Interview Simone Cozzetto

"I find a close connection between what's happening in my life and my inspiration"

(May 2024, text by Henri Strik, edited by Peter Willemsen, pictures provided by Simone Cozzetto)

Simone Cozzetto is an Italian guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and composer who has up to now released four albums: Wide Eyes, The Weight Of The Wind, Oblivion and Le Miroir. The latest two releases both came out in 2023, so he's a busy man indeed. Therefore, it is time to let the world know who this rather unknown but excellent musician is. The team of Background Magazine is convinced that this musician certainly deserves much more attention by our readers, so we asked him all about his past, present and future.

Simone Cozzetto

Hello Simone, do you consider yourself as a guitarist or as a keyboard player?
"Well, I consider myself mainly as a guitarist, but sometimes also as a multi-instrumentalist. In fact, I enjoyed playing some other instruments on all my albums."

Did you have a classical training or are you a self-teaching musician?
"I have both a rock and a classical training. I started studying music when I was fourteen focusing on guitar and composition. Then I attended Saint Louis Music College in Rome to continue my studies. However, generally I try to follow my own inspiration without considering any academic rules."

What are your former musical influences and what kind of music inspires you nowadays?
"I always listened to progressive rock, psychedelic rock, but also to classic rock, glam and hard rock. I draw inspiration from legendary artists and bands, such as Pink Floyd, Genesis, King Crimson, Gary Moore, Al Di Meola, Europe and many other bands."

Your latest two albums Oblivion and Le Miroir both appeared in 2023. Where did you find the time to come up with two albums in one year?
"I've just followed the way I felt in 2023. I've found a close connection between what is happening in my life and my inspiration: trying to sublimate my 'human-to-human' thoughts into a work of art which became an inner urge for me. So, probably I had a lot to say! I mostly worked at night on these albums by benefiting from the peaceful silence."

Oblivion artwork
Are both albums concept albums and if so, which subjects inspired you?
"Yes, they are both concept albums. The inspirational figure of Oblivion is Medusa, one of the three Gorgons who- according to the Greek mythology - has living intertwined snakes in place of hair. Her appearance was so hideous that anyone who looked upon her was turned into stone. Medusa embodies the most terrible form of fear, clouding the mind and obscuring the view. I think that everybody has to face this kind of inner monster at least once in a lifetime, so it's crucial to understand what makes us suffer and go through it.
Le Miroir is an album trying to face our innate ambivalence and duplicity. The mirror becomes a metaphor of an inner struggle between our attempt to be a well-defined person under the light, whereas something hidden, even wrong - which has slyly grown within ourselves - from our pain, fears, and tough times - that ends up casting a shadow on our lives. The mirror seems to ask us to confront what we usually try to deny, pointing at our constant lies."

Who did the excellent artwork on those albums?
"The first three albums were designed by Kaost Nest, an excellent artist. I did the last one myself."

On the albums appear famous guest musicians like Kee Marcello, the former guitar player of Europe, Ludovico Piccinini of Cherry Five and Durga McBroom, who once was one of the background singers with Pink Floyd. How did you get in touch with them and how was it working with them?
"Some of them are friends of mine, like Ludovico Piccinini, who was also one of my guitar teachers and a major inspiration for me since I was a kid. I met Durga McBroom many years ago when she was in Rome. We were introduced to each other by her Italian manager. I got in touch with Kee Marcello about ten years ago by simply sending him a message. He seemed very interested in what I did, and he accepted to play some parts on my first album Wide Eyes. When I was working on Oblivion, I asked him if he was interested in playing a guitar solo on the title track, and as usual he did an excellent job! They are all professionals, and it was an honour to know them personally as well as to work with them."

Kee Marcello Durga McBroom Ludovico Piccinini

Which guest musicians would you like to have on your next albums?
"Definitely Morten Harket from A-ha, I think his voice is extraordinary! But my unfulfilled dream still remains David Gilmour from Pink Floyd."

Recently, I read the news that your latest two albums will be distributed by Nick Katona's Melodic Revolution Distribution. How did this happen?
"I was looking for a well-established distribution specialized in progressive rock based in the US. When I found Nick Katona's independent label, I immediately submitted the request to manage the American distribution of my last two albums to him and he accepted."
Le Miroir artwork

How does the progressive rock scene react to your albums so far?
"Well, to be honest, I got enthusiastic feedback. It happened that some good musicians and guitarists, especially those who appreciate progressive rock, took inspiration from my way of guitar playing, and from what I do on both the technical and the compositional level. My songs have often been reshared and played on prog accounts or podcasts. The only thing I can do, is being very grateful for all the support I've received!"

What are your future plans? A new album or playing live on stage?
"The 2018 live version of my album Wide Eyes featuring Kee Marcello, is scheduled to be released soon. I'm also working on some new stuff, including Border Hills, a project that I particularly care about."

More info about Simone Cozzetto on the Internet:
       review album 'Le Miroir'
       review album 'Oblivion'

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