Piero Rossini, the man behind one-man electronic act Peladini, is a true nomad. From Florida and Lima, Peru, Rossini has led an unlikely journey that has only seen him firmly plant foot here in the Dallas music scene in the past couple months. Even in a music scene that thrives on its eclecticism and uniqueness of experience, Rossini's makes for an unlikely story. "I think I'm the only experimental musician to tour the Peruvian jungle," he says with a grin.
Rossini grew up in Lima, Peru. Inspired by grunge rock, he picked up an acoustic guitar when he was 13. Then he moved on to heavier stuff and was a part of the Lima punk scene with his own band as well as collaborations. "The scene got big in 1999," he says.
Rossini recalls large festivals that lasted for 12 hours. It was around this time that punk rock in Lima started fusing with metal. Fusion still amazes Peladini, who remembers when many genres were very separate from each other, resisting any interaction with other types of music.
At 18, Rossini, who was raised by his mother and stepfather, met his father for the first time in Lima. He had always been wilder than his brothers, more prone to drinking and partying, and he also looked different. When he met his father, the two looked and acted similarly and everything made sense. They became close very quickly. Rossini's father lived in Florida, and when he offered Rossini a place to stay he jumped at the chance.
Within a year of arriving in Florida, Rossini moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to join the band Immoderatus. After that band failed to gain momentum, Rossini started making music on his own using a drum machine and guitar, as well as a Kaosspad and a Kaossilator for samples.
In Texas, he had been working hard and struggling to make a living. But prior to that in Lima, he had a recording studio. Between booking the space for sessions and renting his sound equipment for live shows, he easily made a comfortable living.
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After a few years, though, Rossini was once again on the move, this time headed back to Peru. Back in Lima, Rossini kept practicing and recording for his one-man project and was asked to participate in a tour of cities in Peruvian jungles. These were ecological fairs, with booths set up to educate people on how to take care of the environment and resources. For entertainment, these events featured theatrical performances, clowns and live music.
Rossini recalls performing in front of a river with a mountain as the backdrop, playing for a large crowd made up of toddlers, the elderly, and everything in between. At one particular show, he recalls playing to an inebriated audience after several rock bands, trying to channel some of those old punk rock sounds to fit in. He wrapped up the tour at a venue he describes as a psychedelic bar filled with dancing tourists.
Unlike Lima, these cities in the jungle had virtually no music scenes. The crowds had never heard electronic music, much less something so experimental, so the sounds of Peladini were completely out of the blue. But the concerts went very well, and Rossini remembers fondly the image of people dancing as his music mingled with the sounds of nature. "In Lima the people at shows are other artists," he says. "They analyze me. But in the jungle they were there to listen and have a good time." In a tropical area, people were happier, more likely to dance and appreciated the simplicity of having live music.
Rossini recently moved back to Dallas and has played three shows at Crown & Harp, where he's been welcomed into the fold of far-reaching experimentation at Stefan González's weekly Outward Bound Mixtape Sessions. The skill and speed of Peladini recording his loops and carefully building songs is an exhilarating thing to witness. You'll hear him start with one sound and quickly build it into a complicated burst of energy that conveys a specific mood. Sometimes it is even meant to be funny.
"It's kind of like comedy," says Rossini. "A melody can make you laugh sometimes." Now 30, he once spent two months in a "clown workshop" in Lima. The mentor for the workshop, "a guy who went to clown school since he was a kid," made the comparison between comedy and music several times, and it made a lasting impression on how Rossini would approach his own music.
"I learned a lot about myself," Rossini adds about his time in clown school. "That was an outlet. Sometimes I feel like music is my only expression. But I have other means." The clowns ended the workshop by trying to make strangers laugh in a public setting. But, Rossini recalls, "Peru's a tough crowd. They ignored us."
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He did not enjoy the experience and has rarely made use of the "nose and old clothes" he bought for the workshop. "The other clowns were being silly," Rossini says. "I wanted it to be creative." His idea for being a clown wasn't making kids laugh; it was being happy.
That happiness, instead, has been channeled through his music, and now that he's settling once more in Dallas Rossini's getting more ambitious. He plans to release an album by summer. Buh Records, "the only experimental label in Lima," will put out this record. Until then, he plans to continue practicing and recording the new album until the end of March. "I would feel bad if the set was programmed," he explains, and that makes sense; after all, much of Rossini's life has seemed to veer off script and into strange and fascinating places.
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