Fabio Ferri is a skilled musician and composer living in Bristol, UK, who is noted for his creative approach to music. His creative talents are absolutely unique, as he incorporates aspects of jazz, classical, and experimental music into his pieces, resulting in a complex and engaging sound. One of his most significant works is the nine-track instrumental album “Griboyedov Incident” which was released in December 2022. It is a spectacular demonstration of his creative talents, containing a blend of jazz, classical, and experimental music components and taking listeners on a trip through many moods and emotions. I was fascinated by the record, so I contacted him online to learn more about it. Please see our dialogue below.
Songweb: Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind your latest project?
Fabio Ferri: The first inspiration is the classical music that flourished between late Romanticism and the mid-20th century in those areas that now correspond to Russia and Ukraine. I’ve always been attracted by the works of composers such as Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, and Scriabin, to name a few. Each of them is unique, but at the same time I like to see them as part of a scene that developed throughout less than a century and that has a slightly different flavor from what was happening in Western Europe. Each song off the album is dedicated to one or a few of them, as well as artists from other areas (such as painter Kandinsky, inventor Theremin, and baritone singer Khil aka Mr. Trololo). The whole album is dedicated to Ukrainian writer Bulgakov and the title ‘Griboyedov Incident’ corresponds to the title of the fifth chapter of his novel The Master and Margarita, which influenced the whole concept. The rest of the inspiration comes from my never-ending personal research into composition, guitar playing, and expressionism, letting creativity flow with results that range from jazz to experimental music to rock to world music to classical music itself, often without filtering out unconventional, crazy, or overambitious ideas.
Songweb: How do you approach the creative process when creating new works of art?
Fabio Ferri: The writing process can vary a lot. I often come up with chord progressions that pretty much let themselves flow, without planning any length or focal points of modulation. But there are those cases in which chords serve a melodic line I’ve come up with beforehand, or in which harmony and melody don’t quite have distinct roles. It may also happen that a tune is built upon a rhythmic idea or soundscape instead, or comes out of a jam. The creative process is usually unplanned and somehow magical.
Songweb: Can you share with us a particularly memorable moment during the making of this project?
Fabio Ferri: Recording the last track ‘Kandinsky’ was very fun. The main concept was recoding a live synesthetic improvisation over a painting by Kandinsky, with my collaborator James Storm Otieno on saxophone and percussions, and with additional live engineering and cymbal bowing by Jonathan Segar, who, by the way, was the main sound engineer and crucial co-producer of the whole project. We created a very cozy and inspiring environment at the studio, with the painting projected on a big screen. Improvising in that format was incredible, with energy flowing between the musicians and from Kandinsky to each of us, as if he were part of the music ensemble. The choice of Kandinsky is not random, as he contributed to discovering the boundaries between music and visual art with his works and essays. We had four sessions over four different paintings, of which we used the third one (you can find the filmed session on my YouTube channel!).
Songweb: What message or emotion do you hope to convey through your art?
Fabio Ferri: In art production as well as quotidian, we often create boundaries that, on the one hand, help us define a comfort zone we can stick to without too many worries and on the other hand limit our possibility of exploration and discovery. What I’m hoping to do is gently accompany you toward outer space and unveil a whole new world of emotions you’ve never even thought existed. Without leaving behind the lyricism and intensity we’re often used to, which are still largely present in my work.
Songweb: Can you describe how you incorporate your personal experiences into your work?
Fabio Ferri: I started working on it towards the end of the lockdown periods, hence in a very long break from live performances and most of the usual human connections. This has had an impact on the work, which indeed proceeded slowly, with reflection and no pressure, and never-ending new production ideas.
Songweb: How does your latest project differ from previous works you’ve created?
Fabio Ferri: Griboyedov Incident is the second album under my name. The first one, ‘Übergestalt’, is the result of a session with solo electric guitar in a mixture of original compositions and improvisations, with rigorously no postproduction apart from cuts. Griboyedov Incident involved much more planning, writing, and postproduction and saw the participation of ten talented musicians. Hence, I would say much more oriented toward the collaborative aspect of art production. Moreover, I played more instruments that include classical guitar and flute.
Songweb: Lastly, what are your plans for your artistic journey and where do you hope to take your work in the future?
Fabio Ferri: In Bristol, where I’m currently based, I’ve got a few bands and projects I’m gigging and recording with. These include my newly formed band, with which we have a debut performance in a couple of months. I’m also looking into the creation of collectives with musicians based here and abroad, incorporating multimedia aspects and curating events. My constant goal in mind is to deliver or contribute to delivering something fairly big, unique, and genre/boundary-defying.
Finally, Fabio Ferri’s “Griboyedov Incident” is a one-of-a-kind and varied instrumental album that commemorates Ukrainian writer Bulgakov and his masterpiece The Master and Margarita. Ferri’s passion for composition, guitar playing, and artistic expression is obvious in the album’s vast spectrum of styles and genres. Ferri explores unique and overambitious concepts to produce a one-of-a-kind musical experience, ranging from jazz to experimental music to rock to world music to classical music. Instrumental music fans will enjoy the craftsmanship and innovation that went into the “Griboyedov Incident.”
Listen to “Griboyedov Incident” by Fabio Ferri on Spotify, watch the video with the above link, and let us know your thoughts.
You can follow Fabio Ferri here for more information.