– Andrea Bignasca was born and raised in the south of Switzerland, near Lugano, on the 29th August 1988, to a teacher and a physiotherapist. The...Read Biography
Andrea Bignasca was born and raised in the south of Switzerland, near Lugano, on the 29th August 1988, to a teacher and a physiotherapist. The approach to music came early on, when at the age of 7 he started taking drums lessons.
At the age of 17, after 10 years of drumming, he vacated his drum stool, put aside his drum sticks, took a few steps to the front of the stage, dedicating himself to guitar playing and singing as an autodidact.
Andrea Bignasca, in 2012, began performing as a solo artist. In 2013 he opened for Larry Carlton at the Estival Jazz Nights in Lugano, and in 2014 he reached the main stage of the main event, Estival Jazz in Piazza Riforma, Lugano, playing after Gregory Porter and opening for Morcheeba. In 2014 he won the jury, the public voting and the 1st prize at the main music contest in Ticino, Palco ai Giovani. Raised bilingually in an Italian- and German-speaking environment, Andrea Bignasca writes and sings in English. With his first studio album (Gone, 2015, Radicalis - Sony) he secured, amongst many, collaborations with Omar Hakim (drummer), Phill Brown (mixing engineer) and Dave Collins (mastering engineer).
In the years following the publication of his first album ‘Gone’, Andrea Bignasca played over 200 shows in Switzerland (Montreux Jazz Festival, Gurtenfestival, Zermatt Unplugged, …), also opening concerts for artists such as Everlast, Morcheeba, Gregory Porter, Phil Campbell, Welshly Arms, …
‘Gone’ sold over 5000 copies in Switzerland, and its 3 singles received an extended airplay throughout all the major Swiss radios (RSI, SRG, RTS, Radio Swiss Pop, …).
The beginning of 2018 saw him undertake his first steps abroad with a solo tour in Germany in January and a second tour as support of the Swedish band Black River Delta in April. In the meantime, he continued working on his sophomore album ‘Murder’, which was released in the fall of 2018 (by Radicalis) and contained 10 previously unreleased tracks, songs and lyrics by Andrea Bignasca.
Having partly surrendered the more bluesy traits of ‘Gone’, Andrea Bignasca veered into a more rock-based narrative, strengthened and emboldened by his live experience and by the ensuing solidification of the band. Unlike ‘Gone’, ‘Murder’ had been arranged for band in its entirety and recorded by the band. The new music of ‘Murder’ perfectly staged a violent battle for one’s heart, with victory sometimes only a breath away, at other times completely out of sight.
‘Keep Me From Drowning’, Bignasca’s third album, might be thought of as an album of firsts, some being almost trivial (artwork not in black and white, Bignasca not featured on the cover, …), other rather more meaningful, such as the first 15 words written, sung and recorded in Italian (‘Left My Heart at a Rest Stop’), or the first recorded drum performance (‘Nothing On You’) since abandoning the drums and picking up the guitar at 17.
The approach to writing changed somewhat compared to ‘Murder’: Bignasca arranged the songs on his own, demoing all the songs first and then re-recording all the songs once the lyrics were written, layering the various instruments as they were sent in by his musicians (Gian-Andrea Costa, bass; Chrigel Bosshard, drums; Oliver Illi, keys) or recording them himself. These arrangements tended to give more space to the vocals at the expense of the guitars, as seen, for instance, by the fact that the acoustic guitar features heavily after having found no place in the second album. Related to this quest, of making the voice and melody king and queen of the song, are also other choices, such accompanying ‘Haven’ with a classical guitar (for the first time), which he inherited form his mother, or the appearance of a drum-machine in ‘Most Times’.
A few exceptions to this MO stand out, as the closing song of the album ‘That Place’, which was recorded live, guitar and vocals, or the first single ‘Most Times’, a song that came quite late to album (last weeks of production), finding its way from a voice memo attached to a half-forgotten mail sent by Bignasca to himself more than 7 years ago, to the final cut of the album in a matter of days. The title-track itself has a similar story, as the first incarnation of the song was set aside at first, as if Bignasca felt the song had to mature for years, or maybe he himself had to, feeling almost as if he had to catch up to the song.
In terms of content, the songs, the lyrics (all written in Lisbon), but also the melodies, have developed in a different direction and compared to the previous album convey a calmer, thoughtful, albeit still markedly rock, listening experience. One of the main topos of the album is to be found in the imagery of navigation, being at sea, having undertaken a voyage, the back and forth between Portugal and Switzerland (although on a plane rather than a boat) acting as a perfect backdrop to the author’s thoughts and development.
The album was be recorded, mixed and mastered in the fall of 2020 by Matteo Magni and released by Radicalis.