Interview: Francesco Fareri

Dan McAvinchey: Francesco, your new CD, "Forbidden Dimension", is your first CD released by Lion Music. How did you hook up with the Finnish label and what are the advantages for you?

Francesco Fareri: Yes it is my first album with a label, and Lion Music is one of the best in its category because in its catalog it has a lot of guitarists. I worked with Lion for Shawn Lane's tribute and I played a guest solo for Vitalij Kuprij's new album.
When I finished recording and mixing the album I sent them a copy to see what they thought about it. I waited some weeks and then Lasse (Lars Eric Mattsson, head of Lion Music) offered me a deal. It was great for me, my first record deal!

The advantages are many, in my opinion, compared with a self-release, as I did for my debut album. Lion Music has better distribution, and this is the most important thing. Concerning promotion, they work on it, but I think that also the artist should
get his name out as there as much as he can, and I'm trying to do my best to get feedback.

Dan McAvinchey: How did you record the tracks for the CD?

Francesco Fareri: I recorded the guitars and keyboards in my own studio. I'm totally independent and I can record whenever I have time. The bass was recorded by Kyle Honea in his own studio too, and once he sent me the .wav files, I imported them into the songs and everything was perfect. The same thing happened for Bob Katsionis and Vitalij Kuprij, but Vitalij went in a studio to record his parts. Jon Doman played the drums at Greg Howe's studio; Greg tracked the drums with his computer and his equipment then they sent the files to me. All these players gave excellent performances, and I'm really happy with the result. They are the best out there, not only as players, but also as friends! It was such a great experience for me to work with such great players!

Dan McAvinchey: How has your approach to writing rhythm and lead guitar parts evolved since your first CD "Suspension"?

Francesco Fareri: On "Suspension", my approach to solos was about improvisation for most of the song. Whereby on "Forbidden Dimension" I tried to write a lot of parts and to leave other places for improvisation. Perhaps this second release is more balanced; it has the same number of parts written and improvised! Considering also that there is a lot of space for keyboards solos, I think it is a more complete album and not only just a guitar CD! For rhythm guitar parts I played 'standard' rhythm to give more space to the other instruments. In fact, the bass and drums are incredible and they play unison lines sometimes - as if we had recorded all together!

Dan McAvinchey: What would you consider the 'non-guitar' highlights of the album?

Francesco Fareri: I always wanted to write an album which would not be just a 'guitar only album'. I mean, on the album all the instruments have the equal amount of space, and even if the album is released by a guitarist, I want to make a CD focused on all instruments. I learned this by listening to albums made by non-guitar players! You know I'm a big fan of Vitalij Kuprij, and on his albums there is space for everything, and it opened my mind for my music. That's why when I talked with Kyle, Jon, Bob and Vitalij I told them to play everything they could think of to benefit the song... and they did fantastic work!

Dan McAvinchey: What is your approach to promoting your new CD, and how does your label help you
in this regard?

Francesco Fareri: I have a lot of experience thanks to my debut album. In fact, for "Suspension" I did everything by myself - production, distribution, promotion - so I know what to do. I know which magazines will be interested and which will not. For sure, Lion Music will send a lot of promos, but I'll work hard as well to promote myself and my music. It is in my interest to have more reviews and/or interviews!

Dan McAvinchey: Do you think you'll have the opportunity to perform the material from "Forbidden
Dimension" and "Suspension" live?

Francesco Fareri: I'll be honest, I don't think I'll have a lot of opportunities to play them in concert, because here in Italy there aren't as many opportunities to play
instrumental music live, and when it does happen the organizer will surely invite other
players! My last concert was in 2002 in London for the JemFest were I played three songs from "Suspension" and it was a great experience!

Dan McAvinchey: At this point in your career, from where do you feel you draw your greatest creative inspiration?

Francesco Fareri: I'm certain I take inspiration from life, from things that happen, but most of all from music, from my music heroes and Vitalij is my absolute number one! When I listen to his music I close my eyes and I enter into a new world and I start to think about new stuff. Vitalij's music has a really deep impact for me, his music and his playing has something that makes me better every day when I listen to it. I think that his solo albums are my absolute greatest inspiration since 1997. Maybe it's 'strange' but every time I listen to them, I feel different emotions - it always seems like the first time, and this happens only with Kuprij's music.

Dan McAvinchey: Do you still practice guitar a lot? Do you have a normal daily routine?

Francesco Fareri: Unfortunately, I only play four hours a week because my job doesn't leave me that much free time, and I try to use the time in the best way I can, making exercises or playing music, and I spend a lot of time trying to write some themes or some parts to use for my music. I also spend time making new exercises for my technique, trying to jump to a new level of shredding and trying to incorporate some new and fresh ideas.

Dan McAvinchey: What's up next for you, what are some of your plans for the future?

Francesco Fareri: I'm planning to record a new instrumental album - why so soon? The fact is that "Forbidden Dimension" was finished in late 2003; then I waited to release it and in the meantime I wrote new songs. So now I want to record the new material. Perhaps the new album won't be released for one or two years, but I'm working on it. I want also to work with my vocal band - a prog metal band - and I also want to record an acoustic album, something that I've always wanted to do... we'll see how things will go!

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Dan McAvinchey: If you could do a once-off album project with any guitarist in the world, who
would it be?

Francesco Fareri: I have a lot of guitarists that I would like to do a project with, but I think that my dream project for a collaboration would be with Vitalij Kuprij! I realized it, in part, by recording an entire song with him - but a full album would be different I think! For now, I accomplished most everything that I always thought to do until now and I'm so happy at this time. If things go well, they will continue in a positive way! Thanks for this opportunity and above all thanks for the support and help over the years with your site!

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Italian guitar heavyweight Francesco Fareri has recently released his second instrumental CD "Forbidden Dimension", an album he recorded with stellar guest musicians such as Kyle Honea (bass), Jon Doman (drums), Bob Katsionis (keyboard solos) and Vitalij Kuprij (piano, keyboards). He takes his playing beyond that heard on his debut recording, "Suspension", while broadening and filling out his compositions and arrangements with new elements.

Dan McAvinchey peppered Fareri with questions about his new CD, and his relationship with his new label, Lion Music.