Tell us about yourself and your music
Thanks for your interview request. The name of my band is The Fusion Booth Incident; and I am the founder of the group which includes several musicians with whom I’ve composed, recorded, and performed music with, in various settings. Most of the compositions are written by myself, however, the other members contribute also to the process occasionally. To date, I’ve composed and recorded more than one hundred and fifty tracks and compiled them on eleven CD recordings. Many are double-length CD albums. My/our music has been described as eclectic, because of the many genres which are included in the discography of the group.
Talk to us more about your latest release
The latest release which is available to hear by fans of the group is titled ‘Try’ by The Fusion Booth Incident and is currently shown on my YouTube channel, along with other selections that I change out occasionally. This track is an upbeat pop style song that was inspired by the living experience of making a difference in the lives of those around us, and it is the title track of the latest CD Make a difference.
What inspired you to write this release?
This track was inspired by living and helping people in my life who need a lift up from whatever is bringing them down. The first line of the song was given to me over the phone by my current lyricist Franco DeCamillis, whose been working with me for a few years, and contributed many lyrics for recent songs I’ve composed and recorded. Franco was going through a soul searching process and was wondering if he was on the right path.
Describe the writing and recording process
The writing of this song happened very quickly after the original inspiration was given to me by my current assistant lyricist Franco DeCamillis who called me on the phone and said ” what do you think of this? Try to have a life somewhere, between here and eternity.” I thought it was a great line, and it inspired me to write the rest of the lyrics, and the music came to me immediately as I was writing the words down as we talked on the phone… It’s kind of my normal songwriting process, I don’t know how it happens, it just does, and the resulting recordings throughout the history of my life as a composer, often work this way. Several of the recent songs I’ve co-written with Franco have happened the same way- he calls me and says ” what do you think of this?” and usually I grab my guitar, because I hear the music for his words, and the song is born. He is often as stunned as I am at how we seem to ‘ click ‘ right on the telephone, and he’s always surprised at hearing the basic song over the phone before I hang up the phone. It’s a great experience working with him because we seem to create very quickly, and his deep words and life experiences are very inspirational for both of us during the song creating process.
Any plans to hit the road?
Currently, all plans and appearances are on hold due to the horrific and unfortunate Covid19 pandemic, although a plan to perform in Europe, including the Montreux jazz festival again, was on my radar.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
I guess I would consider my particular originality as my biggest standout, which seems to always surprise the listeners when I perform. Since I play several instruments, and have a strong classical music background, and also love so many styles of music, it’s easy for me to write songs with unusual combinations of instruments, and I tend to break boundaries down and create new original art. One of my recent songs titled ‘ Amelia’ which is a song about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, so many years ago, is based around piano, cellos, violins, and vocals, and begins with an interpretation of a flying airplane performed on a grand piano, and then morphs into something completely different, where I am out in the streets as a street Cryer trying to sell newspapers and shouting ” extra, extra, read all about it” and then the sound of clanging bells of streetcars introduces the orchestral pop song, which I performed solo, and built the layers using Yamaha DX7 synthesizers, cellos to accompany my vocals. It’s one of my favorite compositions of late and is also on my youtube channel, and it received accolades from fans. Another example of my mixing of styles and genres is shown in the four-part composition titled ‘Tears for Morocco’ which is the title track of a CD I wrote in 2011 after touring Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. It begins as an orchestral composition and transitions to soaring solos on electric guitars and other instruments. It’s one of the longest compositions I’ve composed and is probably my best work so far.
Who have you been listening to lately?
Lately, I’ve been listening to many of my old favorites such as The Moody Blues, Led Zeppelin, Robin Trower, Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, Yes, and a band I’ve discovered recently called Marillion – their long songs are particularly appealing to me, because I tend to write long pieces of music myself. As a classical pianist who performs often in churches and auditoriums, I’m always listening to compositions by Beethoven, Bach, and of course, Mozart. I usually attend orchestral performances, and my favorite orchestra is the Vienna Philharmonic. Also, I tend to listen to recordings by my late brother, Allan Fast – countertenor, who was also one of the world’s top countertenors and teachers, before he passed away, way too young. However, his star shone brightly while he lived.
Who are your biggest influences?
As far as biggest influences, it’s a long list which includes the great composers of music history, and pop and rock bands such as The Beatles, and Pink Floyd, and my guitar work is inspired by Jeff Beck, Frank Zappa, and Robin Trower. The appreciation of many styles of music and the attempts at combining various styles in my compositions is what inspires me to keep writing.
Tell us about your passions
As a performer of music, I like to do charity concerts to raise money for worthy causes. Apart from music, I am a fanatic for downhill skiing and have traveled to most of the big ski resorts in the world. Racing cars is also another favorite experience for me, and on the quieter, and contemplative side, I’m an avid gardener who loves planting trees. Performing live music is an awesome experience, and I like the feedback, both from the audience, and my guitars (lol.)
What else is happening next in your world?
Currently, I’m writing more music as usual, and redesigning my music studio, to make more room for recording with different spaces to capture the resonance of cello, violin, and my brother’s euphonium and trombone, which are now creeping into my musical compositions.
Thanks for an awesome interview, The Fusion Booth Incident