I’d like to write an introduction, but I already talked about Song for the Sleepwalkers in my Searching for alt folk post, so I can just link you back to that to have a description of similar artists, releases and a general introduction (do not like to repeat myself too much!). Advice you to have a go and read this article, which is going to lead you to Sweden, alt folk, violins, minimalism and poetry. Not too bad as a business card.
First of all, I’d like to ask you, where does the name ‘Songs For The Sleepwalkers’ come from? Is it in anyway a reference to the Welcome to the Numb’s album?
“Songs for the Sleepwalkers” came out of my mouth at a bar in Stockholm, sometime during a break between recordings. A friend asked me to describe how the tunes were going to sound, and I jokingly said that they were going to sound like “songs for the sleepwalkers” since I recorded everything during night time and did not really sleep for entire weeks while finishing the record. Somehow, that definition stuck with me and I loved it, and used it as a moniker. Nothing to do with Welcome to the Numb 🙂 Sleepwalking is also a very interesting and mysterious process of our brain, that blurs the borders between dreams and reality, and I find it fascinating.
Your music can be placed in between post rock and alt folk (even if in the album there is also an electronic vibe). How do this two genres mix together in your music, and what do you take from them?
I think that the “skin and bones” of the music I am making now is provided by my acoustic guitar and vocals, which means that there is a very essential and “folk” component to it. I grew up listening to punk rock as a teenager, which eventually opened my mind to an impressive variety of music, from early bluesmen, to garage to post rock. I am exposed to many different influences and I like to shake things together and see what happens. I think it is more exciting to explore and push your sound, but I also care for the comfort of a song in a more traditional sense. I feel that my debut album captures the intimacy of folk together and the spaciousness vibe and eclectic approach of post-rock and some branches of alt rock.
Sweden is the hometown of the new sleaze rock, whilst post-rock and alternative folk artists are less famous abroad. Are there any homegrown bands you’d like to suggest to the readers?
The music scene in Sweden is really stimulating and there are incredible artist carrying the flag high for every genre and style. Definitely check out The Tallest Man on Earth, The Hives, In These Woods, Leanids, The Radio Dept., Atlas Losing Grip, The Kendolls… I could go on forever.
I know the band itself hails near the lake Mälaren, it has to be an inspiring place for your music. How much did the atmosphere and landscapes in Scandinavia influence the composition of the album? Is it the inspiration through which you write the lyrics?
It is very beautiful out here, and it is actually the first time that I lived in a place with very well defined seasonal changes. Winter, Summer, Fall and Spring are really well distinct from each other, and each of them has had an impact on my mood, therefore on my work as a songwriter. My lyrics are very personal and twisted, and together with the music, they are definitely a part of these “mood swings”: Sometimes they can be bright and hopeful as a summer day or gloomy like the fall, every color and shape has its own fascination to me.
“Our rehearsed spontaneous reactions” is striking for the variety of the instruments and influences, but also for the concepts behind it. How is the cyclic change of seasons and perception of time represented in the album?
I think it is represented by how the setlist is built. The record keeps going up and down, up and down all the time, and this is a little about how I feel sometimes. Not necessarily because of the seasons, but that is a very powerful metaphor. To me, it represents a view on a very same issue (or place) that in another moment in time can appear completely different.
Can you tell us something more about the video of “Tell me how”? How was working with Ivan Forastiere?
Ivan Forastiere is incredibly talented, humble, patient and open minded. I am so lucky that I got to come across him. I worked with him in the past and I ve been fascinated by his way of working since the first time I was on a set with him. Tell Me How was the only song I had (almost) completed by the time we could make a video possible, and Ivan was incredible in capturing his own idea of the song through his own sensibility. I believe that the strenght of the videoclip is the attention to small details and the simple approach to it. Kei Alfano, who acted in the video as “the girl” and Francesca Rao who helped with photography were also amazing and helped with so much enthusiasm!
Why did you decide to move to Scandinavia? Which is the main difference you found between the Scandinavian music scene and the Italian one?
I’ve been involved into music on several levels for years. Although I could do a lot of great things, I felt the urge to leave and breath a different air. We live only once, so I took the chance. I travelled for a while, eventually winding up in Scandinavia. I did not know so much about Sweden before going to play there for the first time, and everything about the place really impressed me. I met interesting people, I love the cultural scene…so here I am.
Which is the aspect of live performances you like the most? Are you planning an international tour to promote your debut album?
I am hopefully going to tour Europe during april / may…I am working really hard to make it happen 🙂 I am hoping people will like the album. I love playing concerts because they are unpredictable. You never know what happens and you have to rely on your adaptability a lot.
Any goal for 2012? 2011 is nearly finished, do you have any memorable music moments to share with us?
Everytime I play in a new place, for new people and I am greeted by excitement is the best moment ever. This 2011 I toured sweden alone and I went up north to Luleå for the first time during summer, when the sun basically never sets. It was mind-blowing! The whole summer tour was amazing, and between a gig and another I got to see Kings Of Leon, Paolo Nutini, The Vaccines, Band of Horses, Biffy Clyro and Foo Fighters. Great summer in music. I am going to work really hard in 2012, trying to get the word out about Songs For The Sleepwalkers as much as possible. The debut album will be released right after christmas, so that will mark my year. I m also going to do something with another band and split my time equally between the 2 projects, which are sort of different from each other!