Gioli & Assia Take a Beautiful Journey With #DiesisLive Series

Italian electronic music duo Giolì & Assia want to take you on a trip. Traversing distances, internal and external, is both the reward and what propels the two artists to produce new songs. But they want their fans to join in on that ride, too.

Videos by American Songwriter

Seeing the duo perform live is to witness a sonic workout—the two create and play music that’s physically taxing in a live setting. This is one of the reasons why their destination #DiesisLive series is so popular with their fans online.

Aesthetically, Giolì & Assia’s music is textured, topographical. Their new EP, Moon Faces, which the duo released earlier this month, speaks to this signature endeavor. The moon, of course, is speckled with craters and cliffs. It’s also distant, dark and shifting in space. Therefore, to engage in the songs of Giolì & Assia is to hike their landscapes and, in a way, never to step in the same place twice. The payoff of these travels, is the lift and drop of the lyrics, the swell and sail of the melodies.  

“During COVID,” says Giolì, “it was impossible to fly. A lot of people discovered us during the lockdown because they were able to fly around to new places with us.”  

As part of the #DiesisLive series, Giolì & Assia traveled to Punta Bianca, the Aeolian Islands (home to a volcano), the Andromeda Theater and other picturesque places in and around Sicily, Italy. The videos themselves couldn’t be more picturesque. With Giolì & Assia at their centers, viewers could watch and listen to the duo’s ethereal-yet-rhythmic music while also digesting drone footage of the sweeping pastoral landscapes, which include shimmering bodies of water and beams of golden sunlight. Watching the videos almost feels like attending a concert in a dream.  

“We wanted to give to the people a complete journey,” Assia says.  

Beyond the glimmering nature of the series, what also stands out is the tremendous amount of effort it takes to produce the songs. Formally, Giolì is more the band and Assia is the lead singer. But in practice, both artists are always moving, always banging on a drum or playing a guitar or dancing or adjusting a microphone or mixing levels or playing keys. At the same time, like chefs who always keep their work stations clean despite making world-class dishes, the duo remain composed and their enterprise remains tight and unflinching.  

“Today, we’re very lucky thanks to technology,” Giolì says. 

The duo’s new EP is part torrent, part trance. It’s investigative and longing, passionate and sharp. It’s buoyed by a shared care for creativity as well as Giolì & Assia’s romantic bond. The two met after Assia wrote out of the blue to Giolì, who, at the time, was living in Cambridge, England. Since that first message, Giolì says, it’s felt as if the two were “meant for each other.” Instantly, there was a connection. The two shared life hopes and travel goals and, within a year, they’d voyaged to countries like India and Thailand together.  

“The special chemistry comes from the fact that we are a couple, essentially,” Assia says. “There’s magic in the studio and in our real life. All those feelings are expressed in our music.” 

When creating new work, the two dive into a mix of genres, instruments, sounds and techniques in the studio. They use their different influences, from club DJs to pop stars like Lana Del Rey, to usher in new ideas. In a way, since they live together and spend so much time together, they are collaborating 24-7. In addition, Assia is multi-lingual, so the duo writes and release music in English, French, Italian and Spanish. While they are based in Palermo, Italy (in close proximity to the airport), they have ambitions of being an international group.  

“Music is the universal language,” Assia says. “A good song is a good song.” 

Giolì & Assia, who first got together in 2016 and released their first track, “Stay Close,” in 2017, initially came to music thanks to their family. Whether their parents encouraged them toward piano or guitar lessons, or uncles sliding Pink Floyd CDs their way, each was individually exposed to both art and creativity at a young age. But it took effort to find their unique voices. Today, now that they’ve found one another, the sky isn’t even the limit. Perhaps one day, the duo will actually get to the moon and perform live as drones surround to take footage. If that happens, that won’t surprise either of them.  

“For me,” Assia says, “I chose music for a better way to express my emotions. Music is always there for you, if you’re happy, sad. When you express it in lyrics, people see the deepest side of you.”  

“My parents wanted me to be a teacher,” Giolì says. “But then I said I wanted to choose happiness. I wanted to choose music because it makes me feel like I never work. I wake up and I just want to do it.”   

Photo credit: Riccardo Iozza

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