Tommy Talamanca is a work addicted man

interview with tommy talamanca

Musician, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, songwriter, sound engineer, record producer, Tommy is one of those hard-working guy for whom Music is not just a matter of playing a musical instrument, at least not even one at time! Music is life, and he needs to get involved in all kind of aspects in "making music" to live it. Besides playing in bands he also has a studio called Nadir. Now with his album under his own name I hd to ask him some questions about the bands, studio and album.

Please give a brief introduction of yourself so we know who is answering the questions?
I'm a musician, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, songwriter, sound engineer, record producer, started studying classical guitar at the age of 10, and by the age of 15 moved on electric. After having played in some local rock bands, at the age of 18 joined the progressive death metal band Sadist.  In the meanwhile, in 1996 I started my own project studio called Nadir, to work on Sadist pre-productions and record local bands demos. Nowdays Nadir Music is an important company involved in music production in general; located in a 500 square metres building: a high-end professional recording & mastering studio, four professional rehearsale rooms for musicians, label company with important distribution partnerships all over the world.

So now people will know who you are you must start to say something about Sadist. What is the band doing these days and can we expect something new? Is Sadist also gonna tour again soon?
Since it's beginning in 1991, Sadist has been acclaimed as one of the most promising acts in the new "prog. death" scene. In about twenty years, Sadist released 6 studio albums, 1 EP, toured all around west and east of Europe and took part in most of the biggest european hard rock festivals, sharing the stage with almost all the "metal" legends. The band is currently working on songwriting for a new album.

Besides Sadist you are also known as the man behind Nadir Music. Studio recordings, label, promotion etc. Is this something you wanted to do from the beginning? Or is it something that grew over the years thinking you could do it better?
Since I was a little kid I always wanted to work with music, doesn't matter in which form. I like all aspects in being involved in music production: it can be as a session player, a composer or a producer, all these aspects are always interesting for me, and I still want to grow up and get better and better in my job.

What is the main advantage of offering all this together? And what is the bad side of all this?
The good side is that you are really focused on a band, because you are involved since the beginning and you really got into the band attitude: in the end you almost feel like you are part of the band. The bad side? After a day work, I don't feel like going to a concert or listening to some music just for the pleasure of doing it, and when I listen to some music I mostly pay attention to the technical side: the production, the sound of a snare or and hit hat... stuff like that...

Being a musician and technician I am curious what your education is. Or is everything self taught? And who are people who help you and do they volunteer or are you a paying boss?
I started with classical studying as a little kid, but after few years I felt in love for rock music, moved to electrical guitar and synthesizers ... I started working as a sound engineer almost for fun, and after some years it became a regular job, I mean, much more regular than being a musician. I'm still splitted between these two main activities, and that's good 'cause one aspect influences the other: the producer helps the musician to grow up and vice versa! I'm not a boss, I'm a work addicted man! I have a couple of partners in Nadir, one of them is the Sadist manager and one of my best friend Federico.

You must have some funny stories when recording with artists. is there a story you can share or is it not ethic to share?
It's not a problem until I don't tell you who I'm talking about! Sometimes working with people can be very funny and stressfull at the same time. Once a couple of guys from a band started to fight in the studio because they cannot find an agreement about some silly problem... In general, something I always find very funny in working with new bands is that in the first one or two days you start with a very formal attitude and in the last days you end talking about very nasty things in a very confidential way.

Recently you have released the album "Na Zapad" which got a good review here. The album you did all by yourself. Can you estimate how long it took to finish the project? Is this something you worked on for days or did it in between other work?
I worked in some spare time between other productions. I could stop the studio schedule, so everytime I had some free time, I want on some instruments to record it. I was like enough to manage to record almost everything by myself, excluding the drums 'cause I needed a very good funky drummer. I worked on "Na Zapad" recording and mixing session for about 6 months.

What was the inspiration to make this album? And how did you develop these inspirations? Did some kind of research? What is your favorite inspiration source?
Most of the music on the album was written in the last 15 or 16 years, lots of which I originally composed for Sadist but in the end didn't use 'cause it was not metal enough. I mean, I love metal music, but I consider myself more a musician than just a rock/metal guitar player, that's why I wanted to do an album in which I didn't have any stylish boundaries.

Does the album has a message?
I would not talk about a real "message" 'cause I'm not a philosopher. Let's say for me music, and life in general, is a perpetual trip, a journey without a real destination which ends just when we day. By the way, the album concept is well explained in the quotation from Nietzsche included in the booklet of the album.

Musically "Na Zapad" is not so metal orientated as Sadist. Was this direction something you always wanted to do?
The problem with today's music is the lack of freedom and the lack of madness in 99% of professional musicians. Music is just music, I mean, it should be the highest level of human expression, the language of the languages, but too many people involved into music have lost the meaning of doing it! It's something that really scares me, like when I work with young bands and they just care about recordings the lowest tuned guitar or having the ultimate kick sample, but when you ask them why they make music, they don't know what to answer!

How many strings did you broke during recording?
I've been playing guitars for about 30 years, I hope I'm good enough not breaking strings every five minutes!

What kind of instruments did you exactly used? What is your fav instrument? Would that be a guitar or another instrument?
The funny side of working in a recording studio is to have the opportunity to record professionally almost every instrument you want. My favourite instrument? I'm going to tell you something funny: it's the human voice! There's no instrument equally expressive... And when I play an instrument, I always try to get close to that level of expressiveness.

Did you ever thought of doing some vocals by yourself? Or strictly wanna make an instrumental album?
I love some much human voice as an instrument that if I cannot have the best voice, I prefer not to have it at all. That's something cool with extreme metal music, where voice has to be expressive in just one way, the singer just have to shout until he almost dies)))

Have you never been asked to make a soundtrack for a movie? If not, would you like to do this and for what kind of movie?
Somebody asked me, and I already worked with jingle, mostly commercial ones... I would like to write for a full movie, not just to score a couple of minutes or something like that... who knows, maybe in the next future it may happen, I'm always ready for new professional experience!

Are there any musicians you admire? Not only for their capabilities but also as a person? Did you ever meet one of those? Who would you like to meet one day?
I'm lucky enough to have already worked with lots of talented musicians. You can find talented musicians at any level of popularity, being talented has nothing to do with being famous.

These days almost everything is recorded digitally and put on CD. People rip the CD to MP3. Can you clarify that there is no difference in CD quality and high quality MP3 rip? At least not for a trained ear.
A professional sound engineer always notices the difference between all formats, digital or analog ones! But I'm not here to cry about how great were the good old days: the world changes, everything changes, so the music and the way to listen to it... Surely today's music is too much compressed, but that's the way it is!! It's like smog, we all know it's a bad things, but nobody wants to stop using cars, eating meat and heat with gas!

Do you think there is only negativity about sharing music on the various torrent sites? Is there something you can think could end it? Or is it just part of the scene like the tape trading?
The bad side is that new generations do not give value to the work that is behind the production of a record or a film: they just take it for free... The good side is, that thanks to the web and new communication tecnologies, who are "very" talented has got much more opportunities to get notice somewhere!

Can you name the things you do outside the music industry? What are your interests and what are the things you like to do?
I love biking but unfortunately I don't have so much time. I love reading, mostly essays on religion, politics or economics.

What are you plans for 2013? On the musical part and private part?
I'm working on song writing for a side project I have along with ex Pestilence / Obscura bass player Jeroen Paul Thesseling called Nufutic, a sort of experimental jazz/fusion/extreme metal cross over. I'm also working on the new Sadist album, which we are planning to release by Spring 2014. On private side, I got to move from my flat this next Autumn, and that's a pain in the ass)))

Is there anything you would like to mention that has not being asked? Like your fav beer...
I'm not an alchool addicted, and that's a problem when you play in a metal band))) By the way, I want to thank all those people out there who are going to listen (hopefully legally) my music!

To close this interview please do the last words or some shameless self promotion. Thanks.
For those who did not do it already: take a listen to "Na Zapad" without cultural preconceptions... you may find it not so bad))