The Step is a London based indie band who found themselves wandering the streets of London after relocating from Rome in 2013, we were recently sent a copy of their recent EP, had a listen and loved what we heard. We called the guys and arranged to meet at Camden Lock where we could all sit under the willow tree and enjoy a couple of pints, we arrived, got the beers in and chatted about Britpop, smuggling salami on aeroplanes and drinking in comedy pubs, here's how we got on....
Please take a few moments to introduce yourselves and your music to the world….
The Step is an Indie band based in London, formed by singer/songwriter Stefano Donato and lead guitarist Oliviero Fella, they came from Rome, Italy in 2013. After gigging in important venues around the city, Stefano and Oliviero decided to record an EP called “Gravity”. The result is a mix of introspective lyrics, bittersweet echoing blends of post-brit and atmospheres coming up from the italian alternative background. Passionate pianos, jittery guitars, dynamic drums and romantic lyrics are infused with insecurity and doubts as well as with the will to rise and make it, bringing a personal feel to the sound of each track.
We have listened to your Gravity EP a few times now and each time we listen we pick up other bands in your music, so far we have heard glimpses of Teenage Fanclub, Coldplay and Blur (all great 90’s bands), which act or band do you think has had the biggest effect on you musically?
Well, It’s hard to say, without thinking too much, we’ve grown up listening to The Beatles and Oasis mainly but I have to say that Coldplay just made us understand that you can be yourself when you write, I think because those days were the ones where we were searching for ourselves in music. Saying that, there are thousands of “songs” more than bands that have influenced us as we firmly believe in writing things that are true to us, and as a reflection, true to whom is listening. Did you say Blur? I still can’t decide what’s the masterpiece between “Girls and Boys” and “The Universal”, I unconsciously keep in mind both when writing…
You moved to London from Rome, how is the music scene different in London? Do you think it is better?
It depends on the genre you play, but in my experience here, you could be taken seriously right from the start for what you do. I remember being asked by an Italian industry guy to sing in Italian to do something, that just annoyed me so much, we are in London because we’ve grown up with a link to UK and US music but also because we like to communicate our thoughts the way we want. The London scene is not that different from Rome, slightly different rules maybe? What we’ve found so far is people who are more passionate about listening to a live act and there are thousands of places to play your original songs to the public, in that way London is certainly a better place to make music.
I see you played The Borderline and The Barfly in December, how were the shows?
The shows were great! Those are places we wanted to reach as soon as possible, and it took us just eight months to be there playing our songs, it has been amazing! We felt the difference from other venues, and the other acts on the bill, all bands were amazing and hardworking and we were glad to play there. Those venues are proof to us that we’re going the right way, we’ve got to improve lots of things about us and our live show though, but that’s the fun of it, isn’t it? And we’d like to move slowly outside London soon.
Which bands or acts are you currently listening to?
Luca, our new bass player, has a music blog himself, he’s listening to “Ultimate Paintings” a London based band, I’m listening to The 1975 (something is telling me there’s more to understand about their music, something hidden, I haven't figured out just what yet), Oliviero’s listening to the last Kasabian album
On your track ‘Let it Go Friends’, there is a great guitar piece at around 1:30 that sounds very ‘Coldplay’, these guys have clearly influenced you, what is it about their music that you enjoy?
Well for sure, the aim of their songwriting, I love their 'old' sound because it was so simple, something we try to focus on because it lets your playing style shine. Talking about guitar, we like Coldplay, one because it focusses heavily on melodies, that reminds us of The Beatles’ choices about guitar, it actually seems to me that Jonny Buckland is playing like George Harrison would play but with The Edge's (U2) gear. Anyway, Oliviero adds a lot of his background, and we’re defining our style and vibe with songs like “Gravity” and “Black Magic”. We likes solos as well, I think they will be a must!
Which is your favourite musical artist or band that you discovered in 2014?
Luca said Royal Blood and I agree, those bass guitar riffs are amazing… that’s what I mean about the playing style, being a duo, they need to say something with that bass guitar, they can’t just strum it all the way, that’s a value, less is more!
Aside from yourselves, who do you think will do well in 2015?
I’m not thinking about it, I wanna be surprised! I think that people are saying James Bay?
Social media has done wonderful things for bands, which is your favourite platform and which has done the most for you in helping to get your music out there?
We’re trying to take over the web! LOL, well I think Twitter is the one, because of how it works, it helps you reach new interesting people that like your kind of music and you can get in touch easily. We use more facebook for our live gigs though, it’s a pity that each social media platform hasn’t got a cool feature the other one has, sometimes it’s frustrating! …actually, I’d like to design a new platform myself… too many things to do!
Would you rather live with a dog that sings lullabies or a deaf gorilla that can do sign language?
Oh that’s it! That’s the one! LOL, wait, I think the dog! The deaf gorilla is just too much for me! The truth is I’d live with a talking parrot to remind me of things during the day, that would be helpful!
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Rome right now, going back is like charging my batteries, it’s easy to lose your focus here in London after a while, anyway my favourite holiday destination is always close to the sea, that’s what I call a holiday.
When did you last do something illegal?
What? One week ago I took a salami on the plane? That questions not for me, that one suits Oliviero more for sure. He said yesterday, but refuses to say what, big smiles anyway… who knows!
Imagine you are hosting a dinner party, you can invite 3 people (alive, dead or fictional), who is going to be at the table with you?
I try to say one for every category, let’s say Fidel Castro as alive, John Lennon (at his highest) as dead, and Roland Deschain as fictional, hihi it would be great to see what happens when they talk!
Can you tell us your biggest claim to fame? (other than being in a kick ass band!)
I’m the biggest short movie director ever! 3D animator, graphic designer, movie critic! I can cook the best tuna spaghetti you’ll ever eat! Oh no I’ve got it! Football player! that’s the one!
What are your favourite Saturday night and Sunday morning records?
Avicii on a Saturday night and silence on Sunday
Tell me a fascinating fact about yourself/yourselves?
Right when my life was on the good tracks, I left my steady job, took a plane with my guitar and changed my life completely, you don’t know how scary it is to actually DO something you just see in the movies or read in books, and the life you’re playing is your own! There’s no coming back to that point, EVER!
Do you have a ‘local’ pub in London that you always visit? If so, please tell us which one and why you like it so much?
Yeah a pub down in Piccadilly, The Comedy Pub, It’s the place where we have meetings about the band and there’s a nice atmosphere, we played our worst gig there, I think it’s like we are building ourselves from the ashes!
We don’t tend to hear about much music from Italy, please can you tell us a couple of artists or bands that we should check out?
It depends of what you want, Bud Spencer Blues Explosion are great, Calibro 35, it’s also weird to me to say names, just do you know Vasco Rossi? Ligabue? Giorgia? Mina? Battisti? Baglioni? What I absolutely HATE about Italian artist is that they couldn’t ever have the chance to be heard properly by the world, because of the language, but they’re great, and quite often greater than multi-million selling acts. I’m sad to say that in music, we are the island, not England.
If you could only own 3 possessions, what are they going to be and why?
My piano more then my guitar to heal my soul, my car to go everywhere I want, and now that basically time and space are on the safe side, someone to share the experience?
What is your favourite movie in the world EVER?
I’m a Spielberg fan so it has to be E.T.
I see lots of artists and bands these days are releasing their music on audio cassettes instead of CD and MP3, what are your feelings about the cassette tape and do you think it will ever gain popularity again?
I don’t know, I don’t think that’s the point in music, a cassette tape is a music flow, but you get the same flow from CDs, there’s no need to go back to that technology. Musically, from a marketing point of view? I think tapes are not so cool as people are, they will soon sell people with mp3 readers built into them so that you can hug or dance while you listen to the music…
How do you guys relax?
Seriously, the question is WHEN do we guys relax...LOL! Really I don’t know anymore how I do it, I like to take a walk in a park or by the river. I like to enjoy the city I’m living in.
I see you’re playing at Noel Gallaghers official after show party @ Scala on March 15th, how did this come about?
By promoters we played for this year and by committing to promote the show as much as we can, it’s not different from any other gig we’ve done, apart from the venue, which is really amazing, and the chance to talk to Noel while we’re both drunk, that’s really exciting for us… and a bit tricky I’d imagine!
Are you planning any UK festivals for 2015?
We’re moving upto these, festivals are our next step together with playing outside London. We love festivals and we’re working for it.
Prior to leaving the guys to wander back to their flat, we thought that a few quickfire questions would be in order, my colleague went to top up the beers and I let rip with a few....
Coffee or Tea?
Are you pushing me to choose between Italy and UK? Coftea! With milk!
Email or Text?
Sneeze or Hiccups?
Sneeze! Hiccups are evil!
Coke or Pepsi?
Lyrics or Poems?
Mac or PC?
PC… …and let’s stop it here
Fry up or Sunday roast?
Rome or London?
Ah!? there you go again?! Do you know Londinium? ;)
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)?
CD or Vinyl?
The truth… CD!
Camden Lock or Borough Market?
I’m more about Camden Lock
Car or Motorbike?
Acoustic or electric?
My god! What’s next my mother or my father? Acoustic (Damn!)
Traditional English pub or trendy wine bar?
Traditional English pub (wine for dinner)
Shower or Bath?
Karaoke or open mic?
Karaoke all my life!
Tattoos or Piercings?
Robert De Niro or Al Pacino?
Robert De Niro!
God or Google?
My compliments for this one, God!
We'd like to thank the guys for sparing the time to answer our questions, we wish them every success for 2015 and look forward to seeing them at a few UK festivals soon. To learn even more about this act, please click on the links below.