October 15, 2012 | 4:00 PM
Michaelangelo L'Acqua is a fashion world mainstay. He has served as European music director for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, assembling the score for runway shows and fashion videos. He founded Onda, a boutique production company specializing in music production for fashion shows, TV, film, and major label records. He's also found time to executive produce the Nat King Cole remix and covers collection Re: Generations. In 2009, Michaelangelo was named global music director for W Hotels Worldwide.
As Global Music Director of W Hotels, Michaelangelo has curated compilation CDs and overseen the way that music has been integrated into the W Hotels experience. Michaelangelo's lifework is at the intersection of fashion and music. It's only fitting that technology is an ever-ready partner in his artistic pursuits. Here's what Michaelangelo had to say about how new technology helps him set the soundtrack for W Hotels around the world.
First off, tell us about your job.
Michaelangelo L'Acqua: My job and title for W is an interesting one to try and explain. I'm the Global Music Director for the brand. What I try to do is offer a true, unique voice for the brand's passion points and translate them into music because music is the easiest way for somebody to open up their mind and embrace something. Music creates a social community.
For me, it's about creating an unconscious visceral connection between the moment of discovery for music and the place that you discovered it. So, by creating all the music inside the hotel I offer a certain sonic identity. When you situate this music at relevant music engagements like Fashion Week or Art Basel or South by Southwest or music you're offering another moment of discovery, you're associating the brand to discovery through music.
So, my job is to read trends within society, both in fashion and technology—in music and design.
How has technology changed your relationship to music, both as a creator and a curator?
I've sold pretty much all of my records which is, in one way, devastating to me. But storage in New York City is just brutal. So I went from rooms filled with records to hundreds of hard drives filled with music. When you're a DJ, you need to know every inch of every record you own. The same is true for digital music files. Music represents colors to me. I'm honestly not that good at remembering names or artists and tracks, so programs like Serato help me organize and keep track of all my music. I can carry more music than I could as a vinyl DJ, but I have backup so to speak because new technologies allow me to visualize the music I have in a more natural, kind of organic way.
You must travel a lot for your work. How do you stay connected while on the road?
I've been very lucky over the last four and a half years to travel all around the world for W Hotels and be able to DJ at a lot of their iconic hotels, whether it be Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Bali, Paris, London, Santiago, Mexico City, and all throughout America. While I am traveling, my mission is to always look for what's new/next in each destination.
When I travel, I stack my computers up with an assortment of programs: DJ programs, editing software, sequencing software. I do a lot of two track editing, especially when I'm arranging fashion shows or doing DJ mixes. So having ultra portable computers is integral for me. I can throw open my computer, crank out an edit, go hit the gig, open up Serato, and DJ the tracks that I edited that night.
I understand you're starting to do film scores. Who are your favorite musicians that have written for film?
For me, the master of all film scores is Ennio Morricone. He's a god for me. I'm inspired by his level of interpretation. Like how do you write 200, 250 scores and still be fresh and still branch out? He's the master of motif and development throughout pictures and some of my favorite pictures of all time as well.
You're one of the judges for Four Stories. Did you enjoy reading scripts? Are you enjoying being part of the short film series?
What's cool is that Intel and W Hotels understand that we need to create a platform to give young artists, young screenwriters, who could be from virtually anywhere in the world and have never had access to major entertainment capitals such as New York, London, Paris, or Hollywood, an opportunity to write a short script and get it made.
There were about eight scripts that I really loved. I hope they become finalists.