Interview – Bursting Wonderland

I recently reviewed the song, In Memory Of, by the band Bursting Wonderland, and found myself enthralled by their sound. If you’ve not heard their music yet, you can find the track at the bottom of this interview!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a track titled In Memory Of, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the song?

One the songs first written from Ania was In Memory Of, dedicated to her grandma. Ania was touched by the story of her grandma’s lost love, the first true love that she had to let go a long time ago in Poland. It was a forbidden relationship and an unwelcoming blessing by their parents, so the young lovers decided that if they couldn’t live together, they didn’t want to live at all anymore. Their plan was to get undressed and walk in the snow so long until they got pneumonia and left this world together. He (John) got really sick and indeed died of pneumonia, abandoning Maria (Ania’s grandmother), who didn’t manage to die with him. She eventually got married (to Ania’s grandpa) and lived a long life, but she could never forget all this and most of all, forget him. This is a story that Maria shared in secret to Ania’s mum and many years after Maria’s death we have been told that story. Ania felt inspired to write a tribute. From this, Mimmo created the music and tried to picture those feelings, that drama, that love and their destiny. The whole album alternates between the hard rock kick in the soul to a mellow melancholic message in between.. Bursting Wonderland do not dream of a rock and roll life or anything mad, rich and crazy. Those times are over, today is different.

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

Not at all, although we’ve been penalised and put on standby in terms of live performances.

In reality, for us it has been a mere blessing.

While the world was panicking, we were freed from the never ending battle against the fast paced nature of society, that consumes your energies, sucks your dreams, obliges you to fly low and focus only on what makes a profit, which can be demoralising, draining you in this race for survival.

We took it as a chance to focus more on the music, especially on our debut album release. In 2020, we also signed for the French M&0 music label of Alexandre Saba.

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

We have our own formula and deal with it between us, and we stick to our own guns without confusing the process by exchanging opinions about what the next song will be about.

To clarify this, myself (Mimmo) is in charge of the compositions in general, from the live or studio performances to the writing of the instrumental as a whole, from chord progressions or riff based ideas to the full development of the song and the artistic direction that will define it. Ania, from her end, writes lyrics and brainstorms with me all the concepts she wants to write about, starting from humming the principle vocal line melody or writing a portion of the lyrics. From those 2 initial contributions, we also have 70% of the song ready in our hands. We also share a private life together, in a sense that we live together and music and our personal relationship with one another – it’s basically the same thing.

We are a duo rock project with a solid understanding of each other and a solid way to do things together, for this very reason Bursting Wonderland will always have a clear direction.

Do you plan to release any more singles in the near future?

Yes! Our debut album was released last year in February and so far we have issued 3 official singles with related video clips – we plan to release at least 2, or even 3 more singles.

We believe strongly that this album needs recognition and needs to be spread out as much as we can before moving to another release.

Have you started writing for an EP or an album?

As mentioned in the previous answer, we are currently pre-producing a new fresh album of 12 tracks!

It’s gonna be a faster, harder album all the way, but will also reflect the other side of ourselves that hasn’t had the chance to emerge yet, which is our love for pop music. It’ll be a good mix.

What/who influences you most as artists? What have you been listening to recently?

We are deeply influenced by 90’s rock in general, mostly the grunge scene, but also all the pop rock bands that characterized that peculiar piece of music history.

Lately we love to listen to Brian Adams for instance, his simplicity, his voice and songwriting are immortal and that’s what we are really fascinated by at the moment.

Where are you based? What is the music scene like in your part of the world? Are you influenced by your surroundings?

We live in Connemara in County Galway in Ireland. We have been based here as a band for the last 4/5 years, but have lived here for the past 12 years.

I’m Italian and Ania is Polish.

Ireland does not have in my opinion a defined music scene, maybe in Dublin only. But Ireland of course, isn’t only Dublin.

In general I observed there are plenty of pub musicians with a legacy and culture of playing covers (which are all the same for years and years) and a few original bands or solo artists that do not last long in the scene enough to make a vibrant and settled situation you can call a ‘scene’.

Venues are few and are all the same and I see the same people with connections going around.

I see a lot of nepotism and corruption in this sense (if you know the cousin of your cousin managing a venue or being in a good relationship with the manager)and you can’t criticise it or you’ll bring a bad vibe into town and you are the problem. They live in this bubble unfortunately, a sort of autocracy of positive feedback at all costs, addressing nothing so there is nothing to solve either.

The spirit of rock itself is washed away with the pub gig scene that exists only to make that money in their pocket, drinking plenty of pints in front of a devastated crowd of zombies that didn’t come to listen anyway.

It’s full of bedroom folk musicians with the capo on 7th fret that release an EP every 5 years and give up with the first obstacle, complaining about the music industry, doing busking from time to time in order to have fun and feel like a humble new Bob Dylan of the block. There is also a big void in the commitment for band practices, which doesn’t surprise me in a world where the main philosophy is to have what you can have at the cheapest cost. Also, nobody worries about creating their unique sound signatures through their essential live equipment.

I do have plenty of examples and anecdotes to talk about for the real believers.

The music scene in Ireland is about being Irish ( you’ll see it in various forms and examples on a daily basis), not only by being Irish in a native sense, but by being Irish in all stereotyped forms. They love to photocopy themselves at anytime as a constant legitimate motive painted with a good sense of patriotism that to our eyes sounds boring and paranoid, with the fear of not owning an individual form of independence and intellectual pride. The love for the land here substitutes and surpasses individuality.

It’s frustrating to see it going very silently and being well received from anyone in the country as normal protocol. They do not even see it as narrow minded and old fashioned.

Exceptions? They are everywhere but they don’t make enough of a good statistic here, of course!

Do you have any tour dates lined up?

At the moment we are on stand by for live performances, we are very focused on the promo of the album and making the next one.

Also, it’s so hard nowadays to find committed musicians that engage with the band professionally, to respect what they agree beforehand, that don’t drop after a few months of hard work, leaving the boat in the middle of the ocean. It’s a serious struggle but we will overcome.

Just recently we have been offered a support slot by our label on the European tour Christian Death and we had to turn it down just because we do not have a line up ready to follow up with the plans, and also the lack of the budget to afford a tour.

What can people expect from one of your shows and why should people come and see you perform live?

Our music is honest and that’s the adjective that identifies us best with this project.

We tell stories and important personal points of view on determined topics, we make statements and we are not interested in the mere entertainment business

We wanna engage with people and bring what we are as we are in that very moment, so we don’t use show costumes and we don’t look to impress anyone.

We play rock and that’s what the crowd will be assured to receive, we serve our songs with our dignity and intellectual pride.

We use the industry at our expense (everything costs a shit load of money and we are both working class humans), we understand it’s how the machine has worked for decades, we surf on it but we won’t sink in it. Compromising but not enduring it.

We do not rely on special effects or abuse technologies.

We actually are very influenced by 90’s rock, the way music was meant for all people in that time as a social breath of fresh air to find a piece of yourself in, and also the whole frame around it – the genuine feeling of seeing people gather in a room to hear and see the band living onstage . Don’t expect to be entertained as kids on an excursion on the school bus.

We are nostalgic for all of this and we will try to be loyal to it.

We don’t want to fill your Saturday nights in town with shallow distractions!

Any last words for the fans?

Yes, we invite you to stay tuned with us, to follow up if interested and to dig into our concepts, and what we want to represent.

Bursting Wonderland love music, love to create content, also visually with videoclips and artworks, it’s all important for us and we praise the culture of making music and having a music project, rather than focusing on 1 release each year, trying to pump hype for a while.

We are old enough to have pursued music as teenagers, and that means that our main goal is to create and to spread all the music we want to spread, wisely or not wisely by a market strategy. We won’t stop doing this at any cost, and this is the main spirit of this project.

Landing on this soil for you will mean also having a stable ground that will be there with or without industry support.

We will always release fresh music and continue, despite the fame that will mark our success in this business.