Unbound is the latest single release by Italian artist Luigi Surdo aka Animate. Animate’s previous two songs Tomorrowland and Filling Your Void have been upto rock songs. With Unbound, we get a change in mood and a stripped down acoustic arrangement. The song has an indie folk feel with a serene and minimalist arrangement. While the production might be simple, the song’s core melodies and chord progression are gold.
The first thing one might notice is the rose under a bell jar in the artwork of the song. This is of course a reference to the famed Rose from French author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s eternal novella The Little Prince.
The song has a pleasant chord progression with the acoustic guitar as the primary and pretty much the only rhythm instrument. We later get a sweet electric guitar solo by guitarist Marco Dima which has the right amount of feel and apt phrasing for the song, with a saccharine tone to die for. We got a joyful aura with subtle melancholy in the song as Animate sings the lyrics which ooze all that is good.
The vocals move in a manner that makes you want to keep listening. At first glance, the lyrics are about overcoming odds, “defeating empires”, “finding your own place”, and ultimately taking on the world together. But in these journeys, we may miss many opportunities and regrets we might look back on with nostalgia as we must let people move on. With the right amount of silence and stops in the flow at the opportune moments, the song moves in ebbs and flows.
Unbound by Animate has that eternal warm human quality that Exupery’s Rose possesses. Belíssima!
We get to speak to Luigi aka Animate about Unbound.
1. Was it a conscious decision to keep to a stripped down arrangement as opposed to your heavier past tracks?
Of course it was. The point is to serve the song knowing its real nature. I knew I wanted an acoustic song before I even wrote it. I have this new acoustic guitar and I love the sound of it. I mean I really love it. So I wrote a song. That’s so simple.
2. The lyrics sound like a bubbly romantic song and we can see the famous rose of Exupery’s The Little Prince in the artwork and the heartwarming music video. Could you elaborate more on the thematic concept of the song?
It is a romantic song but not as romantic as it appears to be. “ The night of the falling stars“ (10th of August) is a very special night in the area where I live. It is called like that because that night the perseids meteor shower is at its peak of activity. So people look at the sky searching for the falling stars all night long while partying hard and get really drunk.
That’s the scenery. The song is about letting people make their decisions and letting them free to go their way. It’s really about that. But there’s anger in it, not in the lyrics but in the music where the guitar chords change just before the little electric guitar solo. That is the anger. You’re the first who caught the little prince “ visual quote “ on the artwork and the video. I don’t want to go further into details but the important thing to notice is that the rose is not “ unbound ” in the artwork.
3. The electric guitars are by Marco Dima and was recorded at CS Scattered Studio. What was the overall song recording process like?
I have a small home studio and the song was written in the nighttime and tracked in the morning because I have a regular job so I dind’t have much time . I wrote the lyrics first and then I found the chord progression with the guitar and then one morning I tracked it. It was difficult because the guitar was recorded with two mics so I had to find the sweet spots for both of them. I spent an hour moving the mics trying to find THAT sweet spot. The next morning I tracked the vocals and I called my long time friend Marco to come to my studio in the evening. He didn’t know he was going to record the solo on the song because I called him saying: “ come over to see and hear my new acoustic guitar” . Then he came over and I said : “have a seat you’re going to track a solo for this song”. And he did with my Stratocaster. I love it. Then I sent the tracks to Francesco Scauzillo @ “ The Basement Studio” in Avellino, Italy. He worked with us for Filling Your Void and he mixed and mastered the song.
4. What was your musical upbringing like? Any particular memories or moments? What about your favourite Italian artists?
When I was younger I had this passion for the guitar and I exercised a lot. The thing is I like heavy music, rock music but singer songwriters too like Paul Simon, Lou Reed or Van Morrison.
With that artists in my mind I wrote “ unbound”. My favourite Italian artists are De André and Battiato who were real geniuses. Unfortunately they’re not with us anymore and I feel we, as Italians, have lost two treasures with their passing.
5. Unbound has a very pretty melody chord progression. What is your usual process for songwriting? Any common processes and techniques that you follow?
Usually I write the music first and then the lyrics like all the artists do because it is more natural that way. You try to find the space for the words into the music following the flow. But this time I wrote the lyrics first and then I found the chords with the guitar. In ten minutes I had the song written, It was like magic. Unbound is special to me.
6. What was the music video production process like?
I used a big search engine for videos that are license free. With the little prince imagery in my mind I found those little cuts you see in the video.
Then I edited them all in one timeline and I added the song. The video ends as it begins with the rose under the glass bubble. That is the message.