Where are you currently based?
I’m in Camperdown, Sydney.
How did you first start playing music?
I started playing music by singing in choirs from a young age, and also by singing at my local Catholic church. From there I was lucky to always stumble across mates (in my teenage years) who needed someone to sing with them for different rock & metal bands, and I always loved how versatile the voice can be across genres.
What’s been happening recently?
Launching Colletto Bianco has been one of the most exciting and nervous times of my life. To keep my head straight I’ve been walking (and annoying) my greyhound, training Jiu Jitsu & MMA (at a beginner level), and working/scheming away at a few other creative projects that I am also hoping to launch this year.
Please tell us about your change in music direction from Endless Heights:
I think Endless Heights taught me (a very long time ago) that there really are no rules in terms of sound or music direction. I really love powerful, gripping and even ‘unforgiving’ (little or no comic relief) films, and love the soundscape or soundtracks that go hand-in-hand with these projects. I knew that for my solo project I wanted to try and step in to this realm and explore a more ‘cinematic’ sound. This direction felt most foreign to me in every way, and for me personally I always crave that ‘fresh fear’ when hoping to push myself or create something that feels new.
What is the inspiration behind this new project?
This project is inspired by my attempts to creatively re-define myself, and is a very fun way to explore some of the uncomfortable nuance of my own sense of identity. I am heavily inspired by classic films & musicals, and love how powerful the various creative arts can be when pulled together in a clever way (e.g. music, dance, theatre and film). What I love about this project is that it is so over the top and dramatic, and I can fully indulge the more eccentric sides to my creative vision or personality.
As I age, I continue to value my Italian heritage more and more, and this project is also a fun way to explore elements of my own identity as a by-product of trying to create a fictional character and world. Colletto Bianco in a way, is a film character that I’ve tried to build – and to give him as much depth as possible I have drawn on (and completely exaggerated) aspects of my own life. I have always juggled a busy creative life with full time work in the IT industry, and at times it can feel very frustrating or feel like a very split lifestyle, and Colletto Bianco is a great outlet (and a bit of a piss take) on how I identify myself as a creative (but in reality just work full time in an office!).
How did the concept originate and how has it come together?
The character project concept originated from my love of film noir style cinema & my Nonno’s (Italian grandfather’s) love of Mafia or crime films. As I continued to brainstorm and write or experiment with the sound (with producer & co-writer Elliott Gallart) it became clear (very quickly), that a sound was evolving that didn’t really meet a standard mould (for a typical rock/hardcore singer’s solo project). From the beginning I could imagine and dream of syncing some of the demo’s to movie or TV intro sequences – and felt from a very early stage that the project’s branding and packaging should look, feel, and come across as a movie (or larger-than-life) character.
From there every single element of the project was workshopped and re-worked alongside Candace Krieger (co-writer, co-manager & best friend) with additional creative input from Thomas Elliott & Nick Buscholtz. Everyone I gave sneak previews too seemed to ‘get it’ instantly, and it was a very fun time in my life to sink my teeth in to a project/vision with so much potential scope. Fortunately for me, as the music and recording process continue to unfold, other creatives (that I wholeheartedly respect) continued to step in and add such insane value to the vision – a huge turning point for the visual element of the project was when Jack Shepherd (DoP) and Mikey Hamer (director) stepped in to the mix and reworked my video brief. From there it was clear that we could seriously pioneer something special, and that also meant the visual side would match & rival the sound that Elliott & I (and Candace) were creating in the studio.
Your single ‘Choke’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting?
Choke was born out of my creative frustration and confusion in trying do something sonically new for me. I knew I wanted to push my voice in a more dark & sensitive or dramatic direction, but had no real idea of how to get there on my own. I imagined from the start, that it should be big and ‘cinematic’, and was influenced by big movie soundtracks that had really catchy brass hooks and melodies.
How did you go about writing Choke?
Choke was the second song Elliott and I ever wrote together for the project. I showed him a handful of tracks/beats as references and he (within the hour) created a loop for me to improvise to. I think he let me sing on loop for 5-7mins straight (which included lots of moments of me ad-libbing in gibberish and laughing), and then he ‘zombied’ together the verse and chorus, and a loose structure. After 2hrs it was clear this was a strong song, and I still can’t believe how easily the first version came together.
What I didn’t understand was how long the process would then take to then flesh out the song structure, soundscape and even lyrics properly. Luckily our best friend Candace was always around to help guide the project and she really helped and contributed to the final lyrics. I was lucky to co-write with both of these weapons (and friends), and I think I must have aged them significantly due to my impatience and excitement. Luckily, I did end up listening to them – in taking more time to refine the song and all its components – and can now confidently admit that its at a level beyond what I thought possible.
Where and when did you record/produce/master and who with?
Choke was recorded at the infamous Chameleon Studios in Camperdown, Sydney. Recorded, produced, co-written & mixed by the insanely talented Elliott Gallart, and mastered by John Greenham (Billie Eilish, girlinred, Ashnikko, Death Grips). Additional co-writing by Candace Krieger.
What influenced the concept behind the music video?
The main influence behind the music video was my desire to give the audience an entry point in to the day-to-day chaos of Colletto Bianco’s world. The original vision was to create teasers or snippets from his routine (that eventually build in to an overarching narrative) where we see the character struggle but eventually grow. The vision was that the character was essentially a ‘loveable’ villain – the audience can get a sense of relief or joy when they see moments that he ‘wins’ or gives in to his rage, as well as sensitive moments (e.g. dancing with Nonna) where the complexity, vulnerability and brokenness of the character can connect with people.
Mikey Hamer (director) then repackaged this narrative and approach (with input from Jack Shepherd – DoP) in such a clever & professional way. Once the broader video team then started to form with the likes of Michael Santos & Chris Elder (Haus Party), it was clear that this rag-tag crew of ex-hardcore kids were going to really bring something fresh to the music video landscape. I remember walking them all through (individually) my initial vision, and then instantly hearing all their ideas on how to build on the character and narrative in a better way. This video is probably the most exciting and successful collaboration of my life to date, and I genuinely consider it a masterpiece to the credit of the team’s talent and effort.
Where and when did you film and who was involved in the making of the video?
We filmed the music video over 2 main shoot days (which was insane), as well as an additional evening shoot for car scenes, and also one final quick church scene (on the morning of the gear return day). The core team was Mikey Hamer (Director), Jack Shepherd (DoP), Michael Santos (First Assistant Director), Chris Elder & myself (Producers). The overall crew was an army of 15-20, when including my actual cousins, Nonna & Nonno (who stole the show!), my brother and father and even my dog Alphonse. Every week or so of planning with this power-house crew meant bringing in another talented individual to the project, and I am grateful to the core team for pushing the project in such a way where additional talent continued to jump on board. There are too many others to thank here, but please look at the credits in the video description and scan through the insane portfolios of all the cast and crew – their input was critical and I am endlessly grateful.
What do you like to do away from music?
Away from music I love walking my dog, training Jiu Jitsu and dabbling with new technology. I think I have an entrepreneurial spirit at heart and am constantly inspired by the talented people around me and the diversity of their interests. I love to encourage those around me, and hope (or am constantly scheming) to co-create big or small projects or businesses with friends and family.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Lately I have been pumping SPEED, Psalm, Born Free, AWOL, Pat Carroll & Whatever, Forever.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2022?
My goals for 2022 are to launch an array of (new) projects that I’ve been dreaming up and working on for years now.
It should be a very exciting and busy year for me, and in particular looking forward to performing Colletto Bianco live..!
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Loving smashing Pizza in Camperdown park from Westwood (or nearby at the Denison House).
Instagram – @ilcollettobianco