It’s been a good year for Alternative/Glam solo artist Michael Fargnoli. Almost every song on his artist page have acchieved high rankings in the Glam charts, including the hit song “See That Smile Again” which took the number one spot in January this year. I just had to catch up with him to find out exactly what made him tick…
GOM: So, where are you based?
Michael Fargnoli: Orlando, Florida, however, I was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island.
GOM: How long have you been making music?
Michael Fargnoli: I have been making music as long as I can remember. I began piano lessons when Iwas five and soon after wrote my first song “Oil Is Good” which was an instrumental. I can’t remember why it’s called that so don’t ask and I really don’t remember the tune…but I remember writing it in the back of one of my music workbooks! My serious songwriting began towards the end of high school and in college.
GOM: How would you best describe your music style and who do you think you sound like?
Michael Fargnoli: I have recently described my music as “Philosophical Pop”. I have a hard time categorizing myself into a genre because my music isreally unique… but if I break it down it’s easier. Musically I sound like The Beatles crossed with Techno/Electronica, Lyrically I am an off shoot of Stevie Nicks, Tori Amos, and The Doors, Vocally I am a mixture of John Lennon and David Bowie…
GOM: My fave song of yours is “See That Smile Again” with its great guitar riffs and catchy melodic vocals. Which is your favourite own song and why?
Michael Fargnoli: Thank you! I love that one too… I really don’t have a favorite, BUT there are some songs that when I listen to them really get to me and those are “Are You Real”, “Sound Waves” and “When It Comes To You”. In all these songs I love the melody, in “Are You Real”, I really love how the music of the chorus cuts in from the verses. If you listen carefully you can hear the keyboard and bass line begin as I sing “and it soothes me…”. There I am singing about something that is making me content and happy and yet the music takes a turn for impatience and despair and I go “Are you real/Are you real?”. I really like when I do that in my songs because it takes you to another place subtly without the listener even realizing it right away. “Sound Waves” is the song closest to my heart and I can’t believe I was able to write that so honestly—it really is THE SONG.
GOM: Where do you get the inspiration for your songs?
Michael Fargnoli: Most of my songs are inspired by what is going on in my personal life. However..,sometimes I will use ideas that were written years before (for example the lyrics of “Are You Real”) and combine them with new music or I will take many different poems and they become one song. Things in life are always catching me and I have many free flowing obsessions—these obsessions like numbers and images often pop up in my songs…so careful listeners will eventually be able to draw connections between most of my songs… sometimes I will write something and think it means a certain thing and then after awhile it begins to speak to me about something else…so I like my writing to be very open to interpretation…
GOM: Do you play live or is your music solely studio based?
Michael Fargnoli: At the moment, my music is all studio based…I consider all these songs mp3.com ready demos. I am currently auditioning band members to complete the line-up that will eventually perform these songs and I look forward to having them each develop as well…Let’s just say that right now I am a studio artist and I can’t wait to be able to take these songs to the next level which is performing…
GOM: I see that “See That Smile Again” hit the number one spot in the mp3.com Glam chart in January 2001. Was this a surprise to you or did you expect the song to top the charts?
Michael Fargnoli: I really did not EXPECT the song to go numberone…BUT I really did know that I had something special with “See That SmileAgain”. There was something about it that was different from all the others that I had written at that point and I knew that once it got the airplay it would catch on. It did stay at number one for several days and that is something that I am very proud of.
GOM: Noting that all the songs on your artist page have peaked at top twenty positions, are you happy with your chart exposure so far?
Michael Fargnoli: I am very happy so far, however, I would really love to cross over to the Pop/Rock charts. I feel like everything that I am putting out seems to do well but of course we all strive to do better….and I think that with more exposure I could do very well on the other charts at Mp3.com. Right now I am looking for that little boost… I mean, “See That Smile Again” should top those charts too!!!
GOM: Such notable chart positions prove that your music is popular worldwide, but how well-known is your music in your own locality?
Michael Fargnoli: My music is not very well known in the Orlando area and that is simply because I have not put my band together yet. I am known locally around Walt Disney World (which is where I work) for my music and talent. I like the ability to get my music known through the internet but it is rapidly approaching time that I became heard in the area so like I said before that is something that I am really looking forward to and I am going to be very picky about who I play these songs with and how I perform them. I am not going to just throw something together…
GOM: Are you satisfied with your songs or do you think there is room for improvement in future compositions?
Michael Fargnoli: I am very very satisfied with these 11 songs…but the way I approach my songwriting is that it is a constant evolution. I have written hundreds of songs and have them all in some way on a demo form. When I look at them in chronological order I see a definite pattern and I improve each time…that is not to say that some of my songs written in 1998 are not just as good! But…I see the way songwriting can change and progess and I love that aspect of it. I just feel that I really need to begin to collaborate with a band or a highly talented producer and a whole new wave of music would come through. In essence these 11 songs are the predecessors of the amazing music thatI will write in the future. These songs are the foundation and the roots of my style which I am still developing. I hope that someday when my fans hear these songs they will hear the ancestors of the different styles I write in…though these songs are similar in sound they each create a unique atmosphere and Iwant to discover and rediscover music each time I write a song.
GOM: I see that one of your most recent songs “Electronic Passion” is more dance orientated. Are you swaying towards the dance genre or will you be returning to your original “Glam” style in future compositions?
Michael Fargnoli: I don’t set out to write a “Dance” song or a “Glam” song…in fact “GLAM” is just where I happen to fall into on Mp3.com. I really think that the future of my music will be a combination of the styles that I am experimenting with right now. I love dance music—but I also love Neil Young…for me, what I am trying to do, is combine styles like Techno and Dance with the rock and roll/introspective songwriters to create a new style of music….I really like what Radiohead is doing today and that is the direction I would love to explore….
GOM: In your song description for “Are You Real”, you state that it was “originally created with the help of llamas in distress!” Sounds intriguing! What’s the story behind that?
Michael Fargnoli: That is a weird story…um…OK, my close friend Colleen and I were searching for interesting sound effects which I could use in my recordings and we happened to come across a website with various sounds of Llamas…and not just a llama here and a llama there but detailed desciptions of the when and why llamas make these sounds…like “Nervous Llamas”, or “Baby Llama Talking to Mama Llama” and “Llama Unsure Of Herself” !!!!! and I was fascinated by these sounds. I happened to be working on “Are You Real” and just on a whim I placed these various Llama noises on the track and it became the funniest, most crazy thing you can imagine! Well, I think that version of the song was on Mp3.Com for maybe a week and then I decided to get serious and replaced it with the Llama-less version which is available now
GOM: And finally, what are your plans for the future?
Michael Fargnoli: I am going to finish putting together a band and begin to get my music known throughout the Orlando area. I am also going to continue writing and recording so you may see some new songs pop up soon.., I have a remix of “I Don’t Wanna Die (In Your Sleep)” which Mp3.comTechno arist ANUBISTONE is currently working on, and that will be available sometime this month. But, really, as far as new songs go, I am really wiped out by these last 11 songs and I need a break! I think that I put so much energy and emotional time into these songs that I really need to let them sit now and just live as songs on their own for a while without me trying to crowd them with new material…They deserve a bit more time in the sun and although I am always working on music and lyrics I think I need to relax a bit and let myself refuel the creativity bank! So much of my life has taken form in these songs…
GOM: Well, Michael. Thanks for telling us about your songs, philosophies and llamas in distress! Good luck for the future.
Michael Fargnoli: Thank you very much.
Well, that’s about all I’ve got time for now. More interviews to come soon. Oh, I must strongly point out that no llamas were harmed during the production of Michael Fargnoli’s songs. Thank you very much….