Saturday, May 18, 2024
HomeMusicQ+A with the Italian Power Pair, Victoria On The Grass - PLAYY.

Q+A with the Italian Power Pair, Victoria On The Grass – PLAYY.


We sat down with Victoria On The Grass to talk about their upcoming single ‘Jean’ and discuss the themes they have explored in their music. Victoria On The Grass, formed by Benedetta Oliovechio and Caterina Fuso, emerged in February 2018 after four years of collaboration. In Dublin, Ireland, they began shaping their unique sound, fusing spoken-word poetry with orchestral elements, culminating in the release of their debut single Victoria’ in July 2020 which reflected their journey of self-discovery and musical evolution. 

Over the past two years, Victoria On The Grass has explored new sonic territories, venturing into electronic music while returning to their Italian homeland for inspiration. Under Caterina’s guidance as a sound engineer, they refined their sound at the Blue Factory Studio, creating a sophisticated sonic palette that defies genre boundaries. Their latest single ‘Jean’, released on April 26th, 2024, delves into themes of vulnerability and family dynamics, offering a narrative-rich listening experience that explores the depths of the human psyche. 

 

Stream ‘Jean’ and read our interview with the pair below.

 

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

Benedetta: I think for us, art is a natural way of expression, a means to feel energies and explore your personality. Since when we were children we both always had our hands in something creative in many different ways, but it was with music that we started feeling something different on an inner level.

Caterina: Yeah, art is another kind of language with its rules, shades and it’s uncommon. The whole act of creating art is never trivial and it gives you the chance to bring your ideas to life and make them concrete.

 

Could you share some insights into your background?

Caterina: My music journey began in 2004 when I started studying drums to join my sister and my best friend’s band, Twister, that later became Vivienne The Witch. Thanks to these bands, I had countless experiences in numerous stages and studios, both in Italy and abroad, that made me what I am today. In my late teenage years, I was becoming more and more captivated by the world of music recording, so I started recording local rappers from my hometown in my rehearsal room. After my BA degree in architecture and unfortunately, some time away from music, I understood that making music was what I wanted to do. So I decided to take a step further and started studying sound engineering and music production.

Benedetta: I studied classic and modern piano during my teenage years, then my piano teacher suggested that I take singing lessons to refine my voice and learn vocal techniques. So I followed his suggestion and… I discovered a hidden side of me. Four years ago I fell in love with bass guitar and learned by self-taught with the help of Caterina.

Our music journey together started for fun about 9 years ago. We had the same tastes in music and we started playing cover songs in acoustic with only piano, vocals and percussions. It was nothing serious nor ambitious, also because we used to play every now and then. We were also living in different cities. Only in 2017 I showed Caterina some songs that I wrote and demos that I had recorded with my little bedroom setup… she liked them and thought we could work on them!

 

Was there a specific moment in your life when you thought, “This is what I want to do?”  

Caterina: Of course, since I was a child studying music, I had the dream of becoming a professional musician as a grown up. There was this persistent thought also when playing with my previous band. 

I think it always felt like the usual life-long dream that a teeneager with no experience can have, and you don’t know how to get there. After years of studying, writing and composing music, while working on Benedetta’s lyrics and demos, one day I got to listen to all that work and I realized that there was something of value.

Benedetta: Also for me making music for real has always been a dream. But it was when I first heard some of my songs produced by Caterina I perceived there was an enormous potential. The detailed production, the arrangements, the sound she reached. That was it.

 

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Caterina: I think it’s the songs themselves that make us want to continue making music… playing, singing, writing, composing and creating new stuff. It’s a circle! It was enough to finish the first song together and from there it was a continuous progress, in the sense that our creative ideas then expanded to everything related to the song in its most complete form. So from the lyrics to the music, our brains move on to imagining possible graphic ideas, concepts for video clips and photoshoots, etc. All this happens now for every song. It’s a factory of ideas! We realise that it’s a lot to think about, it’s not always easy to keep up with the whole creative process, but the desire to always create new things is great, and the final satisfaction and gratification that comes from it are also great.

Benedetta: All this is confirmed by the energy of our music onstage, how our songs and music resonates with the audience, the empathy that is created within the people is also a great fuel.

 

Take us through your collection of gear, tech, or software that accompanies your creative expression.

Benedetta: Our creative process is divided between two environments. My home setup in which I create and develop song ideas and lyrics, and Caterina’s studio, the Blue Factory Studio, where the songs are then reworked and produced.

Often, our songs are born using the piano and the vocals mainly, or perhaps other instruments. These are then recorded in one go on Ableton, with the addition of rhythmic loops and reverbs/delays, to keep the creative flow active. As you can see, we start with a very minimal but still efficient set up that allows us to write simply and quickly. The original demos are then taken into the studio where we have the majority of our gear collection.

Caterina: As we have both started playing at a very young age, luckily, we have accumulated a lot of gear over the years, among drums, cymbals, guitars, basses, pedal fx, keyboards, small synths, speakers, cables of any kind, etc.

In the past few years, the collection of virtual tools has also expanded, in which a necessary investment has been made to be able to create and finalise music these days.

Let’s say Ableton is the main DAW in which we move and feel more at ease, free to create and produce. The mixing phase alternates between Ableton and Cubase. Lately I’ve been using a lot of native plugins from these DAWs, because over the years I’ve learned to appreciate their practicality and speed of use. Initially I tended to rely almost totally on external plugins, maybe it was because I was at the beginning and I wanted to try and experiment with as many things as possible. As a consequence, I did nothing but accumulate and I didn’t appreciate what I actually already had without having to discover the latest plugin. So now I tend to integrate native with external plugins, with the best that suits my needs. Among those that I particularly like are those from Native Instruments, both the effects and the VSTs, Soundtoys and Waves.

 

Take us through a day in the studio. 

Caterina: Each day in the studio is different, it depends on what’s the task to do each time. 

If we are both in the studio to record then we have to set up the room, mount the microphones, do the wiring, set up the project in the DAW. If there are voices to be done Benedetta warms up, we do some test takes and then we start. Same for other instruments.

When it’s me only at the studio (me and the cats) I work on the productions, sound design, take selections, editing and many other technical aspects. There is always something to do, you never get bored!

 

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Benedetta: Meltt band from Canada.

 

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

Benedetta: We had the opportunity to come face to face with our audience for the first time for the All Above tour in 2022, in Italy, Ireland and in the UK for some dates. For All Above we had an acoustic set up, with two vocals, a guitar and a keyboard, so we had found very intimate places where to play. Everything conveyed a very intimate and emotionally charged atmosphere that created a very close and direct relationship with the audience. We therefore had the opportunity to see the reactions of people empathising with our songs.

 

What’s your current favourite playlist called? Who’s on it?

Benedetta: Dreampop Classics by Spotify, and our playlist Magnetic on our Spotify page.

Here you can find some great music that influences us a lot: Cocteau Twins, Wye Oak, Fear Of Men, St. Vincent, Garbage. The list of artists that influence us is very long, so we update the playlist constantly.

 

Any other exciting projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

Benedetta: A year ago we started jamming with drums, bass, many guitar pedals and effects sent from an analog mixer. Jam after jam a new exciting project was born: Perseids. I like to think of the sounds we have come up with as music from space, given the large reverbs and noises that characterise the project. For me this project is extremely exciting, finding myself playing the bass and feeling a deep sense of freedom while improvising was a huge surprise. I come from rigid piano studies, and it was strange to realise that playing the bass is for me more natural rather than playing the piano.

Caterina: We are now refining sounds and guitar tones to get ready for the recording sessions of Perseids’ first EP. We still have a lot of work to do for Perseids, but I definitely can’t wait to bring it onstage!

 

Famous Last Words?

Both: The mix is finished!!!

 


 

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