Interview: Husky Loops Take On The World

Monday, April 1, 2019

London-based trio Husky Loops have developed and refined a sound that extends well beyond the constraints of genre. They’re able to draw on any style, own it and make it utterly distinct. Though on the surface their sound contains potent doses of art-rock, once you dive deep into their discography and the intricacies of their music, you’ll find influences spanning from electronica, to R&B and hip-hop inspired arrangements. We sat down with Pier ‘Danio’ Forni (vocals and guitars), Pietro Garrone (drums and sample) and Tommaso Medica (Bass) in Austin while at SXSW during their US trip to learn more about the origins of their entrancing sound.

The trio now calls London home, but they all grew up in Bologna, Italy, where they first met each other during their school years. Despite knowing each other from a young age, Danio comments that they “knew each other back home, but Bologna is a small town in some ways. Everyone has their own group of friends since it was small, but we were actually pretty different, and then in London, we met again and formed the band”. As individuals, they have been based in the UK now for approximately eight years, and have been playing together for around three years.

Though the band formed in London, Bologna’s thriving, robust and diverse music scene has had a considerable impact on the foundations of their sound. “Our heavier sound comes from our Bologna years,” said Tommaso, with Danio adding, “It's funny actually, because we always say that people think that our angry sound is from London, but we got that from where we're from”. Though Bologna may not be as large as many other Italian cities, it’s home to over 350,000 people with around a quarter of the city's residents being students. “Bologna is a student city, and people growing up there are surrounded by lots of different types of music, especially punk bands, but now there’s also R&B, there’s also some SKA influences. Many of the grooves and beats that inspire us can be traced back to that” said Pietro. Bologna’s history of punk rock has a defining influence on the band, with Pietro also saying, “I think we all grew up playing punk rock venues”, Tommaso also said “Being able to play a show, nothing works and it's a shit sound, but you still deliver in the best way you can, and you just go on. That's something we've learned I think by playing all the school parties and punk venues for years”. Bologna’s history of punk music extends years before the trio were born, with the city being one of the first places in Italy where punk became prominent and notable, along with other Italian cities such as Turin, Pordenone and Milan. It’s Bologna’s standing as a base for many students that lead to the formation of many famous and classic Italian punk bands such as Gaznevada and Skiantos. 

Bologna may have an expansive musical history, but London is the place to be for Husky Loops — and their track record the past few years has proved to be the right decision for the trio. Since their formation in 2015, they’ve released three EPs (a self-titled release, EP2 and Spool) and have had the opportunity to tour with the likes of Placebo, David Byrne, Sunflower Bean, The Kills, Spoon and Black Honey. Even though Husky Loops' current discography is impressive and they probably would've still found success if they were based in Bologna, they arguably wouldn’t have had the same impact or reach if they weren’t based in the UK. “We were exposed to so much new music and a broader selection of genres that we wouldn’t have had in Bologna. So it was very stimulating, and there is so much music there” Tommaso said on the benefits of being based in the UK, Danio also said “You can work with a number of amazing people. They’re all in the same place and you get to meet different people one day to the next".    

Their time in London may have been a success for the band so far, but it hasn’t come without challenges or moments of self-doubt. “I think London is a very competitive place. The music industry in general in the United Kingdom is very tough,” said Danio, with Pietro also noting that London's music scene can be described as "cutthroat"  — London’s competitive nature is due to its firm position as one of the world’s leading hubs for music. But being in a competitive environment like London provided a catalyst for them to constantly push themselves, “When you arrive there and you think your a good guitar player or good songwriter like many others, it makes you think ‘oh, okay, wow, I’m shit’, so whenever I would say things like that to myself, it would make me want to play better, become faster, want to produce better and become smarter” says Danio. The driving energy and competitiveness of London’s music scene have only helped the band with their own ambitions, “It’s a very good thing, because the more competitive you get, the more the environment pushes you. England is really a place where we could just generally feel very inspired and very pushed to work”, adds Danio.   

Their US trip was a huge success, with the trio playing a series of noteworthy showcases during SXSW, as well as headline shows in LA and New York. They also mentioned in the interview that they would love to come to Australia sometime in the future — and if Husky Loops continue to release music as remarkable and unique as they have and continually deliver memorable live shows, they’ll be a household name very soon.  

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)
Photos by Kristy Smolcic (folio)

Listen to some of our favourite tracks by Husky Loops below: