Interview with Luca Storari, guitarist of the Milan, Italy punk band AlleyWays
(Hey guys! This great punk band named AlleyWays from Italy contacted me a while back and I loved their sound. This interview is a good one, gives you some insight into how punk is experienced in countries not known for it. Thanks again Luca!)
Derek Kortepeter: So tell me how you all became a band? How’d you meet and decide on the style of music you wanted to play?
Luca Storari: We met just a few years ago, around September 2010. We all came from previous, different experiences, and we found each other through a website. As soon as we played together the very first time, we realized it was it. Four people with similar music tastes, with a common target: play punk rock covers together and have tons of fun. After a few months we started writing music on our own, and that’s when our first EP “turn it up” was born. Back then we did all that just out of a joke, just to have something of our own and just for our friends. Then we realized that people actually liked what we did, we put everything on the Net and we kept on writing new music.
DK: You are working on a new album, how does it compare to your debut EP release “Turn it Up?”
LS: I think it’s pretty common to say “this work is definitely the best we did so far”, but it is like that, also because if we didn’t think it that way, we wouldn’t invest a lot of time, energy, and money on this project. I think that you can kind of understand our style already in our debut EP, but the new album will finally define our sounds, our style. We’re supposed to be punk rock, which we are, but since we all write both music and lyrics, it is obvious that many songs may sound very different, caused by the different influences we all have. And the new albums has been written by the four of us, almost every single song has its own “story” its own process. The fact that we don’t really belong to one genre of music could either be a good or a bad thing, but I’ve always thought that being able to play different kinds of songs is the proof that you are able to do more than the same thing, same sounds, same riffs over and over.
DK: Now punk rock is, as both a musician and music listener, one of my favorite genres. I notice that a lot of your influences like blink-182, Yellowcard and others are American bands. As an Italian punk band, what has the reception been like to your music by audiences? Are there a lot of punk bands in Italy?
LS: The answer is NOT REALLY (smiles). By that we mean that punk rock is definitely not a popular genre, which is why we had to use a website to find other people of our age, willing to play this kind of music. I was actually really surprised to know that other people knew all the bands i had in my iPod. Just to mention some, Blink, Yellowcard, Fall Out Boy, Sum 41, My Chemical Romance, Millencolin, No Use for a Name, Simple Plan, Bring Me The Horizon and others. The reception of audiences? It’s not easy to play a genre that is not exactly popular, singing in a language that not many actually understand, in a country where the music culture is not exactly groundbreaking. By this I don’t mean that there’s no culture here, on the opposite we had the chance to share the stage with AMAZING musicians, for real, it’s just that here live music and underground bands are not that interesting to people going to clubs/pubs. Long story short, people don’t really want loud music in club or pubs, unless it’s cover bands. We’re already “lucky” to find places that allow us to play although we don’t play covers.
DK: Besides punk bands, do you have any other musical influences?
LS: Obviously we do, all of us listen to many different kinds of music. Wez (the other guitarist and vocals) actually listens to almost anything, from punk to rock to blues. As for me, I’m obviously in love with punk rock, but I also play in a Brit rock/indie rock band, which tells you that I’m not “stuck” in one genre, or our drummer (Federica) is into metal, but also studies music therapy. And the other singer, Dany (bass and vocals) loves punk rock, but plays an undefined number of weird instruments, from classical music to hard rock.
DK: I notice you choose to sing in English instead of your native Italian, any particular reason for this?
LS: The choice wasn’t even a choice. I mean it was just like this since the very first day. The bands we grew up with sang in English, we didn’t really like the sound of punk rock in Italian, it sounds somehow cheap. Don’t ask me why. I love our language but when it comes to punk rock, English is the choice to make! Plus this ended up to be a very good choice, because this way we have a way bigger cluster of people who can understand and like what we do. Now nearly 50k people listen to us, in Italy it’s probably the 10% of it.
DK: What themes do you talk about in your songs, personal stuff or other things?
LS: It’s basically personal things, but that really changes from tune to tune. Since, as I told you before, we all write, each one of us has his/her own way of writing. Wez (he wrote Save Me and Last Days of September) is more “poetic”, using metaphors to explain something that happened to him, or even something he felt or imagined. He’s very good at describing feelings, I wouldn’t even know where to start when it comes to explain how I feel about something. I’m more a story teller (I wrote “Old Fox Night”), I always tell a story with a beginning, development and an end, while Dani is more the romantic one (Looking Back).
DK: What would you say is your process of songwriting? Do you get more done in the studio or do individuals members come up with ideas that slowly become a song?
LS: Well, here the answer is “every song comes the way it comes”. This means, it can either be that one comes with a song that is already so perfect (to us) that we don’t really have much to do, but to play it. Some other times it happened that one of us came with an idea and we completely changed it, putting something of each one of us inside, or even that out of the blue, just by fuckin’ around in the studio we wrote a song like that (it happened with the begin for example). As for the new album, it happened the same exact thing: some songs will be just how they were conceived, some other have been turned around and built together.
DK: What kind of experience do you try to give your audience when they come to your shows?
LS: This will be the shortest answer ever: FUN. I know it may sound banal and common, but we want our audience to enjoy the sound (which is supposed to give them some positive, energetic vibes) and possibly relate to some of our songs. This way the connection will be complete. When we see that the audience is really participating, well needless to say that we play like 10 times better than usual.
LS: Well the Warped Tour as you said is the dream, I think that there wouldn’t be a higher target than that in punk rock. But right now we’re already looking forward to our first European tour, we won’t be playing in big stadiums but even the smallest clubs, filled with our followers and listeners, will mean the whole world to us.
DK: Anything else you would like to say before we conclude this interview?
LS: I’ll end up saying what I just told my band mate Wez: I don’t really care where this will bring us to, I’m already having a lot of fun. Which is why we started this in the first place. Still, I know that the best is just yet to come.
AlleyWays can be found at: