Husky Loops – Interview – 2017

Husky Loops are a band at the start if something good – playing heavy hitting riffs with influences coming from the intense blistering beats reminiscent of Suuns and the divine emotional indie likened to early Arctic Monkeys. The trio, who originally come from Bologna, find themselves living in London where they joined forces to create some of the most thrilling and most imposing music around at the moment. Danio, Pietro and Tommaso release their debut self-titled EP on April 7th, which perfectly captures their ferocious live show which has got them support slots with the likes of Sunflower Bean, Yak and then this summer with The Kills. We see big things for this band, so we made sure to find out more about them.

Did you get involved in Bologna’s art and music scene when growing up?
Yes, we were all playing in different bands and believing a lot in the music scene over here.

What kind of music were you brought up on?
Danio: I started listening to 50s rock’n’roll, blues and Italian songwriters at a young age. That’s the first music I remember.

Pietro: Brian Eno, R.E.M, Frank Zappa are among my first memories.

Tommaso: The Beatles. I wanted to be Paul McCartney when I was 10. Also Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath since the very beginning.

Can you remember the first album you bought/owned?
Danio: I was listening to my dad’s collection, I think the first album I actually bought was AC/DC’s Back in Black or something.

Pietro: Revolver by The Beatles? Actually before that, a cassette of ‘Barbie Girl’ by Aqua. Brutal honesty right here.

Tommaso: Probably The Wall by Pink Floyd when I was 10, in a massive shop in Paris.

What drives you to write music?
Danio: I want to buy a giant house and fill it with cash and girls. Cash, girls, everywhere. Sometimes pigs. And a little woman called Lady, who’s from Kent and makes wallets and sometimes tells me stories about her first husband.

Pietro: Mostly its about telling stories and helping the good vibes flow. But hey, I would like a giant house as well.

Tommaso: It's a natural need.

Has your style/genre of music stayed the same?
Danio: No. And it never will, because we get bored so easily.

Pietro: Escaping categories is an imperative limited only by lack of ambition.

How did Husky Loops form?
We all met in London and we wanted to be in a band. It was random, but also kinda planned.

Can you remember your first jam; how was it?
Danio: It was great. I think it was loud. But I wanted to write songs. I think it was disco music.

Pietro: Well, me and Tom always locked up really well on drum and bass, and we all wanted to do it for real so it was fairly spontaneous. Being from the same place and having similar influences definitely played a part in us sticking together.

Is there a story behind the name?
Pietro: The conceptual answer: it stemmed from our fascination with sample culture and an idea to bring some of it into rock music – making rough repetitions, or husky loops if you will, in a fashion similar to beat-making, but with traditional instrumentation. Also the name sounds kind of wrong, just like often grammar structures by young immigrants like us sound wrong. The commercial answer: it’s the first thing appearing on Google – this name didn’t exist before us. The funny answer: we like husky memes. The actual answer is just a combination of all these, plus whatever you want of it.

How would you briefly describe your music/ethos?
D, P, T : It’s rock’n’roll and repetitions, our idea of simplicity, the music we’d actually love to listen to, and what naturally comes out of us.

What are your main influences?
Danio: hip hop, afrobeat, 60s LA big productions.

Pietro: hip hop, post punk, techno.

Tommaso: Any kind of bass-heavy music, Italian 70s soundtracks.

What inspires your lyrics?
Danio: My life and my emotions and there is a lot of stream of consciousness going on. At the moment my lyrics are very personal and they’ve been like that for a few years, but at the same time I don’t think any one could tell. I think my lyrics are really relatable!

How do you approach the writing/recording process? Do you surround yourself with people or hide away behind closed doors.
Danio: I like to wrap myself in Spanish ham and run around the woods to find inspiration, then I come back and I smoke crack by myself to really understand what it is that my body is trying to say to my brain. Seriously, no, it’s all very normal. Rehearsals, writing, then studio. A lot of rehearsals are needed to get the right vibe and stick with it for a while. That’s what I push for, really, getting the right energy and getting the right vibe in the room while recording. It’s the most important thing.

Pietro: It’s a very heterogeneous process. Sometimes Danio might bring something and it might work perfectly, sometimes it might take months without actually going anywhere. Sometimes from jams or single riffs come full songs that only need top lines. The writing and pre-production process often takes a long time and various demos and live performances to be fully defined and ready for recording. But we need to learn how to get rid of our babies more easily, I guess.

Tell us a bit about the Husky Loops EP?
Danio: I don’t think there is a theme behind the EP. We were trying to get all the best music we wrote (in our opinion) and fit it in a record. I think EPs are great, because they really show what bands go through in between albums or bigger projects, they’re really a picture of that time. This EP to me is the start of Husky Loops, and it’s very exciting because everything can change from now on. We can become anything. I also think it’s a good representation of our live shows and of the ideas we can come up with in the studio So there are samples, heavy distortions, big clubby basslines but also vey intimate songwriting and a lot of energy. It’s a mixture of things really.

Pietro: It’s incredibly exciting to be in a band in which everything from start to finish is conceived and made in the band. From the initial ideas, to the production and the artworks. In making this record there has been a big deal of growing up and learning from all three of us, and I can’t imagine where we can get with the next.

What has been a musical eye-opener and how has it affected you?
Danio: Hip Hop changed my life. I see music in a very different way now. I care less about being “classic", I am more inspired, I am more focused on rhythm. My songwriting changed, and it opened me to so many different genres. It was a big eye opener also because it let me see the current charts better and notice some things were actually very interesting, it was very positive for me.

Pietro: Brian Eno has been a massive influence on me since an early age. I have always admired his cross-disciplinary and conceptual approach, being myself a graphic designer by training, and how he surfed across genres. I wish the same to our path.

Who would be in your ultimate supergroup and what would be their name?
Danio: My supergroup would be called “100%” and it would have D'Angelo on drums, Darondo on vocals, me on bass, Bjork on synths, Jack White on guitar and MF DOOM just vibing there.

Pietro: DJ Shadow, Aphex Twin and J Dilla. I don’t think they’d need a name though because the universe would just implode.

Tommaso: Damon Albarn (vocals, organ) Anderson .Paak (drums, vocals), John Paul Jones (cello) and Jack White (bass).

What would be your perfect line-up of any 3 acts (dead or alive) for a concert you are putting on and where would it be?
Danio: Bowie, Fela Kuti, Lucio Battisti. Don’t know where!

Pietro: It should be in an island like Stromboli vulcano as part of a week-long festival taking place in honor of Bacchus.

Tommaso: Nitin Sawhney, Goblin and Goat at Palais Garnier in Paris.

If you could work with any artist from the past or present, who would it be and what would they bring to Husky Loops?
Danio: It would be Lucio Battisti. He would bring genius simple ideas and pop greatness. Or maybe Madlib. He would just mess with everything and make crazy shit.

Pietro: Let’s think of video ideas with directors from Canada, knowing that we could achieve anything. Let’s do a big campaign with the help of Barnbrook and make a kick ass identity. But let’s stay in control about what it is – the identity of Husky Loops is exclusively what the three of us decide together.

If you could have made any album ever, which one would it be and why?
Danio: Pet Sounds. It’s just the most incredible record ever.

Pietro: Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) by Brian Eno.

Tommaso: The Wall.

If you could give a musical award to someone, what would it be for and for whom?
Danio: I would give it to Ed Sheeran. I would give him cash. He’s selling a lot, I think he deserves more money, he’s definitely doing well.

Pietro: Yeah same, but in gold ingots, tied to him, on the bottom of the sea.

Tommaso: Where's the chorus Ed? Need more choruses.

What music are you listening to at the moment, any recommendations?
Danio: Right now I’m listening to Bill Evans’ first album. His piano playing is insane. So beautiful.

Pietro: Yussef Kamaal. We saw some of these guys live ages ago in a night called Steez – the drummer is in United Vibrations. They were negated access to the States due to the recent travel ban. They are just massive, heavily recommend.

Tommaso: I'm loving the last M.I.A. album.

Do you get to go to many gigs? Any that have stood out?
Danio: Jack White a couple of years ago made me deaf. It was incredible. Mind-blowing. Flying Lotus was mind blowing too. I should go to more gigs though, I’m always at home.

Pietro: Aphex Twin melted me twice.

Tommaso: One of Black Sabbath's last performances in a Roman amphitheatre in Italy.

What are your future plans?
Danio: Writing as much as I can and touring lots. We are playing in a lot of different places.

Pietro: I want to find a balance between improving as a musician while keeping my head clear enough to take the right artistic choices for my visual work. Got to do something that means something, to quote the Pharcyde.