Blue skies and scorching heat are marking this early summer 2018, as well as the ton of new music flooding our playlists. Amid such musical delights is Lorenzo BITW’s debut album, Love Junction.
The roman producer and DJ, who previously collaborated with many labels including Enchufada and Nervous Horizon, released the LP last June 22 on Friends of Friends. Love Junction is a cross-genre piece of work which breaks geographical and musical boundaries through a combination of rhythms and languages, a skilful arrangement of electronic and melodic elements, a wide range of BPMs, and captivating vocals fully demonstrating the artistic versatility of Lorenzo BITW, as well as his ability and desire to go beyond the club scene.
During an intriguing London-Rome Skype call, we discussed the creative process behind the new album, the pros and cons of pushing the so-called “global” sound in Italy, the early days of his career and his future plans.
GRIOT: The album is a mix of sonic contaminations. Did you aim at recreating specific sounds and atmospheres or was it a spontaneous process?
Lorenzo BITW: I’d say both, in the sense that many tracks and collaborations were born spontaneously, but at the same time they weren’t spontaneous because they were born from my music influences. The idea was to make a record as varied as possible. It’s a very open piece of work, both geographically and in terms of collaborations, because it’s not just afro or UK, but a combination of many elements.
In fact, the album is full of collaborations. Which is the most particular one? Which one the dearest to you?
Come Over, was perhaps the track that surprised me the most . I didn’t give it much weight initially, but it turned out to be a very strong song. The track I’m most attached to is perhaps Goo, because I had the opportunity to get to know Kwam and spend time with him. He is a very nice and friendly person, but also a very serious artist in the studio. Moreover, even though this track had already come out a while ago, people still like it: once I played it in Bristol and everybody started singing along, so I also have a nice memory of that moment that made me very happy.
What can you tell me about the title? Why “Love Junction”?
This record is a way for me to bring together all the various inspirations and people I worked with, a way to unite them all. When I was producing the track Love Junction I thought of using it as the title of the album. Also, we live in a historical period focused on hatred, violence and negativity, so I wanted to convey a message of joy, love and positivity, as to say “let’s all chill out and take it easy!”
Let’s take a step back. What motivated you to move abroad? What’s Lorenzo’s story?
Lorenzo BITW was born in Rome, thanks to the help of Nan Kolé and his label Soupu Music. He helped me to release music under the name But In The Weekend, then I met the producer and DJ, Scratcha DVA, who told me to change it right away. That’s how the name was born. I started djing in Rome and then I got a scholarship to study in Leeds, so I left. It was a difficult time here in Rome, so leaving benefited me lot, both personally and artistically. In Rome there are limits if you want to make music. It was important for me to fully experience the English world by living in London and Leeds.
Well, in Italy I struggled to become a niche artist, especially because of the English vocals: in Italy people are very fixated on the Italian singing and the classical strong structure. On the contrary, England takes a lot from other cultures-sometimes a bit too much, as they do with food. There’s also an issue with meritocracy in Italy, you need to do a lot of PR to get known, music isn’t enough. Though I must say that I’ve received a lot of interest for what I do lately, so it’s not all bad, it’s just very critical and I hope it will improve over the next few years.
Italy is increasingly turning in on itself, while-as your album shows-your artistic identity is much broader. Why do you live in Italy?
When I left England three years ago I wasn’t ready to make music full-time and perhaps I didn’t want to be influenced to much by solely linking with the UK scene. The last three years have been very positive and productive, In Italy I can do what I want, as there is no reference genre and with the Internet I have no limits or boundaries. If I had stayed in England, I would have probably ended up doing a thousand other things, like radio, gigs, but I wouldn’t have made an album.
This album represents an important milestone in your artistic journey. What’s the next step?
At the moment I’m trying to build a live show with an Italian drummer, removing the rhythmic electronic parts to recreate them live. Moreover, in September I will release another EP with remixes and new collaborations on the style of the album.
Lorenzo BITW will be touring around Italy for the whole summer, find out more about his gigs here and listen to his album ‘Love Junction’ below.
Images | Courtesy of Lorenzo BITW
Tell us about a project or news you would like to read on GRIOT. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Latest posts by Celine Angbeletchy (see all)
- ‘Desert to Douala’|PULO NDJ’s debut album takes us on a cross-cultural journey - April 12, 2019
- Nakhane | The sound of resilience - March 13, 2019
- Gafacci | From hip hop to the new wave of African sounds - January 30, 2019
- Asia on the Rise | These are the artists to follow - December 20, 2018
- Meet Nigeria’s coolest kids, Santi and the Alté Scene - November 28, 2018