Italian Folk Rock trio, The Ghibertins, have just released their new single, 'Breathe For Me’ on the 26th May via Mob Sound Records. We spoke to Alessio Hofmann about the song and began by asking him to describe the track.
The song talks about the moment when you realise that you love someone so much and your love is so strong and rooted it leaves you powerless and defenceless. Breathing is extremely easy. When I ask myself ‘breathe for me’ I’m asking ‘are you going to be you there for me’, even when I struggle and when I really need you, just breathe for me. I don’t need you to do anything else, I just want you to stay close to me. The problem is that the main character doesn’t know if this love is reciprocated, so he keeps asking this question obsessively, and the more you ask this question the more the song’s rhythm increases, as the doubt increases, which is why the song starts extremely slow and becomes more powerful and full of energy. As I ask the question to myself, the more I have the doubts that my love is not being reciprocated.
Did you enjoy that way of balancing the lyrical style with the changing production?
I really enjoyed how this song came about. For this song I had something in my mind which was very precise. I had in my mind to keep it very folk-ish, to have just acoustic guitar and then I went away for a weekend – I don’t remember when – and my band went away to rehearse without me and they came out with this new arrangement with the strong bass and drums, so the first time in the band’s life I appreciated that the band understood what I wanted to say and transmit from the song, so it was great.
You released your debut single ‘Round Trip’ in 2016; has your sound changed?
Our previous work was completely different. It was recorded with just two acoustic guitars and a bass, and we used as percussion the guitar case, so it was a softer, minimalist sound. What we wanted from this album was to see where we could get to, and wanted to do something more complicated and explore new sounds, so a lot of work has been done between ‘Round Trip and ‘Breathe For Me’. I think the sounds are totally different. Even the lyrics and the arrangement [have] something more.
Have you got plans for a video for ‘Breathe For Me’?
Actually the video [premiered this week]. We have a simple video that reflects the lyrics of the song. It’s in black and white; there’s a girl and boy running, and you can’t tell if they’re running towards each other or away from each other, so it reflects the lyrics.
You have your album – ‘The Less I Know The Better’ – coming out later this year. What was that like to record?
It was an adventure! We had so many musicians on this album as there were ten, playing the strings, brass [and] piano. It was a lot of fun but it was quite a lot more difficult considering that the previous EP was recorded just with three of us. Even writing the lyrics of this new album was difficult. I always love to talk about love and hate as these are the feelings that make the world go round. Considering what’s happened lately, I also wanted to say something more. I’m talking about Kabul and Manchester. I didn’t just want to talk about this. I wrote three songs that I was particularly proud of lyrically. The [album] title comes from this feeling. Especially here in Italy, we are bombarded with news of refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea; every day people dying. I sometimes feel people to prefer not to see what’s happening and live their life happily ever after, so that’s where the title ‘The Less I Know The Better’ came from.
How would you describe your live sound?
We like to keep our live sound the same as the album because when you are an emerging band I think the expectation of the audience is to hear what they hear on the album. They don’t care if you are an emerging artist or a top artist, and you have to prove that you are able to recreate what you can do in the studio. As soon as we reached the studio that’s what we said: we wanted to create an album that we could easily replicate during our gigs, no matter whether we play in front of ten people or a thousand people. We have to do that!
We also recorded, last month, a live video [of four tracks] inside a marble cave. It was tough, as there was mud everywhere and we had all our equipment, but I think the result is great!
Do you have any plans to come over to the UK?
That’s a dream actually. We never succeeding in playing outside of our country, and that’s a pity because when you speak in English it’s always better to have an audience in front who actually understand what you are saying, so we’ll [be] coming to the UK as soon as we can. It’s more than a dream; in a few months it will become a reality!
Finally what are big ambitions for the rest of the year?
Talking about myself and the other band members, it would be the opening act to one of our favourite bands. In my case it would be Mumford and Sons, or John Mayer, or Ryan Adams. That’s a dream but we’ll see what the future has [in store] for us!