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INTERVIEW: FerrariLover

Hi Nico, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thank you! I’m doing well.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Endless Seconds”?

The song is comprised of five separate tracks, some with different effects than the others. That is a departure from my last album, in which the songs were single takes. I was so caught up in making this song, very in the moment–it took me over into it’s own little world (all of my songs do that). This one has a particularly symphonic quality because of the arranging of the parts involved and how the chord progression turned out. This is FerrariLover to me: how a single second experiencing beauty can be like it’s own kind of mystical eternity.

Did any event or emotion in particular inspire you to write this song?

I think I was just going through a time of being inspired, and I had been writing songs using theory first for a while. When I got down to playing, I was ready to go.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

It was great fun. I have some friends in Vegas, a professional videographer, Tai Howard, and a photographer, Lorenzo Savignano.  My other friend Sebastian was visiting from Europe and suggested we all get together and work on the project.  I ended up booking a flight and flying to Vegas and staying there with my friends for two weeks, planning it out and also just having a great time.  We discovered our fave ramen spot!  Honestly though there are so many factors involved, bringing a nice guitar into the desert.  I did a lot of preparing— since the layers of the song involve improvisation, I had to work out technically what I was playing, and be able to reproduce it in time with a track we had playing off camera. I really bonded with my friends who are just classy people and fun to be around, but also creative powerhouses in their own right.

There were many variables, shooting on the dry lake bed.  We did two days of shooting and a week to prepare, and then many editing sessions after, some remotely. I definitely can’t do what I do alone, and I am so grateful to have this team I work with. The laughter on and off set was what made it.  We have b roll. Maybe I will post it. I definitely plan to do more videos with Tai.  He has an excellent eye and is a talented editor. He also shot the timelapse footage you see.  I could go on about the experience. I really was in my element.

The single comes off your new album Exotic Legend – what’s the story behind the title?

I think life sometimes feels banal, but beauty and art make the simplest moment transcendent and ‘exotic’ in a way.  I felt I was writing my story—the story of FerrariLover— and even in mundane moments, inspiration can be in the background. An artist has to live life like anyone, but there is this reponsibility to create a kind of fantasy world of music (the album cover, the songs, the titles, together make an experience). Daily moments in life, just being an artist, are like snapshots or scenes from a film, a larger context, an Exotic Legend.  Also one of my favorite albums of all time is 10,000hz Legend, by Air. I feel they capture the essence of what I’m trying to describe. There is a quality of the ‘unknown’ or ‘different’ in something exotic, and if I’m going to be known for something and take my fans on a journey with sound, I would like it to be ‘exotic’’— a mysterious, hypnotic thing that takes them to a powerful inner world where the only thing that is certain is their own beauty. Everything else is subjective.

How was the recording and writing process?

It was definitely mysterious and enchanted.  For quite a while before hand I spent a lot of time writing songs—- just writing without the guitar, using theory and studying.  That can be tiresome, and it can feel like nothing is happening, but it is. When I got the muse to record it was definitely a lot of work, though not excessively so.  I had a lot of fun as well. It takes a great deal of focus. There is this master of the arts, what I call ‘the Muse.’ The muse is at once spellbinding, weird (in a good way), moody, and divine. Sometimes nothing sounds right and it’s frustrating, with technological problems (what I call ‘the ghost in the machine’) because of all the electronics involved. My good friends Steve and Dave, who are also guitarists, know me pretty well and have helped me with my pedal setup. I am so grateful to the guitar pedal companies who have helped me as well. Other times, everything just flows, and it’s incredible. When I was recording, there were many evenings like that. The tone was just right, I got the takes I wanted. The Muse brought it all together.

Would you call this a departure from your previous musical work?

It is more technical and layered, with more tracks, more effects, and more formal written music. But also there is still a lot of improvisation.

What role does San Diego play in your music?

I was born here and though I have traveled extensively, lived elsewhere (Rome, Belgium, NYC, LA), and speak foreign French and Italian, SD has a special place in my heart. It is my home.  Especially the beach here: when it’s quiet it’s incredible.

How have PJ Harvey and Philip Glass influenced your writing?

I once read PJ said something about how she is just a channel for the music, it flows through her. I so relate to that.  I have seen her live a few times—once front row at the El Rey in LA and another time front row at Humphrey’s in SD—- and it was so powerful. Ever since I heard her music for the first time in college, I fell in love with it. She is just the queen of rock, and such a class act. She is a major influence. Her guitar playing and overall musicianship is just at another level. Above all I think it is her passion that inspires me. It just oozes off of her.

Philip Glass is also just a legend, (most people have heard his work in soundtracks whether they know it or not)—deeply influenced by the classical masters. I think my music has some of the similar use of repetition and ambient feel… hence a kind of structural similarity to his. My sound wanders, yet relies on repetition. I think the filmic quality of his music is something I really aspire to. It is so beautiful and entrancing.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I think I found it from a lifetime of travels, learning experiences, joys, sorrows, everything. Art and music really inspire me (I’ve been obsessed with different genres of music since my earliest memory) but there is this ‘je ne sais quois’ (French for ‘I don’t know what’) thing going on, where I can feel totally uninspired for a while and then get a rush of creativity. I do have to work a lot at creativity; it’s like learning how to play, which as adults we forget. I just show up, play and practice, and when I can’t do that, I live life. But I work at it. It’s a kind of working at not working, if that makes sense. It’s hard work that results in effortless moments of pure spontaneity. I try to surround myself with beauty. Sometimes nothing is interesting; other times I’m inspired by the most random things. I could be in line at the store or driving listening to indie rock, and these songs are forming in the back of my mind. I also studied contemporary philosophy in college very seriously, learning about the nature of reality and ‘certainty,’ and I study with a meditation master in the Vedanta tradition. I’m interested in sanskrit chants and things like that. But honestly creativity is so mysterious.

Any plans to hit the road?

No plans for that now.

What else is happening next in FerrariLover’s world? 

I’m staying in the moment! I’ve been learning a lot of theory on the synth and piano, doing some writing, and getting some new pedals. I have one song done for the next album. I have ideas percolating. We will see!

“Endless Seconds” soundcloud / spotify / bandcamp / music video

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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