Some of my favourite bands are ones I’ve discovered by going to festivals throughout Europe: Icelandic folk singer Arny Margret, Danish experimental jazz act Svaneborg Kardyb, and Estonian techno rock fusion act Bedless Bones, to name just a few recent discoveries.

Buckwise are a little different: while I stumbled across their music as a consequence of dropping in for a few hours of Tallinn Music Week during a family holiday, I had already flown home by the time they played. They had emailed asking to meet up (and promising Italian delicacies – nice lads!), and while we didn’t get to do so, I did take the time to listen to their brand of dance played on more conventional instrumentation, and I heard a seriously impressive production, like a less cover-based and more instrumentally-varied, spaced-out version of incredible guitar act Showhawk Duo.

So we decided to do a short feature, in the hope I might be able to grab the Italian act just a little bit of Irish attention, for which they’ve kindly answered my questions. And here it is…

Can you tell me a little bit about the history of Buckwise?

Buckwise were conceived by Lorenzo L’Abbate, Nicola Galluzzi and Francesco “Gnappo” De Luca. After several years of collaboration in other bands, they decide to give rise to a new sound that melts British and German electronic music and American indie-folk, melting banjo trumpet and guitars with programming.

Some months later, Roberto Matarrese, musician and producer, joined the band bringing his vocal and writing skills and sound design mindset.

After our first studio album, ‘Turning Point’ (2019), we went in a new artistic direction and a new sound, with Michele Granito and Francesco Lombardi becoming part of the band and giving a new impact to live performances.

This has led us to new collaborations like Dischi Uappissimi, our current label and management, and Bonimba, a publisher with an attitude for soundtracks for prominent productions. We’re also starting playing live outside of Italian borders, like at Tallinn Music Week in Estonia and ProtFest in Bosnia, and we’ll go to France to play at the FIMU Festival in Belfort.

You have an unusual style of music. How did you come to perform in this way?

Definitely all our past experiences as individual musicians and our background with different musical genres helped. In addition, the musical journey we made as a band has gradually led us to express this style. We have a passion for club electronica and IDM, but we also love cinematic atmospheres and try to find the best way to blend the two.

Is there a particular way of writing that you use to achieve the electronic effect with more traditional instruments?

Sometimes we try to think of parts that we would play with traditional instruments and bring them into the electronic world, using synths and drum machines. When we then go back to reproduce them with string instruments, winds, or drums, it sometimes feels almost natural, also because we use electronic effects a lot even with traditional instruments.

How do you convert your recorded songs into something you can create again live?

It’s one of the most fun parts because, starting from a production work, the live part sometimes leads us to change things up, and live songs have a different impact compared to recorded ones. We try to make the songs more engaging for the audience in a concert. Listening to a song with headphones and being on a stage bring about different sensations, and we try to accommodate this when we think about our live performance. So, sometimes, it sounds different from the record.

What are you like as a live band?

We try to bring to the stage the same engagement and spontaneity that we have in the studio. We are five brothers having fun, each with our own attitude but one single body that moves. It’s a balanced situation in which we feel comfortable, and feeling that the audience perceives this positive mood allows us to create a direct relationship with those who listen to us from the very first moments of the show.

What are the themes that you usually write about?

There are no favourite themes; we try to look around and reflect on what’s happening. The attitude towards a certain hermeticism in the lyrics leads to various interpretations, and that’s something very interesting for us.

What made you decide to write in English?

The sound of words. We think that English sounds more suited to the music we make. The fact that our songs are a bit more international in scope also doesn’t bother us at all!

The music industry can be a crazy place sometimes, and you might just get one song of attention. If people are going to listen to just one song, which song should that be from your career so far?

Right, the music industry is a crazy place. Everything is too fast and the idea of the audience giving you a few minutes of attention sometimes worries. The choice is not an easy one, but ‘Older’, the song with which our live show begins, is perhaps a concentration of elements that defines us in just a few minutes. A point of arrival and restart in our musical journey. The ‘turning point’, the title of our first album, which takes shape and becomes a brief manifesto of what we are today.

What’s your favourite experience as a band so far?

What we are currently experiencing is a year full of wonderful experiences and great satisfaction. We have played on important stages and in truly inspiring contexts, we have taken our music abroad and will continue to do so in the coming months, but there is one moment that perhaps remains among the most significant and that is the first live show of this new cycle. After a long period away from live activity due to the pandemic we were back playing with a new line-up, a new sound and new dynamics. The concert began and the audience stood in front of us and stays there until the end, focused and involved. After the concert we felt an awareness that we were beginning doing something positive.

What are your hopes for the future?

We hope to keep playing around a lot in Italy and abroad. We want to keep having fun, taking our music and our new upcoming album on the road. We think we are lucky to have the opportunity to travel and meet new people and cultures, and we feel we want to cultivate that. We hope to make it to Ireland soon to have a beer together after our live show.


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