Babylon Radio had the honour of interviewing singer/songwriter Federico Folclash Bormida before his tour through Europe. He will be playing an acoustic gig at Clockwork Door, Dublin on 6th April.
Check out his new album “Last Ticket Home”.
B: Hi…Federico, or…Folclash?
F: Hi, you can call me Federico – that’s my birth name or Folclash – my stage name.
B: Tell us a bit about yourself! Where did you grow up? Where do you live and what do you do right now?
F: For the past four months I’ve been living in London, just busking there. I’ve been playing gigs and concerts. And now I am moving around for the month of April – around Europe . It’s cool. It will be like a fun trip.
B: You will be on tour soon?
I will start on the 5th April in Edinburgh. And then I’ll come to Dublin.
B: When did you become interested in music? How did it all start?
F: I was interested in music since quite a young age. My dad used to bring home Michael Jackson video clips. So I got into music quite early. I was around eight or nine. I picked up playing the guitar when I was 13 or 14, so five or six years ago. I had to stay at home and couldn’t go to school because I was not well, something with my lungs…Yeah, so I had to stay at home for a month and a half and I was thinking: “Well, yeah I could pick up the guitar.” Do something better than just lying on the sofa…
B: When did you consider music as a career?
F: Ah, do you mean when I found out this was more than just a hobby?
I don’t know. It just came – day after day I was like: “I like it.” Day after day I just tried to improve it and make it better than before. That’s how it got me thinking. You know, I might get something out of it. And then we recorded the first CD about a year ago and I knew, yeah, that’s what I want to do! And then we recorded the second one and now I am on a tour, which is super cool. I never thought this would happen. It’s wicked!
B: We are going to talk about your new album later. But first tell us, what does music mean to you ?
F: Kind of everything. It’s not just chords and melodies. Not just that, it’s everything that comes with that. If I play music, and someone passes by and smiles, or says thank you and stops by – That’s music. I think music is a way to make people happy; and…a way to enjoy the moment.
B: It’s the people that inspire you?
F: Yes. And Michael Jackson was my first big inspiration. I used to listen a lot to Guns ‘n Roses and then I picked up the acoustic guitar and started listening to lots of songs and singer/ songwriters. It was a whole bunch of them. Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, John Mayer…There are loads of them, but definitely Michael Jackson.
B:Let’s talk about your music. How would you describe your music? Is there a genre it would fit in?
F: Up to now I would say it’s sort of pop/-folk music with some elements of rock and soul stuff.
B: Folk music? Hence the name?
F: No, that’s not where it was derived from. It was born by accident. So, I was very young and I had to find a name for my YouTube channel and my first name was not available, so I just put random letters together. It has nothing to do with “folk” or the “Clash”. I think I would define my music as changing since I am trying out some other genres. It’s a mix of everything. I would say mostly pop and folk, rock, soul…a bit of everything Reggae – sometimes.
B: What are your songs generally about?
F: I’ve mostly written about things that happened to me. You know, girls who dumped me and who I was in love with. I’ve also written a song about my grandma when she passed away. My personal experiences are my main inspiration for now. It’s easy because you can write a song about everything that happens to you.
B: Let’s talk about your new album “Last Ticket Home”. What is it about?
F: It’s not really a concept album. There are a bunch of songs that define the album’s period. I wrote them over six months and recorded them over 6-8 months. It was a very – fast album. It has no concept. It was just me trying out something different from the first one.
B: How is it different from the previous albums?
F: We played more on this album. On the first one it was very based on computer midi files. For this one I recorded everything except for the drums: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, solo, bass guitar, piano…It’s a very “played” one. And I am quite happy about it. It’s like the opposite version of the first album.
B: Do you have a favourite song on the album?
F: I have two favourite songs. The first one is the last one [on the album]. It’s called “Every Single Day”. I wrote it about my ex-girlfriend before she went to Spain. It’s about falling in love. Maybe you’d think ‘I fell in love that time’ but then you go ‘hey, actually, maybe I fell in love every single day’. The second one is “Picture you”.
B: What’s the story behind it?
F: There is none. I just woke up angry one morning.
B: [laughs] Without any reason?
F: I don’t know why. I thought, I am just going to go for it. I’ll just write it down. Lyrics came up naturally, wrote them on paper. There is no story, but…I can try to make up one!
B: Haha, no you’re okay. You are on tour soon. What’s first?
F: The first city is Edinburgh on the 5th, then Dublin, Berlin, Maastricht, Amsterdam. Hopefully, Salamanca in Spain and the last one is going to be Lisbon in Portugal. It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be tough. I need to sleep during the tour…
B: Let’s talk about songwriting. What comes first, the music or the lyrics?
F: For me, definitely music first. But straight away, the lyrics come. I don’t wait for months or something.
B: Is there a message you want to convey with your music?
F: Aw, that’s a tough question! I like tough questions. My message? Anything that happens to you can make a good story. It just depends on what side of it you look at. You know, the negative side is not going to be a good story. But whatever happens to you, you just have to turn it into a good story to tell to people.
B: That’s a very positive message!
F: How do you write your songs? Do you collaborate with others?
I have always written them on my one. In my kitchen or in the living room. I sometimes ask my friends if they make sense. And if they say yes, I’m happy with it. But yeah, I always write them on my own.
B: Let’s talk about your acoustic gig at Clockwork Door on 6th April…The gig lasts for 3 and a half hours. What does it include?
F: Well, I just found out it lasts for 3 hours and a half. My set list is not going to cover the whole duration of the gig. It’s not going to be just a gig where you just go and listen to the music. It’s more about sharing experiences, songs, opinions, questions. It’s going to be fun! It’s sharing who I am with people.
B: Have you been to the Clockwork Door?
F: No, I have never been to Ireland in my life.
B: Why did you chose this location for this gig then? How did you find out about this place?
F: I know this girl, a friend of mine, who lives near Dublin… Since I play the guitar and Ireland is a great place for singers and songwriters, I decided on Ireland. I have never been to Dublin and Ireland but I knew it had some very nice places to go to.
B: You’ll love this place. It has so many amazing rooms.
F: I think, before the gig, I will go around and try to see everything I can!
B: There is a room full of plushies.
F: [laughs] Okay, I’ll have a look at that!
B: What has been your biggest achievement so far?
F: Aw, you just keep on giving me tough questions! Well, I think it is this tour since it is my first one. And the thing is, I organised it all by myself. I don’t have a manager who does it for me. Yeah, so the tour along with the second CD altogether is the biggest achievement for me. And I’m so happy about it.
B: What is the biggest challenge you had to face so far?
F: My biggest challenge is being alone on tour and having to organise everything by myself. But I am happy about this challenge. It helps me to grow up. Do you know what, I will tell you if I have grown up after this tour!
B: Any goals for the next couple of months?
F: Yes. So after this tour, I am going to find a manager. I’d like to have someone who I can go to and say: “You know, I need to do this and this and this but for this I need your help.” My main goal in the long run is to fill up stadiums. That would be great! But for now, the very near future, it’s finding a manager.
B: Not bad. I had some tricky questions, but you managed to answer them all! See you at the gig!
Don’t miss this Folclash gig at Clockwork Door in Dublin on 6th April!