Husky Loops released their debut album I CAN’T EVEN SPEAK ENGLISH last week. A pop record with a restless spirit and imaginative backdrop that reflects the confusion of our times, they’ve been compared to the likes of Everything Everything, Tom Vek genre the 1975 but they defy categorisation and genre, basslines from modern-day hip-hop or the ambitious production usually saved for electronic music, with the next incorporating beats typically found in modern-jazz or even UK Garage. This is creative pop for this millennium.
Lead single ‘I Think You’re Wonderful’ was Annie Mac’s Hottest Record In The World, a palette of beats, hip-hop-influenced samples all infused with rich harmonies.
The London based, Italian band (they’re from Bologna but now based in Peckham) produced the album at Eastcote Studios in Kensal Road and is mixed by Spoon’s drummer and sound man, Jim Eno. It’s being released in the US through 30th Century Records (super producer Danger Mouse’s label).
We caught up with the band’s lead singer/songwriter Danio, to talk music, Brian Eno, Dangermouse and their new album.
How are you today?
I am depressed, but I am used to it. Bloody love some sadness really.
How did you meet?
We met in Bologna, our home town. We were all playing in bands and we just met different ways but, we then re-met in London years later cause we wanted to form a band. A classic story!
How do your songs start life?
I can’t really recall because I really follow my instinct and I don’t search for songs, they come to me. It’s weird to explain. I am really inspired by the light, my favourite is 5pm. I really try to give a song a specific feeling but I also keep it generic, cause I want fans to fully be able to interpret the songs in their own way and relate to them.
Your music seems to defy boundaries and genres and surprise at every turn. Are you trying to keep the listener on their toes? Or maybe entertain yourself?
I thank you for the compliment and…this is a very good question. I believe that if I entertain myself the listeners will be kept on their toes. I want to surprise myself, I think it’s the only way to inspire others.
And I also try to always get out of my comfort zone, cause I believe your best material starts there, in the unknown zone. And that’s how we manage to sound like ourselves I think.
At the same time, I have a very specific taste and I know what I want most of the times, that also helps being yourself I think.
What’s the music scene like back home?
Not that great but I also don’t follow it so I don’t know. I don’t know.
How would you describe your music in five words?
It’s actually fucking mental mate
Which artists do you admire?
I’ll give you five ‘cause otherwise, the list is endless: Brian Wilson, Fela Kuti, Jack White, Frank Ocean, Beyonce.
Danio, you have been in the studio with Brian Eno, Karrie Faux, Fred Gibson, Boy Better Know, Jammer and Oscar Sheller. What did you learn from working with these artists?
I feel extremely lucky to know and have collaborate with these people, also because some of them have shaped my musical taste. For real…I feel blessed.
I kinda feel I have to answer your question extensively to not leave anyone out:
Being in the same studio with Brian was mad, a weird dream… I mean, it’s Brian Eno. Do we understand how much Brian Eno influenced the world? I mean, he truly shaped music for good. Superorganism were there too. That’s how I met them for the first time. The best first encounter of all time maybe?
He (Brian) really pushed me to the max and made me question my musical abilities, which, trust me, it’s a great great, great thing, I’ve learnt so much. That’s how you grow. His charisma was mad.
Fred introduced me to Brian actually, it was a session for his stuff, kind of. Fred has the best pop ear. He really is absolutely great, an amazing musician and an amazing producer.
Except a ton of logic skills, Fred taught me how to really experiment with the sonics of a tune and how important the structure of the song is. He’s a fucking genius with that. Every time I doubt a song structure of mine, I bring it to Fred.
Kari is one of the most honest and straight forward humans I know. She taught me loads about music genres I didn’t know about, like Chopped And Screwed… her musical taste is SO GREAT. And she showed me how you can be very very simple with your lyrics but not predictable. She MEANS everything she sings or raps and that’s so important in music. Her lyrics are so direct and awesome.
I met Jammer in Austin, Texas and we had a three days (or, better say night) sessions in a studio there, and most of BBK were in the room. Except being one of the kindest people I know and an absolute legend, working in front and with those guys in the studio taught me everything I know about Grime. Since then I really, really got the essence of it. The energy is insane. Those people work off energy, and I’ve changed my way of making beats since I’ve worked with him. Also in case, you didn’t know everyone one of them is an incredible MC.
Oscar is the best at making you feel comfortable. And that’s fucking hard, especially if you have me in the booth. He’s a great producer because he makes you feel great. So many people forget how important it is to make people feel great. It’s so important. He’s the most chill, he’s such an amazingly nice person and he also has a great musical taste. I still use the 808 samples he gave to me…
What would be your dream collaboration?
This is gonna sound cheesy as fuck but when I met Kari Faux for the first time, she became my dream collaboration and I’ve collaborated with her, so…sick!
Also, I would kill to work with Kendrick, Beyonce and Bowie. But I guess I can’t work with Bowie anymore.
Can you tell us about your new album?
Yes, of course, I can. I CAN’T EVEN SPEAK ENGLISH is an album about relationships, intimacy, incomprehension.
It’s an album the way we see the “album” in 2019. It introduces you to some of our dearest friends through WhatsApp-voice notes snippets, and it has one feature only, Mother Marygold, who is probably the sickest person in the United States today.
Every song contains every element of Husky Loops since the day we started, it’s a “all in one” Husky Loops musical bonanza.
It’s coming out on Danger Mouse’s label how did that happen?
He asked us to be on his label and we said yes because A) he is a fucking hero and B) Autolux is on that label too and that’s our favourite band in the US. Carla is also a great friend. And the other sickest person in USA.
You worked with Jim Eno what did he bring to the sessions?
Man… this interview is making me feel like the luckiest person ever, I am not depressed anymore.
Jim is also a great friend, we call him the Diamond Geezer. He mixed the record. And he made it sound like the beautiful coherent amazing baby it is today. He believed in us and made the record sound sick and I’m forever grateful to him.
He’s the best at mixing vocals and he’s never afraid to experiment. Also he’s a snare magician. He really transformed Temporary Volcano into something special. That song wasn’t sounding as great before he put his hands on it.
His studio in Austin is really beautiful too.
Tell us about how your new video was created with the help of tech and fans?
Well the video connects with the concept behind the album cover, which is fully customisable. Each copy has a marker attached to the vinyl so fans can draw their own artwork.
We wanted to make everyone part of the creation and make it a less passive experience for fans. The whole album ‘I Can’t Even Speak English’ is also about inviting action, participation.
We thought it was a good idea to also make fans and friends listen to the song for the first time and put their emotions down, draw what they felt.
I like the idea of their emotions being blocked in time in the music video.
Pietro and Tom went around all day with this iPad (thank you Apple) and asked people to be creative. It was created on the iPad pro’s Procreate App.
What’s the best act you have played with so far?
Are you playing any shows this autumn/Winter?
We’re touring the UK and Europe in October
See Husky Loops live in October 2019:
9th – Jimmy’s, Manchester
10th – Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
11th – Blue Arrow, Glasgow
12th – Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
16th – Bermondsey Social Club, London
17th – Bermondsey Social Club, London
19th – Joiners, Southampton
23rd – Molotow, Hamburg
24th – Maze Club, Berlin
26th – Rotown, Rotterdam
27th – Paradiso, Amsterdam
29th – Supersonic, Paris
30th – Kater, Zurich