We interviewed Italian indie-pop group Ofeliadorme to discuss their latest single Alone With the Stars, their upcoming album Secret Fires and Shakespeare.
Interview by Francesca Bono
You’ve just released a new single called Alone With The Stars. Why did you think that was a good choice for a single, and what does the title refer to?
The single Alone with the stars is just an expression of where we are as a band now, and what I see around me as an individual when I write lyrics. It’s something a lot of people can probably relate to. We’re hyper-connected and yet so lonely, floating through life. I’d like people to stop and look at each other more often.
Also, Howie B, who produced it, always thought it would be perfect as a first single, and we all agreed on that. This song really represents who we really are, we don’t want to scream to be heard.
Do you have any plans to release any more singles in the near future?
Absolutely, yes. HB Recordings will be releasing a remix Package around Birch in April /May. Something special.
You also have a new album out on the 17th March, titled Secret Fires. What can you tell us about it? That’s quite an interesting title – where did that come from?
I thought the title would fit the music very well and everyone agreed with me. A fire is a burning mass of material, and figuratively, that fire could also burn inside of you, in your heart, in your head; it could be an idea, a feeling or a desire… Fire is difficult to control and demands respect, but it’s also always been linked to the idea of renewal. In alchemy, its symbol is an upward pointing triangle and that’s me and my two band mates, the way we worked on this record, in perfect balance. Finally, everything that touches fire is changed, and working on this record surely has changed us very much, I hope for the best!
This is your third full-length album to be released. How have things changed over the years for you, and do you find it easier or harder to produce and create new music now?
We’ve been writing and playing music for many years now. On one side, it’s always been difficult, at least in our country because it’s such a small market, and I write in English. But on the other side, there’s a lot of music, and bands, and our hometown especially, Bologna, is such an amazing place to be a musician in Italy. It’s small and almost everyone plays music or is somehow involved. Also, we started as a 4 piece band, and we were already at a turning point after our friend Gianluca Modica decided to leave the band in 2013 to start his own business. We almost immediately released an electronic cover of Lioness by Songs: Ohia and shortly after the 4 track E.P. The Tale, our first work with no guitars. That’s when we met Howie B. Secret Fires is our first L.P. since we basically evolved into a new band, a 3 piece band. I don’t know if it’s easier or harder to produce right now, I just know that we never stop writing new music, and that feels good.
We hear you were influenced in part by the character of Ophelia (from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Arthur Rimbaud’s poem Ophelie) when writing, as well as when choosing a name for the band. What is it about Ophelia that inspired you so much? Her tale is quite a tragic one?
We’re Italian, we’re naturally tragic! Well, the truth is we actually read and loved Rimbaud’s poem and decided for the name Ofelia at first, but then we switched to Ofeliadorme (it means Ophelia sleeps) to somehow preserve the tragic figure from dying. Plus, I’ve been working in a book store for 10 years and I always loved Shakespeare, so it just made sense.
Are you Shakespeare fans, or is it just the character of Ophelia that interests you? Can we expect any other references to the bard’s work or characters in future songs?
I’m the one obsessed with books, and of course I read some Shakespeare (though not everything), and I loved him. Especially his tragedies. So yes, it might happen to be somehow inspired by Shakespeare again in the future. He wrote about so many different human situations, and all his concerns centered on human beings. I always liked that.
Is literature something that influences you a lot when making music? What musical influences do you have, and what have you been listening to recently?
Yes, literature certainly has a huge influence on our work. Recently, I discovered Lucia Berlin’s short stories and that had a huge impact on my creative process.
Musically, we were influenced by a wide range of bands and singers.
Tato aka Mr T, lists among his influences: English and American punk, post punk, 70s and 80s electronic music, and lately he got interested into some rap and more electronic music: Dawn of Midi, Rafael Anton Irisarri, Peder Mannerfelt, Run the Jewels, Skepta, etc.
I was also listening to rap when I was growing up (I still love A Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys, and De La Soul), and in the meantime I discovered Depeche Mode, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, Bristol Sound; but also some Motown, Nina Simone …lots of stuff. Lately I’ve been listening to Julianna Barwick, Andy Stott, Tropic of Cancer, Beak, and Leonard Cohen.
Michele has been influenced by Folk, Trip Hop, Hip Hop and has lately been listening to Timber Timbre, Gold Panda, Wilco and Kiasmos.
You’re playing SXSW soon, which sounds like great fun. Do you have plans for a U.K. tour anytime soon, or any U.K. Festivals?
We’re working on the second leg of the Tour and a U.K. trip is certainly in agenda.
Why do you think people should come and see you perform, and what can people expect from a Ofeliadorme gig?
I think our show can be quite a soulful, sonic, and lyrical journey, like someone told us. We put a lot of passion into what we do, especially live.
Any last words for the fans?
Listen to our new Album and let us know what you think. We always love hearing from you.