New Album Premiere:
La Fine del Futuro
Words: Steve Smith
Image: Walter Wlodarczyk
Via email, Hanes offered an extensive description of how La Fine del Futuro came together:
“So basically, I was a little afraid of the idea of writing new material after the release of Amore Per Tutti. Perhaps afraid is not the right word… let’s just say that i was daunted by the idea. Making that first record, Amore Per Tutti, was a truly a test—a reckoning with myself and my abilities as a composer, arranger, as well as my skills as an organizer and bandleader. The recording session was fraught with errors, cancellations, and conflicts. I didn’t sleep for three weeks, and was borrowing money all over town. The engineer and one of my bandmates were talking alternated 15 minute breaks to go vomit and do other things in the bathroom due to rampant (though non-contagious) stomach issues. There were at least three cellists in the studio one day, each one more confused than the last. The mixing took months, and after a highly flawed final product, we had to start all over again.
So, when the end result was finally released into the world, chock full of music into which I had poured every last ounce of my creative spirit and energy, my and my whole band’s blood, sweat, and tears – not to mention heaps of money, and even friendships irrevocably rifted – I had a hard time conceptualizing the idea of making another record.
In the meantime, I had moved from Boston to NY, and some members of TB, who had been with us since the beginning, and helped shape the band into what it was, said their farewells. a small hiatus was in order.
And then, miraculously, puzzle pieces started to fall into place in a way I could never have expected. My bandmates expressed that they missed playing together, and introduced me to kind musicians who were chomping at the bit to join in. I listen to Burt Bacharach’s Live in Japan album on repeat for a month straight, which helped me get it into my thick skull that Tredici Bacci could morph into anything I imagined, thanks to the incredible musicians i was working with. In February 2016, before Amore Per Tutti was released, the new, reformed TB made its debut at Palisades (RIP) in Brooklyn. It was a blast.
At the beginning, we were playing mostly material that I had written long in the past. But then, very naturally, a collective creativity began to take hold of the band. I felt inspired to re-arrange music for every gig, and we started to explore new musical avenues as a group. These people could handle whatever I threw their way: changing structures, long-form conducted improvisations, cover songs hidden within original music… anything!
It was in this climate of creativity and companionship, despite my lingering feelings of doubt about my abilities as composer and bandleader, that new music slowly but surely began to bloom—in the most unexpected ways! My mentor and collaborator JG Thirlwell and I had begun writing songs together, and one of them seemed especially ripe for TB to sink their teeth into. JG also had written to me around Xmas of 2016 to describe a moment of inspiration he had while hearing the song “O Come o Come Emanuelle” at a Yuletide concert: there should be a reimagining of this classic through the lens of Morricone’s score to Navajo Joe. We debuted the fevered mashup, which I had feverishly arranged the night before, two months later during TB’s Stone residency.
Also during that residency, in a hurried quest for new material, I brought TB a composition called “Barbarians,” which I had written for a smaller ensemble of pump organ, acoustic guitar, viola, and voice called ANONYM. The band took to it like gangbusters. Essentially, every track on this new record was born almost by accident, in a completely natural way.“Minimallisimo” was an experiment in taking a piece of music that seemed impossible, and seeing how we could tackle it. “The Cavalry,” Ryan Power’s track on the album, was an expression of respect and love for his music—TB played an entire set of Ryan’s songs for his record release in November 2017, and this track stood out as the very best.
“Promises Promises” is based on a deep love for the music of Burt Bacharach, which myself and Jesse Heasly, one of my closest friends and musical compatriots, flourished together. “Impressioni” was written by Abigale Reisman—I want every member of TB to write music for the group!! (And anyone else in the world, for that matter.)
All of a sudden, without my even being aware of it, we had almost enough material for a new album. We just needed a couple more tracks, and I finally was able to find it in myself to write two pieces, based on ideas I had been playing around with since even before TB existed. These became “Titoli Di Testa” and “In the 1970s.”
So to summarize, here’s what I’ve realized with crystal clarity: If you’re collaborating with the right people, working hard, staying focused, and making sure to have fun, music can flow out of you like a fucking tidal wave! And I find the knowledge of this to be all the more profound now, on the final night of another Stone residency – After spending the last months preparing for this concert, I see again now that La Fine del Futuro is just the beginning—the tip of Tredici Bacci’s musical iceberg!
Tredici Bacci performs at National Sawdust on April 25 at 7pm; nationalsawdust.org