Indietracks interview #25: A Classic Education

Well, today we’re off to Sweden for the Rip It Up festival – just to check out the indiepop festival competition, like! It sounds amazing, although we can’t help but notice that they won’t have any steam trains there. Anyway, sadly we won’t be able to update this blog until we get back after the weekend. But don’t panic, we’re leaving you with a lovely interview and song from A Classic Education. And if that’s not enough, please feel free to skip back and read some classic posts from the Indietracks Festival blog archive (who could forget the accommodation quiz or picture bingo?), and maybe download all the free MP3s while you still can!

But before you trawl through the blog archives, please let us introduce A Classic Education, all the way from Italy. Jonathan, Paul and Luca recorded the band’s first songs over four nights around Christmas 2006 in the middle of the mountains in northern Italy. They recorded mostly at night, with the wind blowing and dogs howling in the distance, using a myriad of instruments to adding layers over layers, ending up with the dense orchestral sound you can hear today.

The band recently released a one-sided 12″ – First EP – with five of their early recordings and they’ve played shows with Arcade Fire and Lightspeed Champion among others. You can find them playing on the Church Stage on Sunday afternoon at Indietracks.

A Classic Education sounds like a very posh name! Why don’t you tell us a bit more about yourselves?

Well, we’ve been around for a short time, we are based in Bologna in Italy, but all six members live scattered across the country, and one member is Canadian. I guess we have a nice mix of people. It’s crazy in terms of the way we organise our practices! It seems like we are always planning nice weekends together to play and have some good, proper meals.

How do you feel about music at the moment and the new crop of indiepop bands?

I feel like it’s a really nice time to be playing music. There is a bunch of real exciting bands playing the festival. We’re really keen on seeing The Wave Pictures, Liechtenstein, Pocketbooks and Darren Hayman, as well as Comet Gain and The Wedding Present – that will just about make our day! In general though I think it’s been a good two years for releases, not only in the indiepop “world”.

Indietracks is held at a steam railway. Tell us about an unusual place you’ve played a gig in the past.

Well, we have just played this self-organised festival in the Italian countryside, which was in an old converted farm house. The crazy thing is the people that run it are hugely into design and house furnishing, so it was like playing in the old countryside with a neat Berlin twist to it. Last year we brought Fanfarlo on tour in Italy and we did play one really, really strange place way up north called Bus Del Colvera. I think they couldn’t quite grasp why on earth we would be playing there but the show turned out really well. While Fanfarlo were playing, the local mayor jumped on the stage and danced away on a few songs. I also forgot to mention it’s a grappa drinking area! So there you go…

Gosh – that all sounds really exciting! Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?

Well, it’s basically playing and playing. We’re self releasing a 12″ that puts together all our first things. We just also recorded a few new things with Jeremy Warmsley and hope to have those out on a 7″ after the summer.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?

One of us does not have a name. He is only called the “Maestro”. Giulia is an ace photographer. The rest of us are avid film, book and record collectors!

What’s going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?

I know we are going to be fighting about this one…I would say there will definitely be some old Motown and soul going on, and some of us are in quite a Phil Spector mood lately. Maybe some Dylan, a little Minutemen, definitely some Jesus & Mary Chain, Felt, and if our pal Enzo is coming along I’m sure there will be a ton of Swedish pop.

You seem to like surprises – do you have any planned for the Indietracks festival?

I think we would like to play some surprise acoustic sets!

And what attracted you to playing Indietracks?

Just the fact of being simply able to play with so many good bands. When we heard about the “church” stage it seemed so appropriate!

Thank you! Wow, we really can’t wait to see you guys now – we’ll have make sure they’re stocking grappa in the loco shed bar!

Free MP3 Download: A Classic Education – Stay, Son

Next up: Messing about with baseball mascots, indiepop penpals and plans for “full festival immersion” – it can only be The Smittens!

And don’t forget: The Indietracks warm-up gigs continue with The Smittens, The Parallelograms and The Seven Inches in Sheffield on Monday (21 July). You can read more on this Anorak forum thread.