All Things Grotesque and Grandeur is an album of 10 instrumental tracks written and recorded by Paul Rigoli. It can be found at Amazon but album is not the only music of his available. He also has an album on bandcamp and many individual songs to be listened to on sites like Youtube. His music is a unique style that may be hard for many to get into but it offers a fresh sound that sets him apart from many other musicians of his age. Besides writing individual pieces of music, he has also writes scores (warning: self plug) for films we have made together such as the short film Bad Habit. While most of his music I have highlighted is instrumental tracks using mostly the benefit of music programs on his computer, he started out as and is still a bass player.
Matthew Lenox: So Paul, what got you into music? How did it all start?
Paul Rigoli: (laughs) Well, honestly, it was through spite. There was one kid, who will remain nameless and another kid said I would never be better than him on the electric bass. So I went home and asked my dad to get me an electric bass.
ML: (Laughing) This is serious?
PR: (Both laughing) I had no interest in music up to that point and I started getting interested after that.
ML: Other people have a musical career for love and passion of music. You’re just for spite.
PR: Spite that turned into passion.
ML: Were you ever able to show this kid up?
PR: I think he just stopped playing.
ML: So he just stopped…
PR: I forgot about it and I continued.
ML: So you never got to rub it in his face?
PR: Well, he knew that I played and you know, I was doing other things with it so I’m pretty sure.
ML: Did he ever challenge you or did you…
PR: No, it was actually a challenge through another person…so he might not have even known I was challenging him. (laughs)
ML: So you knew nothing about playing bass, played no music, had no interest in it, then someone bet you and you made it your life?
PR: (laughs) Yeah.
ML: How did you learn to play then? Take lessons?
PR: Took private lessons.
ML: What further steps did you take to educate yourself?
PR: Mainly self taught, studied performance in college, then I got interested in composition, took a few courses in that.
ML: So what do you like better, performing live or writing?
PR: I enjoy writing music more than I do performing. I find it more satisfying.
ML: Where do you hope to go with your music career?
PR: I want to continue composing, performing, make it so where I can, not necessarily make a living but keep producing music. I hope to continue playing in bands, eventually form my own group and get more involved with film scoring.
ML: Now, we share an apartment and I have had the pleasure of hearing you blast your saxophone throughout the place. What made you pick up another instrument?
PR: Mainly by chance. I got the opportunity to write for this saxophone player and she offered me lessons, so I took one or two and eventually bought my own saxophone down the line and I got really interested. I like the way it sounds and I like playing it and now I’m looking forward to exploring it in depth.
ML: So you’re whole music career, this whole thing, it started out by playing the bass for spite, and the saxophone was just kind of done because someone happened to offer to teach you and you decided to do it. None of this is self motivated. There is no passion from within driving you.
PR: Well, there is passion driving me cause I’m still doing it. The passion is involved in composition. I’m more passionate about composing than I am performing and that’s something that I decided to do myself rather than a silly reason like spite or chance.
ML: What type of music do you like to write?
PR: Any medium or style that is available to me at the moment, whether it be electronic music or jazz music, rock music or classical. Whatever comes at the moment.
ML: What type of music do you enjoy listening to or find influence in?
PR: I like Toru Takemistu, Erik Satie, Frank Zappa, John Zorn, I like Marcus Miller, James Brown. I like a really good groove, I like duck calls, the neighbors yelling.
ML: You have quite the variety of musical interest. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.
PR: Thank you.
PR: Thank you.