Look Mum No Drums: Talking Music-Making with Francesco Pellegrin
When thinking outside the box means taking a look at the mundane
What do a roll of scotch tape, a ketchup bottle, a printer and house keys have in common? Besides the fact that they’re all items you’d probably encounter in someone’s home, all of these objects have the potential to become musical instruments when wielded properly.
Don’t believe it? This guy’s got proof.
Meet Francesco Pellegrin, a beatmaker and sound designer who goes by the pseudonym Look Mum No Drums. Whereas most musicians might make us feel like we need to have a top-of-the-line drum set or a covetable collection of equipment to get the music-making job done, Pellegrin does just the opposite. Taking our perspective of everyday, household items and completely recalibrating it, he has us doing double-takes at the mundane. A light bulb, a toy car or heck, even a watermelon––Pellegrin shows us that there is a little music in everything.
Ahead, we let you in on a quick conversation with the sound sampling extraordinaire himself.
Wonder: Hi, Francesco! We’re more than halfway through 2019. How has the year been treating you?
Hi Wonder, the new year is treating me with a mixture of hard emotions, great results combined with big problems. But in the last months, I’ve worked hard and results are coming.
W: Before we start talking about your sound samples, tell us about how you got your start in music. Is this a field you’ve always wanted to get into?
I still remember my first time playing an instrument. I was eight and I was in a summer camp, and one of the animators played the bongos. I was immediately attracted by the energy and the possibility of creating something from nothing. Three years passed before my parents bought me my first guitar, from that moment my passion began. I don’t know if that’s what I’ve always wanted to do, I just know that music is one of those things I couldn’t live without.
W: We know that you’re a sound designer and beat maker. Can you explain the kind of work you do in these professions for people who aren’t familiar?
The beatmaker is the one who creates, arranges and records musical tracks using a computer, to do this the computer must include a software (DAW-Digital Audio Workstation) which is a virtualization of a recording studio that includes virtual instruments, audio effects, and editing tools. The sound designer is [then] the professional figure that creates virtual instrument.
W: How did you first come up with the idea of using everyday objects to make music? Why did you decide to turn the idea into a full-on pursuit?
Recording everyday objects to create music was a necessity, because when I started producing I didn’t have all the musical instruments that I needed, so I decided to fill this void with “alternative solutions” such as recording the sounds of boxes to create drums, glasses to create pianos, etc. I fell in love with this creative solution, which led me to unexpected results every time. You know, drums are one of the biggest instruments but not all the beatmakers have drums at home, so two years ago I decided to start this challenge, to “create drums sounds using everyday objects.” I posted my work on Instagram and after a couple of months, people began to appreciate it.
W: Your beat samples show us that you’re extremely creative. How are you able to keep those creative juices flowing?
The inspiration in my case can come from anything, I just need to notice an object, hear the sound of something falling or listen to a new song.
|W: Given what you’ve learned from making beats, what advice would you give to your younger self?|
I learned that songs are made of balance. A song sounds good when the instruments play in a complementary way. If I were to give advice to myself I would say “less is more.” Many times I have inserted too many musical instruments, but the truth is that you have to choose carefully few sounds in order to make the emotions come out clearly.
W: Just for fun, which of your samples is your favorite so far?
Probably, my favorite is the drum kits I’ve created using sounds from my electric guitar because it [features] an unconventional drum sound, the snare dry and broken.
Keep an eye (and an ear!) out for Francesco’s next attempt at transforming the ordinary into something more by following Look Mum No Drums on Instagram!
Art Alexandra Lara