Featured Artist | Fabien Aubry, Part 1

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By: Marta Ramon

The adjective that better defines this musician is proactive. Fabien Aubry never stops: playing, composing, arranging, orchestrating, producing and teaching. Since he got involved in the music world, when he was a small kid in Geneva, Aubry has kept a constant progression in his musical career through the hard study. With a consolidated classical background, this guitarist, who also plays the piano, jumped to the jazz education area appealed by the freedom of its language and amazed by the possibilities of this genre to innovate in the composition field.

Nowadays, Fabien Aubry is focused in composing for big band but also for orchestras, exploring the electronic potential of the sound. In his new life in Valencia (Spain) as a teacher in Berklee Colleage of Music, where he has just started the second scholar year, he hasn’t lost his time: he has lot of new material, a new formation to play and test his original writings and he has won the composition competition of the emblematic planetarium L’Hemisfèric (La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias) to put music to the stars.

Marta Ramón: What has brought you to this point in your life?

Fabien Aubry: I’m a musician and music is my passion. Like very artists, creativity and sensibility is a huge part of our being. That’s mean, being able to connect the two parts of the brain: the craft and technique and the creative and inspiration part. It’s important to be able to connect the instant of creation with our knowledge and experience about music, composition and performing instruments. On the other side, my other passion is about teaching, helping and transmitting experience and knowledge to others.

MR: We know you because of your guitar playing and your teaching role in Berklee Valencia, but started studying classical music with the piano. How was your evolution and change from one to the other?

FA: I first learned piano with an amazing teacher that gives me a lot of skills and enthusiasm about music. She never pushed me too much or leaved me alone lost with the instrument. She always had a good sense of balancing motivation or letting the student express himself and doing what he feels right to do. I was already more attracted to contemporary music like jazz, blues and anything that has a groove and rich harmonic progression.

Then I got into electric guitar, first self-taught, and later I learned with other teachers in music schools. That’s how it led me to do a professional music school in Geneva, Switzerland where I’m from. We had good basic about the instrument (with guitar as my principal instrument), jazz harmony, musical theory and music ensembles.

MR: How did you get in touch with jazz?

FA: When I graduated from the music school, I was missing piano and I wanted to learn more about jazz. I decided to start to look for jazz piano teachers and jazz ensembles in another jazz association in Geneva and private teachers as well. I learned a lot about jazz concepts, jazz piano technique and improvisation, discovering the classic jazz artists, etc.

MR: You studied in Berklee Colleage of Music (Boston). How was your experience there?

FA: I started during couple of years to have professional experiences in Geneva playing in cover bands, teaching and arranging music. I learned and discovered by myself principles of sequencing music first on synthesizers, then on computer. But I always wanted to learn more about arranging, composing and producing music on computer. I knew from reputation about Berklee College of Music in Boston and it was an old dream to do it one day and I had the chance to make my dream come true.

My experience there was a life changing experience. Being away from your country, learning a new language, making new friends and connections was already a huge life experience. But also being a student at Berklee, I was like a kid in a candy store and wanted to learn everything I could. Having access to all the knowledge, talented teachers and expensive production materials and music studios you always dream about is something unique you an experience in this school.

I basically discovered myself there as a composer, arranger and music producer. My teachers helped my to realize where were my skills in music.

MR: You feel appealed by writing music for ads, films, etc. How would you describe the importance of the OST for any kind of audiovisual production?

FA:A film, video game or any kind of visual media, have no life without music. We know how much music is a huge component of how we feel emotions in a movie. Music is a vehicle for emotions; it’s a way of translating and expressing them into sound. I discovered film scoring and film composers along with orchestration and other music theory at Berklee. I think we never finish to learn how to compose music; it’s a never-ending process. I love to discover and create new sound, harmonies or sound texture that might help and give life to the pictures I am writing for.

MR: What do you think that was the project that led you to this professional way?

FA: I think it’s more an addition of step stones that makes you going where you want. The first as I mentioned them, was the primary experience in Geneva, then of course my experience as a student at Berklee and finally now as a teacher at Berklee-Valencia. Here I started to have great opportunities to write and produce music. I will talk about them below.

MR: You also started getting acknowledgement as a composer when you were in Boston. How many awards did you get?

FA: At Berklee, I won the Chicago Commercial Award for the best commercial writing, and the John Dankworth Award for the best vocal writing in 2009. I had the change to represent the CWP (Contemporary Writing and Production) department at the BPC (Berklee Performance Center) by showing some of my arrangements for the CWP Student Concert in March 2009, and for the Writing Division Awards Concert in April 2009.

MR: You have solid background composing music for video games, from your time in Boston as well. What does it give to you in a global sense?

FA: Nowadays, sound design, sound creation and all the technical approach with the modern tools are an important part of music. Any technical skills you can have about production or sound design can be useful as a modern composer. In this company, I learned to create musical ambiances and textures for video games, sound design for specific character movements, fantastic creatures sounds, click sounds of game or online knobs that have specific functions, adapt orchestral work, to create a loop that never end, so you don’t fell when start and end the loop, etc… I was a very rich experience.

Read Part 2 of the interview here

Last modified: July 15, 2018