AM Dandy: Life in Music

AM Dandy

Alessandro Meynardi is a guitarist and songwriter behind a project AM Dandy who recently put out a debut album ‘Secret Garden.’ He took part on our latest Progotronics compilation with the song “Golden Dew.” Meynardi spoke for Prog Sphere about the album, tech, and more.

Define the mission of your project AM Dandy.

I would just love to share good music with other people. Music that talks about my life, that we really enjoy to play together.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your debut album “Secret Garden.”

I like to consider every tune of “Secret Garden” a music description of a specific event or piece of my existence. If not all of them, the majority for sure. Normally, I build the whole track around a theme. But I let everything happening in a pretty natural way, without forcing the process. It took a lot, but this is what works best for me. And when I say that it took a lot I am talking about years. I composed some of the tunes more than ten years ago (Pro Logos and Modern Urban Midnight, for example) and I completely closed them just a few years ago. But since it is too risky, I will try to be faster for future releases.

Although it’s an instrumental release, what is the message you are trying to give with “Secret Garden”?

Except “Earth Sacrifice”, I don’t really try to give a particular message. As I mentioned, I just transcribed events and feelings regarding my life in music, in sounds. They have a specific meaning to me, but they assume different shades to other people, based on their personal experience. That’s one of the most attractive characteristics of instrumental music, in my point of view.

On the other hand, with “Earth Sacrifice”, I just wanted to celebrate the greatness of the planet we live in. No matter how human abuse of it, It keeps on gloriously standing, beautiful and majestic. I needed to humbly contribute to sensibilize any listener about the preservation of our world.

Secret Garden

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

I love handwritten charts, so I notate whatever I compose. I normally record the ideas first, because it is the fastest and easiest way to remember them. Once the tune is complete, every note goes on paper.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

I would rather say that it is naturally architected. Often the notes themselves suggest to the players the dynamic motion to follow. So we just gotta follow it! For example, in “Golden Dew”, at 00:48 there is a mellow AMaj9 arpeggio that completely breaks the starting energetic flow of the track. I feel like the notes impose a different dynamic, you don’t even have to figure out or to plan a dynamic change.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

For this album I composed and arranged all the tunes. I gave to the guys (both of the Group and the guests) a guideline to follow (more for eventually helping them to better understand the songs) but strongly encouraging them to interpret the tunes and their lines however they wanted, using their creativity with no limitations. We are actually recording our second album and everyone this time is creating his own part from zero.

Some tunes have been recorded “live”, some others separated (for distance). It was quite a challenge. Such a cool and unbelievable experience. I also feel it helped us to get better and faster in studio (specifically now, recording the second album).

How long “Secret Garden” was in the making?

As I mentioned in the answer to the second question, the compositional part took a lot, in some cases years, in others just a couple of days (Tu, Paradiso). The recording I would say slightly less than a year.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

Well, Steve Vai is pretty obvious I guess. For sure I would say Guthrie Govan; Satriani; Zappa and Santana as well. In some ways also Pat Metheny. Of course not stylistically but for a cinematic vibe that some tunes present.

What is your view on technology in music?

Well, in 2020 is fundamental, or at least inevitable. Any tool, software or machine that can help the developing of Art, is welcome.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

Not really. I compose music about me, in a way and style that I really appreciate, without really caring about what other people would think or perceive it. I basically create music for myself and for people with a similar background to mine, that can enjoy it as much as I do. Pretty selfish, right?! Only exception is Planet Earth. It happened in Secret Garden with “Earth Sacrifice” and I anticipate it will happen in our next record as well.

What are your plans for the future?

I am actually about to release an EP recorded with some cool guests (Stif Lo, Ricky Bonanza, Giovanni Fortunato and Pedro Lobato) very soon and, a bit later, a Live recorded in Boston with the AM Dandy Group (Euan Leslie, Jack Schwenke, Jason Park and Riccardo Gresino). We are focusing on recording our second album and preparing a couple of important live events happening in late spring and summer. Hopefully this year I will release a debut album with a project called Thunderpets which is pretty different from what I do with the guys of the Group. I suggest to keep an eye to for updates and news about releases and shows.

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