Fede Delfino is the lead singer and bass player for the band BlackMagic Revolution, a hard rock band in the style of Mr Big, Extreme, and Van Halen with an up to date modern feel that has been tearing up the South American rock scene. Formed around 2010 in Montevideo, Uruguay the band has been playing the clubs in Montevideo and the neighboring city of Buenos Aires, Argentina while working on their debut album, “Loud Ain`t Enough” which was released in August of 2012. With loud guitars, screeching vocals, pounding bass, and blasting drums the BMR guys are ready to take their music around the world and show the masses how it’s done in the far south of the globe. This is revolution! Considering that Fede is a Raise Your Voice user, I decided to do some Q & A with him to find out just exactly what he does to get those crazy sounds:
Jaime: So Fede, how’d you get into singing?
Fede: I´ve always loved singing and felt really attracted to that, but I didn´t have any “natural talent”, never made it to school choirs and stuff like that so I thought I would never be able to do it. I gave up singing until I turned 21 and out of need I started to do it. Me and my two brothers from different mothers (German Moura and Lucas Kanopa) wanted to form a band of our own. We were tired of playing in other projects that never worked out so we started to think about who would sing in our new band, BlackMagic Revolution. We had the drums, bass, and guitar but the singer was tough to find. We wanted a super singer like the bands that influenced us (Mr. Big, Extreme, Symphony X, Dream Theater, Steelheart, Slaughter, ACDC, etc.) We didn´t know anyone; it´s a hard gig man!….I had the urge to sing and give it a try so I said I would do it and play bass….I sucked ha-ha, but the guys were patient and at least now I have a level that allows me to sing our songs properly and I´m working very hard on getting better and more consistent every day! I consider myself a beginner and a lot of work has to be done yet. I have to say that I had great teachers, Edy Peñalber the Cuban master and dear friend, who is a great gospel singer himself. Just to hear him sing is a lesson….he`s now devoted to God that`s why he quit the touring musician life. He was patient with me and introduced me to the concepts of mixed voice, head voice, and gave me confidence that I could sing any note regarding any kind of classification, which sets mental barriers like “you are a baritone, well you sing form here to here and that’s it.” Thankfully, your books saved my voice. I followed up later at opera school where I had a great mezzo soprano teacher that gave me other tools and images to work on my voice. There I trained as a Tenor Lirico Leggero. It’s funny because some years ago another “teacher” told me, “Fede, you are a baritone, that`s it”….Classifications are a weird thing sometimes. Thank god I met other people who don’t let classification limit the singer. Now I’m training on my own…I had to quit opera school since I had to choose between working with the band or that other thing. I keep working on everything these great teachers gave me and everyday I realize that there`s so much to be done yet!
Jaime: What professional experience do you have under your belt?
Fede: I´ve been playing bass since I was twelve years old, playing around my country (Uruguay) a lot with different bands. I also played several times in Argentina our neighboring country. I´ve always sang background vocals (the best I could) but as a lead singer I´ve been playing gigs for two years now here in Uruguay and Argentina with BlackMagic Revolution. As I said it´s a tough gig man. I had to learn to control myself, really learn to warm up, learn that you don´t speak loud in the clubs, control the smoking and drinking, etc…..Being a singer is a great responsibility. You are the center of attention most of the time and it can be rewarding or really a pain in the ass if you don´t do your homework right. Being the bass player in a rock band was great. I had a lot of fun, I was a party animal. But, I had to cool down man, ha-ha, not that I gave up the party of course, but if I want to be in peak performance I have to take care and be responsible….Our songs are tough to sing because it requires my entire range to be in good shape. I always struggle with my mid-range and every song in the set demands me to sing there so therefore I need control and a good pre-show warm up. When you are a club band struggling to make it you don’t have many luxuries like a personal space to warm up and be quiet before the show. That lead me to many horrible nights….I now do it anywhere I can, in the middle of the dance floor, in the street around the corner, whatever (lip rolls, humming, sirens…the great stuff!) I learned to not give a crap if people think I´m crazy. I just keep thinking, “when we go on stage they will understand” (I hope ha-ha._ But, I have to warm up, especially since the first song in our set starts on a high E natural and goes down all the way through my mid-range till I hit an A in my first octave I think. It sucks if I’m not in good shape.
Jaime: Tell me about BlackMagic revolution.
Fede: I´m currently dedicated almost full time to BlackMagic Revolution. We´ve been invited by a local music store to the 2013 NAMM show in Anaheim, so we´ll be around the LA area in January promoting our album “BlackMagic Revolution.” It was completely produced in every stage of the process, even mixed, by ourselves (the three guys in BMR) and mastered by Tom Baker at Precision Mastering (Los Angeles, California). Now it´s being distributed via iTunes, Amazon MP3, Spotify and other virtual stores…..check it out!
Jaime: What specifically do you use from the Vendera Method.
Fede: Well I have studied and still do the Raise Your Voice method. There´s so much detailed info in there that I´m always reviewing it, always finding something new. Also the Ultimate Breathing Work out. I bought both of them a year ago and I have to say it saved my voice….really, this is no shit…..everything in those books WORKS!!….Sirens, Falsetto development and Transcending tone….Wow man, the coolest strengthening exercises ever!
Jaime: How have my methods helped you, or differentiated from other methods/coaches you’ve used in the past?
Fede: It’s pretty different from everything I´ve studied before and after. As I said, I found the approach in these books very scientific which is great for me. I needed to know what was actually happening inside my throat and my whole body for that matter. I tried to find the answers, but all the vague images didn´t work for me. This gave me priceless knowledge which my brain seems to find helpful for my vocal development. Reverse breathing (that was mind blowing the first time I tried it), power push, yawning sensation…..you won´t believe this but at opera school my teacher (a 70 year old mezzo soprano) teaches exactly the same, but in other words (more intricate language, but the same concepts)…..these books makes what I consider truths about singing, EASY TO UNDERSTAND AND APPLY!
Jaime: That’s funny because I was taught opera techniques by Jim Gillette and Elizabeth Sabine, so it should be similar. So, can you share a tip that helped you sing in the studio, or on the road?
Fede: Time is far more important than equipment to capture a good vocal performance (in my humble opinion)….I took my time to record the vocals and work on each part of each song I recorded by bits; maybe a verse and the work on every moment of it to get the correct interpretation. Next the pre-chorus, etc. It was my first experience recording so it was like school for me. I worked for months to get things right, working on my tone, interpretation, and of course pitch! I became my own vocal coach and never let ego or anything get in the way. I worked with the guys and everything they thought wasn´t right I just did it over…..and of course, I never rushed the process. The voice needs to be developed and it takes time but I also had to put a deadline on the recording process or it would go on forever. One last thing that I kept in mind was to work on my strengths, in other words, what I do best vocally, and not to get caught on things where I didn´t sound professional. For example, I didn´t try to pull some crazy vocal runs and fills. I just don´t have that yet and I would only ruin the whole song. Of course, I want the Glenn Hughes fills, but it´s important to keep it real ha-ha. That guy is a monster singer, I´m a student! I tried to use the best I can, whatever power and range I have and to let the emotion of the song be the main focus. I can´t say if I accomplished that or not, but that was for sure my focus.
Jaime: Wow, what a great attitude and great advice. Recording is an art and it’s fine to take your time. BTW- I actually sent Glenn my books awhile back. Well, our time is almost up, but I’d love it if you’d share a personal story from your time as a musician.
Fede: Check this out- this story is about my first time singing live a couple of years ago. Well if you didn´t guess already I was crazy nervous. That same morning I woke up with a hoarse voice; that wasn´t a good beginning. I had a slight idea that the voice needed to be warmed up and stuff like that but I didn´t have the experience yet so my warm up only tired my voice even further. I tried to hit a couple of screams around mid-day without a proper warm up. Bad idea. The best thing was when I tried to add the grit I needed for the songs, ha-ha. By six in the afternoon I could barely speak. Time to go to the show…It was a festival with seven bands and we arranged it so that we would be playing in second place and they told us we would have everything we needed there regarding equipment and stuff like that. So we arrived to the gig- it was a truck parking lot that looked like a giant hangar, wet as hell, water dripping from the ceiling and like around 30 people. The organization told us we´ll be closing the show now ha-ha-ha-ha. I had some honey and like a zillion gallons of water. I started to get anxious, drank my water, and ate my honey (the honey thing was so useless…). So now we had to wait till around two in the morning in that giant storehouse. Of course I started talking and screaming over the loud music, tried to do some scales or something in the middle. It was total vocal chaos. And then it was time for the show! I couldn´t be more nervous….Check this out, NO MONITORS!! I had to listen through the PA system. Imagine with my lack of vocal technique what that became. To add something more there were no stand for my drummers ride, only one for a crash and there were two lines for vocals. We sing three-part harmonies. Okay, total fracking chaos. I could have handled it better if I wasn´t singing and playing bass. I freaked…..my drummer got crazy mad and counted 1,2,3,4, played everything on the crash and hi hat. Ironically, it was probably our best show in terms of energy and we blew everyone’s mind. I sang like hell and learned a lot (read back and just do everything I did that day backwards!!!) But we played as if it was Wembley and we have had our square watermelon, an hour to warm up and a masseur before ha-ha. We really had to overcome the worst situation we could imagine for an inexperienced band. Even after that, we played bad gigs, but we never complained. If you do your job properly with the correct energy and you deliver, people will dig it and respond. Of course you have to sing and play great but that´s something you get from playing live constantly and learning to deal with anxiety, on the spot problems, and everything that can come up. We still have much to learn and I welcome the crazy situations because I found that from everything bad that’s happened, I´ve learned much more than from comfortable well organized gigs (which I love of course, and hope we get to a point where we only play these kind of gigs.) When you are a struggling band, you have to cope with these situations and learn! I hope this is useful for someone who´s just starting out! The fun stories from tour parties you can get from famous rock stars ha-ha (or maybe us in the near future, I hope ha-ha!!!)
Jaime: Thanks Fede, it’s been a great eye opener. Keep rocking!
To learn more about BlackMagic Revolution, visit:
Check Fede out on iTunes and Amazon Mp3, and purchase “BlackMagic Revolution” at http://bit.ly/NqZ5zQ