Interview with Joe Banfi from the three-piece band Banfi

Here’s another interview for you all to read. Banfi are a three-piece group who have released some great songs to date. Recently, they released “June” that has gone on to have thousands of streams. They then followed that up with “Caroline”, days after this interview.

They are gearing up to release their debut EP which will be followed by a UK headline tour in March. It looks like they are in for quite the busy year in 2018, as the band grows their fanbase.

We were excited to have the opportunity to interview Joe Banfi from this three-piece band who also consists of Aaron Graham and Chris McCuaig. Joe talks to us about the band, their music, gigs and festivals, and what next year will bring for Banfi.

Hi Banfi, we hope you three have been well. What have you been up to lately?

We’re good thanks! We’ve been recording a new song that we’re putting out very soon, and we’re trying to plan a Christmas party which we’ll announce soon if we get it all together in time. 

How was this three-piece formed?

Aaron and I met quite formally through a management company, but then that project – we’d initially met for – fizzled out and we started Banfi together, working on bedroom demos at first and then Aaron knew Chris through a friend and we started rehearsing for live shows. 

How would you describe your music?

I suppose we sketch out pop songs and then colour them in with each band member’s character. 

There’s a very specific emotion that is really important to us, which I don’t like to label but kind of feels like a tension between gratitude and regret in relation to memory and harvesting future memory. The tension feels off balance because you can’t understand it properly, like the edge of a coin. My favourite music and stories bring out that tension and make me cry in a way I don’t understand. So all the drum grooves and chord harmonies and lyrics and progressions take from any kind of influence that is going to help in the pursuit of that feeling. 

Your recent single release was “June” back in August, tell us more about the song?

Emotionally it’s trying to bring out that ‘side-of-the-coin’ feeling I described above.

“June” has been through so many formulations. It was once a really lo-fi drum machine song with a completely different verse and more ethereal chorus.

Rich Wilkinson, who produced the song, came around to our house once to listen to some demos. He heard the older version of “June” and told us it wasn’t good enough. At the time we were like ‘What!?’ but we’re so glad he said that and helped push us to make the song it is now. 

It’s had a great reaction online, with thousands of views and streams. What’s it like knowing that people are listening and loving this track?

It’s very important to us that people connect with the songs. Anyone who does care about whether other people like their music is fundamentally misunderstanding the point of making music at all. It’s to offer people something to communicate to other people with, so if out of all the views and streams there are people in there who are really connecting to the song then that’s very important to us. 

You also released a music video for “June”, what was that like to film?

It was very dark! I couldn’t see much. I just had to play and dance while a camera span around me – every ego-maniac’s dream!

It was directed by Jake Dypka, what was it like working with him?

We work with him on all our artwork – he is the translator between how we sound and our visual identity. 

He’s extremely caring and likeable with a contagious laugh, although sometimes I get a fright when he laughs because it’s so loud, especially on tour when he’s sat behind me in the van. 

How does the track and the music video differ from your previous releases?

We want all our songs to be as distinct as possible, and the ‘as possible’ there creates a lot of restrictions because we want to bring each song home into our sound. All our songs are written with the live set in mind, where we normally play something urgent (like June or Rosedale House), then something groove-based (like Happy When You Go or She Comes Home) and then a ballad. We haven’t released many of the ballads yet! But they go down well for the live shows. 

You followed it up with two remixes, one of “June” by Jakwob, and the other of previously released single “She Comes Home” by Foreign Fields. Can you tell us more about the remixes?

Not really sorry. We like to have as little involvement with them as possible because we want them to be an angle on the band that is completely fresh and nothing to do with the original creators. 

You’ve supported Bear’s Den, Nathaniel Rateliff, and Amber Run in the past, what was it like being their support act?

All three of those bands were more welcoming that we ever expected, as were their fans. I’ve been to shows where the support acts have a really hard time getting the fans there to listen but everyone has been really kind and attentive on these tours. 

You’ve also performed at various festivals. How do festivals differ to supporting another artist?

They’re the best because you get these fans showing up who have got themselves to the front row and made a big effort just to come and see you when they could have gone to see any other band at the festival. That effort they put in gives us a really good reason to make sure every festival show is the best we can possibly make it and we really give everything for those people. 

What festival has been your favourite that you’ve performed at, and why?

Mine was Boardmasters. We were scared because there was a really good band on at the same time as us, so we thought the tent would be empty, but it was full of people who just wanted to connect with the songs and have a good night so it was a dream show for us. 

What’s next for Banfi?
More releases and touring. We’ve just announced a UK/Europe tour in March which will be in support of an EP that we’ll be announcing soon. 

What do you hope the future will bring to you guys?

Hopefully just the chance to keep writing and recording songs and playing them to fans. 

Do you have a message for your fans?

Thank you for choosing our songs to connect to. It’s the only thing that gives meaning to what we do.

What a great interview, thank you for taking your time out to answer our questions Joe Banfi. We look forward to 2018 and all that it brings you and your fans. We also look forward to the upcoming EP and tour.

If you haven’t got tickets yet, we highly suggest that you do. Banfi will be hitting the road on their headline tour in March. They will be performing at the following dates.

12 March – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Sugar Factory
13 March – Hamburg, Germany – Haekken
14 March – Berlin, Germany – Musik & Frieden
16 March – Vienna, Austria – B72
17 March – Zurich, Switzerland – Papiersaal
19 March – Edinburgh, UK – Sneaky Pete’s
20 March – Manchester, UK – Soup Kitchen
21 March – Bristol, UK – SWX 2
22 March – London, UK – Oslo

Make sure you see them when you can, and while you’re at it, check out their music on Spotify.