FIL BO RIVA – Interview

Schon im letzten Festivalsommer sorgte diese Stimme für einiges Aufsehen, es folgte eine EP-Veröffentlichung im Herbst und dieser Tage die komplett ausverkaufte erste Headliner-Tour. Die Zeichen stehen also gut für Fil Bo Riva – im Kern ein junger Musiker, der in seinem bisherigen Leben schon in Rom und in einem von Mönchen geleiteten Jungen-Internat in Irland lebte, bevor er mittlerweile seine Zelte in Berlin aufgeschlagen hat. Dort brachte ihn eine unglückliche Liebe letztlich zum Song-Schreiben…und diese brachten ihn als Straßenmusiker auf die Straße. In dieser Phase traf er dann mit Felix A. Remm und Robert Stephenson auf zwei Menschen, die für seine weitere Entwicklung wichtig sein sollten und die dafür sorgten, dass Fil Bo Riva heute nicht mehr allein als Soloprojekt zu verstehen ist, sondern auch als Kollaboration von Gleichgesinnten. Wir trafen mit Fil und Felix zwei der Gleichgesinnten vor dem Support-Termin für Joan As Police Woman in Berlin zum Interview!

You’re on tour at the moment with Joan As Police Woman, how’s that going?
Fil: Yeah it’s been good. We’ve eaten a lot of bad food…
Felix A: Especially in England!

You have your own tour coming up in January, how are you feeling about that?
F: Its great, our first tour ever…
FA: Our first ever headline concert.
F: It’s exciting neutral. We’re always on the road playing so we announced the concert between lunchtime and sound check so we had to keep checking in between rehearsing and some shows were sold out which was great. We’re so busy sometimes it’s easy to forget that. But when eighty people are standing in front of you who’ve paid to see you, that’s a completely different feeling to playing a support show or a festival. It’s actually very relaxing and laid back to play – you’re either going to play well or bad, people are either going to remember you or forget you. But if you’re playing for people who are paying for you it’s different. You have to deliver and be more real.

You tour a lot – do you already have a favorite place to play in?
FA: I think mine is Switzerland because people are so nice and have treated us the best on the tour. In Switzerland there’s also really nice cheese.
F: That sounds very uncool to say…the coolest thing about the tour was the good food, but it’s partly true. What interesting stories do we have? None. We’re sometimes rowdy but if we do too much then we’d be out for two days, so I guess we’re just a lot more sensible. We’re sitting waiting here cause we’re playing in an hour, the whole day waiting for this half hour for that good feeling on stage. We have no money for drugs. No money for food. No money for anything.

Okay no favorite, but do you see a difference in the audience depending where you play?
FA: Depends more on the city than the country I think.
F: I think since Joan As The Police Woman is a very special act to play for, especially on this tour, we’ve played in 10 countries I think. England, Scotland, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Holland, Germany, Denmark – so 9 nearly 10. It’s a good question, because most of the time people were very different. But they’re all very quiet, good listeners.
FA: But that is because they’re all quite old crowds, all 40 year olds. More respectful, not like young people…

Do you have any good tour stories?
F: I don’t think so. It’s very sad, we don’t have good answers. Most of the time we wake up, if we have enough time we go to breakfast, buy some coffee. He drives, I drive, Alex drives. Get there, have a smoke, drive, sound check, put our things back stage. Then we don’t even have time to eat. So there’s no time really to explore the city. It’s quite sad. No interesting stories to be told. The life of a musician in 2016.

You recently released an EP, If You’re Right, It’s Alright, how’s the response been so far?
F: For the people working on it, it was very positive. We didn’t even really expect to tour Europe at this stage. I’d been making demos on my own, and then I met Felix, then management. My initial plan was to just put the songs online as I did with the first song. I thought it was a very bad song and it was just on Soundcloud. We did the same thing as the other songs. Then PIAS came to us, a very good label and told us what they wanted to do with the songs and I really liked what they said. The way we wanted to work with things, very slow and laid back, bring the songs to good radio stations. I think their reaction has been more than expected but not too much, which is good. It could have been much bigger but it’s exactly where we want it. We can record the new album next month, another tour in January then maybe another in April, summer festivals. And you know the whole year we’ll be recording…

Do you enjoy the recording process?
F: Yeah much better. We definitely prefer recording. It’s more interesting because you can create more. What a human being is actually made for – creating stuff. Not standing on the stage like a monkey, playing your stage every night. After a while you do want to go back to the studio because you need to create again. When you’re being creative and making songs, and you haven’t maybe played for 5 months, that’s when you look forward to playing shows. But live is good if you’re not doing it on a regular basis. If it fits in nicely with recording, then it’s great. It gives you goose bumps and the energy you want it to, it doesn’t become like routine.

If you were on a desert island, what albums would you definitely want to have with you?
F: I’d pick Queen greatest hits 1, I get to listen to the best songs of the greatest band then. And then I’d take Beatles, Revolver!
FA: Johnny Cash greatest hits, High Violet by The National and I don’t know… Robbie Williams greatest hits?

Where can you see Fil Bo Riva heading in the future?
F: I hope its ganna be a project or myself and Felix have enough time to record stuff and live by it. It’s not about being famous or being in newspapers but being in the studio and recording and doing something that we love. Experimenting with different instruments and having the luxury to make money. I hope its not going to be too big where people start to recognize us on the street because that’s scary. I find it very scary to go outside after a show and sell merch, people can be very pushy. If there’s too many people asking you the same things you start to go a little bit mad. Editors, an british band, we’re on the same label, PIAS, and they’ve done well, like 100,000 likes on Facebook. Which is definitely big but not too big so they can walk down the street without being recognized. Which is good. That would be the ideal.

Wir verlosen 3 mal die EP von Fil Bo Riva als 7″ – ihr wollt gewinnen, dann schreibt uns bis zum 25. Januar eine Mail mit dem Betreff “Fil Bo Riva” und eurer Adresse an und mit etwas Glück habt ihr das gute Stück schon bald im Briefkasten!

Anastasia Roe

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