Typically I like to interview foreign bands aka not from America here on The Blonde Gypsy but today I have a VERY special exception…
Meet Giovanni Giusti and Eric Victorino of The Limousines.
I met this sexy indie electropop duo from California (East Bay) when I was traveling around Central Europe last February and totally fell in love with their sound and style. The Limousines are one of the more talented bands I have heard in a long time which is why I was so happy to learn that they were working on releasing a second album soon. I was even more stoked to learn that they had initiated a Kickstarter campaign to help fund it and that they had reached their initial goal of $30,000 within just a couple days of announcing it.
During a recent trip to Italy the band’s master beat producer, Italian stallion, and fellow Instagram addict Giovanni Giusti had a bit of down time and did interview with me. What a lucky girl!
Can you give me a brief synopsis of the history of The Limousines? How you and Eric came together as a band. I know it’s interesting…
I actually didn’t meet Eric until we got into a studio to record the third song we made together. Before that it was all email and AIM chats between us about working on a side project for fun. I was making beats in my moms sewing room and he had heard a Jay Z remix album I did through a colleague of mine at the time. He hit me up on MySpace asking for some instrumentals. He had only heard my hip hop style beats and it’s odd to think how different we’ve progressed musically. I think the stars aligned and we happened to collaborate at the right time because we both were in transitional phases of music. I wanted to create something more elaborate than hip hop and grow with song structure like a full band would make and he wanted something more simple and dynamic between two brains. So the end result was perfect. I’m really incredibly lucky to have met him and be a part of such a cool type of music together. I mean, I was doing construction as a job before this, getting my hands all callused and now I get to have actual fun doing what I love and keep my hands baby ass smooth.
If you could sum up your music in one word, what is it?
Last winter I met you guys on your first tour through Europe when you were supporting The Sounds – what would you say was the biggest difference between touring Europe and touring the U.S.?
And such a pleasure it was to meet you! US touring is like playing in your own backyard. You know all the secret hiding spots and you’re comfortable. Touring Europe is like being pushed in a South American jungle and being forced to live and co-exist with an undiscovered tribe then try to make them dance. Haha no, it’s not that bad. I LOVE the adventure of touring where we’ve never been. The sense of not knowing a crowd’s reaction beforehand is exciting. Europeans love to get wild and they show a lot of love to the music they like, not to say Americans don’t get wild, it’s just a different feeling and energy in Europe. The language barrier is rough but we learn the minimum like a “hello, we’re The Limousines from San Francisco” in each language we’re around and they really respect that. Can’t be the ignorant American.
Anything you found more difficult touring through Europe? Anything you found easier (aside from the chicks)?
I actually found talking to chicks was extremely difficult since I don’t know any other language and they didn’t know English. We found ourselves just staring at each other at the bar and using our eyes to talk. Quite interesting and productive.
We toured abroad in the winter – that was insanely hard since we were our own techs. I’m usually okay with the cold but this was something else… Try looking for a cup of coffee lost in Finland in January without proper clothing. It made my penis a size I’ve never known.
What is the best thing about getting to go on tour through Europe?
The best is the food. I have an infatuation with having new culinary experiences. I have to eat what people eat who come from the part of Europe I’m in. I love trying to feel what it’s like if I were to grow up somewhere else. It was so much fun having real Swedish meatballs and lingonberries for the first time.
You went to over 25 cities on that tour. What were your favorite and least favorite places – and why?
I loved Paris. I had bone marrow for the first time and got a taste of real legit French nightlife. I also loved Barcelona for its lax atmosphere and Salzburg, Austria for its fairy tale looking snow scenery. Just amazing. I actually didn’t enjoy most of Germany besides München and Berlin. I think our venues might have been in weird areas and we couldn’t venture out and see those cities cuz it was shit cold. It would be like a tourist seeing San Francisco for the first time but only staying in the Tenderloin district. Yikes.
Were either of you inspired musically while in Europe?
I definitely was. I didn’t have any recording equipment during our tour so couldn’t release ideas. I would write them down in my iPhone. There’s something about being around places that are so old and rich in art and history that gets creative juices flowing. I can only describe it as some kind of Indiana Jones/Da Vinci Code feeling. Makes me want to compose high harmonic choir samples with big horns and strings, like some Chariots of Fire movie-esque shit.
I can imagine one of the greatest things about that tour for you was what you were able to do afterwards and that was connect with your relatives in Italy for the first time. Now that you are back there again on an extended holiday, I have to ask – what are Gio’s Top 5 Italian travel experiences?
1. Eating the best pizza I’ve ever had in the place it was invented, Naples.
2. Hearing a real heated mafia style argument between two red-blooded Italians. Pure terror.
3. Getting a chance to drive here. In Italy it’s like a competition to see how close you can come to a pedestrian or another oncoming car. Italians are DAMN good drivers.
4. Rome. The most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. It’s like if New York was gorgeous everywhere you look, minus some of the gypsies who will literally drop a baby in your arms while they pick pocket you in front of the Vatican.
5. Meeting my family and seeing where my dad was born and raised. I got to stay with second cousins whose hospitality was off the charts and so strange to see how similar they are to me. I got to go to the actual house my dad was born in this small village called Anchiano in Tuscany and see where a lot of my relatives are buried. It has been so beautiful and very, very emotional.
Any useful Italian phrases you’ve learned that you care to share?
My Italian is horrible and as you can imagine having a name like Giovanni Giusti and not knowing Italian is shameful. I pick up the most often used words, like alora (so), certo (of course), ascolta (listen).
I’m constantly saying Grazie di Tutto (thank you for everything) because people are so generous here.
And my cousin told me a saying.. Tira piú un pelo di topa Che un carro di buoi meaning men find the hair of a woman’s pubic region more important than an ox wheelbarrow. Basically, men are horny and will do anything for sex.
I also learned that Italians say CAZZO instead of fuck. It literally means DICK. Think if Americans yelled DICK instead of FUCK all the time, so much more fun to yell.
What do you miss most about the U.S.A. when you are away? Besides American flags and Mexican food.
Actually, American flags are everywhere here… Somehow an Urban Outfitters catalog from a half a year ago made its way over here I guess..
I miss stoplights you can actually see in front of you and above. Here they’re placed on the side behind your car so it’s a guessing game when to go. I miss being able to speak English. The Italian language is so beautiful but it’s really hard to tell jokes here or catch my sarcasm and vice versa. I have to reiterate how much I miss tacos. It’s my favorite food so I can’t help it. Italian food has made its way to second place.
You guys just launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the production of your second album entitled Hush. Congratulations on making your goal within just a few days – you guys did an awesome job, loved the video! When will Hush be released and what can we expect to hear?
Thank you. It’s really amazing to see how much support we have and how much of a dedicated following of fans we have. We have raised 35K so far to produce and distribute our second full length album Hush. The campaign has a couple weeks to go too so people can still donate and pre-order Hush.
We need all we can get since it costs so much to properly put out a professional album. There are awesome donation prizes. I’m still waiting for someone to donate for us to DJ or play their house party and for me to cook someone a meal at their house!
Hush will be released sometime in late 2012/early 2013. You can expect to hear a mature sounding Limos, but not so mature it’s like an old librarian or something. It has better dance elements with dark Sleepy Hollow type bits in it as well. I’ve been so excited to release new stuff because on Get Sharp, some of those beats were made when I was in my mom’s sewing room! So old. I’ve grown a lot on production and so has Eric with melody and lyrics. We are both really proud and naturally agreed to go in a direction like this.. We’ve never made something slow and super fucking sexy, so its cool there are some gems on Hush with that sound. My favorite part of being a part of this group is discovering and inventing while creating. It’s a pure thrill when you find a mood or a certain sound that just belongs. I love sharing songs live but I really live for the creating process with Eric.