EMQ’s with FENISIA
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Rome, Italy based Modern Alternative Metal band Fenisia. Huge thanks to rhythm guitarist Fabio Cerrito (‘J-Snake’) for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
My name is Fabio Cerrito (J-Snake) and I’m the rhythm guitarist of Fenisia. Although the Band formed in 2009, I started playing with Fenisia around the end of 2016. The rehearsal room was very close to my home (I had already moved to that metropolitan area in 2014) but I had never heard of the band before. So, by chance one day I saw, on a site dedicated to announcements between musicians, that they were looking for a guitarist and were rehearsing exactly 5 minutes from where I live. Intrigued, I listened to some of their songs and contacted them. I spoke on the phone to Nic, who was on his honeymoon in Mexico since he had just got married. So, after talking for a while we decided that as soon as he returned, we would meet with the rest of the band to try and play together. Since then, almost immediately, we have become good friends as well as “collaborators”.
How did you come up with your band name?
Well this is a question that the other members of the band should answer. As I said I am practically the last member to have joined the band 4 years ago. It is the others who invented the name Fenisia. But I think I understand what’s behind this name and I can try to explain it to you. The name Fenisia derives from the myth of the phoenix, a bird capable of being reborn from its ashes after death. The choice of this name can also be traced back to the fact that the band was founded in 2009 by the members of different formations in which Nic Ciaz and bassist Doc Liquido played together since high school. But the real reason for the name Fenisia is not properly this. Not only that at least! In reality the phoenix symbolizes and summarizes, well a little bit, all the philosophy behind the lyrics in our songs. It represents the power of resilience, that is the ability to face adversity in a positive and intelligent way, cultivating the resources that are within us. It still symbolizes death and resurrection which, in everyday life, can be associated in a broad sense with the concept of resilience. The phoenix therefore represents resilience, or the ability not to let oneself be beaten down by the difficulties of life, to react and get up stronger than before. We can learn to adapt to wind and storms as trees do, that is by developing strong roots and flexible branches, so we can keep ourselves anchored to the ground, but at the same time learn to adapt to changes. Anyway…hope the other members agree with this synthetic interpretation of mine! (laughing)
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Although I was born in Rome, my family of origin moved in the first years of my life to Itri, a small village of about 15,000 inhabitants in central Italy. Only about twenty years later did I return to live in Rome.
Itri was a very particular village at the time. Although it was the smallest town on the Ulysses Riviera on the central Tyrrhenian coast, it was the most avant-garde town from a musical point of view. When I was 15 I, but also many of my friends, were already playing in a band and there were many who had an above average musical culture, even among those who did not play an instrument. At that time there was no internet but cassette tapes, vinyl and compact discs. It was generally much more difficult to find new material to listen to. So, we exchanged as much music as possible between friends.
I remember that post-punk and new wave trends were very popular at the time. Then there were those, like us, who were more attracted to the hard-rock and/or metal genres and all their relative “nuances”.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Our latest release is the third Fenisia album and concludes a trilogy made up of 3 concept albums.
The album was produced by Ray Sperlonga (American Idol) at Rosary Lane Studios, mastered by Collin Davis (Imagica, Deeds of Flesh) at Imperial Mastering, and the cover was designed by Charles Prabowo for Blackout Brother.
The album was released on October 30th via Eclipse Records. Eclipse is our new label, and we are happy to have started this collaboration with them.
For me “The Spectator” is the first album with Fenisia.
To accompany the release of the albums we have released the videos of the songs ‘Lord Lumieres’ and ‘Burned In My Brain’ (only ballad of the album) and the lyric video of ‘Manifesto’.
‘Lord Lumieres’ (Official Video)
‘Burned In My Brain’ (Official Video)
‘Manifesto’ (Lyric Video)
Who have been your greatest influences?
I have always loved listening to all music, always considering it one big thing without letting myself be too influenced by the different genres in which it tends to be classified. In fact, I like to play and range between different musical genres. In addition to electric, I really like playing fingerstyle on acoustic guitar. For example, I often find myself playing and really like the older “delta blues”, old songs of Mississippi, John Hurt for example…Skip James, even if it is very far from what we do with Fenisia.
I have never had particular idols even if I believe that the guitarists of the most famous rock bands of the 70’s / 80’s / 90’s such as Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Guns n’ Roses, Def Leppard influenced me the most. But these are just the most striking examples. I really enjoy listening to almost everything but not everything and not always.
What first got you into music?
Surely listening and the always new discovery of sensations that arise both from listening and in the moments when you play an instrument.
My mom tells me how as a child, to make me fall asleep peacefully, she just had to put on some music and the game was done!
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
There are too many musicians I would like to collaborate with. It is very difficult to identify a musician among the many talented and different musical genres of reference. To try to answer, I try to look at today’s music scene without disturbing the sacred heroes of the past, so maybe it’s easier…maybe! (laughing). I would like to write and play something with Norah Jones for example. Not just to name someone …(laughing) You weren’t expecting it, were you?
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
I think of the “Rock Am Ring” or the Wacken for example. I would love to play at one of the great festivals held at the Red Rock Amphitheater in Denver, Colorado. The beauty of the places and the atmosphere that is created there during a concert are, at least in my head (laughs), magical!
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Perhaps the strangest gift received from a fan was the one received during the last tour with Fenisia band in Latvia and Lithuania.
I remember it wasn’t a very memorable date, in terms of the number of people present, but a more intimate atmosphere was created that made us have a lot of fun. During the whole concert, one of the spectators present, began to offer us trays and trays of beer that were delivered to us by the waiters of the room directly on stage while we were playing. When my beer was almost half empty, another one came right away. I let you imagine the rest and our conditions of our small but excited audience and, overall, of our generous patron (laughing)!!!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Music has given us, it still gives us and, hopefully, it will give us much more. At such a difficult time for music, as well as for the entire entertainment industry in general, it’s important that fans and artists continue to support each other. Only by trying to give back to the world of music – each in their own small way (musicians and not) – a little piece of what we believe, in the life of each of us, has been possible thanks to music, will we be able to support it in the right way.
Don’t forget to buy and listen to our new album and let us know what you think. Stay close, invite us to play in your cities (laughing and correcting) of course when it will be possible to do all this. In the meantime, we are preparing the physical copies of the new album, the t-shirts and probably a new video clip. Stay connected whit us!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Oh no the questions are getting harder (laughing)…there are so many that I would like to bring back to life. Since the question is difficult because I can choose only one. I believe I would bring Jimi Hendrix back to life. Died at the age of 28, I think he still would have had so much to say and give to the world.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
What I like is what I feel when I play or listen to music. The concerts, the good times you spend with the band and with other musicians or fans you know. What I don’t like is the fact that today it is too difficult for an up and coming musician to make enough money with music. To live in dignity and also be able to afford hobbies it is necessary to have another job that ends up taking part of the time you would prefer to devote to music.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Here we go again with the difficult questions (laughing). Thus, we risk triggering abundant controversy. Joking aside, without talking about how the internet has changed the world of music in recent decades, I try – more simply – to put forward some hypotheses for change. When I first talked about the need to support each other between artists and fans, I was referring to this: while emerging artists, rather than posing as rock stars, should have a more humble and professional approach to music, their fans and collaborators, from on the other hand, listeners should try to support artists more. For example, being more present in live events (even when it comes to listening to emerging bands playing unreleased songs and not just going to listen to cover bands) and being in general more willing to motivate the following artists more. Radio stations (even the largest and most important) could insert songs by emerging artists more often in the schedule and maybe invite them more in some broadcast. But this applies to all media in general. Public administrations should devote more resources to the cultural sector.
A bit of re-education should also be done because by now it seems to be completely normal the concept that, given the availability of the Internet, it is possible to stream all the music you want by paying only a few cents per subscription. But I believe that this, in the long run, is not enough to make the world of music thrive neither the big streaming platforms, nor the record labels, nor the artists.
It is for this reason that each of the aforementioned actors must do their part.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
I can’t answer this question! I really should rule out too many!
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
I am a child of the CD era even if I still have some old vinyl at my parents’ house. Now vinyl is back in fashion and I must say that listening to a vinyl on a good system has always had its charm and also the sound you listen to has its own peculiar characteristic. In my opinion, however, the CD is the right compromise between quality and practicality. I know I’m one of the few who don’t prefer downloading. What can you do, I’m a bit old-fashioned for certain things! I still love buying CD’s.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Mmmm let me think…Probably when, with Fenisia, we opened the Misfits concert here in our city.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
This is also difficult…Can I also choose actresses(laughs)? Staying in the musicians’ sphere at a dinner among rockers (laughs) Jimmy Page, Slash, Jeff Beck, Paul McCartney, Charlie Starr and Dave Grohl.
What’s next for the band?
The band is in good shape but given the current health emergency and therefore the inability to play live events to promote the newly released album, we are working on some new material. We are preparing a new video; some merchandising and we hope to be back live as soon as possible.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
You can find Fenisia on all major social networks and platforms like Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, Music Unlimited, Facebook, Instagram, Reverb Nations and also visit our website www.fenisia.com
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
What else to add but thanks to you. Remember to listen to our new album, let us know what you think and invite us to play in your city as soon as this bad time is over.
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