What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
(press) Filippo Bonamici has come a long way since as a child, he and his friends made cardboard cutout guitars and pretended to be the Beatles. Growing up in Rome, his interest in music was sparked early thanks to some musical neighbours and an aunt who played guitar and piano. Aged ten he got his first real guitar – “a strange looking yellow Spanish guitar,” he recalls – and a few years later wrote his first song, a “very Pete Doherty” track inspired by Babyshambles’ EP The Blinding. “It wasn’t that good though,” he chuckles. But his debut album as FIL BO RIVA, Beautiful Sadness, most definitely is – thirteen timeless, classic indie-pop songs that are playful, anthemic, and heartfelt, the work of an artist who’s sure to be one of 2019’s biggest break out stars.
His journey started with that first track. As a teenager he had Libertines, Babyshambles, and Doherty posters plastered on his walls, while his brother introduced him to Robbie Williams. A move to Ireland to study led him to MGMT, Mumford & Sons, The Fratellis, and the Arctic Monkeys, broadening his musical taste while he continued to write and tinker on guitar. He’d toyed with the idea of being a musician from the age of fifteen yet doubted whether it would work out. But one night, when he was twenty-one, he made a decision. “I thought: ‘It’s now or never!’” he remembers. “I’d been studying for two years, but had never really tried anything new. So I gave myself six months, and put a lot of work and effort into it, and it just came gradually.”
Now based in Berlin, Bonamici’s has been a slow burn success, but now, after several singles and an acclaimed EP, his debut record is ready to be unleashed on the world. Written over the last two years, the collection of indie-pop gems possess a breezy confidence and assurance, scanning like the work of a canny veteran. This is no surprise; after three sold out tours and countless hours in the studio honing and re-recording ideas alongside guitarist Felix A Remm and producer Robert Stephenson, they have a worn in feeling, like a pair of favourite slippers.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
I first came up with the idea to the song in Manchester in 2016 while supporting Joan As Police Woman through Europe that winter. It was raining outside and I was in the bathroom just before soundcheck… somehow I started staring at this poster of the club we were playing called „Gorilla Club“. I don’t know why but I just got a flash inspiration, took my phone out and immediately started singing the chorus melody and words. Everything else developed some time after when I found other lyrics I had written down after a dream… most of these words suited what I had in mind and so it just ended up being what it is now: a song about unbridled passion and the rapturous idea of escaping the real world.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
The Beatles always.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
I would describe our music as a mix of folk, soul and indie. The music plays with strong dynamics and strong but gentle vocal parts.
Hard to describe it yourself but I’d be the best to just listen to the songs.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
The Red Album, The Blue Album and the Please Please Me (Beatles)
Forrest Gump, Good Fellas and The Truman Show
An Oxford Dictionary, Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone, The Cosmic Connection
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Being in the studio because it’s much more creative and it lasts way longer. You can wake up in the morning like a normal person and go to work, finish at a reasonable time and you’ll have a great feeling because you actually created something. It’s wonderful!
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
I have to choose something know to people I’d take Greeningless. I listened to it a few weeks ago after at least a year of not hearing it and somehow I found it very special, strangely, because usually you’re used to your songs, but something about the production made me smile and say ” yeah, we somehow made it the right way 3 years ago”.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Oh that’s something I don’t know myself, I don’t really have fixed plans. I’m just going with the time and working day by day pretty much. Let’s see how that turns out…
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Photo credts: Juliane Spaethe
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
Connect with Fil Bo Riva: