Gaudi, international producer, remixer and musician, sits in a field with us in Mid Wales to chat and scratch the surface of his career.

Gaudi has had international success, released more than two dozen albums, worked with some of the biggest names on the planet, performed in front of a crowd of three hundred and fifty thousand people and has been banned by the Vatican for some “sensitive content” in his lyrics. And yet he is still incredibly down to earth. Whilst supremely confident on stage and a charismatic performer, he leaves his ego on the stage where it belongs and is just another guy off stage. When we met backstage at Landed Festival, we hit it off immediately, before heading back to our campervan for a chat.

Daniel Gaudi in our campervan

It turns out this is Gaudi’s first ever visit to Wales, so our walk back to the van is taken up with gushing enthusiasm for the scenery on the drive to site and the amazing location of the festival.

We only discovered his work back in 2004, but his career goes all the way back to 1981 in his home country of Italy.

We start our chat by discussing his roots.

GAUDI: I was born in Bologna, in Italy, city that holds the title of having the World’s oldest university and recognised as one of the food’s capital in the country, so yea culture and good food are two of the elements I grew up with. Back in the late 70s / early80s Bologna was going through a beautiful underground musical moment of creativity, with a solid post-punk underground scene, a movement with lots of bands, including some I was part of.

Back in 1988, while I was still living in Italy, I was one of the first to bring the Dancehall-reggae culture to the country and the very first in 1990 to release a Raggamuffin album using Italian lyrics, I was signed with Polygram/Universal at that time and I was experiencing a decent success.

There was a track in the album called ‘1990 Anni Fa’ (1990 Years Ago), the lyrics were about an internal conflict that I was going through, about the fact that Jesus Christ, born precisely 1990 before, in theory with us all, in theory every moment, protecting us etc, yet I was regularly seen news related to violence everywhere in the World, starved people, homeless, gangs and trafficking, murders, bombing, wars and human disgraced behaviour in general… so one of the verse in the song was saying, “why do I need to keep praying, if all this shit keeps happening every bloody days, does Jesus exist fi real?’ “

The Vatican did not like this, so they banned me from every radio and tv (initially, then I went back to the media, with even bigger exposure), then, needless to say this “banning ting” did nothing to harm record sales and actually had the opposite reaction!

After having released two successful albums in Italy, I felt the need to take my music to an international audience, a plan that unfortunately I couldn’t go for from the country I was in (this was pre-internet era, everything was different), so I decided to move myself to London, it was 1995, I’m still there, very happy, with my music belonging where it needed to be.

Daniel Gaudi live at Landed Festival 2022

The fact that he felt the need to move to London leads to the question of whether English language artists dominate the world in terms of popular music.

GAUDI: Yes I think so, music scene in Britain is something to take good examples from, the music industry here is a Master on creating always new appealing things and sounds, new styles, new stars, from Bowie to Pink Floyd in the 70s (just an example) to the myriad of amazing acts in the 80s and the 90s, to contemporary artists. Products here in this country sound always fresh and perfect for the specific time we live in, although, when you accurately analyze the structure of how things are made, you see that they’re not as original as u thought they were, for instance, let’s take Massive Attack as a random example (band that btw I love to the max), back in the 90s they created something extremely new and fresh, yes – but if you dig a bit you see that it all comes from dub music, from Jamaica originally, a good twenty-five years before that. The intuition was -and here British music industry is unbeatable- adding new and modern twists on something already existing and create something actual and perfect for the specific time, something that the whole World would resonate with.

When Jungle music came along – subsequently evolving into drum and bass etc-, it also had its roots in dub music, the tempo doubled-up but the roots and basslines stayed the same, same thing for the Dubstep ten years after that, where instead of doubling the tempo you downsize it half-way etc…   I call it the “Art Of Transformation”, the capability of reinventing and creating something always good.

London, and Britain in general, is a massive source of inspiration for me.

I can remember the first time I heard Gaudi. I was in a record shop in old Camden Market, back in the day before it burned down. I was fascinated by an album that was playing and felt compelled to ask what it was. ‘Bass Sweat and Tears’ then became the first of many Gaudi albums to be added to my collection

GAUDI: That album was born in year 2000, while I was in Africa, Burkina Faso precisely, the third poorest country in the World. That’s where I saw the most extreme poverty, people without anything, not even clothes or food, indescribable places and scenes, but that was also the place where I saw the most beautiful smiles of my entire life! I cried a lot while there, I’m not ashamed to say it, I was in pain, in pain for what I was constantly seeing and experiencing, so I decided to channel my pain into something constructive, and I started creating music with musicians in the street, playing with them and recording these sessions with my portable DAT recorder, it was mostly percussion-based rhythms and chants. When back in London I assemble the fragments, edit them, give’em a bit of sense but without losing the essence of the original recordings, then I’ve subsequently added my own rhythms and instruments. Although this album started in Africa (this was my 5th solo album), I wanted to embrace the total World, so I also involved Indian musicians and many other cultures. London is really amazing for that, I had the opportunity to embrace many cultures just being here and worked with incredible musicians and people from all over the world.

Daniel Gaudi live at Landed Festival 2022

It’s not just people and cultures that Daniel likes to experiment with though.

GAUDI: Back in 1999 I played a gig with my Theremin in Rome, Italy, a promoter approached after my gig me saying he absolutely needed to introduce me to a French inventor…. and that’s it. Ok I said, tell me more, he then organised a meeting with him in the French countryside and flew me to France. I met the inventor Michel Moglia, the creator of the Fire Organ, a huge twenty ton structure made out of iron, which works with fire and midi interfaces, built with the same principle of a pipe organ, with huge pipes of different diameters and length and real fire underneath.

Our two eclectic minds clicked pretty instantly, I spent two weeks with him working in this warehouse where the Fire Organ was placed, we created ‘Elemental’, an opera for fire organ and theremin – based on the elements of earth, water, wind and fire. I then included my collaborator music-therapist Antonio Testa and the three of us played a massive gig at the Colosseum in Rome to an audience of 350,000 people. It was incredible!

We planned to do more gigs worldwide but as you can imagine the production costs were outrageous, eight huge trucks were needed to transport the organ, then we needed butane gas canisters etc, logistics were extremely complicated, we couldn’t fly etc, the structure was too big and to play in other continents we only could travel by sea.

I am always looking for new ways to create sounds, yes indeed, you know, at the age of eleven, during my classical piano studies, a started feeling a certain “punky attitude” growing inside me, I didn’t even know what punk was at the time, but I had this rebellious behaviour boiling inside which I needed to let out. One day, with my bicycle, I went to an abandoned warehouse and stole rusty industrial chains to put inside my piano. The sound that came out of it was atrocious, I loved it, I finally understood what I wanted to do in life! My mother was not really happy to say the least.

I’m glad I studied classical music, but after these 12 years of practicing and learning I felt the need to destroy what I had learned in order to create something new. Do you know there is a tree called Pinus Palustris that regenerates and creates seeds only after been destroyed by fire?.…  😉

Of the many artists Gaudi has worked with, we have to ask about Youth, another phenomenal producer and musician that is responsible for many of the items the record collection in Iguana HQ. We interviewed him back in 2015 (read it here)

GAUDI: Before Youth being Youth, for me Martin is a brother, an highly gifted artist. I was a big fan of Killing Joke as a teenager, so you can imagine now working with him what that means for me. We did many productions and albums together, it all started back in 2009 when I did a collaborative album with The Orb called ‘SCREEN’, eleven experimental tracks written and produced by myself and Alex Paterson, we invited Youth to play bass on two of them, he accepted and did a superb job, he didn’t even want money for the session so we gave him songwriting points, he did it for love of music.

A few years later he produced Hollie Cook’s album with my music contribution on piano, synthesizers and co-writing, that was the first time we were both in the studio together working on something. We vibed so f++++g well, then we naturally planned to do more together. Then we worked on a few albums by The Orb, and started the production of our first EP as ‘Youth & Gaudi’ called ‘2063: A Dub Odyssey’ released on a limited edition 10″ green vinyl, then we recorded our first official full-length album Astronaut Alchemists and the second -freshly released- Stratosphere, all of them out on Liquid Sound Design Records.

Daniel Gaudi live at Landed Festival 2022


The list of people Gaudi has worked with is incredible, including Lee “Scratch” Perry, Steel Pulse, Groove Armada, Horace Andy, Deep Forest, Afrika Bambaataa, Lamb, Simple Minds… – the list goes on (check out Wikipedia). But we wondered if there is anyone not on the list that Gaudi would like to work with. He does not hesitate to give us one name.

GAUDI: I’d like to work with Bjork, dunno know much about the way she works but instinctively I feel that the way she visualises “things” (music and art in general) is not dissimilar to the way I do it.

A few months before we met, Gaudi’s studio was burgled, with lots of irreplaceable stuff stolen, including hard drives with some important unreleased music on them.

GAUDI: I was devastated yes, some of the stuff stolen was irreplaceable, such as masters for as yet unreleased albums. Hard drives containing albums I produced for Steel Pulse, Don Letts and more artists, songs I played on for Horace Andy, the Orb, African Head Charge, Creation Rebels, all on these hard drives. I was worried that they would end up on the net, so I rang all the musicians involved and explained the tragic scenario, all of them were only worried about if I was physically hurt and they all just said, ’Gaudi, no problem, we will just do it again, only better’. There are some truly wonderful people on this scene, I feel surrounded by love.

Apart from all this remixing, producing and recording, Gaudi is regularly touring and live performing internationally. We can’t help but wonder if he ever sits down and relaxes.

GAUDI: I’m a busy person yes, I love being busy and I need to use my brain all the time, this makes me feel very alive. I recently realised that the more I’m busy the more requests for studio work or gigs my management receives. If you see two restaurants close to each other, one is empty and one is full, which one would you instinctively go to? The full one yes? If it’s full probably the food is better, probably they tick all the boxes people ask for, probably the service is better, its reputation is certainly good.

As we draw the conversation to a close, I ask if Gaudi ever listens to his own music.

GAUDI: Nope, I am my own worst critic, I always think about how I could have done it better etc. Even when I listen to music in general, I would like to be able to switch-off the analytic part of my brain and listening just for the pure pleasure of listening and enjoying, but I can’t, music drags me in, all the time, and I can’t resist to her. When I watch a movie for example, is all a different story, I am much less analytic and I finally watch the goddam movie, without thinking how the movie was made etc. When I’m in the studio busy on a production or a composition, I tend to spend hours and hours on microscopic details, subtleties, minuscule events possibly noticed just by my own self, or maybe not – who knows, I tend to be a bit meticulous with my productions I admit it, analysing every element in it, analysis that unfortunately doesn’t stop once all is done and recorded. I can’t really tell if it’s a good or a bad thing frankly, but one thing I know for certain, clever details help a production to be good and stimulate the listener to pay extra attention.

I stop recording, but the conversation continues, fueled by gin and our shared passion for music. Gaudi is a warm engaging character who is great to be around. There is no ego, just a love of music, a love of life and a love for people.

Eventually he has to go to get ready for his live performance – taking our gin glass with him! Bastard.

A few hours later we find ourselves down the front of the stage witnessing the amazing live set. I have seen him playing in the past but this is a special event and we have created a connection. Live dance music is not always a spectator sport, I can count on one hand the number of electronic artists I have seen that are able to compete with a live band in terms of entertainment, but Gaudi does it, he has the crowd in the palm of his hands! I am long past dancing, I usually stand at the back tapping my feet, nodding my head and grinning, but hey, Gaudi has me throwing shapes like John Travolta – an amazing feat in itself, but even more amazing is that it is pissing down with rain and no one is heading for cover, everyone is too engrossed in the music to care about getting wet.

Dancing (not naked) in the rain to Gaudi

We started the day as fans of Gaudi’s recorded music. We ended the day pleased to have spent time in the company of an inspiring human being and ecstatic to have spent an hour grooving to an incredible live set. Eighteen years on I can still remember the first time I had heard Gaudi’s music. I’m sure that in eighteen years time I will remember the first time I saw him perform a full-on live set. I’m sure it will not be the last though.

Go to Guadi’s Bandcamp here. You won’t regret it!