John McLaughlin’s latest musical adventure, “Industrial Zen” features many accomplished musical giants and household names in the world of jazz and fusion. The one name that you might be unfamiliar with is the youngest musician of the band, Hadrien Feraud, the bassist who mesmerizes in the album opener For Jaco as well as Senor C.S.. Along with bassists Tony Grey and Matt Garrison, Hadrien Feraud steps up to his job and delivers some amazing bass lines that will captivate listeners.
We caught up with Hadrien who currently resides in Paris.
AL: Congratulations on your remarkable performance on John McLaughlin’s “Industrial Zen”. How did you connect with John?
HF: Thank you very much for the compliment! I met John, thanks to Christian Pegand’s “Bleu citron” productions. I had prepared a demo CD with “live” tracks and others in the studio. Christian forwarded it to John, who called me up after 3 days. We had a “rendez-vous” for a recording session in July 2005.
AL: When I listened to For Jaco, I just about fell off the chair when you were blistering through Jaco type bass lines. How did you musically conceptualize your parts on this song? Was Jaco a big influence?
HF: Of course… Jaco influenced me; it is the reason why I wanted to become a musician!! John sent me the 2 tracks “For jaco” and “senor C.S” in MP3 format, with his guitars , drums and bass synth pilot. In “For Jaco” I learned the bass part by adding my notes to it. I played the other parts completely freely on the harmony….It is during the recording of the first take, that the idea came to me to finish the bass solo by some notes of “Continuum”. It is for me the most beautiful topic of fretless and most representative of Jaco, don’t you think so?
AL: You bet. Could you tell me about yourself and your background? Did you have formal bass lessons growing up?
HF: I am self learned. It is my father who taught me the bass to start with music and I spent my time taking in again all the work of Jaco for approximately 4 / 5 years. Then I began to listen to other bass players and various instrumentalists. Jaco gave it to me: Touch, Fluidity, Lyricism… and also this manner of supporting certain notes “the growl” and of course the fretless “touch”. Then I discovered bass players such as: Christian McBride and Victor Bailey who can make a groove sing and also Anthony Jackson, Richard Bona, Marc Bertaux. I was also inspired by guitarists like: Bireli Lagrene, Sylvain Luc, John McLaughlin, pianists like Joe Zawinul, J Pierre Como, Chick Corea, Thierry Eliez….and lots of other greats: Michael Brecker, Jim Beard. The bass players like Dominique Di Piazza, Gary Willis, Skulli Sverisson and Matthew Garrison also inspired me because they have a clear vision of the instrument: they play bass guitar and have a very interesting way of sounding. I was never motivated with music schools .The one and only class I ever took was with Dominique Di Piazza when I was about 15 or 16.
AL: You use some very advanced technique on the tracks. What are some of the extended techniques you have developed over the years?
HF: On John’s tracks, I remained faithful to the standard technique with two fingers; but I added a mixture with another technique: thumb and annular moreover. This technique does not belong only to the guitarists, but also to the bass guitarists like Dominique Di Piazza and Matthew Garrison.
AL: Do you have any solo record to date?
HF: Actually, I’m on the way to finishing my solo project on which prestigious musicians will take part… That should be released in September or October 2006 .
AL: How do you see your own future unfolding?
HF: For the future one I hope to play the music that I like with the musicians that I like…Like any other musician!!!! It would be nice to meet musicians with complete different universe and try some experiences together.
AL: Do you perform mainly in Paris ?
HF: Yes I perform mainly in Paris and a little in the province as well. That could be better if I were on a tour, but there are many candidates, but not so much work!!!
AL: What other recordings have you appeared on?
HF: Apart from John, I do not have recordings interesting enough to be shared. I am essentially a live musician. The problem is, given my age it is not easy to be credible…One can reproach me the lack of “lived life” and maturity !! But at 22 years old, it’s difficult for me to be different!!! In France a lot of people are in the habit of not taking risks, one remains in the routine and one gets work with musicians that have been performing for a long time…! For the young musicians that remains underground!
AL: I am sure its encouraging as well as frustrating for aspiring bassists to hear you completely kill it at such a young age. What are your recommendations to them?
HF: It is true that oddly enough there are good bass players and musicians who discourage themselves too easily. They should regard the training as a “challenge” to be exceeded. When I started by listening to Jaco Pastorius, I only had one idea; it was to be able to play what he played as he played it . I knew that “technically” by incessant work ; I could arrive there. On the other hand for the “taste” and the musical quality….It’s a question of personality . This is very important always to think first of the music …. and to remain similarly lyrical on fast sentences in soli as well as in grooves. After, one needs much work and not to be afraid to spend hours to rip off what hangs in the ear, without thinking what is logical or not ! It is necessary “to store” a maximum of information , to digest them, to go back to the table….Re-to digest….etc. . Logic and the obviousness will appear one day and the puzzle will be set up naturally. One should not especially have fear of applying what one learns, and of taking the risk to be mistaken.
AL: Who are your influences today?
HF: Because of their concept and their approach, I enjoy listening to Linley Marthe and Matthew Garrison, they are different in many ways, but I feel really good and close with their musical worlds. Thanks everybody for the support.
AL: Thanks Hadrien for your time. I am sure that we will hear you for many years to come.