SL: Hi there guys! Let’s talk about you, what do we need to know about StrawDaze?
SD: Hi SomberLane guys,we are StrawDaze, an Italian folk punk band based in Asola (a small city in the province of Mantova, in Lombardia, Italy-ED-).
Where to start from? Well, as many others we started from playing rock and punk covers and some wacky songs, but we soon felt the need to transmit something that was “ours” to our audience.
Back in the early days, we first came up with the idea of adding a tin whistle to the instrumentation. That gave a positive reaction so we decided to add up a banjo too and try to write something Dropkick Murphy-esque. Did we overcomplicate things? Probably, but we loved the outcome!
That’s why we decided to mix up the melody of folk instruments as banjo, mandolin and tin whistles with the punk energy of electric guitars, bass and drums.
We are Mirko Savi (Vocals and whistles), Marco Premi (Banjo, mandolin, backing vocals), Carlo Neviani (Bass, backing vocals), Stefano “Stewie” Gobbi (Lead guitar), Gabriele “Benji” Benetti (Rhythm guitar) and Stefano “Bolo” Bolognini (Drums).
We write original songs with Italian lyrics, and we also perform some covers live, picking from tunes of internationally known bands in the genre as Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly and Flatfoot 56 (with whom we also shared a gig).
We released our first EP “Senza Rotta” in March 2012. That was made up of 6 songs mainly dealing with our vision of reality in its various shapes. We had great satisfactions since then, such as the Brintaal Folk Fest (a folk festival in Veneto, Italy-ED-), opening to Punkreas at Radio Onda D’Urto’s Festival (kept once a year near Brescia, Italy and mostly hosting national independent acts-ED-) and lots of other gigs filled with enthusiasm…and alcohol as well.
SL: So we’re talking about a blend of soundscapes! What’s the reason behind this stylistic choice, and which are the main influences behind your music? Regarding the lyrics, which are the main themes we’ll hear you sing about?
SD: For what matters the choice over our music, we never took “in theory” decisions. We simply kept doing what we loved, shaping our sound in the process. In the beginning we played covers, on a wide arrange of iconic rock tracks. Then we understood the energy of punk was what we were all about. We always enjoyed artists such as Flogging Molly, the Dropkick Murphys, and Italian bands as well, such as Punkreas, with whom we had the pleasure to play with at Radio Onda D’Urto’s Festival.We casually added up Dropkick Murphy’s “I’m shipping up to Boston” in our setlist and we’ve been astonished by the power of coupling whistles and banjos with wild punk rock rhythms. That was our way: Folk-Punk!
The next step has been composing original tunes with that formula. We write Italian lyrics because we think that’s a more genuine and “direct” approach, even if we wrote English ones for our very first songs. Writing songs is an outlet for us, so using the mother tongue came necessary. We want to shout our lyrics in the face of the listeners and make you think about social issues, life-journeys of our inner selves and more.
We’re hoping for you to find a “way out” through our music too! Well, let’s put it like that: music is freedom to us!
SL: Choosing the mother tongue is a quite brave choice in an english-speaking world, and for sure a difficult one for italian musicians, but it’s important to recognize and defend our own language’s value!
Which are your current projects?
SD: By now we’re working on new songs. Our current goals is to record an album with a good amount of tracks of whom we can be proud of as much as possible. Just during these days, as we speak, we’re doing some home pre-productions of some new tunes. Once we get them all done, we’ll look for an adequate studio in which to record the LP. We already have some possible studios in mind but we’re still evaluating.
We also have some ideas for the album’s artwork and new merch already, and we’re thinking of shooting a videoclip too! Apart from the upcoming new album, we’re having gigs and gigs and gigs! Always going further, coming to people who never heard of us yet. It would be really cool to play in some foreign countries as well! We have some friends following us from Germany, Poland, France and even Indonesia!
Would you imagine traveling to Indonesia for a gig?! How cool that would be?! Haha! Well,it wouldn’t be so unreal to have gigs around Europe by now actually, since our current label Nemeton Records is run by Matt who lives in Dublin, Ireland.
We have to say we have lots of ideas and things we’d like to realize. As one of our songs says “poche le certezze, tante le speranze…” (“a few certainties, lots of hopes…”-ED-), and we can’t wait for these “hopes” to come true!
SL: That’s good, we wish you luck for the first full length release!
After these years of activity, having built up a nice gigging experience and coming near to your second time in the studio, what kind of advice would you bring to emerging musicians?
SD: Thanks for your wishes, we’re really fighting for having an awesome release, and we don’t want to keep our fans “starving” for long!
Well, what advice to give? Don’t ever give up! The music business, you know, is a jungle. There’s maybe somebody who’s willing to have you gigging in his venue but he’s not able for economical or juridical issues.
There’s someone else who fools you by booking a date for a gig and then will keep postponing it, there’s someone else again who doesn’t accept anyone but cover bands (sigh!), and so on. But, struggling through the “no”s, you’ll find someone who’s willing to promote deserving and original acts, and these are the venues at which it’s worth to play.
Another advice we could give from our experience is: be original! Labels, studios, booking are naturally overwhelmed by emails from emerging bands looking for an opportunity, and standing out is really difficult.
Having an original sound surely helps in emerging from the crowd. What’s usually lacking is upcoming bands is originality rather than talent. In music shops you’ll always find guitarists effortlessly playing some Steve Vai, Stefano writes, but how many of them are actually able to create something innovative?
To end up, let’s talk of the commitment in rehearsals. You could just rehearse once a month if you can’t do better, but in those 2-3 hours you have to be as pumped as Queen at Wembley!
SL: Great advice, being able to stand out from the crowd should always be the first step to aim for.
I’d say we’re at the end of our talk, we thank you for your helpfulness with the interview and hope to see you again on our pages when the new album comes out! Please remind us where we can find about you guys!
And… best wishes! Bye StrawDaze!
SD: You can mainly find us on social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, just search for “strawdaze”! You could also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish. Also, you can buy our EP on Amazon or iTunes!
Thanks to you, SomberLane Blog! We say “hi” to whoever is reading this interview and to all of our fans!
A last thought for you: just believe in it…even without a route!