Get to Know: Guitarist Rich Brilli

So, there we were, staring at an empty canvas with one goal ahead of us… boss music.  Rich has an incredible knack for disturbing the neighbors with grinding power chords, soaring solos, and screeching pinch-harmonics, but his talents as a musician go beyond his guitar playing skills.  Rich also helped co-write several tracks on the GunGirl 2 soundtrack, including “Death or Destiny,” “Oblivion,” and “Sanctus Inferno.”  Beyond writing, his lead-improvisations led to many of the most memorable moments in the score, including the responses to Rachel Denlinger‘s violin passages in “Anomaly.”  Follow the jump to really get to know this up-and-coming guitarist.

1) So, who is Rich Brilli?
Over the hills and far away, the forces of Denim and Leather combined to have a 70’s/80’s lovechild.  Seeing as my family lineage mysteriously ends there, I can only assume my origins… Plain and simple, I love Rock ‘n Roll.  At least, that’s where it all started.  I was born and raised for the most part in Cincinnati, Ohio, went to St. X high school (we are Xavier Men forever), and I’m going to be a senior Digital Design major in DAAP at UC this fall.  Although I love everything from Blues to Funk to Death Metal, my soul breathes for Classic Rock. But pretty much anything with a rockin or emotion-drippin’ guitar is up my alley.
2) How, when, did you get interested in and start performing music?
My mom was a singer and my dad played piano, so it wasn’t surprising I got my introduction to music from these two avenues.  I played piano for 8 years, and I sang in a choir for Junior High, and these are where my musical “performances” really started.
I had my first real gig when I was 16 – I was lead singer for my first two bands in high school (Urban Nomads and Axology).  It was through these bands that I took interest in electric guitar, and by the end of high school I was rhythm guitarist for Axology.  I kept practicing, learning, and jamming with friends, and in college I was lead guitarist for my party cover band, Elixir.
I’m in the works forming a blues band this coming Fall, so as you can see, I’m kind of addicted to the live music scene.  I’ve had a lot of experience jamming and improvising with lots of different musicians, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.  That’s how you learn the fastest while maximizing the fun.
3) What was your initial reaction when Josh asked you to record for the soundtrack to a game called “GunGirl?”
HELL YEAH!! I had zero hestiation. I’d been chomping at the bit (like a zombie, of course) to make some music with Josh, and this opportunity sounded great.  The second we started brainstorming ideas, I knew it was gonna be a rockin’ blast – it all came so easily because we were so excited and just having fun.
4) How do you feel about the final product, now that it’s all finished and complete?
Let’s do it again!! I’m beyond stoked. I listen to it all the time not because I’m vain or anything, but because when you make music you love, you can’t help but enjoy it all the more.  Every time the songs come on my iPod they pump me up – I remember working to get that solo just right, or tweaking song arragements, etc.  I also saved a bunch of the “works in progress” tracks, so it’s great to hear how they came into fruition.
5) What was it like working with Josh, was he nice, a jerk, something like that?
Something like that… 😉  Nah Josh and I had been developing a nice friendship throughout the past year or two, and I think this experience really solidified that friendship, which was great.  Not to mention he’s a musical mastermind, so it made working with him that much more fun.  Seriously, we’d come in and he’d say, “We need a Hell track.”  I start riffing, he starts keyboarding, we arrange some drums and melodies and rock out a while, it sounds pretty good… I come back three days later and it’s an epic 6-minute masterpiece.  Lay down a solo, and a few days later it’s got crazy melodies, harmonies, glitches and zombie voices.  What was also great was learning from him – watching him work swiftly and flawlessly, I knew I was learning from an expert in the trade.
6) What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Aside from rockin and writing solo tracks, I love catching live shows.  Music takes a whole new dynamic when you’ve heard it live, so I try to see as many of my favorite bands as possible, as well as new and local bands.  I’m also a runner (GO UC RUNNING CLUB!), and I’m a designer/animator in school, so I’m certainly working on those things outside of music.
7) If you were a zombie, heaven forbid, what kind of zombie would you be?  Would you hide out waiting for your victims in sneaky spots, or would you just run at them madly?  Would you be aggressive or wait in the back for leftovers of your zombie friends?  What would you wear if you were a zombie?
“Heaven forbid”?? Who doesn’t wanna be a zombie?! I would go for the gruesome guerilla tactics of hide-n-wait, striking when prey is close.  And if any other zombies got close and wanted a piece, I’d eat them, too.  Oh, and I would undoubtedly be dressed like MJ in his “Thriller” video, perhaps with a bit more torn leather.
8) Any last words or shout outs?
To every blues musician, living or deceased.  Almost every form of music I love has its roots in Blues, so I certainly wouldn’t be the same without it – also, I find it to be the most honest and simple form of music, laden with emotion.  Other than that, I thank the O’Donnells (Eddie, Andrew, and Dave) for getting me off the ground and sparking my interest in music, and my parents for always pushing me to seek my best.  And thanks Josh for this badass project, let’s hope there’s much more to come, and very soon 😉
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