STÈV just released his new album Beyond Stolen Notes via Loci Records & Megaphone Records. Now the young Italian Stefano Fagnani, the man behind the name STÈV, gives a track by track insight into his work and Beyond Stolen Notes – exclusively for NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION.
01. Hiraku (開く)
The idea of opening a diary is what Hiraku symbolizes. I did not create this tune with that specific aim, though: it was the natural progression of the track that brought it to be the first one of the album. I recorded this sweet guitar melody but didn’t manage to find the right way to evolve its environment. It slept in my projects folder until, when I was in Japan, last year, I found a sweet combination of sounds in the garden of a temple in Tokyo: the wooden prayer tablets were moved by wind and smoothly touching each other, along with the leaves shaking. I caught that combination of sounds with my portable recorder and, when I came back in my room in Nerima, I edited it and placed on the background of the guitar line. From there on, the track developed on its own.
02. Hills Are Floating
While composing the album, I realized that I felt like making a journey: I had this picture of me with guitar and backpack walking through the hills, aiming to reach the top. I remember I thought: “What if the hills started to float slowly? It would be a really peaceful experience”. This is why I decided to dedicate this tune to a traveller’s daydreams, especially mine. I love how my mind painted this strange but beautiful image in my head. In the beginning, I tried to record some vocals for the track too, but they didn’t make me feel comfortable and I decided to not include them in the final version (I now think it’s better this way, luckily), but I liked the lyrics and maybe one day I’ll be able to use them in a proper way.
03. New Lands Discovery
I wrote and played the theme of New Lands Discovery on the clarinet, inspired by the strong emotional feeling of exploring the places we love. This said, this is not only intended for the places we want to be more than everywhere else, but also for an unexpected strong feeling we find in a casual place we’re walking through, which moves our heart. This is one of the tunes I made which moves me the most.
04. Lain Is Dreaming (feat. Earthquake Island)
My friend Emiliano aka EARTHQUAKE ISLAND showed me an amazing anime called Serial Experiments Lain, which is set in a cyberpunk/Japanese environment and, despite it being quite old, has a story that turns around themes of the present day: the Internet and the web identity. I loved it from the first ten minutes and we decided to create a tune, starting from a loop I made out of synths and drums, setting the star of the series, Lain, in a dreamy state, like it is an audio spin off. We also placed a small detail at the end of the track that only the fans of the anime would understand.
I composed this tune thinking about my life in Urbino, a small city near my hometown where I lived for a year to study at the Fine Art Academy. I left the Academy to dedicate myself to music with a more serious perspective, but I kept going back to that city often because I met some of the most important friends ever there. This track is dedicated to them and all the things we did together. It actually revolves around a guitar part I wrote and recorded when I lived there, almost four years ago, although I found a way to valorise it just when composing the album.
06. Kodama No Matsuri (木魂の祭)
Do you know Kodamas are the Japanese spirits of the trees? You can find a cool representation in Miyazaki’s Mononoke Princess. In that movie, they emit kind of a rattling sound, which is the one that inspired me to create a tune like this: I imagined a festival where a lot of them reunite to dance.
07. While You’re Fading (Cello by Springintgut)
While You’re Fading is the first tune I made after conceiving the album. I started working on that when I was at home of my friend Riccardo (aka KOWBE MU) in Berlin. My German friend Andi Otto, who has a solo project which revolves around cello and musical technology, named SPRINGINTGUT, recorded a long take of his cello and then I selected some parts and used them to build the track. This turned out to be the longest track I’ve ever produced and I’m really really happy about it. It’s inspired by important people fading from your life, causing us to fade too, although we’re bringing with us the happy memories we had together forever.
08. Bamboo Delays (feat. Godblesscomputers)
Me and Lorenzo GODBLESSCOMPUTERS met through music and became friends. Although we have different style, we move in a similar musical direction, blending electronics and organic stuff. We decided to start from a tune I started and developing it together, like it was a conversation between us. For me having him featured on a track of my debut album is an honour and I really like how this tune came out.
09. Haneda (羽田)
Last year, I arrived in Japan via Haneda airport. It was my second time there and I can remember that the smells and the colours aroused in me some very deep feelings. As soon as I ended the check out, I went outside to take the monorail and breathe that air I was longing. I wrote Haneda thinking about that sincere moment, in which I lived very intensely despite the long flight I just got off of. In this tune I collected all the amazing moments of my first day in Tokyo of May 2014, but also the sadness I felt when I left, from the very same airport. I think that this track describes the two extreme opposite moments of the same trip well, but with the same aim to remember the happiness I find there.
10. Origami Flower
This kind-of-dancey tune was written and left in the ‘work-in-progress’ folder when I was living in Torino. Thanks to the album, I managed to rework it in the right way and unleash its full potential. I feel it’s more of a dark track for my standards, but that’s not really a problem: I liked it more for that reason, instead. I can remember how I felt when I recorded the first version and I thought that the way it grew up fit perfectly with the concept of Beyond Stolen Notes.
11. Flying Tissue (Stolen Edit)
This edit of Flying Tissue, from the Loci Records released Elsewhere EP, was for me the right way to close the album. I decided to quote that EP because it meant a lot to me and I feel like this work could be considered a sequel to that. This track is kind of a symbol at the end of this work – to collect two important pieces of my artistic life.