According to his biography, the Italo-Canadian “electronic live drummer” (as he described himself when he started to combine the passion for percussions with the one for electronic music devices) Tom Simonetti made his debut on a live stage, when he was 8 on the stages of his mother’s Grateful Dead-affiliated rock band. Then his creativity in inventing generators and modules as well as his activity as a certified AppMusician turned him into a partner in crime in many performative projects and collaborations, which I invite you to check. He recently signed his debut album, entirely crafted in the guise of mycrotom on a nicely assembled orchestra of tools including, besides percussions, a Saito Marimba and some iPad Apps, a set of (somehow) vintage electronics such as CASIO CZ5000, Korg Polysix, Dynacord VRZ23, a Sherman Filterbank, E-MU Planet phatt, a Roland JX3P and a Roland MKS-50. “Ratoratiyo” came out Mongkong Music imprint as LP, CD, and even VR App at the beginning of this summer, and it’s receiving many positive feedbacks. Let’s get deeper into it by the words of its maker.
Chain D.L.K.: Hi Tom! How are you doing?
mycrotom: I am doing well. I am one of the few who have the privilege. I have released an album and was able to crowdfund a VR music video with two very talented media designers from WIDE HORIZON FILMS. Now the feedback to Ratoratiyo is quite gratifying.
Chain D.L.K.: Why did you forge the moniker mycrotom for your alias, besides the resemblances with your real name?
mycrotom: Mycrotom was a play on words that I really enjoyed. It is meant to describe me as a small part of the universe… . Tom Simonetti sounds like a stage name. But it is my name.
Chain D.L.K.: You’re Italo-Canadian, based in Germany. Which of the three “national souls” prevail?
mycrotom: I feel deep down I have a little bit of everything. The openness of Canada’s immigration policy. The Italian temperament. And the German correctness and restlessness is something that rather weighs on me. But since I’ve been living in Germany for a long time, I think it’s the side that prevails.
Chain D.L.K.: Any familiar relation with Italian composer Claudio Simonetti?
mycrotom: No. But with other Simonetti artists. My brother Iven Simonetti (Vancouver), Stefano Simonetti (Toronto) or Rebecca Simonetti (NY).
Chain D.L.K.: As the triple nationality, there’s also a triplet in the way you enjoyed/approached to music… drummer, DJ and producer. How do these roles/approaches talk to each other?
mycrotom: I find this question very interesting. I grew up with drums. That is also my instrument with which I can express myself best. Then, as a child, I was already fascinated by the synthesizer that was in my mother’s band rehearsal room. Synthesizers, groove boxes, then Ableton and app music. Above all, I have a preference for netlabels. I wanted to perform this music in public. That’s how I started with DJing.
Chain D.L.K.: In spite of many years of music activism, to call it so, you signed your debut just recently by “Ratoratiyo” on mongkong… any words about its birth and the path that brought to it?
mycrotom: I have been releasing music in bands for many years. There was also theatre or advertising music here and there. Since I had no label in my environment that would have published this kind of music, I just did it myself. Especially, it came to it to support the crowdfunding for the virtual reality video.
Chain D.L.K.: You should expect a question on the vocal samples that can be found here and there on the album. What is their source?
mycrotom: In part, I recorded them myself. For Logic by Machine, I sampled them from very old documentaries that were freely available.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s the meaning of this weird title?
mycrotom: The phrase – spelled out as “RA-TO RA-TI YO” in its original form – originates in the language of the Mohawk tribe and translates to “the great hunter”. A Canadian Mohawk Native who is a friend of our family gave me this name. I thought that this would suit the whole Background of this album.
Chain D.L.K.: I would say that your sound relies on somehow vintage sounds. Is there something intimately nostalgic into it in your viewpoint?
mycrotom: Yes. In a way, yes. Many tracks have been with me for years. This is the 3% on my HDD. The sound certainly comes from old hardware equipment that I like to use. Combined by awesome possibilities, music apps provide.
It is a very personal album. Nothing I would have constructed to work somewhere.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s the worst compliment and the best critical feedback you received by people who listened to Ratoratiyo?
mycrotom: One of the biggest compliments was certainly the chart placement in the wire Magazine in July 2021. On it also that it was played by some esteemed presenters on the radio. Among others, the really great Steve Barker (on the wire, BBC). Bad compliments… I’ve probably already forgotten.
Chain D.L.K.: I see you mentioned Dalai Lama on the homepage of your website. Why that quote?
mycrotom: I find it true. I try to remember this quote when I suffer from stress that has been implanted in me by German correctness (Smilie… ). Dalai Lama quotes touch me in some way, being honest.
Chain D.L.K.: Any work in progress?
mycrotom: Always! Many Workshops and Link Jams around my City. There will be a performance with other great musicians in an over 100-year-old huge machine house in Augsburg. I work with music robots. I am consulting for a public music maker space that will open in 2022. We are scoring with Das Hobos for a radio drama for the German radio (ARD). Always keep an eye on the great band projects. H, or Das Hobos.
And I love shipping… Anybody like to order a record? To make me (Laugh)