Audeze interviews composer and producer Stefano Lentini

January 26, 2023

Stefano Lentini is an Italian composer, arranger and music producer. He is a multi-instrumentalist known for his unconventional scoring in which he combines classical music with progressive and electronic influences. He collaborated with director Wong Kar-Wai on the feature film's soundtrack "The Grandmaster" nominated for two Academy Awards.

Stefano Lentini in the studio with his Audeze LCD-X headphones
"I use the LCD-X as a final control tool, with them I can perform a mental reset of everything I know about this music, close my eyes and listen to the whole project all over again looking for any element to improve."  - Stefano Lentini
Here's our chat with Stefano:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

Stefano Lentini - Suite After The Furies

Stefano Lentini - La Porta Rossa, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Stefano Lentini - Verdi Revisited

How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on these days?

I am a composer and music producer. My main role is to create the musical universe of movies and series by dialoguing with directors and showrunners. I supervise my team during all stages of production, from positioning the microphones during recording, to editing, to mixing and mastering.

How did you get started in music for film?

It was a coincidence, I didn’t have a particular attraction for cinema, my passion has always been for records, especially for concept albums. But one day a trumpeter friend of mine asked me to assist him on his soundtrack and it all started from there.

What kind of music did you listen to while growing up and how has that progressed?

As a kid I listened to heavy metal, folk music and some Italian singer-songwriters. Then I discovered baroque music backwards, the Renaissance, the Middle Ages and then I landed on romanticism and the twentieth century. I grew up with music from the seventies until I discovered the indie scene.

Can you name any factors that influenced the course of your musical life? Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?

I have always been very impressed by two factors: the melodic dimension and the structure of the music: the prog of Änglagård, the developments of Alan Parsons, the Nocturnes of Chopin, “… And Justice for All” by Metallica: I have always found exceptional those who succeed to create a balance through original and unique structures. The English guitarist John Renbourn marked me a lot and also the music of Fabrizio De Andrè and his attitude to invent genres without following trends.

Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?

I have sometimes met directors who did not have a clear idea of what they were looking for, a little unsure, uncertain and confused about the artistic direction. It makes me very frustrated when I have to help them find out and when their only concern is approval and success. This is limiting and does not allow for fresh and unique ideas to be developed. To overcome the problem, I had to produce more music than necessary. I'd have more meetings today.

Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project? What are some of your favorite tools/instruments recently?

In the creative stage I use Logic Pro, it's my second home, I couldn't do without it, I've been using it for more than twenty years, before it was Apple it was Emagic. I use Pro Tools a lot in the final stage of work, for final recording and editing. I am now using OS Acoustic DB7 speakers which have revolutionized part of my setup. And I also love checking the mixes and masters on my B&W-Harman/Kardon system. Then there are my guitars, I have a nice collection of handcrafted instruments by Carlo Raspagni, a Milanese luthier who produced exceptional folk guitars. I always use them.

These days I am using a lot of an upright piano that I have modified with paper and plastic between string and hammers. It opened up a universe to me. I am using it in composing the score of the 3rd Season of the Netflix series "The Sea Beyond”.

Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire toward a similar path for their own careers?

Do not emulate, find out what your characteristic is, your strangeness, your "wrong side." Work on the unique side of your music, develop it, discover its limits and push yourself further.

How long have you been working with headphones, and how do you typically use them in your workflow?

I typically use headphones in two stages: as one of the mix and master control tools, and for listening to music on the go. I must confess that as a child, when I didn't have a microphone, I recorded my first music using headphones into the cassette deck input. Someone told me it could work as a transducer!

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work? Can you tell us what you've been working on with them recently?

I use the LCD-X as a final mix and mastering control tool, they are a unique tool for acting on two levels: the first is artistic and creative, they allow me to perform a mental reset of everything I know about this music, I close the eyes and listening to the whole project all over again looking for any element to improve. The second is technical: I detect clicks or other imperfections that would otherwise be inaudible. I have remastered my arrangement of the second movement of Beethoven's 7th symphony and the song written with Charlie Winston "It's Not Impossible", main title song of the TV series "The Red Door", released in January 2023.