing the lyrics.
I loved your album Keys of Mine. Are you working on any new songs or perhaps another album?
Of course! I write for passion, and not to become a VIP or for attempting any talent show. I am 37; my life grew well among my dreams and skills. I love to say that I am lucky, especially because I can make my dreams real, as my LPs. I will record the new album in July/August [of 2018], a new single in January, and an album in March 2019. The last song I wrote is incredible. I love to sing it a lot … I hope I will be able to transmit the same emotions.
Who produced the Keys of Mine? And are you happy with the way it turned out?
I have no artist director and producer. I do everything by myself. I am the designer of my graphics, the director of my videos, their “final-cutter,” the site designer and webmaster, and I decide and drive the sound of my LP with my musicians and sound engineers, who are my friends. I have no management, and everything I invest comes from my job earnings. The sound of every instrument in the album is decided by the musicians and they are composers like me. Am I happy of this? Oh, yes … you cannot imagine how much delicious is my state of bliss because of this album.
Any plans to tour soon? If so, will you be performing in California?
Who knows … I hope, of course, but I think it is a dream that has few chances to get a project or a plan. Unfortunately, I have officially lost the path of being an active musician 10 years ago. Nowadays, I work as an engineer in a big company, for challenging responsibilities by playing a great role and job. This is the way I have to pay for my passion. “Teen-aging” my dreams is no longer possible, but I can continue working on them, thanks to the web possibilities. This is the present, with the constant regret of being far from stages. The future … who knows. In the worst case, I will be happy anyway.
Thanks for your questions and interview. I wish for you and for the art of music all the best.
Follow Luca Bash at lucabash.com, his Facebook page, and on Twitter.