Interview: Five Minutes with Amycanbe
Italian dream-pop quartet Amycanbe has been traversing the airwaves since 2005. They are Francesca Amati (vocals), Mattia Mercuriali (bass, guitars, keys), Marco Trinchillo (drums, keys) and Mattia “Matta” Dallara (keys).
With 3 albums and several EP’s behind their name, their 2011 album ‘Mountain Whales’ garnered significant success with their hit ‘Buffalos’ gaining international traction.
Having recently released their new single ‘White Slide’ the band is preparing for the release of their upcoming EP by the same name.
We caught up with them for some insight into their recording process, their love for the UK music scene, and the importance of good food and wine…
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
Marco Trinchillo: I still don’t know whether it is music or art, I just know that it’s what I love, what we love! I don’t feel like a drummer, or a songwriter or a musician, I just feel that I need to do what I do, and it is probably the same for the others in the band too, even if its in different ways. When we are on stage, doing our thing in front of the people, enjoying the experience, I know it is perfect, a dream come true.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
Marco Trinchillo: For me, it’s the idea. I think the idea is 90% of a good song, but it starts with emotions, usually. Sometimes it can be a sound too, especially for Mattia (the guitarist). It often happens that he just follows his instincts for a song, or a simple loop, or a runaway train! For Francesca it is all about emotions, I think. Her lyrics are very open which suggests they come from her experiences in life, like little stories. By the way, our rule is: No rules!
Does your material feature any collaborations?
Marco Trinchillo: In the last few records we collaborated with Mark Plati, who has mixed 90% of our songs since 2009 – he really has got big ears! 🙂 He has got the talent to get the maximum potential from a song, as we envision it in our minds. For example ‘Grano’ is absolutely perfect, exactly how I imagined it. It has always been our favorite songs from the album Wolf, and probably one of his favorites as well. He chose it for a remix (almost a re-work), which we would like to include here in this release – very nice, great fun!
What’s on your current playlist?
Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra, Balthazar’s Fever, Jonathan Wilson’s Rare Birds
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
Marco Trinchillo: To me, playing live is the ultimate, or almost… I love to get on stage, play and share the experience with the audience. In Italy we are loved, especially in the South – people are extremely enthusiastic and open towards us. In the UK it is more satisfying from a professional point of view, possibly because people seem to be listening more deeply. Also, the equipment and management of the gigs are great, everything is done to make the experience better. We would love to come back to England, we feel Brixton and London, in general, is like our second home musically.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
Marco Trinchillo: Even in this regard, the rule is no rules! Like everybody, I suppose we are probably influenced by what we hear, but when we play together or record in the studio, we are totally in our own world, and we don’t care at all what happens outside! Technically we like to taste anything that is new to us, we simply like to have fun.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
Mattia Mercuriali: Breakfast first! Food is an important thing for all us because we like to taste life together, y’know? Food is always a concern! Then we enter the studio and we basically start with what we planned with the producer. We generally try to record what we have to, as we envisioned it, with the sounds we like. But things can change and they do, a lot! New ideas, new sounds etc – it is an evolving experience. We like to record as near to a live sound as possible, but sometimes, we take things as done from the pre-production version. That’s how it happened with ‘White Slide.’ Parts of the song were already ok, so we took a lot from the first version done by Marco in his studio at home. But we are always moving. For example, the live version of ‘White Slide’ is very different. We just do what we feel is right, basically. The last song on Wolf, called ‘Orata,’ has also been recorded live with the 4 of us simply playing in the studio.
After a full day in the studio, of course, it is dinner time! We enjoy being together around a table with good food and wine!
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “This is what I want to do?”
Marco Trinchillo: Christmas 1986. I was 6 years old and I asked Santa for a guitar because I knew that asking for a drumkit would have been too much. I received a classical guitar, although I actually didn’t play it until my teens! In the meantime, I started playing pots with my mother’s wooden spoons. There was always music in my house, my father was always listening to music of any kind!
Yeah…that was the first time.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
We have to keep everything close actually! 2 years ago we were robbed of all of our instruments. It actually became a viral promotional campaign. We arranged a party where a group of artists auctioned their work to raise money. By the end of the evening, we had raised enough to buy new instruments! What an amazing night!
Any emerging artists on your radar?
Marco Trinchillo: Cazale, a noir jazz post-rock quartet founded by Paolo Gradari, who was part of Amycanbe until the Mountain Whales album. They are great, they play very cinematic music.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Mattia Mercuriali: Life. We live for emotions, and music is that, but to me also my family. Pietro my son, gives me input that I could not even imagine, y’know?
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
I’m totally addicted to guitars. Sometimes I can’t resist buying a new one – my girlfriend hates me for it Because there is not any more room for all of them! The last one was a Fender Telecaster with fixed sustain, similar to the one used by Radiohead’s guitarist. I generally use Fenders or Fernandez guitars. Also pedals change from time to time, I like to experiment with new sounds and sets. (Marco uses an Italian customized handmade drumkit, and Mattia Dallara uses a lot of Akai keys and Korg synths)
Any side projects you’re working on?
Mattia Mercuriali: Well, our last project and last recent EP Plata O Plomo was a side project actually. It is an experimental Spanish musical and soundtrack, born for a theatrical show around the story of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. We spent the last year playing that in theatres with a Graphic Novelist, called Giuseppe Palumbo, and our friend Dany Greggio, an actor.
But now we are back demoing new stuff for a new a let’s say “normal project.”
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
Marco Trinchillo: We have grown up a lot musically since we started. We changed a lot of line-ups, and we are a different band now, but we will be even more different with the new stuff. What is really important is that we are still having fun, and we have a lot of it!
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
Maybe a new single and/or a new album on the way. We had a pizza with our manager talking about last week – it will be a “go for the throat” project 🙂
Famous last words?
“Touch wood!” – Mattia Mercuriali