In conversation with Bruno Ricci, up and coming South Bay guitarist

 

Up and coming musicians Bruno Ricci and Brian Fernandez – based out of Santa Clara County, acoustic guitar fusion music. Interview conducted at San Jose’s Nostra Pizza, home of the most delicious calzones and photography all over the walls with scenes from Italy and Argentina. You have a lot of influences…were they conscious or unconscious? Does a new musician set out to emulate or do a takeoff on someone else, or does it just happen?

 

 Our souls are like fingerprints. You recognize a fingerprint as a fingerprint, but each one is different from the others.  

My influences were initially conscious, then became unconscious. I started with all the music I liked, even though it wasn’t cool then. Ken Loggins…Culture Club, Boy George, Billy Idol.

There’s more value placed on originality today…you’ll get popular if you sound like yourself, have your own niche inspired by people you admire.


What distinguishes you from other musicians…what do you feel makes your sound unique?

Probably the way [my friend and bandmate] Brian Fernandez and I play off of each other. Brian is a supervising chemist and a UCLA grad….very smart and knows music theory too! We’re a real mix of educated and undereducated people.  Some know music theory, while some, such as myself, don’t.

Also passion, inspiration…I came up with Calibama spur of the moment during a performance…everyone was amazed and thought I’d spent more time on it, but it just came to me.

Where do you get your song ideas? Share more about your process in composing? Music or lyrics first?

 

 

Either way, depending on the song. Whatever mood I’m in.

He then tapped his foot, said he could do flamenco right there in the restaurant if the mood hit him.

I have a loud hand and feel that the sound of my guitar dominates during pieces…but I like it when Brian changes things around and contributes to the music.

Usually I’ll do the music first, to feel the mood. Usually also a basic concept comes first, but sometimes the beat does, especially with rap.

Did/do you have a mentor with whom you worked to develop your music?

The Spanish side of my family. My uncles, great grandpa, were all guitarists and I grew up listening to them play Spanish music. They are all over YouTube now. 
How has it been different to work in collaboration with someone else?

 

Well, it’s very hard to find a good partner. It’s like a marriage, like finding a girlfriend…hard to find the right person but when you do it’s amazing! It can be hard to go on stage alone, and it’s much better when my friend is right on the idea musically! Wasn’t hard to adjust at all.

How’s the international reception for your music…have you ever played out of the US/discovered you have international fans?

 

I have a  Brazilian fan online, who found me on YouTube. Different kinds of people from South America, Canada – all through word of mouth…All kinds of nationalities and cultures like our music.

I’m surprised at our biggest YouTube hit – it’s actually an 18 second video of a Marvin guitar. Not even one of our songs, just that Marvin! I guess people like what they like.


Why did you choose music as a medium as opposed to writing poems, etc? How did you choose your style of music?

Grew up around musicians in our own family…so it’s both innate and learned. I had a passion for drumming, and when I was 13 my grandparents bought me my 1st electric guitar at a yard sale. Mom wanted me to be a doctor – and said she just hoped I wouldn’t be a standup comedian and share all our family secrets.

Now Mom’s cool with me being a musician. She’s my #1 fan on YouTube now.

Do you feel being a musician has changed you as a person? Do you respond to situations differently having a musical outlet for expression?

Not really. I respond to music differently, but not to life really. Music is my response to life.
Share some stories from your travels and live performances…favorite memories? Funniest thing that has ever happened to you on the road, most poignant memory, etc? Anything interesting in how others respond to your music? 

I remember back to junior high school. Mom had come to see me in the show Annie. We couldn’t afford the regular outfit for the show so I had to wear a geeky checkered shirt…but I realized I could touch people by singing, just by being in the choir. Mom was proud of me, she’d just discovered I could sing. 

Now with the acoustic stuff…I’ve become the coffeehouse crooner I’ve always feared turning into!

Also, when I was younger I was homeless for while…and I played music then, was a big hit on the homeless circuit 😉 I’d love to play a Food not Bombs benefit sometime, really endorse the organization and the idea of giving decent veggie food out to the homeless. 

Editor’s note: Food not Bombs has chapters in most American and many international cities, and welcomes volunteers to help with cooking and serving. Search online to find your local chapter if you are interested.

How has your music changed over the years, and where do you see the creative spirit taking you in the future? 

Right now a lot of our energy is focused on creating and editing video – promoting Omni-Tracker.com/pushingpixelsproductions and also outlining the plan of attack for our CD.

I’d like to direct new listeners to our songs ‘Calibama’ and ‘Doesn’t Matter.’ as they are the most interesting musically.

 

Absolutely our music has evolved…I see myself eventually encouraging others to become more introspective. We can all get conscious about how we can better treat each other, work at understanding our emotions and each other. Sports are one thing, but don’t be warlike and aggressive in real life.

Bruno Ricci and Brian Fernandez’ music can be heard online (and people may leave comments for them) here: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=brunoricci09&view=videos