Young (hes only 23 years old!), good-looking (take a gander at the accompanying photo), and very talented, Gino appears to have a very bright future. Although his primary instrument is the piano, Gino plays an amazing number of others: acoustic guitar, drums, synthesizers. In addition, he handles horn and string arrangements as well as lead vocals. Something of a Renaissance disco man, you might say.
Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, Gino began studying piano at the age of 8. His parents insisted that he extend his cultural background. As he puts it, I wasnt into sports very much, and music was a good way to get out of it. By the time he was 11 Gino was enjoying playing Bach sonatas, because after one listening they would stay in your head they really had hooks.
By the age of 18 Gino had begun renting electronic keyboards and synthesizers to use in his own home studio. He was so into recording his own music that he gave up entirely on social life. The next year he was ready for his first break. It came after a producer asked him to play keyboards and write a tune for a group called Kebeletrik. He ended up, however, doing practically the whole LP by himself. This meant recording 48 tracks, synthesized drums to keyboards, soup to nuts. Fortunately for Gino, War Dance went top ten disco in the U.S. When Gino walked into a Montreal disco and saw how much people were enjoying dancing to his music, he was hooked on disco.
With this first success, Gino dropped out of college, using the money he made to record one more demo. When Ray Caviano, head of Warner/RFC Records, heard it, he signed Gino to inaugurate his new label and rest is history. The album Outline is now considered one of the most adventurous disco LPs.
Recently I spoke with Gino and here are a few highlights I culled from our conversation:
Wresch: I hear that youre about to tour. Are you going to try to produce the same sound you can create in a studio?
Gino: Thats a problem. The way Im getting around it is to produce a second album. Im trying to develop a more live sound on the second one, to make it easier to reproduce it on stage. The first album was constructed in the studio and to reproduce it on stage would be practically impossible. Theres a possibility of using some tapes of heavy programmed synthesizer lines with a live rhythm section.
Wresch: Why do you choose disco and not rock or jazz?
Gino: I did do a little of all that before I did disco. The reason I went over to disco was that it seemed to be the only type of music where I could really be free. There are no limits to what you can do with disco. With other kinds of music, I felt it had already been exploited, that I couldnt contribute as much to something like rock.
Wresch: When will your new album be released?
Gino: It should be completed in four or five months.
Wresch: Will it be more funk or Euro-disco sounding?
Gino: It will be a marriage between both. Everything Ive been hearing lately has been going in different directions. Mine, though, is very personal. Im not being influenced too much by what everybody else is doing; Im just going ahead and doing what I feel is right.