Roberto Di Gioia is a very talented multi-instrumentalist. He was born in Milano, Italy and raised by his parents (an Italian and his German wife) in Pfaffenhofen/Bavaria in Germany. Roberto began to play his Antonelli organ at the age of four years, he could play piano and organ in a good way round about when he was eight. One of his striking inspirations was GEORGE HARRISON’S My Sweet Lord in 1970. He learned to play music by ear through hearing it from the radio. Roberto is an overall autodidact in his musical talents. When he was six, he was taught the piano by a cellist who was a member of the Berlin philharmonic orchestra. His talents in piano playing were discovered by friends of his parents who were opera members. They told him to join a school which could expedite his musical gifts.
From 1975 on, Roberto visited a boarding school in Eichstätt, the Gabrieli Gymnasium, a school which is focused on music, he learned harmonies and to play classical music on the piano and on church-organ. The Gabrieli Gymnasium was a school with a lot of gifted teachers who played a lot of different musical instruments. There was even one teacher who made his job in a Mozart costume! In this way, Roberto got the chance to learn from various influences during his school time and to dive into the marvelous universe of the huge musical cosmos.
Together with a female sax player, Roberto founded a duo when he was twelve. Roberto was early fascinated by all kinds of Jazz music, the “music of the intellectuals”. He loved the music of BILL EVANS, MODERN JAZZ QUARTETT and for sure, JOHN COLTRANE.
In the same period, Roberto taught himself to play Jazz on his own as well. He began to write own songs for several projects during his school time. Soon, older musicians got aware of his talents and invited him to the sessions in the music club “Peterskeller” where several talented musicians were playing regularly. Roberto played there every Monday for five years.
At the age of nineteen, Roberto moved to Munich, the “big city” for him at that time (1984). There he joined in the regular jam sessions in the Jazz club “Unterfahrt”. He got to know famous German and international jazz musicians there, for example ALBERT MANGELSDORFF, ROMAN SCHWALLER, KLAUS WEISS, JOE NAY, just to name a few. He played in ten to fifteen bands at the same time during that period. The musicians around him were older and much more experienced. In that way, Roberto could always learn more and more in his musical skills.
Roberto made his A – levels in subject music and gained the highest grade, he played a five – voice Bach fugue and a prelude there. Roberto joined the army for only three days, but he managed to get sorted out there when he simulated to be a neurotic and hysteric. In 1985, he began to tour as a musician, at first in Germany, then in Europe, later throughout the whole world. The famous ART FARMER was impressed by Robertos talents and forced him to join his band when he played in Vienna at the famous Jazzland. Roberto got to know drum player MEL LEWIS as well and recorded an album with him live at the OPUS ONE in Vienna. The piano player FRIEDRICH GULDA, a legend in jazz and classical music, watched Roberto playing during that session.
Roberto toured Mozambique with the famous ROMAN SCHWALLER JAZZ QUARTETT for two weeks where they met local musicians such as a well known Balafon orchestras. At the age of twenty-two, Roberto was invited by sax player RICHARD LOZON to play in Detroit. RICHARD LOZON was an industrialist and hobby Jazz musician who visited Munich for jam sessions every year. He put himself together a top class jazz band (with DAN KOLTON/Bass, DANNY SPENCER/Drums, RON BROOKS/Bass) in which Roberto was the piano player. Roberto played Bebop and Hard-Bop with them in the famous Blue Note club in Detroit and in Bird of Paradise in Ann Arbor.
From, 1987- 1990, Roberto played a lot of gigs in the bands of KLAUS WEISS and CLIFFORD JORDAN. He recorded and jammed together with jazz legend AL PORCINO (trumpet player of FRANK SINATRA and member of CHARLIE PARKER’s Big Band). By The way: AL PORCINO still has his big band nowadays. On one of their gigs, the famous Jazzlegend KLAUS DOLDINGER (Das Boot, Tatort) discovered Robertos talent as a piano player.
In 1990, Roberto began to play with KLAUS DOLDINGER`S PASSPORT for eighteen years. There were long tours leading him around the world (including Brasil and South Africa). In 1996, Roberto founded his successful own band ZAPPELBUDE together with German wonder-drummer WOLFGANG HAFFNER and played with him for three years. On the self- titled album released by Mood Records, there were exclusively his own compositions (except two of WOLFGANG HAFFNER). Roberto was deeply inspired during that time from acid jazz and the funkier, “groovier” side of jazz and engaged himself intensively with this kind of music, especially as a songwriter. This was the beginning of the conclusion that only playing Jazz isn`t the ultimate fulfillment for him anymore. “Jazz is improvisation and communication. It is like an inspiring conversation: you can only rise above yourself when you absorb inspirations and ideas from other people”, Roberto states. He wanted to write compositions
instead of improvising. Acid Jazz brought himself to the idea that there has to be more than playing Jazz for him. Thus he began to write his own songs. One of his important influences still is the music of THE BEATLES. Over the years, Roberto came from Jazz to classic back to his roots, the music of the sixties and seventies, such as PINK FLOYD, JIMI HENDRIX, CREAM, LED ZEPPELIN and DAVID BOWIE.
For Roberto, Jazz and did not go together well in Munich. The pop world was a kind of “No- Go” for Jazz-musicians like Roberto. The only exception was KLAUS DOLDINGER`S PASSPORT (with former members like German pop star UDO LINDENBERG, CURT CRESS or KRISTIAN SCHULZE). Through his membership in Passport, Roberto came into contact with several musicians beyond the jazz scene like the STRÖER BROTHERS (The Buddenbrooks, The Manns), UWE OCHSENKNECHT, HELGE SCHNEIDER and WIGALD BONING. SIEGFRIED LOCH, founder of WEA MUSIC and the “patron” of PASSPORT, was another important person, he sponsored the first MARSMOBIL album later. In songwriting, Roberto began with instrumental tunes for ZAPPELBUDE in a funky and acid jazz style. Later on, he continued to compose songs with vocals. These vocal tunes led to the foundation of MARSMOBIL.
Together with sax player JOHANNES ENDERS, Roberto founded MARSMOBIL in 1999. Johannes Enders lived in Weilheim, the famous Bavarian city where the famous German bands THE NOTWIST, TIED AND TICKLED TRIO, CONSOLE came from. They had a studio together, the “home” of Payola music. Robertos work for THE NOTWIST and CONSOLE for their successful albums Shrink, Neon Golden and Reset the Preset intensified the connection to these musicians and the Payola label. Therefore, the first Marsmobil release, a self-titled 12” vinyl with four tunes, was released on Payola in 1999. Shortly after that, Roberto decided to make up his own thing. JOHANNES ENDERS wanted to play more jazz music, Roberto wanted to make music in a way which is more pop – oriented. In conclusion, Johannes and Roberto split up and Roberto wrote more and more songs on his own.
Parallel to the songwriting process, Roberto decided to learn more instruments than the piano. He taught himself to play bass and drums (which are the instruments he plays very well nowadays) and is able to play the guitar in his own style. During that period, Roberto began to sing his own songs as well. He has a breathy soft voice which several colleagues were positive about when Roberto asked them about their opinion of it. The Indian Sitar is another instrument was Roberto interested in. But: Sitar is very difficult to learn. Usually, you spend more than thirty years of studying Indian music to learn it properly. Thus, Roberto learned to play it as good as it is possible when you learn an instrument by yourself. But he knows that he’s still a dilettante in it. Roberto: “ The good thing about being a dilletante on this heavily difficult instrument is you can`t go wrong. I have a strong and clear imagination – for example of one single tone I want to produce. I work on that imagination as long as it needs to reach the fina lresult.” The preoccupation with sitar brought up the composition Palak Paneer in 2001 which was licensed for the German movie Alaska.de later. This small success convinced Roberto that his solo project is on the right way.
When his band ZAPPELBUDE came to stagnation later on, Roberto asked SIEGFRIED LOCH about releasing MARSMOBIL on his label ACT records. The album Strange World came out in the concept Siegfried and Roberto brought up together. It was a loungy album which features WIGALD BONING, TILL BRÖNNER, KLAUS DOLDINGER, NILS LANDGREN as guest musicians. Roberto still likes the album today.
Meeting CHRISTIAN PROMMER (TRÜBY TRIO, FAUNA FLASH) was another step in Robertos career. FAUNA FLASH made a beautiful remix of the tune Flowers from MARSMOBIL. Later on, this remix was licensed on the well-known compilation Secret Love on SONAR KOLLEKTIV and was chosen by GILLES PETERSON in this year’s charts. In this way, Roberto came into contact to the DJ scene as well.
Knowing CHRISTIAN PROMMER and ROLAND APPEL of FAUNA FLASH, Roberto came also into contact with PETER KRUDER for their VOOM VOOM project. Roberto played on their successful album Peng Peng on K7 records. When Roberto recorded the new MARSMOBIL album, PETER KRUDER and CHRISTIAN PROMMER were very interested to produce the new tunes because they liked them a lot. Resulting from this cooperation, the album Minx was released by the labels Compost and G-Stone together. The styles on Minx can be described as a mixture between singer/songwriter, easy listening and electro-pop . The release of this album was an important step for Roberto to find his way how to continue his musical solo career. The most feedback was given to the track Magnetizing which was later licensed to the Hotel Costes compilation. Magnetizing was also chosen by radio station FM 4/Vienna in their 2006 top charts. Three more tunes from Minx were licensed for the TV series CSI Miami and Californication.
In the meantime, Roberto played several times for TILL BRÖNNER as a guest piano player. In 2003, the sax player of the ROLLING STONES, TIM RIES, asked Roberto to join in for the project The Music of the Rolling Stones. Roberto met TIM RIES seventeen years before when he touring throughout Europe. The Music of The Rolling Stones is an album with jazz interpretations of ROLLING STONES songs in which Roberto worked together with CHARLIE WATTS from ROLLING STONES, BILL FRISELL and the bassist of MADONNA, DARYL JONES during the recording. KEITH RICHARDS, RON WOOD, BERNARD FOWLER, BILL FRISELL, BRIAN BLADE, LARRY GOLDINGS, NORAH JONES, SHERYL CROW were involved there as well.
In 2008, Roberto was asked by Producer and DJ HENRIK SCHWARZ to record a piano excerpt for the re-interpretation of MOONDOGs tune Jazzbook No.2. This re-interpretation was released on the album Henrik Schwarz Live (K7 records).
Another musician Roberto worked with for a longer period of time is WIGALD BONING. Wigald was included on the first MARSMOBIL album, but didn’t play on Minx. When Roberto called him in 2006, Wigald was a little bit disappointed that he wasn’t invited for the album, but they arranged another co-operation for WIGALD BONINGS album Jet Set Jazz (Compost Records 2008). They wrote the Songs on the album, recorded the album and toured in Germany together. On the current album “(Why Don’t You Take) The Other Side?”, WIGALD BONING plays flute, bass clarinet and oboe on the song Spirit Of The Dark.
2007, Roberto was involved in a project called CHRISTIAN PROMMER’S Drumlesson. Drumlesson Vol.1 featured various jazz re-compositions of classics in electronic music. Drumlesson toured Europe in 2008, including the successful jazz musicians ERNST STRÖER, DIETER ILG, WOLFGANG HAFFNER.
PETER KRUDER invited Roberto for the production of the DJ HELL album Teufelswerk in 2008. CHRISTIAN PROMMER, PETER KRUDER, ROBERTO DI GOIA and HELL composed and produced the Day- side of this album together. The trio KRUDER/PROMMER/DI GIOIA is a fantastic production team which worked many years together in several projects (VOOM VOOM, DRUMLESSON, MARSMOBIL, DJ HELL).
During a tour with TILL BRÖNNER, Roberto got to know MAX HERRE of FREUNDESKREIS when Max former musical partner JOY DENALANE played with the TILL BRÖNNER Band. The producer of MAX HERRE, SAMON KAMAWURA, visited Roberto together with Max to cooperate on the composing and songwriting. Roberto wrote several arrangements on the album Ein geschenkter Tag (Sony) and is the piano player in the live band of MAX HERRE. The new MARSMOBIL song Crazy Coloured Light on the new album features MAX HERRE as a rapper (in English language!). Roberto wants to work with Max for a longer period of time. Roberto likes to play with musicians who aim for a long time cooperation.
Roberto characterizes himself as a high-flying and passionate person. His passion involves (of course) human beings and music as most striking inspirations. His personal music archetypes are JOHN LENNON, JIMI HENDRIX. He was deeply influenced by THE BEATLES, BILL EVANS and JOHN COLTRANE. His favourite Beatles albums are The White Album, Abbey Road, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper and Let It Be. The LP of JIMI HENDRIX Electric Ladyland was played till the vinyl was totally wasted. PINK FLOYDS Dark Side of the Moon was for sure as important as albums of SUPERTRAMP and FLEETWOOD MAC. Another big impact was made by EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, especially the album Tarkus. On the jazz side, KLAUS DOLDINGER`S PASSPORT also made a big impression when Roberto was young. But Roberto is also deeply influenced by classical music, his favourite composers are RACHMANINOV, MOZART, SCHUMANN, DEBUSSY, CHOPIN, HAYDN, SCHUBERT. His favourite Interpreters: SVJATOSLAV RICHTER, VLADIMIR HOROVITZ, ARTURO BENEDETTI MICHELANGELI and MARTHA ARGERICH. His favourite band at the moment is LITTLE BARRIE. Roberto also loves THE WHITE STRIPES, THE EELS, MGMT and VAMPIRE WEEKEND. SCOTT JOPLIN, JOHN CAGE, NICK CAVE, EMPIRE OF THE SUN, JOHN DOWLAND, GILES FARNABY, TOM WAITS and TONY SCHERR are important influences as well.
Roberto is a perfectionist who is often deeply living into the present time. His friend SAMON KAMAWURA calls him the ‘Here and Now- Brother’ because Roberto can be affected totally by the projects he’s involved in. As a character who longs for pleasure, Roberto is very interested in all kinds of art and style. When it comes to fashion, Roberto had problems as a young man to find fitting clothes for him due to his small body height. Therefore, he early came to London where he found clothes in size XS to XXS he really liked. He searched for a long time for his own taste in fashion. Nowadays, he has a secure opinion what styles he likes for himself.
Roberto loves food and is a passionate cook. He states himself that he would work as cook if he hadn’t been successful as a musician. He loves to eat, his Italian origin comes through when it comes to food and eating because “Italy is the country of enjoyment in Europe” (Roberto in his own words). According to this, a good Sicilian or Sardinian redwine is a special enjoyment for him as well. His favourite dishes: Penne with Lamb, Parmigiana Pugliese, Orechiette con Salsiccia. Pleasure and enjoyment are the deepest emotions if you ask Roberto. As a boy, Roberto played soccer as well and is a supporter of FC Bayern München for years. Roberto began to love this soccer club in the 1970s when Bayern had a good team together (in 1979 he saw Müller, Hoeneß, Rummenige, Augenthaler, Maier play at the Olympic Stadium in Munich). As it is for many soccer fans, you stick to the club for a lifetime and Roberto still is a Bayern München supporter.