Niccolò Paluani interview

Interview: Multi-Instrumentalist Niccolò Paluani on Musical Flexibility

Niccolò Paluani’s musical career has taken him through many different styles and genres, and given his skills in guitar, bass, and vocals, that shouldn’t be a surprise. 

Inspired from an early age to pursue music, Paluani has been working hard ever since to make that dream a reality, and now he sports a wide variety of projects and musical collaborations, including studio and touring time with the likes of The Bella Madness, EduArdo and the New Rule Band, and Tristan Simone. 

You can bet that Paluani has some stories to tell, and during our recent interview with this top-tier muso, he shared some great ones, along with some words of wisdom on how other musicians can approach multiple genres with enthusiasm and flair. 

Just scroll down to check out the interview. 

Welcome to Vents! You’ve worked with many different artists as a performer. Do you enjoy moving to different styles and genres? 

Absolutely! It’s always refreshing to change styles and play different genres of music. It’s true that it presents a challenge and I have to spend many hours learning new material or a new style that I’m completely unfamiliar with. Despite that, I’m always happy to learn something new and it’s just a matter of time before I assimilate the new groove.

When did you start working with Tristan Simone? What was it like? 

I started playing with Tristan Simone in the Summer of 2019. He had a big project in mind and one night he gathered multiple musicians to talk about it and understand who was willing to adhere to his vision. In the end, he had more than 50 musicians for his shows. 

I was part of the “Bella Italians” band, and as the name suggests, the band was composed solely of Italians and himself. We arranged his original songs together as a group and played the repertoire in different locations around Boston. I learned a lot about hip hop and how to stick with a precise part when playing, since the songs would have been a big mess if everybody played at the same time.

You’ve also played with Eduardo Omondi. Was it difficult to switch to the afro-beat genre? 

Playing afro-beat was definitely a challenge in the beginning. It was the kind of music I wasn’t used to playing, and it took me a lot of time and effort to learn the new rhythms. Eduardo and the other African musicians of the band had listened to the different traditional rhythms, such as clave, for their entire lives and felt them in a very particular way, while for me, as a European, it was completely unfamiliar. 

I had to study and listen to a lot of music, and I was also helped by some members of the band. After a while, I was able to have my parts together.

So you also got to play with Michael League. Can you tell us what that was like? 

Michael is one of my musical heroes, and being able to invite him to play with us on stage was like a dream come true. It was the last live concert I played before the pandemic started. 

I was the founder of a tribute band for Snarky Puppy, and having the original leader play with us was by far the best experience I could ever ask for. His masterclass was a success and the venue was packed. One of the best experiences I’ve had, no doubt.

Would you say that you specialize in certain genres? 

I believe that I’m a well-rounded musician and can play many styles. I like learning new music and playing different genres. It challenges me to learn more. 

In my career I’ve certainly had more experience with jazz, fusion, funk, and R&B. However, I have a solid ground with pop, folk, and other genres.

niccolo paluani interview

You’ve been working on your own music as well. How would you describe the sound of your first album?

I tried to challenge myself and do something I’d never tried before. In the past, I’ve written some jazz instrumental tunes because I was very comfortable with that genre of music, but I’m really attracted to dance music and everything that has a groove. 

Artists like Tom Misch, Anderson Paak, and Daft Punk have been huge inspirations on the creation of this album.

Do you have any advice for musicians who want to learn to play in other genres? 

If I have anything to contribute, I’d tell other musicians to deeply listen to different genres of music and analyze the details, section by section. Try to dig further into the song and find the common factors between different songs.

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