By Tom Reardon, June 2020 issue.
Pier Danio Forni from Husky Loops was about ready for teatime when we chatted via Zoom recently while he was in his hometown of Bologna, Italy. The songwriter/producer, whose band hails out of London, England, decided to pandemic in his hometown and was kind enough to talk a little music with Echo as he waits for the borders to open so he and his bandmates, Pietro Garrone (drums) and Tommaso Medica (bass) can get back to the business of being one of the most exciting up-and-coming bands in the world right now.
Combining the post-punk attack of a band like Gang of Four, the hip/hop influence of Kanye West, and the lush sonic landscapes of a band like Happy Mondays, Husky Loops defies conventional music stereotypes and creates a new sound altogether. Fans of many different genres will find something to latch onto while listening to the band’s debut record, 2019’s I Can’t Even Speak English and in many cases, will not want to let go. While the band hasn’t made it to America yet, there is hope that one day they will be able to traverse the Atlantic and make their way to a venue near us sooner than later.
We need Husky Loops in Phoenix right now, Danio. We’re ready.
We were meant to plan a U.S. tour and obviously this thing started out.
Yes. I was watching your YouTube video from the KEXP session and it rips!
Oh, thank you. That went over very well in America and gave us more of a fan base over there. It’s funny. We all look very gloomy in that one. That day we were arguing. We were on tour and we were very tired. I hated that session so much.
It’s crazy how in life, a lot of things that you hate at first you end up liking a lot. I’m glad that everyone likes it.
That’s where some of the best rock and roll comes from, right, those moments of pure passion?
It was definitely a rock and roll day. That was shot in France in an empty warehouse. It was cold as fuck. It was raining. It was crazy. The night before, we were going absolutely mad. We played a super cool festival and we drank way too much. I watch it now and I like it. Two years, when we shot it, I didn’t want it to come out.
It was still a painful memory at that point. Having been in a few trios in my life, when the energy isn’t good in a three piece, it’s hard, isn’t it?
The reason why Husky Loops is a three-piece is we believe in simplicity. We have always been about, literally, drum, bass, and melodies, which, in this case, is my vocals and my guitar. For us, that’s the only way we can keep it minimal. I’m a huge fan of the White Stripes and I’ve always loved how Jack White says “simplicity is a key of life.” In his music (with the White Stripes), that means it will only be Meg and him.
In our case, it is a little bit more, with one more (member) but that’s not too different from what we see. We feel like that if we can make all of this noise and all of this music, it’s going to better with three than if it were five or six (members).
You guys certainly put out a wall of sound for three people.
The energy is a major thing with a three-piece. It’s more angular, or in this case, triangular (laughs). You can feel that in Husky Loops. It gets quite punky. I feel like when everyone tries to push in different directions, it is still quite vibe-y. If there were seven or eight people in the room, pushing in a different direction, I feel like it would be chaos. When it’s three, it still works.
Do all three of you write for the band?
It’s very different for each song. From the beginning, we’ve been a very prolific band. It’s a slow journey for this band because we do many different things. It’s hard to pigeon-hole what we do, even for ourselves. Every song has had a different start.
Our last album (I Can’t Even Speak English), which just came out, is kind of like our debut album. I wrote all the songs. I’m the main songwriter, but it doesn’t always work like that. Songs like “Temporary Volcano,” which we all wrote together jamming, it’s very different. After the pandemic ends, we want to go back to the studio and experiment more with writing from whatever point of view or inspiration. Sometimes a song can start by just looking at a picture.
Now, having said that you’re a three-piece, you have done some collaborations lately. Didn’t you guys record something with Jim Eno of Spoon recently?
Jim is great. Jim is a legend. We toured with Spoon in Europe. That’s how we became friends. Jim mixed our debut album.
So, who engineered and produced the record if Jim Eno mixed?
The last record was all produced and engineered by me. It’s a crazy thing. Who’s this arrogant guy who works on his own (laughs)? I’m glad that people like it because it proves you can do things on your own if you want to.
Do you enjoy the knob-twiddling aspects of the production side of music?
Production and songwriting, to me, go hand in hand. The way my brain works, I’m a very ‘arrangement’ kind of guy, so it is the same thing. In 2020, especially. In the hip-hop world, everyone calls those guys producers, but they’re not really producers, they are more like writers.
I curate the sounds and I love doing that. Engineering can be stressful, but at the same time, if you can do it, or barely do it like me, and you have a vision in mind, and you feel like know one is really going to get it accept yourself, I would suggest to just do it because there is nothing to lose and when you get too stressed out like I did, you can always find someone like Jim (Eno) from Spoon who is going to mix your record very well and finish it for you.
To me, the idea of sitting behind the console seems like hell. I’d much rather play the music.
I’m not going to lie. With this album, I kind of lost it. I became a bit crazy because of that and also because I always want everything with Husky Loops to be live. Because I was doing everything on my own this time, I had to record drums and bass first and then my parts later. That became a bit frustrating. I wanted the album to be a bit more live.
I like engineering and touching all the compressors and such.
God bless you for that. Someone has to do it.
I’m a big analog guy and as an independent musician, it’s a challenge to do that. I would always record everything live and analog, if possible, if money wasn’t such a big part of it. That’s my favorite thing to do. I still own a tape machine, but I don’t think people really get it. I think people don’t really get it, though, when you bring out the tape machine. They think it is going to make you sound vintage, and that’s not really what it’s about.
I’m glad you brought up being an independent musician. Prior to this last record, you guys tend to put everything out yourselves, correct?
Yeah, for sure. I think it’s important for us to show people you can do it on your own. It’s more of an empowerment message more than anything. We live in an age where everyone has access to all types of culture and it’s important to remind people that we can do the same things if we want to and build on something amazing. We can follow our dreams and beautiful stuff on our own. That’s always kind of been our thing. We wanted to show people you can quality stuff on your own.
You guys definitely do that. You’ve taken genre-bending to the next level. I feel like you are more of a genre-smashing band.
I see that. You know how people often talk about crossovers with rock bands. I’ve never really liked that name. What we do isn’t really about mixing things together, we just make the music that we would like to listen to. Because we like everything, that’s just what comes out. I just do what I feel, and it comes out. I just want to do what I like.