Banjo Or Freakout: Track By Track

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Messing around in his bedroom, Alessio Natalizia surrounded himself with blissful noise.

Eventually settling into formidable shapes on his laptop, the material began to emerge under the name Banjo Or Freakout. Chunks of shoegaze guitars matched to glitchy electronics, a series of singles and EPs over the past four years have won the producer mass acclaim.

A stunning live act, Banjo Or Freakout focussed on his debut album last year. Taking time out to work on the essential Kompakt project Walls, the producer returned to hone the fuzzy visions of his day job.

Out a week today (February 28th) the debut album from Banjo Or Freakout is hugely impressive. Oddball songwriting abounds, with Alessio Natalizia emerging with a unique and distinctive musical voice.

Stream the album below, and read an exclusive Track-by-Track guide...

Banjo or Freakout by Banjo or Freakout

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105
It was one of the last demos I recorded before going to make the album. At some point I got really into Dennis Wilson and Bobb Trimble and realised banjo or freakout had to be a pop band so I kind of got inspired and wrote this song in 30 mins. We kept the vocals I recorded at home because the mood was perfect but recorded lots of acoustic guitars (I love the way they come in during the bridge part.. they almost sound like vocals or violins giving the song a totally different harmony) then I recorded the drums in NY and Nicolas added some great tremolo guitars while mixing the song. This is one of my favourites on the album. 105 because was demo number 105.

GO AHEAD
I was browsing through this book called 'Sexing the Cherry' and at some point the character says 'I wanted to see what it looks like setting yourself on fire' and I wrote a song starting from that. Musically we kept a drum loop that I recorded in my kitchen in London and I re-sung in the studio plus added acoustic guitar. Feedback and programming were done at my place in London. The feedback is actually recorded sending a synth sound through my laptop speakers and partly closing the computer screen so that the sound feedbacks again to the speakers controlling this depending on the degree of how open the screen is..

CAN'T BE MAD FOR NOTHING
This is the last song I wrote before going in to the studio. The percussion at the beginning is inspired by that Tones On Tail song called 'Lions'. I never heard of them before but then I played the demo of this song to Nicolas and he immediately played me the Tons On Tails track saying percussion should become the key element of the track. It's the only song on the album with no guitars and I think was also a little influenced from the stuff I was doing with Walls at that point. It's two songs in one song, the first part is focused on voice, percussion and bass and second part focused on some vocal loops recorded in my bathroom and drones and a snare I recorded with a dictaphone recorder and played at double speed.

MOVE OUT
I like the way this song ends. It reminds me of that Ramones album 'End Of The Century' which used to be one of my favourites when I was a kid. I added real drums in the studio and recorded vocals in one take. It's one of the poppiest songs on the album. I was a bit scared of using the 'wall of sound' beat since so many bands have been doing that in the past few years but it's a song I wrote almost three years ago and always really liked it and just thought it worked only with that beat. We added the final outro where the drums goes straight and more 'rock' in the studio and that definitely gave a sense to the track.

IDIOT RAIN
I wanted this to sound like a dark singsong, simple and sweet with krauty drums and a super simple guitar riff. It feels a very naked song to me, almost uncomfortable in a good way and I like it when it all opens up in the chorus. Outro is me and Nicolas going falsetto crazy.. It's quite an epic ending… you need to get to the end of the song to get it.

FULLY ENJOY
This is one of the songs that changed the most compared to the demo I took to the studio. The original demo was very long and a bit weirder but we made it more straight forward. It's a 4 minutes mantra with lots of guitar loops I did one night inspired by some Sublime Frequencies album I'd been listening to on repeat.

FROM EVERYONE ABOVE
This is a song about drowning. There is something pagan and epic about it that confuses me. Sometimes I even wonder if I like the song! But I think it makes perfect sense in the album together with all the other songs.

BLACK SCRATCHES
It's about lying to people you are very close to. People keep comparing this song to bands I don't know which is amazing… I just wanted to make a pop song with a big density in the sound and a sleepy melody.

DEAR ME
I wanted this to be a total free track with lots of drumming and not a proper structure so we ended up using three drums! Matt plays the ones on the left and on the right and I play the one in the centre. The main line goes 'I could live in hope and die in bitterness'. The second half is loops and Nicolas' voice sampled with a SK-1 synth. It could have gone on forever!

I DON'T WANT TO START ALL OVER AGAIN
Mostly recorded in London apart from voice and some great organ sounds recorded at rare book room. It was supposed to be more 'straight' with drums and acoustic guitar but we realised it would have been cool to get rid of any kind of beat and just let the organs and the loop floating around in time and out of time with the voice.

'Banjo Or Freakout' is out on February 28th

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