Italian duo Giolì & Assia are known for fusing live instruments, vocals and dance music, creating their distinct indie-electronic sound. Today, Feb. 12, their signature sound is showcased in their latest release, Moon Faces.
The sonically diverse five-track EP blends styles of techno, house, indie and pop music that are accompanied by Assia’s emotional and enchanting vocals. With Gioli playing guitar, handpan, piano, drums and cello and Assia singing and handling the mixing console, the dynamic dance duo indeed produce captivating, emotional cinematic soundscapes.
The multi-instrumentalists and Diesis Records label bosses went viral following their live set performing on top of an active volcano in Milazzo Sicily, Italy. Since then, the pair have continued to release live performance videos, dubbed #DiesisLive, at stunning locations—with their most recent being Punta Bianca, Agrigento. Their career to date boasts selling out their first U.S. tour on all dates months in advance and collaborating with luxury brands such as Burberry, Armani and Louis Vuitton. Though Giolì & Assia had a unique start to their creative partnership as they were artist and manager, they later developed into a production and songwriting duo in 2016. The breakout pair are also a couple and cite themselves as “proud members of the LGBTQ community.”
Here, Giolì & Assia took the time to share with Forbes their inspiration behind Moon Faces, balancing a working relationship with a romantic one, their plans for the future and more.
Lisa Kocay: Can you describe your sound in three words?
Giolì & Assia: “Melodic, powerful and emotional.”
Kocay: What was the inspiration behind Moon Faces? How did you pick the name of the EP?
Giolì & Assia: “Every time someone asks us to specify the genre of music we produce, it’s quite hard because we produce and listen to different types of music. We both like pop, indie, underground, tech house, Afro house and so on. So the concept and the name of our EP was to explain that every song inside of it could be represented by a face of the moon and a different type of musical inspiration. Even if the moon has different phases, at the end of the day it’s always the same—what changes is the perspective we have from the earth. So our music, even if it could change—speaking in terms of the influences, the BPM [or] the genre—in the end it’s always us with our imprint sounds and style.”
Kocay: Can you share any stories behind how some of the tracks on Moon Faces were created?
Giolì & Assia: “‘Rollercoaster’ was created very fast during a few hours in the night. We were experimenting with vocoder effects on the voice, and some chords at the piano just sounded right to us. So we created a melody on those chords and the lyrics just flowed out naturally. We produced it around March 2020 during our first month of lockdown in Italy. The title ‘Rollercoaster’ explained exactly how we were feeling during isolation. Sometimes up, many times down, because we couldn’t perform our job anymore by traveling and playing in front of people.”
Kocay: Your relationship started out as artist and manager. What made you decide to change that and start making music together as a duo?
Giolì & Assia: “As a solo DJ and musician, we felt that the project ‘Giolì’ was missing something. We wanted to give the fans real songs with lyrics—something that they could actually sing and relate to. We didn’t decide it in a day, but it was an organic process that evolved over time, because even if we were releasing songs as a duo, the shows were still played by ‘Giolì’ alone. We became a real duo, with both our music and shows, in 2018 when our first album Istantanee was released and we performed at Privilege Ibiza during the whole summer.”
Kocay: You two are more than just music partners as you’re also a couple. How do you balance a working relationship with a romantic one?
Giolì & Assia: “It’s not always easy, especially during this period of lockdown. It’s easy for the frustration of our job to reflect into the relationship, but we’ve been together for six years now and we know how to balance the romantic with the working side. We are very lucky because we designed our job the way we wanted to reflect the way we love. We don’t need to escape from it or take breaks. We love each other, we support each other but mostly we have fun with each other. There’s nothing like traveling the world together, visiting amazing new places and playing shows in front of people that love us and support us for what we are and produce.”
Kocay: How did you initially get into making music?
Giolì: “I’ve always been into music production since I was a little girl. I studied piano for many years, I started playing and learning to play guitar by myself, then I became a member of some local bands and at the same time I started my project ‘Giolì’ as a classical pianist and composer.”
Assia: “I was taking guitar lessons at my high school but the teacher wasn’t very stimulating, so I left. Then my uncle bought me my first stereo with some CDs from Muse, and then I became infatuated with music. I always loved to sing. I bought my first MacBook [and] recorded some covers while I was at university. During that time it wasn’t possible to consider music as a real path, and my parents didn’t agree, so I graduated on the narrow path. Then I met Giorgia, and everything became a dream.”
Kocay: Do you remember the first electronic music song you heard that made you fall in love with the genre?
Kocay: If you could go back in time to when you first started making music and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Giolì & Assia: “It probably would be just don’t stress too much, follow your instincts and proceed in your direction. We feel grateful for what we have and achieved, so we wouldn’t change a thing in the decisions we have made, even the wrong ones, because they brought us here. We each can only follow our own path.”
Kocay: What are your plans for the future?
Giolì & Assia: “We can’t wait to show the people what we’ve been working on during this past year, all the collaborations, music and tour dates we have in the program.”
Kocay: Is there anything else you think I should know?
Giolì & Assia: “We are working on an acoustic version of the Moon Faces EP, so be ready for it. It will be super emotional.”