At times like this, music has the power to bring us together, even if we can’t be in the same room.
That message of keeping loved ones close emotionally, whilst not being physically close is echoed in our Track of the Week from BIMM Institute Brighton’s Linus De Ferrari. Watch the video of his latest release ‘India’ here – and read a bit more below of how the song came to be.
What was your inspiration when you began writing the track?
I wrote ‘India’ soon after my sister left Brighton to go to India for six months. We are from Italy, and when she was 19 and I was 11, she moved to England. Ever since she left, I wanted to follow her and, eventually, I did. 10 years later – when I was 21 years old – I moved to Brighton.
When we re-joined it was like finding a best friend. We developed a really good relationship, and when she left again for India, while I was really proud, I was also melancholic. This mix of emotions is the clay from which I sculpted the song.
‘India’ is about the desire of telling someone far away that they are still in our hearts and minds. It started simple, with guitar and vocals in 2017; and then, as the years went by, I put together brilliant musicians and learnt how to write for strings. I developed the arrangement and finally recorded it in January 2019.
Are there any artists that inspire you when writing?
Although I am conscious that music inevitably influences me when I write new material, I usually look at the songwriting process as a completely blank page. I don’t think of any other sounds or artists when I write; I try to translate what’s inside me without any help from my musical knowledge.
If I had to name some artists that influenced my sound, I couldn’t not talk about Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers, Show Ponies, Damien Rice, and Ed Sheeran; that kind of acoustic-folk scene. However, I have also always loved pop-punk with bands like Simple Plan, Green Day, Sum 41 and All Time Low. I don’t think the lyrics and themes are full of depth, (in fact, I find them quite superficial), but the harmonies and dynamics of the genre – the ‘epicness’ of it – has always enchanted me. Even though my music is not pop-punk, I think there are certain pop-punk traits in my musical DNA.
What is key to your sound and how do you make your music stand out?
I’ve never been good at blowing my own trumpet, but I guess the idea is to talk about something that touches me deeply; something powerful that everyone can relate to, but described in my own way.
In my experience as a student at BIMM, I developed a true passion for arrangements. I love how different instruments can deliver a certain feel and I love to treat them as a puzzle, carefully placing each little detail in the right place in order to get to the final picture. I believe honesty is the best way to make my music stand out. As long as I don’t try to be anybody else, stay true to who I am, my music will be appreciated because I strongly believe that people can hear the difference. That and a good ear.
How does your songwriting process work?
I learned how to play guitar before I knew what music even was, so it always starts with guitar. That comes naturally. Then I listen to it and I start writing lyrics and melody. That’s the most difficult part for me, writing lyrics.
Writing in a different language is the biggest challenge for me. I want my lyrics to be as raw and deep as possible, but when I have to look inside me and explain it in the best way possible, I do so in Italian. Translating into English sometimes stops the creative flow and makes it hard to stay 100% true to myself, but I am slowly breaking this barrier, one song at a time. This usually takes me ages, because I am really not good with choices, and in music, there are always thousands of them at every step!
Once I’ve got a rough structure I start arranging. That’s my favourite part, turning the hut into a castle.
I write parts for different instruments and involve other musicians to get ideas outside my creative sphere. After that, it’s just a matter of adjusting the sound until I am happy with it.
Describe your sound in 3 words…
Warm, epic, melancholic.
How has studying at BIMM helped you develop as an artist?
Singing songs and appreciating music is not enough, that’s where BIMM comes into play.
Although I am a very passionate human being, I have always struggled with commitment. Looking through a magnifying glass at the craft of songwriting and the business behind it, together with the healthy competitive shade of it, helped me tighten my ambition and identify my strengths and weaknesses.
But the true gift BIMM has offered me is the people I’ve met; incredibly talented friends (including both lecturers and students) who inspired the musician inside me and spurred me to be better every day.
What’s next for you?
As weird as it might sound, I want to finish this Songwriting degree so that I can start writing more songs. I’m finally putting a band together and I want to professionally record the songs I’ve written so far, while continuing to write, for me and for other artists.
I really enjoy working within different genres and collaborating with other artists, so I’ll try to get involved in as many collaborations as possible. I’ve recently started a project called LAYERS,which is all about this.
I have also developed a budding passion for writing for movies and I really want to get into that world as well.