King of the Opera
King of the Opera is the new project of the Italian twenty-six year old Alberto Mariotti, the natural continuation of his previous artistic experience as Samuel Katarro.
Alberto Mariotti is considered one of the most promising artists of the Italian independent music scene. He has released two albums which have been loved by critics and appreciated by a huge audience. His music is based on the deconstruction of the classic blues form that he mutates with elements from psychedelia, acid rock, songwriting, wrong pop and more. Think Jennifer Gentle produced by Brian Wilson, or Real Estate if Black Heart Procession gave them the beating of their lives. As the first studio album as King of the Opera is being prepared, Alberto Mariotti’s music, formerly praised by some well-known artists as Patti Smith, Pere Ubu and Julian Cope, has evolved in such a way that is increasingly directed to an international audience.
King of the Opera started composing his weird blues songs in the spring of 2006, without the least intention of being inspired by the devil’s music. He still doesn’t know why his style is so close to this genre because Alberto is a passionate listener of new wave, psychedelic music and similar sounds and is a proud supporter of all that the 80’s have to offer, musically speaking.
King of the Operahas been an avid music listener since he was a kid andhas been mostly influenced by American new wave bands, such as the Talking Heads and Pere Ubu, the alternative hardcore of Hüsker Dü and The Replacements, Paisley Underground acid rock (especially Dream Syndicate) and generally by contemporary psychedelic bands (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Built To Spill). No obvious signs of the Blues. Maybe Alberto Mariotti’s geographic origins can partially explain the mix of an all-Italian melodic approach and his bluesy feel: Pistoia Blues is one of the most important blues festivals in Italy. In spite of his musical taste, King of the Opera has inadvertently absorbed some of the festival’s sounds throughout the years.
Alberto Mariotti’s career begins in 1999; after a series of covered rock’n’roll songs, he starts writing his own material in local bands (Radio 85, Smirne and Korova). His repertoire blends in New Wave, Noise-Rock and Progressive rhythms. After these first experiences, he starts composing his first acoustic songs as a solo artist. The turn of fate arrives in 2006, when Alberto, now known as Samuel Katarro, participates to and wins the 18th edition of the Rock Contest, a very successful competition organized by Florentine radio station Controradio.
From this moment on, Samuel Katarro has had many occasions to prove his talents: he has opened concerts as the supporting artist for important bands such as Heavy Trash (Jon Spencer), Italian singer Cristina Donà and his beloved Pere Ubu. He has also taken part in well-known national festivals like Italia Wave and the Trasimeno Blues Festival. Furthermore, Samuel has collaborated with Marco Fasolo, leader of Italian Sub Pop band Jennifer Gentle, who co-produced Samuel Katarro’s first solo album “Beach Party”.
“Beach Party” was very well received from the Italian music critics and it won the “Fuori dal Mucchio” prize as the best Italian debut album in 2009.
After the release of the album Samuel Katarro started to tour Italy intensively, in duo with the guitar-violin player, Francesco D’Elia.
His great success with the critics and the audience was emphasized by excellent international reviews. Julian Cope fell in love with “Beach Party” and he praised it on his website. Patti Smith expressed a sincere and passionate appreciation for his music after witnessing one of his solo sessions.
In April 2010 Samuel Katarro released his second album “The Halfduck Mystery” as a collaboration with Angle Records and Trovarobato, one of the most prized and famous independent labels and booking agencies in Italy.
With “The Halfduck Mystery”, an unconscious and very personal tribute to ‘60s and ’70s sounds, Samuel Katarro widens his musical horizons, starting to perform live as a trio with “His Tragic Band” (Francesco D’Elia - guitar & violin and Simone Vassallo - drums and percussion). This album, the following extensive tour and another important award as “best independent solo artist” confirmed Samuel Katarro as one of the most talented young artists in the Italian music scene.
A few weeks ago the Samuel Katarro and his tragic band published a limited edition of their live concert recording at “The Place” in Rome. The third studio album, the first as King of the Opera, will be released in 2012.