The Chocobo Band was born in 2007, when Mike Pelillo (guitar/vocals), Gabriele Lei (bass) and Riccardo Barbieri (keyboards), musicians and long-time Final Fantasy fans, attended Nobuo Uematsu‘s first concert in Italy.
The excitement of listening to the soundtracks of FF live with a full orchestra and choir was so strong that they began to think of forming a band dedicated to re-proposing in a personal and original way the music of the great Japanese composer.
After three years the project became reality when the first line-up was formed with Alessandro Lugari (drums), Giacomo Ferrari (keyboards) and Salvatore Zappalà (guitars).
Initially, the band prepared songs from the albums of The Black Mages (Uematsu’s band, from 2001 to 2009), then began to add tracks from various FF soundtracks that had never been played or rearranged before.
Very soon it became clear that the project could not remain fully instrumental, as some of the most famous songs were sung, so a seventh element was added to the band: singer Beatrice Bini.
The band’s setlist was prepared with songs from almost all Final Fantasy rearranged in a progressive rock/metal style, some of the most famous ballads, and even some tracks based on full orchestrations.
Live shows began, which immediately received positive feedback from the public. Since the first performance in October 2014, the Chocobo Band has played on stages and events around Italy, such as Lucca Comics & Games, Festa dell’Unicorno, Mantova Comics, PLAY, NipPop, Modena Nerd, Bologna Nerd Showalso performing in several Italian live-clubs together with Nanowar Of Steel, Rhapsody of Fire, Trick Or Treat, Gem Boy and others. From 2022 the Chocobo Band has also started performing in Europe with dates at Dokomi in Dusseldorf, Aninite in Vienna and Mondocon in Budapest.
Through a constant exchange with its audience on social networks and live events, the fanbase has constantly grown and allowed the band to be noticed all over the world.
In 2017 the first album, Shuffle or Groovy, was released: 10 tracks of famous FF songs rearranged in various styles, from bossa nova to blues to swing, with tributes to famous musicians such as Jimi Hendrix. The album received excellent feedback and prompted the band to release videos and propose these versions live, even proposing a dedicated setlist to be played in specific venues.
After a change in the line-up, where the old drummer was replaced by Francesco Roncaglia and Riccardo Barbieri stopped playing live to focus on the work “behind the scenes” for the band, the second album, Tales from Other Worlds, was recorded and released in 2020. This time the 14 tracks were produced in an epic progressive metal style, partly following the tradition of Uematsu’s The Black Mages, but adding a personal touch in the arrangements and completely rewriting the orchestral scores. The album was a huge success, and videos of the singles reached a large audience on YouTube.
At the moment, the Chocobo Band is working on its next album, which will contain never-before-released songs with completely new arrangements (for example, famous themes repurposed in a progressive metal suite with a complex structure and parts written from scratch by the band), new orchestrations and even original lyrics that will give an intimate point of view on some beloved characters from the series.