Andrea Ojano met with Yana Grigorieva from MUSECUBE online Magazine to chat about; tours with BonGiovi, exciting happenings in his solo career and the relationship he has with his amazing fans- including some interesting gifts he has been given in the past…
If you wish to view the interview in it’s original setting as part of MUSECUBE please click here.
MC: Your previous time here was in the end of February. Now it’s real summer in Moscow. Do you find the weather similar to your homeland – Italy?
ANDREA: Yes, I really like it. It’s like home. This is where I belong – tropical weather, 35 degrees. I like winter, but if you ask me to choose, I’ll go for summer: seaside, hot weather, sunshine.
MC: Playing in tribute band is quite similar to a theatre performance. Did you ever think about a theatre career?
ANDREA: Tribute – of course. But myself is more of rock. Rock concerts – that’s where I see myself. More music, live performances, recording albums, with no acting. But as a creative person I’m always up to experimentations, getting myself into new projects.
MC: Musicians are always asked: if not music career – then what? You got a good education and you are a graphic designer.
ANDREA: Yes, I like art, I’m an artist.
MC: Tell about your way to music. It was not from the very beginning, how did you get into music business?
ANDREA: I come from Catholic Christian background; I used to go to church, after school I used to go to the Catholic community in my small town. It all started in church, where I was singing all this songs about God, about Jesus. It was actually funny because I sang with my friends. Everybody played a guitar; nobody played keyboards at that time. It was the same at my school – nobody played piano. For some reason I was curious, I wanted to play piano and I started asking my teachers if I could. They had a keyboard at school hidden somewhere and thank God they allowed me to play it. I started playing keyboards and then automatically – in the church. It all started from that. Then I made a band with my friends from the town. I was 10-12 at that time.
MC: Why did you choose the career of a designer?
ANDREA: I was always worried that music would never be a stability thing in my life. Yes, music is a dream, a passion, something that you carry on with your heart, something that you do from your love to music, following your emotions. But not necessary music is the only source of money, the only activity that allows you to pay the bills. I wanted to study communication of designs. I thought it gave more opportunities to earn some money. That’s why my education is more towards to design business: graphic design, branding, web-design.
MC: For how long have you been working in this area?
ANDREA: I’ve been working for about six years, quite long. I love it because it’s very creative. I like to get involved in projects where creativity is the key element.
MC: Do you somehow use it now in your music career?
ANDREA: Yes, absolutely: my posters, logos, banners, T-shirts. I make a lot of creative decisions within my own identities. I also studied fashion for five years. Initially I wanted to study fashion. When I was a little boy my mother took me to one of the events where she had to work behind the scenes for a catwalk and I was impressed. I went to Rome, I studied fashion in two different schools before the university. But then I realized that I like graphic aspect of a fashion more. Fashion leaded to graphics and that was it. And of course music stayed constant inside of me.
MC: So now you have no desire to go back to fashion?
ANDREA: Who knows, maybe I can bring everything together. It’s good to be multi-disciplinary.
MC: You play piano and guitar. Maybe some extra instruments?
ANDREA: I also play a bit of harmonica, drums and a triangle.
MC: You came to Moscow for shooting a music video for your solo project.
ANDREA: It’s a video for my first single. Song is called Spin For Me. It’s an intense video full of experimentations, modern technics. We worked with Apollo Studios – it was fantastic. The song is a mixture of emotions and the video is full of different scenes that represent this concept. I’m looking forward to see it.
MC: When can we see it on TV?
ANDREA: Probably in the end of September – beginning of October.
MC: How did you choose the director general for this video? Did you want to represent the song by some story or just to add some background to express these emotions of the song?
ANDREA: It all started from the song. It tells about the relationship between the Earth and a human, the connection between them. It’s like the Earth needs a human and a human needs the Earth, they belong to each other and can’t do without each other. Although a human thinks that the Earth spins around him but in fact it’s not. The Earth controls a human. It’s an abstract concept to interpret in different ways. We had a creative director Yulia Weldy, a director Dmitry Dienko, a stylist Olga Sedneva (she also works with such magazines as Cosmopolitan and In Style). Fantastic people to work with. My natural inclination was to represent the song literally but their idea was to be more abstract, contrasted. It was interesting to see it from another point of view to put such a strong implement into the song in terms of visual. I think it worked brilliant. I really can’t wait to see the final editing. We spent a long time shooting the scenes, it was from 8 AM till 5 AM of the next day, and the scenes look great.
MC: Why did you choose Moscow as a location for your music video?
ANDREA: The best studio was there. The location is great, the weather is fantastic. The production team is based in Moscow, it was a lot easier for me to move here than to move everyone to Sheffield. Plus it’s a pleasure to work with people whom I didn’t know much, so I got to know them better. I look forward perhaps to work with them again in further projects. It’s been a great choice.
MC: Tell about your first album.
ANDREA: I’m thinking about recording of the album where I will bring together the best songs that I wrote within the last 10 years of my staying in UK. The album will perhaps be recorded in the first half of 2015 ready to come out before Christmas of 2015. The album will be about 10-12 tracks. It will represent me as a rock singer; the style of the album will be based on rock. We are planning the tour but one thing at a time. First we are working really hard on the first single. We are going to release it in November.
MC: Which bands inspired you on this way?
ANDREA: I like prog-rock, but more towards the pop aspect of it. In my iPod I have blues, jazz, rock, soft-rock, reggae. It’s quite different background, it’s like talking of the same topics with the different voices. My voice is rock. I can still play reggae with a rock twist, that’s the idea. The album will bring different feeling and background together within the tone of rock. It’s quite modern but not aggressive or heavy, I wanted to keep it as a mainstream sound. I got inspiration from Bastille, John Newman, Dream Theater, Jamiroquai, Gary Moore, Robben Ford, U2, Green Day. All these different genres are linked to certain moments of my life, when I listen to a certain sound it revives certain emotions. And in my music – this is what I want.
MC: Are you still searching for your own style?
ANDREA: I’d say so. You can choose the way you dress but it’s still you. I don’t want to make an album with one unique sound because that’s not how I am. Every song that I play is different and the album will be like that.
MC: What do you think about pop music when the singer is just a performer and the song is written by a different person?
ANDREA: I think there is nothing wrong with this. Music can be interpreted in many different ways. If there is passion, understanding towards the audience you are performing to – it can be magical in both ways.
MC: In September you are having a big Russian Tour with Bon Giovi Tribute Band.
ANDREA: Yes, we are going to visit Moscow, St. Petersburg, Astrakhan, Saratov, Volgograd, etc. I’m expecting a successful visit, really looking forward to it and already preparing my suitcase.
MC: Do you have anything special for Russian fans?
ANDREA: Yes, I’m preparing a surprise – a special song for them in Russian. It will be different from that I used to play in February. Hope they will like it.
MC: What was the weirdest present you got from your fans?
ANDREA: I received some bras before… But the most meaningful present was the chain that I carry with me all the time – it says Let’s Rock.
MC: Do you like to communicate personally with your fans? Do you like to be photographed?
ANDREA: Yes, because I play for them. They bounce back the emotions to me. Being photographed – not with the flashes … I like to be photographed with people, having fun.
MC: Are you planning to change your style, your appearance? I saw the pictures on your Facebook, you can be very different.
ANDREA: I want to try not to look like Bon Jovi and more like myself. In future I will get back to my dark hair, maybe longer, more rock. So my image will change, I like experiments.
MC: Was Bon Giovi Tribute a step for your solo career or do you want to mix it somehow?
ANDREA: Bon Giovi is like an acting job. It told me a lot about music, about performing and I thank it for giving a chance to make it not so hard for me. I learned a lot about rock, about sound engineers, about back scenes. It gave my more motivation to work on my own song career even more. It’s a good atmosphere within the tribute scene, I like the music, the feeling but still it is an acting job, not me. I want to take off these sunglasses and be myself, being appreciated for myself. I do love Bon Giovi but it’s not going to be forever.
MC: I would like to add that even playing in Bon Giovi band your personality shines on, so I think in your solo career it will be even brighter. Wish good luck and waiting for your new release.
ANDREA: Thank you so much.
Yana Grigorieva for MUSECUBE