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An Interview with Rob Favotto

by Thomas Bedward May 06, 2020

An Interview with Rob Favotto

An Australian progressive rock composer and instrumentalist, Rob Favotto has spent years refining his cosmic sound. With a penchant for blending dynamic rock elements, clean rhythmic passages and distorted lead themes, Rob's music defies expectations and convention, pushing past our grey realities and revealing cosmic compositions that simply demands to be heard.

With a string of impressive and unique releases already to his name, we decided it with about time to sit down and get to know the cosmic creative a little bit more.

Great to speak with you Rob, thanks so much for your time. Your career and musical output just keeps on growing, but where did it all begin?

It began within me, with the desire to write big pieces that take you on an adventure with lots of twists and turns. Early on I invested in a Korg X3 synthesiser and simple recording equipment for demo’s to start fulfilling that desire. This desire was ultimately fuelled early on by expansive artists like Mike Oldfield, Metallica or Jean Michel Jarre.

Clearly, you’re not a stickler for the traditional rules of music, and it’s often hard to pin down your expansive sound. How would you describe it to those not yet acquainted?

I would describe my sound as multi-genre. For example, the song ‘Heavenly Regions’ starts with double kicks and a distinct metal feel then goes into an Indian sitar passage, and then the song ends in a waltz. The song is nine minutes and has multiple changes, always moving, never repeating. It has rock elements, but more on the progressive side, it also has ambient clean passages. This sound has something for everyone. The guitar side of things is more melodic than all-out shredding, more feel and atmospheric like Pink Floyd.

You’ve cited Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield, Metallica and Jean Michel Jarre as some of your influences, but are there any others that might not be immediately apparent in your music?

From world music to metal, I love listening to Japanese Koto music or Ravi Shankar sitar ragas. Then I will blast Arch Enemy or Evergrey! I think we shouldn't limit ourselves to one genre, it affects your writing creativity. I believe if you’re in an extreme metal band you should listen to the opposite like fusion jazz or traditional world music. I believe it will enhance the creative process.

You’re quickly becoming one of the most prolific progressive artists out there. What’s next for you and your music?

I have just completed filming the music video for ‘Heavenly Regions’ which will be out this year through Catmari Productions. It's a nine-minute song with lots of atmospheric changes, and the clip was filmed over two days and was very professional in detail and direction.

New material has been written and when I feel it is 100% I will release the next album, with recording at home there’s no pressure or record label dictatorship. I still want to grow a base, very happy with Spotify feedback and plays.

Another album is never a bad thing. Can you tell us a bit about it, or is it still too early in the process?

Well, my latest release was a song called ‘Cosmic Blues’. Its blues but not in the traditional sense, it's more sci-fi meets the blues. I like jazz but more modern jazz, this leans more to modern experimental blues/jazz. It has blues elements but the modern, Star Trek side of things takes over.

When it comes to a release like that, what is your process? How does it all come together?

I always start with the chord progression first, whether it’s guitar or keyboard. I try and build an atmosphere and tap into that. I want the songwriting to be like a book with chapters, not just verse and chorus. I want no repeating always moving so it's a musical journey. Multi-changes, multi-tempo, but really nothing is planned. I try and put my ego aside and let the omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent one take charge.

Is it the spontaneity and free-flowing nature that’s most important when putting a song together?

[The most important thing is] to be true to myself and not write something I know is not 100% effort. I want the full potential to be released free from any ego and negativity. I want to listen back and feel I have done a great job and not cut any corners. Also to be expansive and push the boundaries, not repeat clichés.

Thank you so much for your time, it’s been fantastic chatting with you. A few more questions before you go; what would your dream collaboration be?

Working with David Gilmour from Pink Floyd, just to play alongside him would be great. If it was a side project I would love to work with Mike Portnoy or Derrick Sherinian, I like the expansive players out there.

What has been your best moment as a musician/band so far?

When we recorded ‘The Nine Planets’ which is another nine-minute epic with seventeen changes. I had all the music written completed, then I had Dr Jamie Berry play bass on it and Jimmy Yannieh on drums. These two only had maybe five loose jam rehearsals, so blasé. But on the day they gelded together like they were playing for years. This song has so many turns and changes its nothing short of miraculous.

Finally, what advice would you give to band’s who are looking to make it big?

If you want to make it big become a stockbroker or real estate tycoon. When Metallica started out they were so raw and non-commercial and underground, no one in the world would believe they would sell out arenas. They had no expectation, they just wanted to write music and play together as friends. [The] focus should be writing great songs and love for music, thinking of success and money will just pollute the creative process.

 

A rare and impressive artist, Rob’s dynamic releases have become unique musical mainstays, bringing audiences around the world and escape from the everyday. Encapsulating the power, precision, and purpose of Rob’s creative world, his work is available to stream on most major platforms.

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