Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Los Angeles Based Session Guitarist Christian Zezza Is An International Player Of Many Talents:

Los Angeles Based Session Guitarist Christian Zezza Is An International Player Of Many Talents:

I've been writing for a lot of New York Session Guitar Players of late,but Los Angeles players eluded me until now.

I came across a player who's worked hard no just as a studio session player;but on guitar training videos,being an endorser of Godin Guitars,and collaborating on projects with some of LA's top studios,and acting as a consultant and session man with Indie label "New Vintage Artists" Out f San Francisco.

One thing I found with Christian is his absolute need to find out how to become a better player and mentor to other players. He attended a number of guitar clinics with top musicians like John Petrucci and Jazz guitar player Frank Gambale,along with learning from studio session guru Carl Verheyen.

Christian Zezza is a player who straddles both the online and offline world of being a session player and learn all he can to further his career as a musician. He's done more than most Session playing wise,including,working with top studios in LA like Spitfire, with Warren Huart and Phil Allen. As well as (New Vintage Artists) in San Francisco with Chuck Johnson,and even being an endorser of IK Multimedia Software,which is becoming a big player in the music software field.

I was amazed at Christian's resume as a session player in LA,and his attention to his craft more than a lot of players.

I implore you as a musician to look at Christian's Bio and what he's doing currently and previously.

In my interview with Christian Zezza I ask him specific questions on being a Session player and how you can learn from this interview and use it to fuel your career ambitions as a session player in the studio,doing live work and consulting with other players and record labels.

As well I ask him gear questions and how he uses them to effectively get through session work projects. Take notes guys and learn from Christian.  Whether you’re a guitar just starting out,or you’re in the studio and need to learn a little more on what studios,labels and bands really want from your playing.

You can see Christian's bio and other aspects of his career at: www.christianzezza.it

I'll have the link to Christian's site at the bottom of the interview as well.

CGP: What kind of session work do you get more than others Christian?

CZ Along the years I got hired for many different sessions: demos, jingles and commercials, singer/songwriters albums, musicals for theatre, etc.

I frequently get hired by singer/songwriters who need to create a "stesure" of their ideas and to dress their songs with the most well fitting guitar work. Most of them are great writers but not excellent players, or sometimes they are super talented in both ways. My role is always the same, trying to record the right part with the right tone with the right feeling. Sometimes there is an arranger so you have to follow all the guidelines, sometimes they're independent artists and you can work with them on the guitar ideas, sometimes you are absolutely free. It's always different.

CGP:What I mean is the type of music? Or do you get commercial jingle work as well?

CZ I've done lot of commercial jingle sessions, and I love it, it's really fun and more simple than a complete arrangement for a real song, at least to me. That's probably because I grew up recording my very short sample ideas, which were pretty much like jingles for advertisements so that's why that's something in my dna.

When doing Session work,and I've never asked a guitar player this; Do you always have to have your own gear,or do some studios or bands have you use theirs,just to see how well you do,or they want continuity in their tone?

CZ:It depends. If the project you're hired for has specific tone requests you have to respect it, for ex.: it's maybe better not to go to a 70' pop/rock style session with a 7 strings metal guitar tone, right? :)

What Guitars and gear are using mainly for Session Work?

Gear you use:Guitar,strings,amps,effects pedals and any outboard gear. 

Guitars: My collection is pretty wide and diverse depending on a client and their specific requests; I can use Strats,Telecasters,Les Pauls,335's etc. If I have to name some specific brands the "classics" are always there with--Fender,Gibson,Music Man,Ibanez,Martin. Plus I endorse a couple of international guitar brands which I use constantly,and are my mainstays for guitar work;Godin Guitars for electric work,and Eko guitars for acoustic work. 

Same for amps, Better having the closest tone as possible according to the sound of the artist. The reality is that there are no rules, especially in the studio is always an experimental work in progress.
If I have to say the only one thing that can run a successful guitar session, is to bring with you some of yours reliable guitars in term of tuning stability, playability, low noise etc. ... oh, and a tuner!!

Strings: Ernie Ball 10/46 or 11/52 for electric guitars - Elixir 11/52 for acoustic guitars

Amps:  Same for guitars, along the years I went through a lot of different amps, cabinets, speakers etc.. What I love is a tube clean tone amp, possibly with a nice overdrive channel;and  I found the best of both worlds on the Laney VH100 head into a 1x12 cabinet loaded with Celestion Vintage 30 speaker. Also, with the help of some pedals, I can cover pretty much all the classic guitar tones out there.

Pedals: My main pedal board is really compact, user friendly but works great; the guitar signal enters into a custom made buffer (to let the signal clean along all the path), then tuner, compressor, clean boost, over drive 1, over drive 2, volume pedal, phaser, tremolo, chorus, delay/reverb.

Great signal chain advice from Christian above here!

Outboard/Studio Gear: I use outboards mainly for the studio recording. I have a home studio in LA, which is the same gear of my previous home studio in Italy. I use Yamaha D-Pre as mic pre's, very very clean and "in your face" mic preamps. As a converter I use a TC Electronic interface. Logic Pro X and Protools DAW's. Also, I collaborate with Ik Multimedia, an international software house for Music Production. I use tons of their products, plugins, hardware etc. I'm in love with their studio monitors "iLoud Micro Monitors"...they sound incredible, since I got them, I haven't turned on my Yamaha HS50 anymore! ;)

Do you think that it's better for a session player to have short samples of their work mainly when promoting themselves online?

CZ:Absolutely. These days everything is online, mainly the self promoting. When I started, I use to go knockin at all the studio's doors in my city, with my sample CD's, promoting myself as a session player. It was a completely different world, mainly because now a days most of the studio don't exist anymore. Everything, or most everything is done remotely, there's only a very small percentage of sessions that are done physically in a studio with all the entourage around.

I Think that my main three big sessions in the last year (an international Musical, a songwriter album and a jingle/commercials acoustic album) were done remotely from my home studio in LA and sent to the producers based in London, Italy and LA (but still remotely).
Last question Christian.So yes, it's important the online self promoting, but mostly, be a good self producer of your guitar recordings so that you can work remotely all around the world.

When a session player is just starting out do most studios and bands have you play it totally their way before you inject any of your own riffs or chords you may have come up with?  

CZ:Usually in a typical session there is a 50/50% of following guide lines and "putting of your own" (that's an italian translation statement, ah!) This is a good question by the way, in fact, to be a good session player you have also to be really creative! It can happens quite often to be asked things like: " ok, do whatever you feel like here..." or "... can you do something like xyz???" So, yes, it's not rare to be involved in the creative process during a session. Also, you have to be a good reader, at least for chord charts. The most prepared, fast, enjoyable to work with you are, the more will be your chances to get working phone calls!


If your studio,band or if you're a single musician and need great craftsmen to perfect your work,contact Chris in LA at: http://www.christianzezza.it/IT/Work_with_us.html

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