RAMONA PORTELLI speaks with ALEANDRO SPITERI MONSIGNEUR
Aleandro Spiteri Monsigneur is a Maltese musician, session artist and composer. Notable for his active participation as keyboardist for local award-winning band Red Electrick, Aleandro is also involved in several others projects as a session musician, recording artist, affiliate and contributor.
He has performed abroad multiple times, including performances in large-scale festivals such as Jarocin Festival (Poland), Altstadt Festival (Germany) and at the Kourion Amphitheatre (Cyprus), as well as Aleandro was also responsible for composing the film score for Case at Riddle Crossing¸ a 2015 international feature film, and has also had his chorale Coniuncti Concidimus, Dividuui Accidimus performed by a number of local choirs and as a one-time exclusive arrangement for string quartet in Vienna at the European Youth Orchestra 2016 Summer Tour.
You have performed abroad multiple times, including performances in large-scale festivals such as Jarocin Festival (Poland), Altstadt Festival (Germany), the Kourion Amphitheatre (Cyprus) as well as a number of venues in Los Angeles, USA. Can you share a great experience you encountered while travelling?
Any experience abroad is one that really sticks to you as a fond memory, but probably the craziest one of them was when we played in Poland but had another gig in Gozo the day after, so we had to take a really late flight to Malta a few hours after the gig, catch the ferry to Gozo, and go to our venue to soundcheck and play.. we ended up exceeding 30 hours awake!
Initially you started exploring into music as a teenager, and your initial studies centered classical music, but you soon started exploring different genres and techniques to both performing and writing. Can you explain further
I think any musician starts off by playing and learning a particular genre or style, which he or she would eventually end up calling ‘my roots’. In fact, my first style was the study of classical music and performance. In meeting and working with different people, however, you end up taking in influences and ideas which become an intrinsic part of you by time. I believe it’s really important to not put a box around yourself, rejecting yourself to change and development. There is a plethora of ideas and choices out there, and limiting yourself to only a few is a harmful way forward, in my humble opinion.
What instruments can you play?
I started out playing the piano, which I still do and which will remain my main instrument, but in secondary school I started playing some bass guitar by myself and in a couple of bands. The piano’s layout really helps to discover other instruments, and in fact it’s often dubbed ‘the father of all instruments’. I can mess around with some guitar and drums, but not that I’d actually call myself a guitarist or drummer.
Your work also includes you as a recording artist with several local artists, recording and contributing to songs which more often than not are heard on local music stations. What sort of collaborations you involve yourself exactly into?
Besides my work in Red Electrick, I also work frequently with Railway Studios, where I record for artists working there, and often also help out in pre-production and arrangements. Pre-production is the process prior to recording and producing, where we sit with the artists and talk about what they want out of their production, the direction, the best method for working, and what they wish for as and end result. Arrangements involve organising parts and scores for different instruments and in turn choosing those instruments, depending on what the song needs, whether that is a string section, a brass section, or anything else. This remains a very enticing aspect of my profession, because no project is like the other and they all offer very interesting challenges and opportunities.