Bassist Lorenzo Feliciati on Why Is Music Important…
Who are you, and what do you do?
I am Lorenzo Feliciati and I am a bass player, Producer, Arranger and bass teacher based in Rome, Italy.
Who are your primary musical influences?
I grew up listening to my older brother’s music collection that included groups like Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep, Jethro Tull, and Genesis. Then I discovered 80’s New Wave bands and artists like Devo, the Stranglers, Japan, Talking Heads, and Elvis Costello. But, to be honest, I usually listened to the music that was on the radio back in the 80’s – especially The Police! So, in essence, the music of the 1980’s is a large influence!
What are you listening to musically, in the past 12 months that has enhanced the way you think about music and your craft?
I am currently listening to a lot of Dub and Reggae. Particularly, I’m listening to Nils Petter Molvaer, Eivind Aarset, and all the artists on the Northern European modern jazz scene. I don’t have too much time to listen to music, these days. I’ve spent much of the last 4-5 years I have playing, producing/arranging, and editing music for my own records, in addition to collaborating to make several very good albums! So, I am always listening to projects I’m working on to prepare myself.
How does your personal musical voice directly relate to the function of the basses? Also, what are your main instruments?
I try to be part of a song with my musical voice, instead of simply being someone who plays on top of an arrangement. I did a lot of Pop sessions and tours in the past. So, I think it is impossible to unlock myself from the traditional role of the bass! A few fast runs (every once in a while) isn’t a bad thing… to be honest!
I play 4-string 75% of the time, which is my passive ’72 Fender Jazz Bass. The rest of the time it’s my 5-string fretted Ibanez Grooveline, or fretless Ibanez Gary Willis Signature. I use MarkBass amps exclusively, and I also effects from Strymon and Digitech.
Describe your musical composition process.
That is not easy to describe – as the process is something that is different every time! The only thing that is always the same is that I compose and record the bass line as the last element of the song. That way, I am sure to avoid the “bass player’s music” result!
How does music affect your culture and immediate environment?
I feel that music is the best way to interact with people in a respectful, peaceful and positive way. So, I think that it heavily affects my life and the life of my family.
It isn’t easy sometimes! But, I try to do my best to be a nice person to work with first… And, then I deal with all the other elements of being a professional musician.
What would you be, if not a professional musician?
A Chef! I LOVE food and cooking, and I am always searching for new food from other cultures!
What is the greatest sacrifice you’ve ever made while in the practice of being a musician, and how did that sacrifice affect you?
The daily schedule of a professional musician is often different than that of people with more “traditional” jobs. Sometimes you are beginning to work when your friends are coming home to relax after their day at the office! Fortunately, my wife Désirée is a professional singer… so we often share the same crazy daily routine. Our daughter, Alice, is very good in interacting with it.
I am a lucky man.
Describe your standing practice regimen. Also, what technical (and musical) aspects of your playing are you currently working on?
Usually, if I’m working on a recording or a new song, I try to discover something new – like a new way to approach chords, or a new way of using an effect. At this point, my learning process starts from the “job”… and not the opposite, like it was at first.
What does music, and being a musician, mean to you – at the deepest level of your being?
When I am playing music I like, with people I like to be with, I am very happy.
How important is it to understand the Language of music?
I think understanding music is essential! It is the key to express yourself and to be able to communicate with other musicians what you have in mind and what you are asking them to do. The more you know about music, the more you will be able to express yourself to yourself and to everyone you’re trying to communicate with.
How do you collect the series of seemingly random influences and articulate them through music?
Few days ago I discovered that while walking on the street I follow a rhythm, and a casual one…! Seriously, I believe that the way I feel and the way I am is heavily influenced by the music I am playing or listening to, and vice-versa!
Can music ever truly become commercial? Why, or why not?
I can divide music into either being honest, or dishonest. Period.