Gianni Ferretti was born in Tivoli (Roma) and studied piano, harmony and composition with M. Cleoto Silvani, while at the same time being interested in the study of synthesizers and their programming.
Gianni’s first job was the programming of the synth sounds and the programming of the sequences of a jazz-rock record by Gianfranco Coletta, in which Roberto Gatto, Cesare Chiodo, Antonello Salis and others (1990) also played. He also worked with Alessandro Cipriani for the composition of the music for the sound of the Italian stand at the Telecom Expo in Geneva.He has played with various groups, as a keyboard player, including Gianni Davoli Orchestra, Tutania, Bianka & The Fire Funky, Madamix, AAA Vendesi, keyboardist of the Latte & Miele, and of the S-Band. He also collaborated with the producer Pippo Spampinato and the Lengimusic, Sicilian music label, as arranger and composer where he arranged the single "Whispers In The Night" by Ego and the whole CD of saxophonist Daniele Raro "Daniel Sax", both for Lengimusic.
Gianni was one of the founders of Creuza De Ma ', a group that intends to offer a tribute to Fabrizio De Andrè proposing some of his most famous songs, such as "La Canzone Di Marinella", "Via Del Campo", "Creuza De Ma '"," Princesa ", etc. His first CD was released by Lengimusic, produced by Pippo Spampinato, which is titled "Johnjohn"; the album includes ten songs, of which nine are instrumental and one is sung, entirely composed and played by him and by his usual musicians.
This is what Gianni Ferretti had to say:
What Musical Genre Do You Feel Best Describes Your Music And How Would You Describe Your Sound?
My music is merely instrumental pop and rock music. I like to think that you can write catchy and catchy songs even without text, but that have their strength in the melody and atmosphere they create. I try to stir emotions not with words, but only with sounds (I have also written songs, but very few, believe me ...). My dream is to hear someone whistling a piece of mine because he likes it, even if he does not know what kind of piece it is! I try to follow a typical sound of a rock band, much more focused on keyboards, of course, inserting when you need new colors, such as violin, accordion or soprano sax. Clearly the piano is at the center of the project, but I really like giving space to the others of the band.
How Did You Get Your Name? Is There A Story?
My name is Giovanni (and I'm proud of it, perché è lo stesso nome di un magistrato italiano, Giovanni Falcone, un eroe, assassinato dalla mafia). But since I was a child, all my relatives called me Gianni, and it's like that even now. All my nicknames are present in my musical history: my first album is called "Johnjohn", which was the nickname with which my school friends called me (and still call me). My band is called "the Fero's friends band" because my colleagues call me Fero, which is a mispronunciation of my surname, and in Roman dialect means "Iron". Two of my albums also refer to this nickname, "Feropedia" and "De Ferum Natura".
What Are or Have Been Your Musical Influences?
Thanks to my older brother, I grew up being able to listen to the great rock bands of the 60s and 70s, Pink Floyd, Genesis and so on, and I was quite intrigued by their long instrumental siutes. For me it was great to listen to "Atom Heart Mother", or "Supper's ready", and get lost behind those sounds. Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman were my heroes, spending whole afternoons looking at the inside photo of the album "The Six Wives of Henry VIII", in which Wakeman was surrounded by a tide of keyboards.I really like too the softer part of rock, Eagles, Simon & Garfunkel. I loved Mike Oldfield, his "Tubular Bells" was my sacred musical book! Then I discovered electronic music, Vangelis, Jarre, Kraftwerk, and I became interested in synthesizers and sound programming. An artist who has influenced me a lot is Andreas Vollenweider, a Swiss harpist who has managed to bring the sound of a classic instrument in pop and rock music. Last but not least, Matk Knopfler and his Dire Straits, in my opinion one of the greatest musicians of the century.
What Are You Working On Now? Any Future Collaborations We Can Look Forward To?
I have just finished re-elaborating and rearranging an ancient Macedonian lullaby commissioned by the Macedonian Arts association of New York. I would like to say a few words about this project: it was designed to help them raise money to establish a college fund for young girls in Macedonia, and I joined more than willingly. In addition to this, I started writing new pieces for a future album, but without haste, my nature of sloth does not make me do things too fast; I believe the work will be ready for the autumn of the next year.
What Is Your Ultimate Goal In The Music Industry? What Is Your Plan Of Action?
My main goal is to give dignity to instrumental music; I am Italian, and here in Italy we have a very strong tradition of opera and bel canto, everyone knows Verdi and Rossini, is not it? Moreover, here a very important music festival is dedicated to only sung songs, and almost always instrumental music is relegated to a corner, for sound and synchronization. But I believe that there can also be space for emotions expressed without speaking, but represented only with instrumental sounds and melodies. I am well aware that this is a very Italian problem, but I see that the trend is rapidly expanding to the rest of the world, and this worries me a lot.
What Is Your Favorite Track To Perform Live and Why?
As they say, all my songs are my children, and I love them all the same way; however, in fact, the sensations that some pieces give me on stage are more profound: "Alba rosa", for example, is my musical manifesto, the song that gave rise to all this. "Dita sorridenti" is another particular song, difficult to play but very funny. or "Gonna lunga e piedi scalzi", with its particular 5/4 rhythm. "Come lacrime nella pioggia" is the main song of the last album, and its energy sometimes overwhelms me. But the strongest emotions are when I play "Paolo, Giovanni e the gli altri", dedicated to the victims of the mafia, a practically only piano, moving and elegiac piece. But in general, every time I play my songs, I always feel strong emotions and fun.
What Has Been The Biggest Challenge In Your Career Thus Far?
In reality, every time I get a music commissioned, this is a huge challenge for me. As long as I write for myself there are no problems, I know how to move and what to do. When there are patrons, however, there are variables to consider, and do you always think "will it be good?", "Is this exactly what they want?", And therefore nervousness increases. Fortunately, until now, things have always been good. As a performer (sometimes happens) the challenge is to translate into music what others have thought, it is not easy, but with the experience and the craft now I can overcome well these obstacles.
What’s Your Typical Songwriting Process?
I do not have a unique composition method. Sometimes, in fact, almost always, an idea comes when you're doing something else, maybe while you brush your teeth or are cooking. For example a piece of the second album, entitled "Voice of Spring", I composed it almost entirely on a bus, returning home, and not having the pentagram paper with me, I took a newspaper, I drew the five lines on a white part and I wrote my idea. Then, when I got home, I played it, I corrected it where it was needed and the song came out ... The only method I systematically apply is to write a melody, a riff, create an atmosphere, and then leave it for some time, days, weeks, and then resume it to see if I still like it, if it works, and possibly continue the work or discard it. So I turn on the computer, load my sequencer (I can say I use Cubase), I work on the arrangement, and when this is finished I send the parts to my musicians, so when we record then we already know all what to do. Often then something changes in the studio, I like listening to the other musicians and their advice, I love teamwork.
How Has Social Media Influenced Your Career As An Artist?
Little and nothing, but it's my fault. I do not have much time to take care of my pages, nor do I really like spending a lot of time on Facebook or other social media, I clearly prefer to create music. However, the fact that even here record companies are invading the ground, as already on Youtube and the rest of the Web, I know for sure that many numbers of views and likes are fake, bought to better promote a product. But I realize the importance that especially in these temp can have these things, I should treat them more. In fact, I make a solemn promise: from tomorrow I will deal with a lot more than social media and my pages. From tomorrow, though, because tonight I prefer to play the piano …
What Are Some Tracks and Artists Currently On Your Playlist?
I realized that in fact I do not listen to new music at all; I usually listen to music in the car, or when I jog, and usually it's old music, or material that I have to study for some project to be made. But I have two twin daughters in their twenties, and I know the music that is produced now. Generally I do not like it, because I find it not very original and without an artistic value for most of the cases, practically all the songs slip away without personality, they do not remain. I often get the impression that artists look a lot alike, as if it was not necessary to look for and find their own stylistic measure. In recent times I have appreciated a couple of songs, not new, but that have caught my attention, and that I have remained in mind: one is "Be mine", Ofenbach, and the other is "No roots", of Alice Merton, both pieces that I immediately remembered, pleasantly. However, if I really have to listen to music, I always go to my favorite artists, there is always something to learn.
What Did You Do Before You Started Making Music?
I graduated in Literature, with a thesis on the History of the Greeks. My parents did not like my passion for music, they wanted me to do something else, and so in order to be a musician I made a deal with them; I take a degree but I continue to make music. I studied literature and history and at the same time I continued to study piano, harmony and composition. While preparing the thesis I worked as a manager of music software for an Italian company, and this allowed me to deepen the knowledge in the field of music on the computer. But then, as soon as I graduated, I began to be called to work as a musician, and I never stopped.
Any Advice For Young People (Men or Women) That Want To Succeed In The Music World?
Be yourself, do not imitate other people. Almost all artists now remember others, or resemble each other. But a true artist with his own personality, different from that of others, only in this way can one impose his talent. Work a lot on your own, create your own language, do not let others impose things on you. Like a wise uncle I would tell you: live your life, not that of another.
What Would You Change In The Music Industry If You Were A Top Music Executive?
If it were possible, I would change everything. I grew up in a world where if you wanted music you had to look for it, you only found it on vinyl, and you had to have a record player to listen to it. Listening to music was a ritual, we often gathered among friends to listen to an album in absolute silence, and then maybe we discussed it. However, music was a very strong element of aggregation. Then came the tapes, the CDs, the walkman, the mp3s, the music became a gadget to be attached to magazines, and all this because of completely myopic record policies, without thinking ahead. Today a boy subscribes to Spotify, and with an absurdly low amount he can listen to all the music in the world as often as he wants. And in all this the work of those who create music has been totally debased, it would take a New Deal for music, re-discuss the rules, make new arrangements, but I do not think that will happen, unfortunately.
How Do You Feel About Originality?
It is my first commitment. When I write some new pieces, the first question I ask myself is "Does it look like some other song?". I think it's a moral duty of every composer to try to be original, to bring out something new. Today's music has just this problem, in my opinion: it lacks originality. I do not even like covers ...) yes, it's true, in my second album there's a cover of "Oxygene IV" by Jean-Michel Jarre, but it was a request from the record company, Mr. judge, I do not I wanted, must believe me ...). Perhaps if all of us composers tried to impose more our own ideas in the end, everyone would listen to better music.
Is There Anything Else We Should Know About You Or That You Would Like to Add?
Let's see .. I'm a vegetarian, animalist, environmentalist ... I think these things can be felt in my music too. Once a magazine describing my music called it "non-violent" music, I hope in a positive way ... Anyway I think that the person that I am is reflected in the music I compose, when you write music you can not lie, it's a an action that starts from our most hidden self: "writing music is a need of the spirit" (as Salvatore Sciarrino, a great Italian composer of the 20th century) said.
One last thing: I would like to tell the guys to listen to a lot of music, always, even the one that maybe there do not like it, be always hungry for music !!
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