The bass guitar is an often overlooked instrument. When a musician is willing to put in the time and effort to master the instrument though it becomes a piece that stands out among the rest. Italian master bassist Roberto Fasciani has worked with some of the biggest talents in music. We had the chance to sit down and dive into his mind in anticipation of a whirlwind tour and a lot of recording in his future. Enjoy the interview below:
What drew you to the bass guitar as your main instrument?
I should have started with drums, but we had room problems at home, so I switched to bass. Funny, huh? From being a listener I wanted to make the music, so it’s been natural to get an instrument. Without any passion, you don’t achieve any goal, and I believe it’s the most important thing. You need to love what you do, especially if you want to live off of it.
I always loved drums but I say I made the right decision, so blessed my little room! I spent so many hours playing the albums I listened to, and I still do, they’ve been my first teachers. I was young when I discovered that music is very very fundamental to my life. I learned to play a little guitar too, but I can’t say I’m a guitarist! But it’s good to play other instruments, you can better understand what a drummer or a guitarist could need when you play with them…
You poured a lot of time into learning your skills. What kept you motivated through all your lessons?
When I started studying I discovered so many things about music, I get totally involved with it. It’s like you love to travel the world and you keep on visiting places and places, every day, always enjoying it. My perception about music got deeper lesson after lesson (and it’s still going on); when you understand something, you simply get more involved, and in music, this process is never ending… I had very good teachers that got me fascinated about music, bands in which I could apply all the concepts I studied. So, it became a sort of addiction It’s always a matter of how much you care about.
I’m not a jazz player, just studied it, but it has been a very good impact in my life: when you discover a different world and attitude you can play better what you love to do… Working on music that is so far from you really helps to be a complete musician.
After years of playing I can play better than I did at the beginning, but believe me: I realized that the more I play, the more I’m aware how much hard is to play better and better.
What is your favorite part of having a life full of music?
Well, staying with my bass playing what I like to play (even if sometimes I didn’t!), meeting people, traveling and get fun… all that is concerned with music. I also love the times between soundcheck and the show, it’s a moment in which you don’t need to think about anything, you just need to wait for the concert. It’s a very enjoyable wait with you mates. It may sound strange to you because most of the musicians don’t like that, but I really do! I’m also a teacher, so when I’m working I just talk about what I love with my students, playing with them etc., and I’m very amused doing it.
Another very good part is when you have tours, especially outside your country. So many good situations, venues, landscapes and people to meet. It’s like a kind of vacancy with your friends, but most of the times you don’t have so much time to be a tourist. I try to visit as many places as possible, and sometimes I get not so much sleep haha! I prefer to hang around places that perhaps I won’t see again…so it’s worth.
You have collaborated with so many phenomenal musicians. When you have the chance to do that, what do you try to bring to them with your playing?
You need to know what they want for their music and it’s very exciting because every artist has his own vision about that. It’s very interesting, you learn a lot and realize that there are so many different things about the same issue. It’s like talking with different people, every one of them could teach you something that you cannot know. And music is about communication. If you listen to people you can always learn: even if you meet dumb or bad people you learn how to avoid or counter them.
You need to listen to the notes and sounds, not playing by yourself as if you were alone; it’s a very wrong way, the magic of music can’t happen with that attitude… and you can get fired! This is a very good point to me.
Think about this: if you’re supposed to have a conversation with a person and you talk so much and don’t listen to him, you don’t let the other person reply… so there’s no conversation, that guy will surely go off. It’s not granted to play with people that leave you space to do your thing, but when it happens it’s a very good feeling, you communicate with people by notes. The result is very good music that both musicians and the crowd can enjoy.
You are currently playing with F2F, Los Bastardos, Dogmate, and, Ilenia Volpe. Where do you find the time and energy to perform with so much talent around you?
It’s not so hard if you spend your life for music that’s the way it is. Sometimes I had gigs with different bands on the same day, that’s been very bad. But you can hire a friend for that gig and the problem is fixed… and this guy could do the same to you, hopefully! It’s very challenging put yourself in various musical environments, the music doesn’t become stale; you can be bored playing the same stuff, you may need something new to refresh your ears and spirit. By the way, being totally involved in a project that doesn’t leave you time to do other stuff… it means that you work so much with that, so no problem at all!
What advice would you have for other musicians still trying to master their craft?
Just keep on loving and believing in what you’re doing, play every day, compose your music, find your own direction… it’s a lifetime journey. If you have bad moments and start to think that is pointless, never give up. If you help the music, music helps you.
It’s important to have good people around you, trying to be a better person with everything and everyone that are involved in your life is very powerful. Your life can be better and better, and your music too…
What is next for Roberto Fasciani?
In September I’ll have some gigs in Beirut and Tenerife, then a US tour with Fabio Frizzi F2F. Can’t wait… and I want to record the first album of Los Bastardos. Then I’ll plan gigs with my other bands, so stay tuned and thanks so much for the interview!