We featured L’orso (The bear) recently in our roundup of current Italian music. The band was formed by Mattia Barro in 2011 in Ivrea, Turin. In that pretty town (and it is pretty, we looked on Google maps street view) he wrote his first songs, made the first video and recorded the first EP. The band comprises Mattia on vocals and guitar, Omar Assadi on guitar, Francesco Paganelli on bass and Niccolò Bonazzon on drums.
L’orso released their second album, “Ho Messo la Sveglia per la Rivoluzione” (“I set the alarm for the revolution”) in 2015. (You can speak Italian now? Ed.) Certamente. The first single, “Giorni Migliori’ (Better Days’), reached number 1 in the Italian indie charts. L’orso are a band that always wants to grow, to improve and mature. There is no fear; this is the fundamental concept of L’orso. Do not be afraid. If I was a bear I wouldn’t be afraid either. The band constantly look to the future, much like a real bear. (That’s nonsense, take it out. Ed.)
They say “L’orso is the landscape that crosses the country by bicycle when you walk to the city. L’orso is the story of four children, who grew up in Ivrea and Messina , Milan and Treviso , meeting under the sky of the Big City. They say “The bear is the story of their experiences shared in a precarious present”.
We say “Sure, that sounds lovely and maybe it’s even poetry but what can it possible mean? Have you ever seen a bear on a bicycle?”
We caught up with Mattia to find out a little more about their influences.
What was the first tune you loved?
The first tune I fell in love was ‘Fast Car’ by Tracy Chapman I guess. Or it’s what I like to remember.
What is your favourite song/piece of music that you’ve written?
The next one I’m going to write. I always prefer my new ideas. Anytime. You know, everyday you grow a bit and so this is for making music. You learn, you love, you gonna write better music. I’m an evolutionist. Few – we included one of your latest songs (“Lui, lei” – great keyboards) on the playlist and a link to your soundcloud, guessing that may be where your new work appears before anywhere else.
What song by another artist do you wish you had written?
Any songs from Talking Head’s ‘Remain In Light’ I guess. Or some stuff from LCD Soundsystem.
What artist(s) has been your biggest influence?
David Byrne for sure. Not just Talking Heads I mean. I think about ‘Rei Momo’ or ‘Music for The Knee Plays’ or Brian Eno’s collaboration.
Name a song that makes you smile.
‘I Don’t Love Anyone’ by Belle and Sebastian, or 1/1 by Brian Eno, so peaceful.
What is the best new band that you’ve heard?
Farmer Sea. It’s a band from Turin that I really like. They made a record called ’Nobody Listens, Nobody Cares’. I’m not so in the game when I discover a band they have usually just split up! Haha!. Chancha via Circuito are also very good. – Few- both excellent choices, thanks for the tips 🙂
What’s your favourite radio station?
LifeGate. It’s an Italian radio station, very good, very open-minded. You can hear Mozart and Regina Spektor. It’s on FM so it’s easy to find.
Who would win a fight between a drummer and a bass player, and why?
A drummer I think, he has bigger arms to punch. Or at least he should have bigger arms!
But you know, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog.
What song would you like to have played at your funeral?
I could change my idea if I decide to have a happy funeral, but right now I go for ‘Landlocked Blues’ by Bright Eyes.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions Mattia, and we hope L’orso have a great year!