The two Broggini brothers Ivan and Gabriel do not belong to the category of Swiss musicians who are being underrated considering their skills. Despite their success they have kept their feet on the ground and are very much down to earth. They are nice guys whom one wishes unmitigated success. Those who follow the Eurovision Song Contest should already be familiar with the band, because they contested for Switzerland in 2012. Presently, they have just released their second album “Up To Me” (here the review ) and they’ve been busy playing support shows, such as this night at Z7 supporting Daughtry (concert report here ). This has surely been the first interview that I conducted in the open air, apart from festivals, where chances are that you’re being interrupted numerous times. Therefore the interview turned out slightly shorter than originally planned. Anyway, the chat with the Italian-speaking guys who added all efforts to speak German - which they mastered successfully - was great fun. They may not regard themselves as professionals in this business, but in my mind, they have all the potential required: Good music, charisma, and the ambition to do whatever it takes, to be able to do what they love the most - music!
Hi guys, it’s nice to finally talk with you. Is this the first time that you’ll be playing in the region of Basel? Are you nervous before the gig or can you manage? Ivan: Yes, this is the first time. We are a little energetic before the show, but this is also needed for one’s concentration. Gabriel: We are always a little nervous but this is perfectly normal. A little bit of adrenaline.
You mean that this will help you to be able to jump around later on stage? Both: Yes, exactly (laughs)!
How does it feel to support a band like Daughtry? Ivan: For us this is a great opportunity. This is the first time that we have this opportunity and this is just great because we have a big stage and a big audience, this is a dream. Gabriel: Exactly, and you can learn a lot. In this kind of situation, you can improve your sound-check and your timing, which is always a good thing.
Do you get the chance to make connections at these shows or is this rather difficult? Ivan: That depends on the act. Of course, it’s not easy for them either because they have to prepare for their show and they don’t have much time to hang out backstage and party. Gabriel Maybe later, we just met them [Daughtry] and talked for a while. The good thing is that their management picked us [as their supporting act].
I see. Did you however apply for the spot as their supporting act or how did it happen? Ivan: It came about through one contact to another and so forth. Then we were told that they were not sure yet because they had many bands on their list and that they still have to make a decision.
The main thing is that they picked you in the end. Both: Exactly (laughs)!
I suppose you are being asked about the Eurovision Song Contest by everyone… Both: Oh yes… (laughs).
But I’m going to ask anyway… Do you believe that it gave your career an upswing? Ivan: Absolutely. This event is a big media hype where you can pass your music on to many people. Gabriel: We are not fans of the ESC or contests in general, but we figured that the ESC would really be the only chance to promote our music, so we are really glad that we participated. We did learn a lot. The past two or three years have been a good lesson for us and now we are professional musicians. Of course, we’re still at the beginning but we are able to do this right now.
So that means you’re not students anymore? Ivan: Yes, exactly. This is pretty awesome!
Alright. Back then, you also got some feedback from abroad. Do you still get any inquiries? Gabriel: Yes, we still do. We still get an incredible amount of requests for autographs from Eastern Europe, about 10-15 a day. Ivan: Mostly from Russia. Gabriel: Yes, from Russia and Czech Republic. That’s because we have some kind of management there, which is great because our video is being played there on the biggest music channel. Besides, they play our songs on the radio, so we now have a solid fan base in Czech Republic and Russia as well, but particularly in Czech Republic.
I see. Do you also play shows there from time to time? Ivan: Yes, we have played there a few times; one time in Prague and in another city. I hope that we will come back this summer.
Are you planning to go on a Europe tour or would this be a little too soon? Gabriel: Maybe it would be too soon to do an actual tour but we are hoping that we could support a band. Maybe not even a big band, but a good one. However, we are definitely going to perform in Czech Republic this summer. We don’t know yet how many gigs we will play but hopefully a lot (laughs).
Your new album „Up To Me” was released in January. Which song are you proud of the most? Ivan: We are proud of all of them. It’s a pity that we could only record ten songs. We wrote plenty of songs and we had to make a selection. Maybe the title song “Up To Me” is the most representative song for the message of the album. We like it because it’s so energetic. It’s a party song with a positive message.
Nevertheless, would you have liked to put more songs on the album? Ivan: Yes but you always have to make a selection.
Well, I’m sure that there will be another album. Gabriel: Yes, of course. Luckily! Already in 2012, we started to write new songs and we just recorded them recently; so for us they are already old songs (laughs). We are also working on new ones though. We have all these ideas that are waiting to be let out.
I heard that you are in the studio at the moment. What is happening there? Ivan: Presently, we are not planning to record anything new just yet but we are always working in the studio to write new songs. Gabriel: We just love to write new songs and to perform live (laughs).
Some people wonder where this consistent inspiration comes from. Do you never feel burnt out? Ivan: No no no! You always get better and get some new ideas. Gabriel: We have always done it this way. Maybe we are not as professional as musicians are when it comes to the playing part. Ivan: … when it comes to performing. Gabriel: But we are very good at writing songs. Ivan: We just always wanna try new things. I think you get inspiration while you are doing something. Of course, you don’t get it, if you always do it the same way. Then it might get difficult.
[Due to a short interruption during the interview by one band mate, who informs the guys that they have to do an additional sound-check, a few questions have to be left out, so we don’t steal too much of their precious time.] Do we have to hurry up? Both: Well, we still have five to ten minutes.
Alright then. You recorded this album in London. How did this happen? Ivan: We were looking for a producer. We wanted someone who is flexible and who is familiar with different music genres. We found him in London and we went to London to get to know him. Therefore, we decided to record the album there. We just wanted to get away from Locarno, we wanted a change of air, and new musicians to work with. Gabriel: And London is simply London. It’s perfect for making music.
Did you write the songs there as well or were they already written? Both: They were already written. Ivan: But of course, we still had to make a selection.
For the song “Love Is Free” you collaborated with Lady Chann, a rap artist, who is also from England. How did this collaboration come about? Gabriel: Yes, she is from England but also from Jamaica. We wanted to work with someone who is able to contribute this Jamaican / Reggae feeling to a song. This Reggae song is a perfect example because… (He is asking his brother for the best way to explain it.) Ivan: We had never made a Reggae song before. We were rehearsing and all of a sudden, there was this sound. However, it sounded too much like “Unbreakable”, so we thought… Gabriel: Hey, let’s do something different. Ivan: So we just started playing in a reggae style way and it instantly sounded like a match.
Yes, it surely does sound good, very good. And it’s also the biggest surprise on this album. Gabriel: Oh, thank you!
So how did you find Lady Chann? Gabriel: Through our producer. We told him that we needed someone who is like the female Shaggy.
She does fit in there perfectly. I think nobody would have thought that you would do something like that. Ivan: Yes, many people told us that they didn’t expect anything like this; which is good because we want to experiment and try new things. Reggae provides positive energy. We like this side of Reggae. The song is certainly something new, something fresh.
Will you be performing this song tonight? Or do you in general? Ivan: No, we won’t. We do play it live but tonight we only have a playtime of thirty minutes, so we decided to play more of the rock songs. Gabriel: This is a good thing because this way, we can always select the best songs suitable to an event.
Ivan, you like to talk about your private life in interviews. Aren’t you afraid that this may be exploited somehow sometime? Both: (laugh) Ivan: For us, this is part of the game. We have nothing to hide.
So you can handle this? In the past, journalists have portrayed you as a super Casanova who lets nothing get in his way. How do you feel about that? Ivan: Yes. Gabriel: Sometimes they just make a big deal out of little things. Sometimes you say one thing and they write a completely different thing. This is a problem, and that is why probably many people do not want to comment on anything.
Or you tell something to someone in confidence and then it will be communicated to the outside world. Ivan: Yes, this has happened as well.
What are your plans for the rest of this year? Ivan: We’re going to Czech Republic and hopefully Russia – but this would happen in the end of the year, in November or December. Gabriel: But nothing is set in stone yet. Ivan: Maybe we will record something new in the summertime. Gabriel: No, surely we will! We hope that we can perform live and compose.
What would you liked to be asked during an interview that you have never been asked before? Ivan: Well, sometimes questions about the musical side seem to be a bit lacking, the technical aspects. Gabriel: Questions about our heroes etc. Ivan: I would like to talk more about the music, the technical aspects but of course, this is a difficult matter.
Not many people have that kind of knowledge. Ivan: Yes, exactly (laughs).
Alright, I’m going to prepare more technical questions for the next time then. Ivan: Yes (laughs). No, it’s fine. It’s hard to tell what kind of questions would fit in.
Alright, this would be it then. Good luck on stage tonight and thank you! Both: Thank you!
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Special Thanks to Heier Lämmler.
Author: Sandy Mahrer photos: Band translation: A. Venho Date: 2014-03-28