Wednesday, 14 March 2018

INTERVIEW: Fil Bo Riva

I've been wanting to do interviews on here for a while, and where best to start than with one of my favourite discoveries of the last couple of years, the utterly sublime Fil Bo Riva. Traversing the boundaries between a solo project and collaborative group, they are led by 24 year old half-Italian Filippo Bonamici, who spent his youth in Ireland and studied for a while in Berlin. With a beautiful EP under their belts, they're finishing up their debut record, and are set to tour the UK and Europe in April and May to share new music. Check out the full dates and ticket info on the website here, and read my interview with Fil himself below...

(c) Juliane Spaete

Firstly (and most importantly) - how close is the album to being ready? I absolutely can not wait to hear it!

We're nearly done! There's still one or two songs to be finished but the rest is slowly going to the mixing engineer. We could have worked on it for another year but at one point you just gotta stop or else you'll keep on turning and turning around the same things for ages.

Between the utterly brilliant If You’re Right, It’s Alright EP of 2016 and the recent single Head Sonata (Love Control) you’ve already got some pretty great tunes under your belt. My go-to FBR tune is Franzis - what’s your personal favourite of the tracks already released and why?

Oh well, I guess that's a hard question since all the songs mean something to me. But right now I'm simply more into "Head Sonata" cos it's newer to my ears. But honestly I still love every single song on the EP.


Your music always strikes me as raw, emotional, and on the whole fairly heartbreaking. Where does the inspiration come from when writing? Has the shift from a solo project to a collective changed the songwriting process or any other aspects of the music?

I usually write about stuff I've gone through, other times - more on some of the new songs - I make up a little story and combine it with real stuff… so I guess it's pretty basic song writing. But the way I write my songs hasn't changed really, most of the time I still sit at home and play my guitar or the piano and then just come up with chords and melodies. That's the most beautiful part of all.

Back in 2014 you left studying behind for busking on the streets of Berlin. It sounds like a huge leap (but I’d say that it paid off!) - what gave you the courage to drop out of college at the time? At what point did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in music?

I always knew I wanted to do music or something artistic. I just wanted to create stuff and one day I noticed I had forgotten the music because of my studies so I just took a decision and started. It was hard at the start because nobody really believes in a musician in the beginning but a lotta work and a little bit of luck made it all real, and now we're here.

Would you say that busking so much in the early days helped to shape the music that you’re making now, and the way that you perform it live?

Of course, first of all that helped me to have the courage of playing in front of people. I was extremely scared about that and still am somehow, but it definitely helped me build some kind of natural feel where my head tells me not to go on stage but my stomach says the opposite. I like that battle.

 
You’re heading on a pretty extensive run of dates around the UK and Europe soon to promote the new single. What can we expect from the shows - plenty of new tunes I hope? Any pre-gig rituals?

Yes, fresh new tunes and the old ones as well. Before a gig we usually sing a Johnny Cash tune together, to warm us up and build the energy.

Is there anywhere that you’re especially excited to play, any cities perhaps which always bring a great crowd, or places that you’ll be visiting for the first time?

Honestly I don't really think about which crowd is the best, I noticed that every place has it's own way of communicating and interacting with the band. I really like this contrast cos it doesn't get boring!

Finally - what music is in your headphones or on your playlist at the minute? For me it’s the new Rae Morris record ‘Someone Out There’ - it’s wonderful!

I'm listening to "Pink Lemonade" by James Bay since last night, I like it a lot!

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