Bandini drew us into his work immediately with “Little Room.” His work feels intimate, but the narratives he writes can also be so large that you see an entire world of possibility within their visual and aural landscapes. Comparisons immediately started firing in our brains when we heard his new EP Songs Vol. 1 – Fleet Foxes, Ryan Adams, Nick Drake, etc.

The ability to mix sound songwriting with lyrics that create a world where so much can be observed is a true gift. Throw in harmonies at just the right frequency, and we’re hooked. With that said, we were pretty lucky when the Manchester-based artist reached out to us with news of the EP. We were even luckier when he agreed to let us see a glimpse of his creative world. Read our interview with Bandini and hear his new EP below, and support his music as much as you can. You will be hooked.

“People like to be let in to somebody else’s life even for just a few minutes. To be able to relate to somebody else.”

Just to back up a little bit – your music so far creates very vivid imagery, including that from the past. Is there a way that your upbringing influenced this within your music?

I think that I had a pretty normal upbringing, as far as I can tell anyway. I’ve always had a vivid imagination – I used to dress up as characters from my favourite films and TV shows and pretend to be like them. Growing up it seemed my father wasn’t around a lot, and when he was, he and my mother were always fighting.

I think I might have used my imagination to escape what was going on around me, stuff that I didn’t really understand at that age. As I grew older I think I used music in the same way, as an escapism.

How about the artists you were drawn to? Do you know if there was any moment in particular that was a moment of eureka that created this journey, or if not, who helped shape musical path for you?

I’ve always been drawn to artists that have that extra something; I can’t quite explain what it is.  When you listen to them sometimes you can be on the edge of your seat because you think they might slip up or make a mistake or sing a little out of key or just sound not right but, it’s all part of it.

I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy listening to very technically proficient artists, I have a lot of respect for what they do and the hours they must put in, it’s just sometimes when something sounds so impressive, it can take away some of the heart, and then I feel that I can’t relate anymore. 

An artist that greatly shaped my musical path was Lou Reed. When I heard the Velvet Underground & Nico for the first time I was blown away. It just seemed so effortless and easy. They were just doing what they wanted to do. It wasn’t polished or trying hard, yet speaks to you like you’re on the same level.

The line in “Little Room,” a song I’m in love with honestly, that talks about the pictures in your grandparent’s attic that are of people you just don’t know but still have a feel this connection with. I get that fully – how does connection and bigger picture guide you as an artist?

I think in a lot of my songs I tend to focus on the little details, and I tend to avoid the bigger picture. I don’t really follow politics, don’t watch the news, so I don’t write songs about big issues. They tend to be a lot more personal, individual. I like to write about the day to day, just normal life. The ins and outs.  More like, how much milk would you like in your tea?  I think this way you really let an audience in, you can connect at a basic human level.

The video for the single is touching and captivating – immensely intimate yet highly relatable. Are these clips taken from family footage files? What’s the story behind it?

Some of the footage is my own, but I will admit that most of it is borrowed. I got it from a trip I made to The House of Alijn, or the museum of everyday life, in Ghent, Belgium.  They had an exhibition on home movies – I’m not sure if it’s still on or not. I love watching home movies; I think everybody does.

People like to be let in to somebody else’s life even for just a few minutes. To be able to relate to somebody else. Everybody likes to feel special now and then, but I think people prefer it more to think they are just normal, average, just getting along like everybody else.

The stripped down style of your music is a breath of fresh air. Have you always written in this manner, or is this something you’ve grown into as a songwriter?

I like the personal touch it brings to the music.  Just me and the guitar, sometimes a little harmonica every now and then. I tend to find that people can relate to it more, really listen to what’s being said rather than focusing on unnecessary embellishment that can distract them.

I hear a lot of singer-songwriters do that when they release new material. I’ll see them live on their own and think, that was great! Then they release the same song as a single or an EP with a backing band or with a little drum beat or some slide guitar, and I think sometimes it just takes away from the song rather than adds to it.

Do you have a certain method to your storytelling and songwriting? A song like “Before I Forget,” makes the listener a ghost in a room observing the lives of others I think. Would you say you lean more personal or more observational in how you approach things?

I wouldn’t say I had a method to it – it would be handy if I did. They just come. On a whole I’d say it tends to be more personal, based on my own feelings and experiences. I do try though to look at situations through other people’s eyes.

“We are afraid to be seen at our worst…” is an honest assessment of how self-perception has changed in the modern age. Is that the core of “If That’s the Way it Goes”?

That’s certainly one of the themes in that song. Everybody has a perception of you now from what they see of you online. I think people use it as a mask because they’re either afraid or ashamed of showing who they really are. People make an assumption about you as a person from something you liked or shared or a photo of you in a bad light. It’s used as a form of gratification and self-worth and to some, if they don’t get it, it can make them feel worthless. 

Don’t get me wrong though, it’s got its obvious good side. It’s how I keep in touch with friends and get my music out to more people.  You can feel like you’ve got your own little community all in the comfort of your little screen.

“I think I might have used my imagination to escape what was going on around me, stuff that I didn’t really understand at that age. As I grew older I think I used music in the same way, as an escapism.”

I’m kind of split on a favorite track on the EP, so I’ll pass the buck – is there a track you’re most excited about on here? One that you were most glad to finally put on a recording?

I wouldn’t say I have a favourite – I like performing “Sleepless Nights” live. 

“S.O.S” marks a bit of a change in tone, a slight uptick in major notes. And at times, in the music and lyrics, it feels like the end of the chapter to an open book. Do you have a vision for where things might be going?

I don’t have a particular vision at the moment, nothing set in stone that I want to do or where I want to go. I just do what feels right at the time. As long as I’m enjoying it I’ll keep on doing it.

One thing we’re always interested in is community and connectivity within an artist’s circle. Are there contemporaries in your community you recommend us (and others) checking out?

I live in Manchester, and on any given night there are plenty of talented musicians you can go and listen to. I heard a guy called JamesM Carson the other night. I like his style.

Finally – anything else coming up? New album, shows, etc.?

I’ve got material for more volumes of songs, and I intend to keep the ball rolling. I’ve got a gig coming up at TheCastle Hotel, Manchester supporting Hannah Nicholson on 5th August. I’m always playing around Manchester. You can go to my website, that’ll let you know where.