Creating interviews for Electro Swing Thing is truly one of the best things that has happened to me in my life. Really! Why? Because even though I’m unfortunately not planning any trips for the time being, I get to meet artists from all over the world.
However, before I go anywhere further afield, I’m constantly circulating around Europe. Thanks to interviews, I have already virtually wandered into Belgium and France (you can read an interview with Boogie Belgique HERE and Jive Me HERE).
And now it’s time for my beloved Italy! I encourage you to read an interview with Davide Di Bello – the brilliant pianist, better known by his pseudonym Dave Wave. It will be a story about the beginnings of his career, his musical inspirations, his plans for the future and his incredible talent, which has earned him a lot of fans all over the world. And I am one of them! :)
01. LadyDot: Hi, Davide! You don’t even know how happy I am that you agreed to talk to me! I remember the first time I watched your “What’s Electro Swing?” video. It was great because it made it easy for me to explain to my friends what this musical genre is about and what elements it contains. How did you come up with the idea to create such a video? Did you expect it to have several million views in the future?
Dave Wave: Hi Ania, it’s a pleasure being interviewed by you! I had the idea to create that video when I was trying to develop a new format for my YouTube channel. Eventually I came up with the current “What’s…? In 2 minutes” series which aims at showing “how music works” also to people who don’t know anything about music theory. The series combines simple explanations with intuitive graphics and no, I would have never expected to reach 3.6M views on that video only! In the same series there are also more technical videos (eg. “What is a tritone?”) that reached half a million views which I find surprising if we think that it’s related to a very specific music theory concept. To me that’s a positive sign as it indicates that people are always eager to learn something new.
02. LadyDot: After publishing “What’s Electro Swing?”, you received a lot of positive comments from your fans and many requests to publish the full version of the song “A Friend Like Me”. How did you feel at the time? I’m guessing you were very happy, but did that kind of feedback make you start thinking about what you could do to show your work to a larger group of people?
Dave Wave: Yes, it was great to receive such a positive response and it definitely gave me the motivation to keep producing other videos of that series and, at the same time, produce more Electro Swing remixes. Obviously YouTube felt like the right platform to keep on sharing my music with the world.
03. LadyDot: It came as a huge surprise to me when I found out that you were the one who recorded the piano parts for the song ‘Upside Down’ by Wolfgang Lohr and Alanna Lyes. That solo has always made an electrifying impression on me! Tell us, how do you recall working on this single? Was it the “What’s Electro Swing?” video that gave you the opportunity to start this collaboration?
Dave Wave: Yes, after the release of that video and the “A Friend Like Me” electro swing remix, Wolfgang got in touch with me and he asked me to play the piano on “Upside Down”. I always loved Wolfgang’s style and I remembered that it felt natural to play on that tune. I then proposed to produce and publish a video of that song on my YouTube channel and we did it by also involving Alanna Lyes, Florent Mannant and Smilin’ (who is dancing on the track), it was a really great project to work on!
04. LadyDot: You posted your first video on YouTube… already 12 years ago! This piano improvisation is excellent, but I have the impression that Davide from this video, 12 years younger, was still looking for his musical path. Is this true?
Dave Wave: Definitely true! You know, I started playing piano at the age of 6, studying classical music at the Conservatory in Milan. Then at the age of 18 I switched to jazz and discovered cool things like improvisation, stride piano and swing. Then in 2012 I opened my Youtube channel with the idea of sharing my music (and my love for music!) with the world and it was in that period, while I was trying to bring my ideas online, that I discovered the amazing world of digital music production! From there it was an endless journey made of sampling techniques, synthesizers, beats, etc. until it felt natural to produce my music by combining my experience in jazz with these EDM techniques.
05. LadyDot: Okay, we’ve already talked a lot about the origins of your work. We all know very well that you are very versatile and experiment with different musical genres (this can be heard in the tracks ‘Dangerous’, ‘Eye of the Storm’ and ‘Through the Night’, among others). Composing which of these tracks was the most challenging for you? Or was it one of your remixes or your latest single, ‘Out Tonight’, that was the most time-consuming to develop and compose?
Dave Wave: Especially with “Dangerous” and “Through The Night” my intention was to go beyond the Electro Swing genre and produce tracks that are more “house” oriented. But also here, you can still hear some “retro vibes” with instruments like trumpets, horns and, of course, piano :) Every new track is a challenge, especially when you go in new directions, but I find the journey extremely satisfying, to quote one of my favorite artists and jazz pianists, Herbie Hancock: “Life is not about finding your limitations; it’s about finding your infinity.”
06. LadyDot: I would guess that you are a big fan of swing, ragtime and other related musical genres. You are inspired by the work of Glenn Miller and Scott Joplin (you can hear this very clearly in your songs). What other artists can you add to the list of your musical inspirations?
Dave Wave: I love listening to any kind of music from classical (eg. Chopin, Liszt), Jazz (eg. Duke Ellington, Miles Davis), rock (eg. Pink Floyd) to even Progressive Metal! (eg. Dream Theater). In terms of jazz pianists I love all stride piano players (eg. James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, Willie “The Lion” Smith and the unbelievable Art Tatum) and these incredible more modern players: Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson, Michel Petrucciani, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Hiromi. My EDM influences are Parov Stelar, Meduza and Bakermat. Anyway I would say that musical inspiration can come from any kind of music!
07. LadyDot: When I was doing the research for this interview, I found out that you had created your own course on creating music from scratch. I hadn’t heard anything about that before! What prompted you to develop such educational material? I’m very curious about this course! 😊
Dave Wave: Yes, the purpose of that course is to combine music theory with the modern way of producing music. I had this idea when I realized that nowadays a lot of people, when it comes to producing music, start from the computer. They know everything about softwares, loops, plug-ins etc. but have never studied any music theory concept and I really think that just knowing a few concepts would completely change their approach and improve the level of their music productions significantly. I know that music theory is still taught in an “old-fashioned” way and can get boring but if applied immediately to the way we produce music today can get really exciting! This is basically what I’m trying to do with this course (which is almost done, in the meantime you can join the waiting list!).
08. LadyDot: We already know you’re a brilliant pianist (in my opinion one of the best I’ve ever listened to, seriously!). But do you play any other instruments?
Dave Wave: Thank you very much for your kind words! Unfortunately I don’t, I had started guitar but I’ve never found the time to learn it properly. So, only piano :)
09. LadyDot: Your latest single, ‘Out Tonight’, is a veritable Electro Swing firecracker! I love this track for its pleasant, danceable vibe, and for that catchy melody that I can’t stop humming. Of course, it doesn’t lack your magical piano and Ben Dunnill’s great vocals. Tell us please, is this single just the beginning and can we expect you to release an EP or maybe even a full album in the near future? That would be great!
Dave Wave: I’m glad you liked “Out Tonight” (we will also release an interesting YouTube video so stay tuned!). In terms of releasing an EP or a full album, this is work in progress but it will take me some time to get there!
10. LadyDot: I love Italy! I visited this beautiful country in 2019 and 2022. I don’t know when I will be able to go there again, but I wonder if you perform live sometimes? I would love to listen to your songs and improvisations somewhere in an Italian city! Or somewhere else… :)
Dave Wave: I love Italy as well, especially the food! Currently I’m not performing live but I play every now and then in small clubs so if you pass by Milan make sure to let me know :)
LadyDot: Davide, thank you for agreeing to answer my questions. This interview has further strengthened my conviction that you are not only a brilliant musician, but also a wonderful, incredibly kind and very professional artist. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your music and for the fact that your songs have brightened my day more than once!
Interview by LadyDot (Ja, Wizeruk) Date: 2023-01-23