Hi Anthony, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
All good, thank you. Hope you guys are good too, despite the crazy crazy times
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Himalaya”?
It’s a song about travel in a moment when this word has almost mythical connotations. A perfect symbol of how many things we took for granted are not anymore. But it’s above all a song about hope, about everything we’ll get to do again when the ugly C thing will be over. And about sticking together, which is key at this moment.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I love traveling and I miss the crazy feeling you get when you visit a foreign country (especially the more exotic ones) for the first time: you form your idea of that country from the news and movies and you’re excited and terrified at the same time. After a couple of days there you settle in, start getting used to the different sounds, scents, the way people move, the different pace and inflection. It’s a regenerating experience. It really changes you. I miss that.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
The video is a collage in stop motion: it’s the same style I’ve used for the video of “Making Babies” and it adds a little bit to the playful nature of the song. The original plan to create a crowdsourcing campaign and have people from the cities mentioned in the song lip-syncing to the lyrics. It would have been incredible but almost impossible, especially now. The idea came from the fact that while playing this song live on stream I had so many people telling me: I’m from Bodhgaya, I’m from Chicago, I’m from Chile! It’s amazing to think how many countries and people you are reaching thanks to music.
The single comes off your new EP Basement Love – what’s the story behind the title?
The title can be read in two ways: it comes from the opening song from the EP and it’s about the secret love you live when you’re young, and you have to hide somewhere to get some intimacy, when the kisses are smuggled and being together alone sounds like a conspiracy. But it’s also a reference to the slightly apocalyptic feel we get in these days, where we have to stay holed up for the sake of our parents and friends. And you get in this kind of Noah’s Ark mood.
How was the recording and writing process?
Every song starts differently, that’s what I love about songwriting. I try to start always in a different way: can be something I’m strumming or fingerpicking on the guitar, trivially, a sequence of chords on the piano, but it can also be an instrumental I’m working on where I suddenly got the inspiration for a top line, a jazz jam you start singing on or maybe a random idea you record on the phone and develop later. Basement Love follows this process to the letter. Then we have the remix, which was a very fortunate last-minute surprise from the talented R&B guru Definitely Dean.
What role do Hamburg and Genoa play in your music?
Hamburg is the city I need to stay under tension a little bit. It’s a positive tension, of course: different languages (my German is still pretty shaky), lots of inputs and events, changing sceneries and challenging climate, especially in winter. Genoa is the home base and the cradle: where I get to relax a little bit, immerse myself in the environment I’ve grown in. It’s a beautiful city and home of great Italian songwriters like Fabrizio de Andrè, Luigi Tenco and Gino Paoli and I’m really proud of it.
What aspect of love did you get to explore on this record?
This period has created new kinds of loves and lovers. Those who have been living in different countries and found suddenly themselves in the impossibility to rejoin, which is crazy if you think about it. And then, on the other side, the ones that suddenly found themselves stuck together 24 hours a day in the same apartment, which can be incredibly romantic and cozy but can become volatile pretty quickly.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
I guess everything that’s happening around us can be a great inspiration. My stories are pretty intimistic but, in the end, our private lives are always a very personal reflection of the bigger events happening around us. And I guess I take a lot of inspiration from what I read and see. Especially movies: I’m a movie maniac and I love watching classics on my projector.The funny things you don’t realize you got all these stories interiorized until you start writing and all these characters simply come to life in your songs
What else is happening next in Anthony Lazaro’s world?
I’m working on my second LP, which is going to be an ambitious musical endeavor: I like to keep my listeners a little bit on the edge, changing slightly style between songs. This LP is going to be the culmination of this process. In a time when we can’t do much touring, we still have ways to create a journey, connecting musicians across space to have something that also travels through time: musicians from London, New York, North Carolina, Nashville, Munchen, Toronto, Genoa and Hamburg working on vocal jazz, indie folk, chill, and electronic pop all in the same album. I think it’s gonna be fun.