Interview: Bull Brigade

Bull Brigade

Superb Italian streetpunk quintet Bull Brigade recently published a brand new album called Il Fuoco Non Si E Spento, so I spoke with their bass player Stefano about the album, recording process, managing band activities during a pandemic, plus many many more. Enjoy!

First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. How have you been?

Stefano: Thank you for having us, it’s a pleasure for us! We have been good in this crazy time, and we are living a good time because of our new album. We are proud and happy.
 
The whole world witnessed how the Covid affected Italy at the very beginning of the pandemic. How affected your activities as a band?

Stefano: Yes, Italy was the first country to be involved in the pandemic, in February 2020 we were halfway through the writing of the new album, it had to be released in October 2020, the pandemic delayed it for a year .. so I can confirm, it has affected the band’s business … but because of that, we had more time to work on the new album. We are workers and time is always short, so during the pandemic, like everyone, we were stuck at home and we took the opportunity to focus all our energies on our new album.
 
Did you have any difficulties rehearsing at the rehearsal space or while recording the album?

Stefano: Yes of course, because here in Italy after the first strong lockdown, we had so many restrictions, so, it was not easy at all to manage the time to rehearsing..there was the curfew at 8pm for some months, we finish work around 6, there was not chance to play together..we took advantage of weekend and sundays..luckly we live all close but it has been tricky and annoying. During the recording restrictions were more soft so we could record without too many problems.
 
Have you managed to perform some gigs during the relaxations of the control measures? How the Italian punk rock scene handles the pandemic?


Stefano: During the summer we had an amazing acoustic tour..it was the only possibility accettable, because of club restriction, because of entrance content, because of the chairs in front of the stage..we are a punk band, we think is not possible to play punk rock in front of sitted people! So we setted this acoustic show up, at beging it was weird.. from the first show has been a great experience.

Bull Brigade

How has the pandemic treated your personal lives? Did it affect your life routine or work anyhow?

Stefano: I think in some way it changed the life routine of everyone of us..personally (Stefano the bass player) I tried for the first time this famous “smart working” ’cause I work as web designer, and I was so alienated, I couldn’t understand where were the place to work, the place to have a break, the place to have lunch..I’ve been every day in my house by myself for a long time.. I thought a lot, I played a lot, I read some books and I watched a lot of 80’s horror movies.
 
The main reason why we’re doing this interview is because of your latest full-length release, Il Fuoco Non Si E Spento. I had a chance to listen/review your album, and it sounds superb from scratch to finish. Can you tell me the meaning of the album title?

Stefano: First of all, thank you so much! “Il fuoco non is è spento” litterally means the flame is still burning or something similar, and it means that also if the time goes by we are still here, we are still strong and our hearts are still burning of passion for this stuff.
 
Can you also tell me the story behind the album? What does the album title mean to you guys? Where is it recorded? Was it difficult to record it during the pandemic?

Stefano: It was curious how we continued to write songs during the pandemic … we used to meet all together in the rehearsal room and play for hours and hours, during the pandemic we had to managed this situation in this way: Luigi the guitar player sent us the first line of the songs and we started working, I had an acoustic bass at home and I recorded it all my bass lines, the drummer wrote his parts on fruity loops (or something like that), Alessio the guitar player did something like me … Eugenio at the end putted his great vocal lines on the first mix we did with all the lines I told before..not every songs were written like this but more or less this was the tecniques we adopted to keep going in this weird time.

Bull Brigade

Your lyrics are written in Italian. Can you please explain what themes you covered on the album for those who do not speak the Italian language?

Stefano: The topics are various we sing about friendship, love, time that is running fast and we are getting old…we talked about death in couple of songs..we sang about feelings in “Ansia” for example(it means Anxiety), we talked about stadium and our city that’s a recurring topic in our song…all the lyrics are written by Eugenio, all the stories he tells are real life stories. I suggest to read the lyrics (we translated them in english) to catch the real essence of the meaning of these tracks.
 
You teamed up with Demons Run Amok Entertainment for this particular album. Still, this is not the first time you are working together. Demons Run Amok released an impressive amount of your recordings. How the label treats you? Are you satisfied with your collaboration with them?

Stefano: They are great, we worked with them to release our last EP “Stronger Than Time”, we built a friendship with them, one of them has italian roots so we can speak without language divarious. We are satisfied, they are satisfied of the new album so I think this collaboration is going as well as we hope. We are really happy to be part of this label, their punk and hardcore culture is massive, so if they have chosen us we can only be proud of it.
 
Your sound evolved over the years. There’s a hearable devotion to streetpunk/Oi! sound, but it seems you guys also love melodic punk rock. How did you guys come to the idea to merge these two ingredients?

Stefano: Yes, our sound has changed in years, we were more rough, now we envolved in something more melodic… Anyway, I think the melodic influences have been part of our sound from the begin. Also, consider that line up has changed in years, now we are not the same line up of the first album, now our influences are more are “Social Distortion”, “The Bouncing Souls” and band like these. Then, we grew up, maybe we searched for something new so we merge these new influences to our typical sound. We are glad of this is sound, we think it’s the right mix to the street punk we come from and the melodic punk rock we love.

Bull Brigade

It unquestionably sounds ear-appealing. Is this the sound you’ll nurture on your future releases?

Stefano: I think yes, because from the first album to the last the sound change gradually..and this is the right evolution we guess…I think it’s a good arrival, otherwise if we continue in this way, the next one will be pop 🙂
 
What are the reactions of the crowd about your latest album so far?

Stefano: The first time we listened to new album fresh from the last mix we didn’t know hot to expect, at the begin the album sounded too soft and we were really worried! From october 1st, the release date, the reaction is great, all the reviews are great, a lot of people text us every day speaking good about the new album. When we meet people and friend in our hometown we recive congratulations… we didn’t expect all this. We are so happy and proud!
 
Are you guys satisfied with how Il Fuoco Non Si E Spento turned out?

Stefano: Totally, we couldn’t have hoped for better.

The album artwork and the packaging design look beautiful. Who’s responsible for the artwork and the entire visual aspect of the release?

Stefano: The idea was ours, on the cover there is San Giovanni Battista who is the patron saint of our hometown Torino, represented in a skeleton shape. The artwork is by Motorcity Graphic which is the graphic division of our own label that produced the album.
 
What are your plans for the future? Can we expect more recordings, collaborations with other bands, live shows, or maybe some European tour?

Stefano: At the moment our first goal is to play our new album live, the album is doing great, people are asking us to play in their town, so we are looking forward to have a normal situation to present “Il Fuoco Non Si è Spento” in Italy, in Europe and, why not, in some other countries somewhere in the world.
 
That’s it. Thank you so much for your time. Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

Stefano: Thank you so much for having us, so proud to be guest of this magazine! Kids, check our last video out, follow us on the social and mainly listen to our new album!

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