Friday, November 26

(Mental Health Conversations): RAMIRO FAUVE

Editor’s Note:  Out of Argentina and now Woodland Hills, “artician” Ramiro Fauve sat down with Madness To Creation to discuss how he approaches his music as opposed to the canvas, his activism(major antiwar activist), personally knowing the legendary rapper Tupac Shakur through his artwork and his upcoming releases for “When Rivers Cross Vol. 1” and “When Rivers Cross Vol. 2”.  Chatting with people like Ramiro remind of the importance of being an artist and the liberation of being an artist.  You give the artist a palette, as many colors as he/she desires and liberate the artist to create their own masterpiece.  In the upcoming album, you can expect a mix of folk, pop, a touch of blues and some Americana in there.  Fans can find Ramiro Fauve at the following locations:

Madness To Creation:  You’re an incredible artist in every sense of the word.  How do you approach your music in the studio to the palette when you make your murals?  What’s your mindset when it comes to your creations?

Ramiro: Wow, well thank you for that — and thanks for having me. Um, cool question because I don’t think it’s something most creatives are aware of — you know — we’re just lifting the foot that follows the first. I think the hardest thing about painting is the space between the brush and canvas. Once you get past that, you’re over half way there. Commitment. Once you’re “in”, then it’s just technicality, persistence, some imagination from there on — the will to finish. I think most people give up and say they can’t paint because of how others will perceive their effort. Myself, I hand my ego over to the project. Whatever it demands and wants to be, I’m its tool. Fear and self-critique has little room that way. I let creativity happen without me. It comes usually at 3 -4 am. Whatever creative puzzle I was trying to solve presents itself answered. I don’t want to sound too mystical, but songs, like my fine art, oftentimes just “come down” whole. One morning, for example, I awoke from a dream with a complete song (actually happens all the time). In the dream I became self-aware. I realized I was writing it and thought “this is good”. lol I woke up hoping I retained it and I did. A darn good one too. It went:

I don’t have much to say,  just wanna hold you
Everything you need to hear, I’ve already told you
Since I have you here, stay close and do me a favor
Tell your heart I’m not giving up
Tell your heart it’s been long enough
Tell your heart — I promise
I remembered the whole thing, verse, chorus, melody and keep pad and pen, phone, by my bed just for that. I mean, where does it come from? I don’t know, but an artist opens up and transmits. I’d presume it happens to most artists. I once had my whole future art show play out in my mind’s eye when I had a fever from the flu. I saw in my mind what I was going to paint next. Technical ability has very little to do with it. I think Sting and Elton, etc, are all drawing from the same pool.
Madness To Creation:  You created the album cover for “R U Still Down” by the legendary Tupac Shakur.  What are some memories that you have of him and how did you see him as an artist and visionary?
Ramiro:  Well, what a powerful artist he was. This was after he passed, his mom Afeni, wanted a portrait of him to be used in the album art. He loved Van Gogh, so she asked if I could blend Starry Night and Tupac. I knew exactly what to do and so we went ahead. Now, I had a little apartment at the time and she actually came and stood behind me as did my final pass! She wanted the eyes just right, the mouth just so. At a point we were both in tears — She said “He’s here, he’s in the room, you have him.” We sat and cried. His music is always still speaking to me and to so many.
Commissioned oil on canvas painting by Ramiro Fauve used in Tupac Shakur’s “R U Still Down” CD.

Madness To Creation:  You’re a major activist in every sense of the word.  What are some of your reflections in regards to the uprising in America?

Ramiro:  I’m incensed by where we are — we’re sooooo lost! This administration has got to go — and fast. Income inequality, racial inequality, violence against unarmed blacks, greed, corruption— it has all run amok. Homelessness is out of control. In LA they are becoming encampments that go around the block. These are our fellow citizens, human beings for wants, needs, hopes and dreams. This has to change. I don’t understand how the rich don’t see that they can actually stay plenty rich if we all have more money to buy their stuff. It’s too big a topic for this format (I can’t type that fast, lol), but first and foremost we have to make sure they don’t succeed at silencing anyone at the ballot box.

Madness To Creation:  You’re releasing “Where Rivers Cross Vol. 1 & 2” in October, what is the mindset when you step into the studio and what are a couple of your favorite songs from the record and its messages?

Ramiro:  Well, I guess the first thought is just “don’t f- it up”. I can go so wrong! lol The studio is the acid test. I don’t wish it on anyone. Like canvas, everything is recorded: who you are, where you are, your intention, your lack of it. I, of course, had to lay down my own insane gauntlet of a 26-song double album. But I really wanted the runway to tell the story of my Americana roots and make it worth the effort. It had to cost me a limb or two. My brilliant co-producer Larry Goetz and I felt the songs stood on their own and that we just had to stay out of their way — not overthink, not overproduce. A few faves: “She’s Only Gone” (the first song we recorded) is the story of my first marriage which took me a lot of travel to get past. This one set the tone for the entire project. It is also the scratch vocal, which we kept. We did this on nearly all the songs. The rough take was consistently the most heartfelt. “Maybe Don’t Go” (the latest single) turned out so lovely — where all folk, country, pop roads meet. I think even the Bee Gees snuck in there. “In The Corner (Michael)” is about a homeless man I met — I think it speaks well to the issue. My tribute to the father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe, called “I Believe” is probably my favorite. He was Carl Perkins’ inspiration. I realized that Monroe’s epic “My Last Days On Earth” was my roadmap for “I Believe” — it answered every musical question I had about my song — I had to learn mandolin to tackle it, but if he was alive I would have begged him to play on it. The song speaks to my belief that there is more going on than what we see — there is a force. It’s this force that helps me write, paint and get through life. I fell off a very tall ladder once and felt as if hands held me on the way down. I landed with a thunderous crash onto a ton of stuff, but without a scratch. That force. 

At the end of “I Believe”, you’ll hear a Kings River stream trickling and Lake Cachuma coyotes howling and yelping (sounds common to my camping trips with my husky, Cash), just like at the end of “My Last Days On Earth” where Monroe has what I assume were his favorite seagull sounds.

Madness To Creation:  What is your most profound moment as an artist?  A moment where you’re like, “wow, I did this”?

Ramiro:  Wow, well I’ve been fortunate to have the feeling a few times. The first mega mural I worked on was 100 feet x 70, my first watercolor was for a Dos Equis commercial, my first sculpture job was to produce 14 busts for NBC’s Contender series, my first camouflage art job (disappearing people to camera) was eight location scenes in one day for an IAVA Ad Council “Alone” campaign, performing and recording with mom all these years, singing jingles for a living, rappelling off a building to do some fixes, my own first album, finishing my first book — I don’t know. I’ve had a few lifetimes lol. I compete with my own limitations, so every breakthrough is memorable and inspiring — pushes me forward.

Madness To Creation:  I’m sure you’ve learned a lot from your mother Suni Paz, what has she taught you that you will always carry with you?

Ramiro:  Don’t say can’t. She always said, “I don’t care if you’re a mailman or a physicist, just be the best.” All work is noble. I have tremendous respect for the guy selling oranges on my off ramp, truly.

Madness To Creation:  If you could sit down and interview anyone in music, activism or the arts world who would it be?

Ramiro:  OMG well Bowie’s gone. I’d say McCartney. That boy is an ARTIST. Active, concerned, alive. An inspiration.

Madness To Creation:  We cover mental health awareness at Madness To Creation and we’re excited to have you on this platform, what are some things that help you when you struggle and what helps carry you through?

Ramiro:  What a lovely question — and we need Madness To Creation more than ever these days. I’ll tell you, what gets me sometimes is people trying to fix themselves. I’m much more into accepting and working with my good and bad bits. Sometimes I can get really pissed about something, but I realize I’m an Italian, French, Spaniard and a little prone to passion. I cry at movies in the morning, I’m bored by quibbling and cliche drama. I’m probably certifiable in some respects and the picture of a business-minded, disciplined, normalcy in others. One thing’s for sure no one gets out of here alive so there’s no need to rush it. Make the best of it. Take something negative and find a way to make it good. Long live George Floyd and the movement to make something so horrific into something positive — justice.

Madness To Creation:  Favorite thing about Argentina you want to share with us.

Ramiro:  Mate sipped from a gourd, with sugar. I drink it often. 🙂 I came to the States so young that Argentina to me seems more like a picture postcard destination — I’m looking forward to more trips there to retake my culture.

Madness To Creation:  What else would you like to add?

Ramiro:  To anyone out there that has a pet project or creative idea — go for it. Fun factor is everything. Don’t wait. Don’t think. Just make that list of what you need and do it. To hell with what people may think, the market, logistics, your own hesitance. You will, if nothing else, have instantly created a life more worth living. oxox

And there you have it!  “Where Rivers Cross Vol. 1” and “Where Rivers Cross Vol. 2” is due out October 6th.  In the meantime, check out the single “Maybe Don’t Go” via Soundcloud below:

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