Who is Vincent di Pasquale? Watch the FaderPro "Artist Access" interview video that goes outside the studio to tell his musical story.
Vincent di Pasquale closes his eyes and loses himself in the song. His thoughts meander among the beats, the instrumentation, the melody. In the dance club of his mind, there are bodies moving rhythmically between shadow and kaleidoscopic light. He listens to the song again. And again. Sometimes beneath headphones. Other times, blasting the track as loud as he can on his studio’s monitor speakers. He listens until he hears and feels his own song emerging within the song. And then, it’s time to go to work.
Di Pasquale is a music producer, remixer and engineer. But make no mistake: He is an artist, first and foremost. “Although a lot of what I do is technical, studio stuff,” explains di Pasquale, “at the heart of it, it’s all about getting a creative musical idea out of your head and out to the world to hear.”
When producing or remixing a song, di Pasquale becomes a master dissector. He breaks apart a song to its simplest elements – tempo, key and rhythm – and then determines the structure of the piece, in order to layer it with his own sounds, rebuilding it into something new. When working as a producer, he finds the process of crafting a song similar, although “it’s always a blank canvas, and the challenge is to go from silence to something cool,” he admits.
But he does come up with something cool. Time after time. At least, if international chart-topping tracks and multi-platinum and gold records are your gauge for cool. And if they are, then he’s the DJ of cool. Just check out the glistening records framed along his hallways, representing industry breakthroughs with the likes of Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado, One Republic, Mariah Carey and Missy Elliott, among others. Not to mention his work with Lauryn Hill, which launched his career in the music industry back in 2002.
In a business known for its revolving door of talent and overnight booms and busts, di Pasquale is an anomaly of sorts. From his first job as an assistant engineer in the legendary Hit Factory/Criteria Studios in Miami, he always saw his career like running a marathon rather than a sprint.
“You may have the best musical chops,” says di Pasquale, who has since relocated to Denver, “but you have to start at the ground level and work your way up. And that means you’re going to be pouring some coffee along the way – until you prove yourself.” Whereas many of his peers expected fame and fortune, along with an easy work schedule, to come immediately, di Pasquale knew (and knows) better. “If you want to really make it in music today, you have to stay current and of course, stay creative.
“I always try to change it up in my productions,” he says, “throwing in live instruments and giving the track a human factor.” Like having a local saxophonist jam on his extended remix of Maria Carey’s “Say Something.” Or incorporating a live bass guitar in his remix of Madonna’s “4 Minutes,” (feat. Justin Timberlake), which reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Club Play chart. The single also went on to earn double-platinum sales status, almost unheard of in today’s digital world.
That organic touch informs much of his musical sensibility: “Many producers get stuck trying to make that bass line, or whatever sound, just perfect. For me, I make a musical decision, capture the moment and move on. The imperfections are a slice of it. In fact, perfection is usually an accident.”
But accidents don’t make a career.
“And then there’s the business side of it,” he adds, the slightest bit of a sigh lingering in his voice. “You need to understand marketing, promotion, record contracts, distribution. Today’s artist has to be an entrepreneur.”
Here again, di Pasquale breaks the mold. A few years ago, after being asked by companies such as Apple to give seminars and demonstrations on how to use the leading software packages to make and mix music, di Pasquale co-founded FaderPro.com, an emerging leader in online training tutorials for those interested in music production. “It’s kind of like Bob Ross’ paint by numbers,” he laughs. “But our students and clients love to learn this way. And the teaching actually helps me to think differently, and that helps me creatively.”
And creativity, ultimately, is di Pasquale’s stock and trade. This past couple of years has seen di Pasquale’s musical evolution continue producing more original material. He’s written, produced and supervised two albums in collaboration with Universal Music recording artist, Luis Lauro, which fuses pop, dance and electronic music. He’s also recorded an co-produced a new single for Just Us titled “Superhero” featuring Macy Gray. He’s also moved into composing landing his first film score for “The Warm Heard Of Africa” a documentary based on Malawi, featuring the voice of none other than Morgan Freeman. “It’s a new frontier for me,” di Pasquale says, “but it’s an important next step in my career. I’m not at my zenith yet – not even close. I’m always learning, especially in this shifting tide of musical genres and technology, and I know I’m getting better and growing as a creative artist.”
And if that’s the case, di Pasquale had better make a lot more room on his walls for those framed records. He’s going to need it.
(Article written by Mark Berry for The College of Charleston Magazine)