Bien et Toi | Habitats of Sound

New EP London Safari II

Written by

Camryn Spratt

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For Gianluca Buccellati of Bien et Toi, the essence of a song is something like the seasons or the weather. Trekking through distinct biomes of sound with each new project, as though he's got some sort of sonic rolodex in his clutches, Buccellati is a worldly explorer. His next adventure–new EP London Safari II–takes us on a tour through a swift, ethereal canopy of instrumentals. As we are carried along song to song through breezy melodies, soft and warm, the humming of mellow vocals inhabit each track like species native to the sound of the album.

While musical habitats are evolving-- a new sound with each charted territory–so is Buccellati. Whether venturing into work solo or with good company, he remains adaptable no matter the surroundings. Isn't that what being an artist is about–being a pioneer? Traveling to distant unknown lands, cultivating culture, bringing back pieces from each journey (but only as much as you can fit into your suitcase). Delving into his creative process and the nature of collaborative work, Buccellati discusses his new EP in his own words, through the lens of his many worlds.

Now that you’re venturing into solo work, how does your process differ in comparison to before?

I don’t really think the process differs. Whether I’m producing for somebody or making music for myself, I’ve always made music on the side of what’s been visible in my production career. I suppose I have finally found the confidence to be an artist myself. However, as far as the process goes, the nature of what I make remains the same: I’m really just trying to have fun with music and make stuff I love.

How have you evolved sonically since transitioning to more solo work?

Each project I focus on has a distinguishing essence to its sound. So being intentional is how my music evolves. London Safari II is similar in essence to London Safari – for obvious reasons – and differs from Voici – again, for obvious reasons. It’s really cool that I get to work with my friends and bring them into my world, and I guess that’s where the evolution occurs. If you listen to the album What Happened to the Beach, which I made with Declan McKenna, its nature is entirely different in sound to what I’ve made with the Bien et Toi project. But both are so much in their own lanes and present themselves in a way where if, for instance, you are looking for that sound, there’s really only one place to get it. I find this happened with Collapsed in Sunbeams as well. 

You mentioned that you were inspired by Led Zeppelin and Parliament Funkadelic. How did that manifest into the sound for the single?

The song “Signs” was actually more so inspired by Parliament Funkadelic and Led Zeppelin, mostly for the conversation between the rhythm section and guitar. It’s a funky riff that sits over a badass beat. 

You recalled you were eager to explore a more relaxed vibe while working with Paris Texas. Between its lyrics and beats, “So Long” is quite dreamy – was this a refreshing new experience to delve into? Were there any challenges?

There were no obstacles. It was a breeze to work with them. It always is. Their lyrics and vocals took the beat to another level and made it feel complete.

What is the thematic focus on your forthcoming EP, London Safari II, and how does it signify a sense of community among musicians?

London Safari II is an evolution of the same themes from London Safari. I’ve got so much music that I’ve made with such incredible artists, and sometimes amazing songs don’t belong on their projects. “Rainbow Tables” is a good example of that. It could’ve been on Biig Piig’s The Sky is Bleeding EP, but didn’t make the cut. Once I made the decision to go forward with Bien et Toi as an artist outlet, the song made so much sense for the first EP. Since then it’s become really cool to curate these EPs based on my collaborations, and give the music that otherwise would be sitting on my computer an outlet to the world. Having said that, “So Long” was written and recorded with the intention of being on London Safari II, and so was “Signs.”

Your previous EPs feel so opposite yet both hold such a strong presence – do you feel driven to take risks with each project you put out?

Making music isn’t a risk to me. I make songs every single day, I have no choice. They come to me when I’m sleeping, when I’m cooking, when I’m lounging around – and a lot even at inopportune times. I make time every day to be creative so there’s never a shortage of songs to work on, it’s usually just a matter of setting an intention behind what I want to present publicly.

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Bien et Toi, London Safari II, Music, Gianluca Buccellati, Paris Texas, Flaunt Magazine, Camryn Spratt