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The CHIRP Blog

DJ Mick writesThe CHIRP Radio Interview: Alex Santilli

by CHIRP Radio DJ and Features Co-Director Mick R (Listen to his most recent shows / Read his blog)

Aight Bet

Alex Santilli is responsible for providing momentum and rhythm to a number of Chicago-based bands you know and love (many of whom we’ve interviewed for our Artist Interview Series).

He’s currently the drummer for Late Night Laundry and George Arthur Calendar, but that not all! Alex has recently embarked on a solo career under the name The Adventures of Anacleto, and released a new single he’s calling “Caffe Tristé.” You can check it out below:

The track has a sensational and dreamy quality that will elevate you by the ears without a hint of resistance or drag, as if the laws of gravity have been temporarily suspended, but only for the specific volume of space which your body presently occupies.

“Caffe Tristé” is the first taste of a full length album that Alex has planned for the project, title and release date are still TBA.

To get the scoop on what to expect next, I touched base with Alex and shot some questions his way via email. His responses are captured below:

Tell our listeners who you are and how you came to call Chicago home. 

I’m Alex Santilli local drummer, multi-percussionist, producer, composer, all the things. I’ve grown up in the Chicago area, specifically in Elmwood Park in the northwest suburbs, and I moved to the city about eight years ago to pursue playing music with the greatest musicians on the planet, aka Chicago.

What are the origins and inspiration for your name, The Adventures of Anacleto?

The name comes from my grandfather, or my Nonno as we say. His name was Anacleto, and The Adventures of Anacleto comes from a concept of taking these Italian traditions of simplicity, presence in life, and beauty to celebrate it in the best we can in each situation in our lives.

My grandfather comes from a salt-of-the-earth place and he was raised with these values. The “adventures” part of the name comes from the history and the moments in my life that I see through him. I always try to keep his perspective and celebrate life to the fullest at all times. Why eat to live and not live to eat? Share the love in everything in our existence.

How did you develop your current songwriting and production style?

It comes from a place of watching and learning over the years after playing with incredible musicians here. The main thing I’ve always noticed and bothered me was the studio: the pressure, the energy, it was never gonna be like the moments around the dinner table with friends sharing songs, laughing, drinking, not experiencing what I call “red light syndrome.”

Not that it is impossible to get incredible honest recordings in the studio but the vibes are just right when you're hanging out and vibing together. And more importantly, we aren’t aware of being recorded. I’ve learned that not knowing is the strongest tool we have when it comes to creation. The production style I’ve learned a lot from producers like Madlib who didn’t care about rules, break them, and redefine music all the time.

I’ll take these recordings I’ve made from beautiful moments, go back, and resample live performances to make design pieces out of it. It’s kind of how it all developed. I owe my songwriting to the plethora of musicians I’ve been so blessed to play and create with, as they are the sole inspiration for my writing styles.

Where does the title "Caffe Tristé” come from? And what are the themes and the message of this track? 

It translates to “Sad Coffee” from Italian, and the title comes from me poking fun at watching hipsters here in Logan Square drink coffee. I would always make sad boy jokes, hipsters hanging in coffee shops, but guess what? Jokes on me. From the outside that is totally me, I’m that guy.

Then when I began writing this song, it just made me laugh at how much of a sad boy song this is, it was funny to me. The message behind the track is how I romanticize romance. How I think I want to be in relationships but there are so many people out there that it never works for me. 

The song also has lots of themes from past relationships all put into one. In the line “I waste my time dreaming of you,” the “you” is so many things: love, the concept of romance, lots of different people I’ve encountered, and it really pulls from these Italian ideas I have of romance but the modern-day and my lifestyle as a musician pulls it from the opposite direction.

The song is conflicting, it’s saying I want to make love to everybody and also be completely in love like the old Italian movies and live happily ever after with one person. Even talking about it makes me confused! It’s hard out here being a romantic, plain and simple. But, damn it, we know how to love right when given the chance!

What can you tell us about your upcoming record, and who will be playing on it? 

I’m still in the process of organizing the record and how I might release the full recordings (I might drop a few more singles or even release the album in chunks, for instance). But I can say I have a lot of songs, ideas, and, eventually, I will be sharing a whole album next year.

A lot of amazing local talent is playing on it musicians like Brian Sanborn (Noname, Kaina, to name a few) Mike Centrella (Nnamdi, and just about everyone), and a whole lot more, including members from my other bands like Late Nite Laundry and George Arthur Calendar. The musicians on here are incredible and will be celebrated on these releases.

Do you have plans for a release party once your album drops? 

No plans yet! But you know what... we’re definitely going to party, I’m sure I’ll host a big dinner for friends and have a show somewhere in the city!

Anything else you'd like our listeners to know? 

I would like them to know that they are beautiful. That if you're reading and listening I love you with all my heart. If you’re moved by the music please at all, please reach out and do it the Italian way: let’s hang, drink some wine, share stories.

I’m sick of the fourth wall artists put up, I want to break the wall down and meet anyone and everyone who digs my art. At the end of the day, this is all about making people feel, and if we can do that, we can help change our world at least in a small way by spreading the good medicine.

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Categorized: Interviews

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