THEOREM – Music and sound at the center of design: interview with Diego Santin

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What kind of role has music nowadays? One of the most inflamed quotations is that of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who said: «Without music, life would be a mistake». But do we know how to relate adequately to music? Do we give, above all, the right “dignity”? This is one of the goals of Theorem, a company in Milan, who shapes sound by designing sound spaces for shops, stores or home spaces. The sound becomes an element of interior design. We asked Diego Santin, the founder of Theorem, to talk about the project and the musical experience offered.

Do you talk briefly about yourself?

I was born professionally as an energy engineer, but I’ve always been related to music and everything that binds spaces and sounds. After attending a Sound Design course here in Milan, I made the big jump: I left my previous job and invested in what is now Theorem.

How Theorem is born? What need did you feel about creating this project?

Theorem was born from my mind and my partner Marco: we wanted to create a reality that deals with sound and music with a professional viewpoint. After spending the summer 2014 working in the world’s leading sound branding agency in Germany (now our members), I understood that even the music universe can have a business-oriented perspective. Often the sound setting is neglected but the public and/or the consumer are very meticulous and they withstand subconsciously the influence of the acoustic component.

When was Theorem born and how did the workgroup be created?

Theorem was born in April 2016, after finding the right figures that could cover all the operational roles. Now our team is able to handle all aspects of design and we are always expanding.

On the site, regarding the design of sound spaces, it’s written “increase yield by acting on psychoacoustic mechanisms”: do you give back “nobility” to music, giving fair value to the influence that music has on people?

It’s proven by various studies that music and sound affect both the enjoyment of the space and the public’s behavior. Many locations (hotels, restaurants, businesses, etc.) are equipped with advanced high definition hardware, but they work in a low level of content. On the contrary, our goal is to produce a sound space that becomes an element of interior design, just like furniture or the color of the walls. This can be done through the compilation of “ad hoc” music libraries and the creation of “soundscape”.

Can we find your same ideals also in the composing and structuring of the Dj set? What music and sound do you use to engage those who listen?

Our team of emerging artists (both DJs and musicians) has a common tendency for everyone: the ability to combine electronic synthesis sounds with more classical instruments (piano, guitar, etc.). As for the Dj set, I personally like to use “German” tracks, not acidic and intense but more evocative and ethereal. An example is “Curtis Newton – Noom”. However, none of us are locked in his closet, but we share and admire the external proposals.

Is Milan a city full of impulses from the point of view of art and ideas?

Milan and its attitude towards design are surely inspirational. Objects and interior furnishings work as a strong impulses and, for example an event like Design Week, would be even more unique with areas dedicated to sound installations. Other elements are urban fabric patterns, like Central Station rails, skyscrapers facades, or former gasometers in the outermost parts of the city. Everything that is geometrically reproducible and refers to the concept of musical loop.

In the Italian or international musical “mare magnum” what is most fascinating to you?

I belong to club music: I grew up with this “education” and I can’t do without it. Recently, I’m discovering a very interesting scene in the Balkans: Sarajevo and Belgrade are also very active with emerging artists, labels, festivals and events. If I can give you a tip, I suggest the Submarine Vibes label: very contemporary and energetic.

From Spotify to YouTube, going for modern record tables or tools which you can create tracks, it’s a historic moment where music is practicable in the most heterogeneous ways. Is it an opportunity for everyone or we risk to loose “professionalism” behind it?

Available technologies currently give anyone the opportunity to approach this world and be able to experiment with production. It is essential to have proper training and a professional approach, especially to make it a job. Giving value to both their own efforts and to the content produced by others is fundamental: going to sell or work for glory is dangerous and useless. On the contrary, professionalism and a structured work method are highly appreciated by authorized personnel and over time they bring results.

From Nietzsche to De André, around the music there are countless aphorisms: is there a quote that you internalized?

“Do not you wonder sometimes’ bout sound and vision,” extracted from David Bowie’s “Sound and Vision”.

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