Replay: Italian Funk Is Pretty Darn Awesome
Hey Drooblers! We’ve got a great treat for you today – an Italian band called Replay. As you might have guessed from the title, they’re in the funk department. If you didn’t get this from the title, I’m really not sure what to tell you… ANYWAY. We found these guys on Drooble and thought their music was pretty sweet, so, as any good Samaritans would have done, we decided to share it with you. When we found out half the band was over 50 and the other half – way below that, we were both surprised and impressed. Anyone whose ever played with other people will tell you that interpersonal dynamics in a band is a delicate thing but the guys from Replay seem to be making the most of it. They also seem to be having tons of fun together which is both the point of making music and can be clearly seen (well, heard) in their music. We asked them a few questions about it and about their first album that came out this year. Enjoy!
Hey, guys! Glad to have you on Drooble First of all, congratulations on the release of your first album. Now that you’ve gone through that together, how would you describe your dynamics as a band?
As a band we work really well I think! The fact that two members are young and three are over 50 yo isn’t a problem at all! We mix the freshness of youth with the experience and wisdom of “older” musicians (just the body, because their souls are very young). We get along so well and we love to work together.
You all look and sound like you have some recording experience. What was specific about recording the songs for this album?
It was specific the fact that every song was recorded in a different way, not trying to record a song because we had or wanted to do it, but because we had an idea. That is interesting I think: we went to the studio only when we had an idea or when we felt we wanted to say something through music. Most songs came from Andrea B. who would suggest it to Alessandro. They would work on it together and then all the band would reunite to get the song done. We paid great attention to avoid repetitions in our songs and when recording we wanted our recorded part not to be just technically good, but we were also looking for the “feel” and the authenticity of our playing and singing.
Judging by the Zappa posters in your studio, I’m guessing you have a lot of influences outside the funk genre. What bands and musicians inspire you?
We have a lot of influences. If I had to list them all, the mail would be really long since each of us has its own influences. To record this album our influences were mainly Jamiroquai, Level 42, Weather Report, Maroon 5, Hiram Bullock, Mike Stern and others. Alessandro and Paolo played for years in the main Frank Zappa tribute band in Italy, and collaborated with Napoleon Murphy Brock as well. That is why we have the Zappa posters. I (Andrea B.) started to play the guitar influenced by the great bluesmen: BB King, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton, SRV, and others. But I also listened to all kinds of music, from classical to rap, metal…but I love funk and fusion, and so do all the members of our band. Everyone has experiences in all genres, Alessandro played fusion, rock, jazz, pop. Paolo played soul, blues, rock, fusion and was inspired by Spyro Gira, Weather report, James Brown. Andrea Sgarzi was inspired by Keith Emerson, Oscar Peterson, Micheal Camilo, Chick Corea and others. Andrea Poltronieri was influenced by Garbarek, The Beatles, Morricone, Gabriel, Lucio Dalla, Pino Daniele, Cristina D’Avena, David Sanborn.
P.S. We have 3 “Andrea” in our band, that must be very rare! 😉
I know it all started with Alessandro and Andrea but how did the five of you come together?
After Alessandro and Andrea B. began to see where this band could go, Alessandro called Paolo and Marco from the former tribute band to Frank Zappa, then he remebered he had worked with Andrea Poltronieri, a known sax player in Italy, and he offered him to work with us. Later Marco couldn’t continue to play with us because of his plans to move to England and Andrea B. found Andrea S. on the internet. He listened to some of his performances on YouTube and decided to ask him to play with the band. He accepted immediately.
What do you sing about? How do you write your lyrics?
The lyrics were written by me, Andrea B. (guitar and vocals). They are mainly based on experiences I had in my life, an observation of the world around us and a lot more, as a strong research for sense, or just more sense, in this life: my family, my friends, my studies, my catholic faith. They want to be an expression of both the struggles and the goals reached in each of these places. There is the theme of laziness, for example while studying, others are about an incredible experience that has changed my life (Get Away) and a lot more.
Generally speaking, in each song (apart from A Girl in Mississippi), I try to say something that is important to me, but they are written in such a way, I think, everyone can find something for himself and this is a thing I really wanted to achieve: to write songs everyone could relate to, songs everyone could find familiar, songs that can speak and tell something different to everybody. All the lyrics, as I said, are experience-based and try to share something.
I usually ask solo artists about their creative process. I know from personal experience that with five people this is even more complicated but very different in every band – how do you deal with five different opinions?
I have to say we have no problems at all in the decision making process, even if there are 5 members in the band. Obviously, we correct each other, we say how the others could make a song better or play better here or there in our opinion, but each of us accepts it or even is looking for correction and advise to constantly improve his playing. I think a thing that has been really important in this context is the difference of age between Andrea Baldazzi (21), Andrea Sgarzi (19) and the others. This helps a lot to work always in a great atmosphere.
What do you look for in music? What makes a song good?
A song is good if it doesn’t just slip through you but if it leaves you something. I think one of the most important things is for us to write songs we like in primis, because if you like what you are doing then it is more likely for others to get to like it.
We have learned to listen and collaborate. Everything is done together even if, for example, only one came out with the idea for a song. While playing we learn to listen to each other and serve the song. We don’t have one main solo player. Each of us, even when playing a solo, plays to serve the song. During rehearsals we pay a lot of attention to this: making the song work in its entirety. Every solo, every background rhythm, everything has to serve the song.
What’s the key to a great live performance?
I want to say preparation. As Alessandro says, you have to be able to play the songs in your sleep or with closed eyes: that is when you can play live. If you know perfectly every song, then live you can add, think about making the show better, improvise and so on…
Do you think a place where musicians from all parts of the world can connect, support one another and exchange ideas is truly missing? Can Drooble be that place?
I immediately loved Drooble for its simplicity and the great idea. A social network for musicians, why no one thought about it before?! That is amazing, and I will surely spread the word. Drooble could be that place. It deserves to be known. I hope things won’t change when it gets bigger.
What should we be expecting from you guys in the future?
More music! A new album is already in our minds. We already have a lot of new ideas and we won’t disappoint our listeners! At the moment we are shooting a music video which will be out after Easter and we will work on other music videos as well. We will begin to play live in two months we think. There will be concerts all around Italy. On the first week of August we will probably go to Poland for a short tour. Then we will see.
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