‘Funland’ is the title of Girelli’s second solo album. Full of catchy tunes and dominated by that hugely powerful and emotive voice, the album is one of the best this year (read our review here). I thought it was hugely important to allow the man to introduce himself and tell us who inspires him and what he is listening to right now.
Can you give us a potted history of yourself
I’ve been writing songs for as long as I can remember. I got a guitar when I was about 12 and have been obsessively writing ever since. I formed a band at school with my friends which became Your Vegas and later The Chevin. We signed many a record deal (Universal Republic, Sony, Epic, Fierce Panda, So Recordings), released a bunch of music and toured the world. Good times! As well as being the songwriter and singer in my band I’ve written a bunch of music for other artists including for K-pop band BTS, Macklemore, Robin Schulz, Westlife and many many more. I’ve also been busy writing musicals and have 4 in workshop here in NYC at the moment as well as these I co-wrote music for 2 French musicals a few years back.
In 2018 I released my debut solo album Love Kills and this February released the follow up FUNLAND!
Who inspired you to start making music
I was always fascinated with music. There was a lot of it playing in my house. From my dads pretty big vinyl collection of all sorts – a lot of Americana. To my grandma playing lots of Puccini and Verdi operas. I just remember spending hours sat on my own listening to album after album. I began writing songs pretty early – before I could play an instrument. I just had pages of lyrics everywhere. I taught myself guitar and piano so I could fully realise my visions.
And the one or two records that inspired you artistically
When I think back to two albums that changed my world the first two that come to mind are Oasis – Definitely Maybe and Nirvana – Nevermind. I’d just never heard anything like them. Nothing was the same afterwards.
If you’re trying to explain who you sound like to someone that’s never heard you, what do you say?
There’s been a few reviews lately that have summed it up better than I could – “Shoegaze Elvis Presley” and “Dystopian Roy Orbison”. Thought those both summed it up pretty well.
Tell us about your new album
The album all came together pretty quickly. It was instinctive for me to just throw myself into writing at the start of the pandemic and before I knew it I had the skeleton of a whole bunch of songs. ‘Funland’ was a word and a concept I had been kicking around for a month or so before I started writing but took on a whole new meaning and life once I was out of the city in this moment of strangeness and uncertainty. Daydreaming and creating in relative solitude. ‘Funland’ became a nighttime place of escape, debauchery, vice and pleasure. I was missing New York, my city. The New York City in my head that I was missing mixed with this mythical place that I had created in my mind became ‘Funland.’
Once back in the city I took it into the studio and before I knew it I had a finished album.
Where can we get hold of it
It’s out everywhere you stream and you can get it on vinyl and CD from my Bandcamp and official stores.
Tell us how you write?
I’ve always been an instinctive writer. I try not to overthink and let the melody lead the way. My voice and my mind I guess are the driving forces when I create.
Tell us about your live show and how much have you been missing it recently
I have missed playing live a lot during lockdown and it’s been amazing to be performing with my band again out there. I did weekly livestreams for about 6 months which I hope helped people feel a little more connected. I know it did me. I’m am back playing out there though – Most recently at SXSW last week. Felt normal again! I do also think the quiet and the pause has been good for me creatively and mentally. It felt like a lot was all going on at once before COVID and that break helped me prioritize what’s important. I said no to a lot of things and stopped doing other things altogether. I just through myself into the making of this album and more new music that will follow this album.
What can we expect from you in the near future
More singles, more albums, more musicals, more tour dates!
Tell us your favourite records that’s rocking your headphones / tour bus / stereo right now
Well I just got back from SXSW where I saw a whole load of new stuff which I’m still revisiting post the chaos.
I’m loving Japanese Breakfast, Sloppy Jane, the new Arcade Fire music though right now.
Purchase the album here
Check out the official video for Girelli’s track ‘Fun’, below: