Composer Domenico Mimmo Capuano
Italian composer/musician Domenico Mimmo Capuano has worked with such musicians as Toni Braxton, S Club 7, and Kool & the Gang, with his work appearing on over 33 albums to date. His unique playing style on bass has won him much acclaim. He holds three platinum albums in the US, as well as 14 gold albums in the UK and abroad.
Q: How are you enjoying your time here in the US?
A: First of all Ciao to everybody! So, I’m in love with USA, I love Los Angeles and New York City, two different places but in my heart, both are magnificent.
Q: How do things here differ most from your homeland of Italy?
A: I think America is completely different. I’m more comfortable in the USA as a creative person and I think there is more professional role to assure the safety of any artist in the USA than in Italy. Also, is possible to work with more tranquility because around me in USA there are more professionals. There is a lot competition in US, but I feel better like that, I’m sure of my skill and capacity – what I can professionally and artistically offer.
Q: How has your life changed most since you earlier days?
A: Now I’m in transition but I have a good team to work with. I got sponsored into America by Jonathan Todd and ILona Europa. I love work with Ilona and Jonathan in the studio, they are very kind with me, they give to me a lot space and decision power, and also are very funny!
In the last 2 months I have composed the soundtrack for an Australian movie. It was a very hard but good experience, Jonathan, my manager, has helped me in this and I am grateful to him.
Q: What was it like to compose your fist song at the age of 10?
A: I composed my first piano song at 10 and that was the first time I felt the connection between myself, my mind and my piano…A very emotional moment… but it was a strangely personal and private thing. I would not like my parents to be able to watch me during this process. Composers will understand.
Q: You are also an orchestral conductor. How did you first learn to do that?
A:I decided to study conducting under the advice of my Maestro and some colleagues because they said maybe I could do that, considering my aptitude.
I learned how to conduct an orchestra with 2 incredible teachers: One is my Maestro, Enzo Ferraris, who I’d already been studying with, and the other is Lorenzo Turchi-Floris, my close friend in France. I’m always continuing learning. Composing gets better by conducting and the other way around. That is my secret.
Q: What does it feel like to direct fellow musicians?
A: The first time it was just incredible! Of course I was feeling insecure standing for the first time on the podium with all the orchestra staring at me. Up to that day, I had been staring from the orchestra up at the conductor. The point of view is very different! All the people are waiting for you, and is like like taking a leap into space, as I lift the baton and all felt like it was in slow motion.
Now that I have the comfort of lots of conducting, what it feels like to conduct more or less depends on what I’ m conducting: Beethoven? Well is incredible! Dominic Capuano compositions? well …
Q: You have a rather unique bass that you play, can you tell us a little about that?
A: I have 2 different basses, one is classic, the other is made by crafstman “Paolo Rabino” an incredible Italian violin maker. He lives in “Avigliana” which is near to Turin.
Technically this Double Bass is crafted of wood but looks very strange – it is completely lacquered in white. I don’ t have electronics inside, but I use an external pre-amplifier which takes the sound from the bridge with a piezo pick-up.
This provides very realistic tone due to the tension and natural string amplification to the “box” at the bridge and serves up a great sweet sound. I play this bass with the bow, in the French style, and this is unusual for the double bass which is usually plucked.
Q: Are there any little known facts about yourself that you’d not mind sharing?
A: My friends are telling me every time that I’ m a “Stakhanov-ite.” I love the story of Aleksej Stachanov (see Alexi Stachanov – a famous soviet miner who was known for his ridiculous productivity levels) I love what I do and the organization and the method are fundamental.
Q: What genre would you classify your work as?
A: I am plastic. I do work in the genre the job calls for. Another benefit of being a composer and conductor is knowing exactly “what is under the hood” and being able to call on classical training roots to deliver any style required.
Q: Do you enjoy having the chance to interact with your fans?
A: Yes, this is very important, I like to call them “followers” and not “fans”. I’m not a star. You can follow me on www.domcapuano.com and on all the social networks, Facebook, Google, and Twitter. I like to have this direct connection with all the people who are interested in me and my work. Maybe one of my followers will become my assistant, or a famous composer one day – and I know I have had influence on their art and career.
Q: What do you think it takes for a performer to convey to their audience that they are putting their hearts and souls into their craft?
A: Honesty, with himself and with the others, also… believe in it!!!
Q: Do you ever get stage fright? If so how do you deal with that?
A: In an earlier question I said I would not like my parents watch to me during my composition process …My parents were very worried about my feelings and possible stage fright with my future performances, but you know what happened?Nothing! I never had fright, I don’ t know why, maybe is the depth of my certainty in what I do.
Q: Why do you think music has always had such a timeless appeal?
A: Because the music is the voice and sound of our soul – both the writer, the performer, the conductor and the audience connecting souls. What could be more beautiful? More timeless? I’m thinking I’m sounding like an Italian again!
Q: What do you think you would be doing if not for music?
A: I’ m sorry, I can’ t think something like that! Maybe I would not exist… Maybe I would only exist as a note or a wav file?
Q: What projects are you currently working on?
A: I just finished the composition of the soundtrack of “The Sleeping Warrior” an Australian movie. I also did the sound editing – wow endless work! Now I’ m working on a song with ILONA EUROPA, my friend and a Billboard Charting singer/songwriter. I really like her song and her unique contralto vocals. I’m blessed to be working with her and the talent she develops. Check out ILona Europa on iTunes so you can know her and hear her. Also I’ m working on a documentary soundtrack and on a games soundtrack. As always when I have time, I have to finish my concerto … it is taking a lot of time and work…