Bass Musician Magazine, 9th Anniversary Issue
Felipe Andreoli Interview for Bass Musician Magazine by Alberto Rigoni –
Photos: Paula Mordente
Hola Felipe, first of all thanks so much for this interview. I’m a big fan of yours since I started listening to Angra! How did you get started playing bass?
Thanks a lot! It’s an honor to be featured on BMM! I started playing bass kind of by accident. I already played the acoustic guitar for about two years when my friends at school formed a band. There were going to be some spring festivities and they signed up to play a concert. Thing is, of course they didn’t have a bass player, so they thought, “Well, if you can play the guitar, you can probably play the bass!” So I bought a bass for $80 and in two weeks we played the show, where I also became lead singer (by lack of a better choice). I’ve never looked back ever since, except for the singing part.
Who are some of your major influences?
It all started with Cliff Burton, but it progressed as I learned more about music and got to know about new bands and styles. Billy Sheehan is the biggest influence when it comes to rock, along with Geddy Lee, Chris Squire and Geezer Butler. Then I got heavily into fusion and found out about Jaco Pastorius, John Patitucci, Alain Caron, Gary Willis and Victor Wooten. But I also draw a lot of influence from drummers and guitar players such as Simon Phillips, Virgil Donati, Gary Novak, Brett Garsed, Scott Henderson, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Morse… The list goes on and on!
Which are your current bands?
For 15 years my main thing has been Angra, but I also play with an instrumental quartet called 4Action, Kiko Loureiro (now in Megadeth), a thrash metal band called One Arm Away and a couple of cover bands. One is the recently formed Yngwie Malmsteen Tribute band, and the other is called HeavyPop, where we spice up the great pop songs of the 80’s and 90’s. I also do a lot of freelance recording, clinics and some production work.
Tell us more about your experience with Angra
It’s been quite a ride! I joined the band when I was 20, so I basically learned everything I know from these guys. With them I’ve recorded 5 studio albums, 1 EP and 2 DVDs, toured over 30 countries and took part in the biggest festivals around the globe. Last year we played the Rock in Rio, Wacken, Hellfest and Hell and Heaven Fest, to name a few.
We are now touring in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the album Holy Land, and we have around 18 dates in Europe in September/October. The rest of the time we’ll be touring around Brazil.
You joined the Vivaldi Metal Project as special guest, what do you think about this project?
I think it’s amazing! Apart from the music, which is really great, I’m really impressed with how organized everything must be to gather hundreds of musicians from around the globe in a single record! I look forward to hearing the final result; there is a lot of talent involved in this record. It’s great that I’ve been invited. I love music and collaborating with other musicians.
Are you planning to make a solo album?
I’m in the process of writing it, but it hasn’t been easy. For one, I find it very hard to write music by myself. Somehow it works out splendidly when I have a partner; ideas flow everywhere! When I’m alone it’s a whole different story. Maybe it’s something I have to overcome, but slowly I’m getting there. Also, it’s been really hard to find the time to do it. Composing a bass record is for me a great responsibility, and it demands time and concentration, but there’s so much going on right now that I haven’t been able to make everything fit yet. Anyway, I plan to release it still this year or beginning of the next.
Tell us more about your technique. In particular, it seems you like the tapping 🙂
I do! In fact I like all kinds of technique, but tapping really seems to work in Angra. Maybe my most recognized technique is the three finger pizzicato, which really makes my life easier playing fast songs and intricate rhythmic patterns. I also love slapping, but that gets featured the most on instrumental music.
I try to be as open as possible to new approaches. I think it’s great to have all these tools available as part of your vocabulary. When used wisely, any technique can work.
What current gear are you using?
A lot of stuff! Since last year I’m back to playing Ibanez basses, but this time officially. I’m using both the BTBs and SRs. Epifani amps (Piccolo 999 head and UL D.I.S.T 410 cabinets), D’Addario strings and cables, Seymour Duncan pickups, Gruv Gear accessories, effects by Boss (ES-8, SY-300, FV-30H, TU-3), Darkglass (Microtubes B7K, B3K, Supper Symmetry compressor), GNI (Bass Plus Felipe Andreoli signature preamp, chorus, compressor) and Eventide (H9 Max), Pedaltrain boards (Nano+, Novo 24 and 32) and power supplies, Xtreme Ears in-ear monitors, Capcase cases and Guitar Grip stands.
How do you manage the incredible fan base you gained in these years?
I try to stay close. It’s so easy to do it nowadays that it’s almost a crime not to. Especially with the Facebook Live tool, it has been a great way to close the gap that has always existed between artists and their fans. They can see you in a more real, honest way, and that creates a bigger empathy. The people who follow me on social media seem very grateful for any piece of information that I can pass along, and I try to do it often. It’s easy to forget that having a solid career teaches you about a lot of stuff, and that information may be so trivial to you that you don’t realize how much you could help other people who don’t have the same experience. So I try to make people’s lives easier by giving them tips and shortcuts, and they seem to really like it!
Do you have any suggestions for bass players and final thoughts?
The greatest asset of any musician is not technique or speed. It’s relationship and professionalism. I’ve seen many cases where the guy that takes the gig is not necessarily the best player, but the one who can play for the music, has a great timing, a great tone, positive attitude, arrives on time, communicates well, etc. At the end of the day it’s not about how many notes you can play, it’s about how people feel around you.
Thanks again for this interview, you rock!
Thanks Alberto and BMM! My pleasure!