I had the pleasure of contacting Francesca Bono, singer and guitarist of the Italian band Ofeliadorme. This band is distributed by Warner in Italy, and a higher quality version of their latest album ‘Secret Fires’ has been digitally distributed by Society of Sound, a subscription community curated by Peter Gabriel and his label, Real World Records. The band has been playing together for almost 10 years now. Her style is an electronic pop with different influences ranging from Dead can dance to Cocteau Twins, let’s see what Francesca tells us in this interview she gave us for Novutrefall Web zine.
By Manuel Knwell
1- how was formed Ofeliadorme and what means the name?
Ofeliadorme started in 2008 as a four piece band, and the name is inspired by Rimbaud’s poem ‘Ophelie’, which of course refers to Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet.
2-After recording the EP: “The Tale”, how did you achieved to sign in Warner Italia and having distribution by Peter Gabriel`s record label in high quality digital format?
Following the realease of our 2nd LP ‘Bloodroot’ we made contact with Howie B, our current producer and friend, he remixed a track titled ‘Paranoid Park’, off our 1st LP, and decided he wanted to produce and release our 3rd album. In the meantime, while we were signing for his label, we released ‘The Tale’ through italian label Locomotiv Records. After that, we recorded ‘Secret Fires’ in Wales, our 3rd album, and it was licensed in Italy through Alabianca, which is our publisher and Italian label, and they work with Warner.
Then Howie sent our disco to Peter Gabriel’s label, Real World Records, and they loved it. Since early 2008 Peter Gabriel and Real World have been working with Bowers & Wilkins to curate Society of Sound, a meeting place for people who are passionate about sound. Members get two hand picked studio-quality album downloads per month. And in May 2017 they chose our album ‘Secret Fires’, so we were featured in Peter Gabriel’s website, wich was a huge honor, and our LP was promoted through their channels. That was awesome because a lot of subscribers around the world got to know us, we’re very happy about that.
3- How was the difference in composition and production between your firsts jobs and your disc: ”Secret Fires” (2017)?
The main difference is that we had an actual producer, Howie B, he followed us through every step, traveling to Bologna every 2-3 months to get in the rehearsal studio with us, and listen to the songs we were writing and arranging.
Also, it was the first album (together with The Tale EP) that we wrote and composed as a 3 piece band, with a different approach and different gear. We were very focused, we worked a lot, for a very long time, and we always had Howie pushing our boundaries and always challenging us. It was great. The first part of the process was mainly the same, I wrote some songs and then bring them to the boys, we chose the best ones, and work on them, sometimes destructuring them, or simply trying different approaches.
4- How do you feel with the weight at being at a company as Warner and having to sell a certain amount of music wetherby via streaming or physical to could keep you here?
No pressure, we’re not with Warner actually, it’s just our distribution company.
We all have other daily jobs.
5- How has been the times with the tours that you have to do? do you have plans to play in America or Japan? And where has being the best place in that you happen the best time playing and why?
We love playing live, and we love traveling. We’ve been touring from February 2018 to March 2018, mainly in Italy, and we played SXSW in Austin, Texas, and a couple festivals in the UK, first of all, WOMAD, which was bonkers! I think that was our favorite gig ever. We played on the wonderful Bowes & Wilkins Sound System Stage (the same stage goes to Primavera Sound in Barcelona) before 1000 people. We loved it.
6-If you have you reincarnate in somebody, Francesca, who would be and why?
I don’t know, I don’t feel at ease thinking about reincarnation. I probably wouldn’t want to reincarnate!
7- How do you inspirate your lyrics, in the case of “The Tale” did you inspired in the myth of Cupid and Psyche? How emerged this?
I am a book lover and I’ve been working in a bookstore for many years. I read a lot, and that’s one of my main inspirations. I just felt like mythology was perfect inspiration at that time. It was all very quick.
8-How born to create a single with covers, which includes one of Dead can dance (2014)? (Whon is amazing), i imagine that Lisa Gerrard and Brandon Perry has being fundamentals yo your lives…
Thanks! That’s something we don’t usually do very often, covers, but it’s also a good way to deal with music on a different perspective, a different take on it. The ones we’re most proud of are ‘Lioness’ by Jason Molina (aka Songs: Ohia, one of my favorite songwriters ever) and ‘In the wake of adversity’ by Dead Can Dance. Such an important band. But you would be surprised how many other bands, and different genres, influenced my taste in music! Anyway, we tried to give our own interpretations. It was fun.
9- I have understand that you lives in berlin, nowadays is this city the main to music and culture in the world? And do you can live by music or you do another jobs?
We actually live in Bologna, Northern Italy, it’s a wonderful city full of music. It’s pretty difficult to make a living on music here, especially if you sing in english and your music isn’t enough pop.
We’ve always been working other daily jobs, especially when we’re not touring.
10- Do you think Francesca that italian singers has something implicit in their genetics that makes them be among the most importants in the world without matter the musical gender, due their ancestors who came from the opera and lyric sing.
I never thought about Italian singers as a category, but I see your point, it might be, not sure though. Some of the most popular bands in Italy, today, have actually not what you’d call ‘a beautiful voice’.
11-How do you see the increase of the sales of vinyls in relation with the fall in CD’s sales, and in addition now the cassettes has taken importance, witch physical formats do you like as melomaniacs? and what is the digital platform that you more uses and why?
I think vinyls are wonderful, we basically only buy those. People buy less and less music, so it makes sense that those who really want to ‘hold’ music have come back to buying vinyls. I’m not a huge fan of cassettes, honestly, but I do understand why they’re kind of lovable, and sometimes I also buy some. As for digital platforms, I don’t use them very much, I randomely tried Spotify and now Apple music. I think the guys both use Spotify.
12- How you could describe the creation process of “Secret Fires” and what do you refer with the title of the disc? How has being the sales or the comments of people and sites specialized in music?
Quoting someone else ‘Secret Fires is an ethereal darkly slow-build synth-led journey into the eerie dead of the night of the human life, a deep and melancholic sense of loss and isolation beautifully evoked through sensual and emotional vocal and haunting minimal textures.’
Also, in Alchemy, fire is represented by a triangle, and we are a 3 piece band, in perfect balance. Secret Fires refers to mental and physical desires, what’s under the surface. Fires burning inside each and everyone.
We’re not a famous band so we basically sell records when we tour, and of course a few number of them in record shops in Italy, where we are distributed. We’re happy about the feedback we had.
13-Do you see possible to be in Peter Gabriel’s record label strictly speaking and did you have the opportunity of meeting and speaking with him?
I don’t think so, we’re currently with Pussyfoot Records, a UK label based in Brighton, and we’re very happy with that, and no, unfortunately we never had the pleasure to meet Mr Gabriel. It would be great though!
14- What do you know about latino-american music and the culture in this zone of the world?
Not much unfortunately, so we need to study more and more! I personally like bossanova, I know a bit of brazilian music. That’s probably beacuse it is the only place I’ve been to, in South America.
As far as I’m concerned I know a little bit more about south american literature, for instance, I love Roberto Bolaño.
15- Wich has being the books that have most marked you Francesca and why?
Difficult question. Many books! I love reading, that’s one of my favorite things. I can give you some ideas about authors, books I’ve read many years ago or recently:
Bulgakov, Raymond Carver, Walt Whitman, Margaret Atwood, Saramago, Sylvia Plath, Roberto Bolaño, Emily Dickinson, Pasolini, Simone De Beauvoir, Virginia Wolf, and a lot of classic italian and american literature. Recently I’ve been reading Chinese literature, and I was especially struck by ‘One Man’s Bible’ by Gao Xingjian.
16- What do you think about the cinema of Pasolini and what are the movies that have marked your life?
Pasolini is a fundamental figure in italian culture, and not only. He was an intellectual, first of all, a word that the actual Government in Italy seems to hate and discredit, wrongly. I haven’t seen all his production yet, and what I think is that the movies I saw were very distinctive, hard to define, kind of disobedient.
I love the neorealism of Visconti and De Sica, I’m a big fan of Argento’s early movies, a huge fan of David Lynch, Jarmush and Lanthimos, Godard, Kubrik, Van Sant and Cassavetes.
Barry Lyndon, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and A Woman Under The Influence are among my favorite movies ever.
17- If you have to do an analogy of your music with a painting, which would be and why?
The Wounded Deer by Frida Kahlo. A work filled with passion, struggle and emotion.
18- Are you affected by that is happening in the world as the politic problems and socials between US and North Korea with the arabs countries, do you see a pacific solution for this? And what role do you think that has Russia and China in this?
I think we’re all pretty much interested in what’s happening in the world, but I don’t like to express our ideas as a band, we’re three different individuals, and I can’t speak for the others.
What I can tell you, is that I’m not an expert on international politics, I wish there were a pacific solution to many issues. I know I don’t like what’s going on in the USA, and I don’t like Trump at all. Also, I think Europe is facing many importan political and social issues too, like immigration, and I don’t like what I see, especially in Italy, where the new Government is acting in a way that I don’t approve of, at all. Mostly, I’m interested in human rights.
19- What opinion do you have that in china dogs are eaten? What role do you give to animals and nature?
I never ate a dog, and I will never eat it. I’ve been to China with the band and they never offered dog meat. Maybe we were lucky! I also know that other cultures think a pig is sacred, or a cow. I’ve been a vegetarian for many years, I think we have to respect our planet and all the creatures, but I’m not a fanatic and I think everyone should respond to their own conscience.
20- Francesca have you felt close to esoteric and in some way do you think to be a shaman that heals people with your sing and music?
Oh man! I wish I were a ‘chamana’ so maybe I could really help people. But I’m only a woman who write and play music, and when someone is relieved by our music, that’s already magic.
Foto: Antonietta ANto DiCo