BREAK ME DOWN (from l-r): Laerte Ungaro (guitar), Giuseppe “LoChef” Greco (bass), Faith Blurry (vocals), Fabio Benedan (drums), Morris Steel (guitar)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Mainly influenced by outfits such as Alter Bridge, Halestorm, and The Pretty Reckless, Italian five-piece Break Me Down take pride in producing an energetic, powerfully emotional mix of hard rock and heavy metal, and with this, the band have already started to make quite a name for themselves in their home country, having unveiled their debut EP, ‘Resilience’, as well as performing live sets alongside highly-regarded collectives such as Lacuna Coil and Crazy Town.
The rapidly-rising quintet recently spoke to me about all this, their latest single, ‘Trust’, and what they already have lined up for the new year.
How did the band form?
LAERTE UNGARO (guitar): After my old band broke up, I decided to take a break from music, but a couple of years later, I realised that I missed the stage, so, with my old drummer and bass player, we formed a new band.
We started looking for a new singer, and while we were auditioning, we decided to grab a beer, so we went to a nearby rock pub, where Faith happened to be performing, and after the show, I asked her if she could be interested in our project…she answered: “Let’s try!”
Also, since we also needed a second guitar player, Morris, her guitarist at the time, joined the band.
After a few months, we lost our original drummer, because he wanted to play other genres, but we eventually found our fifth element: Fabio, and that is pretty much how our story began…
How did the name Break Me Down come about?
FAITH BLURRY (vocals): In my opinion, finding a name for a band is the hardest thing…because it has to represent the genre, the thoughts, the group style, all in one word or a few.
Some journalists wrote that our guitars sounded just like Alter Bridge’s, and there is the fact that ‘Break Me Down’ is the title of one of their songs, but that wasn’t intentional. It’s true that we find inspiration in their style, but we chose this name for a different reason.
We were thinking about the meaning of our songs, and what message we wanted to send…so Laerte suggested that the name had to be a provocation, not to surrender to the difficulties of life, as in “You can try to break me down, but I’m still here!!!”
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
MORRIS STEEL (guitar): Except for Fabio, we all write the songs, and everyone brings a different skill: Faith is the most romantic, ballads are her specialities, and everything she writes can touch your heart!
LoChef is a genius, as he always comes up and says: “Hey, I did a song! Listen to this!”, and from that, you can write other five songs!
Laerte’s approach is different, he writes very heavy metal songs, but in particular, he pay attention to the lyrics…he always says the message is important.
My style, personally, is complicated. I write every type of song, because I put into it everything that comes from my life experiences.
What inspires the band lyrically?
LAERTE: I’d like to say everything! Everything can be a song! When we formed the band, our lyrics were based on fighting against an unfair life that tries its best to break you down…but now, we want to tell you about a life that is simple and ordinary, but also rather complicated, for example, our song, named ‘OCD’, talks about love, but through the eyes of a guy with obsessive-compulsive disorder…The chorus says: “How can it be a mistake if I don’t have to wash my hands after I touched your skin?”
Now, to a person without OCD, this sounds stupid or crazy…but to a person with it, this means love.
Back in January, you brought out your debut EP, ‘Resilience’. How was the recording process for that?
FAITH: Complicated! It was the very first time that we had all worked together in a studio, and it was a funny experience, as we laughed a lot, but it was also exhausting, because we went to record ‘Resilience’ in the every evening after a day of work, and the only thing that was keeping us awake was to see the result….and also, the coffee.
And how was the reaction to the release?
GIUSEPPE “LoCHEF” GRECO (bass): Slow. We were a brand new band, and nobody knew us. When we did the first gig, we played in front of our friends, but gradually, show after show, many people started to follow us every time we performed.
‘Resilience’ was the key to spread our music to the world.
The band have performed alongside the likes of Lacuna Coil and Crazy Town. How were they as experiences?
FABIO BENEDAN (drums): AMAZING! Simply amazing! We were so lucky! Actually, opening for Crazy Town was our first show together as a band, and it was awesome, and after the show, “Shifty” (Seth Binzer, the band’s lead vocalist) came backstage, and he said to us that he thought our performance had been great! We couldn’t believe it!
After that, we decided to enter a contest, the winner of which had the possibility to open for Lacuna Coil at the MIC Rock Festival, and we won!
We travelled for 15 hours for play a 20-minute set, but they were 20 minutes of fire, and the guys from Lacuna Coil afterwards gave us the opportunity to open another of their concerts in Reggio Emilia…I think this will remain my, as well as the band’s, best experience ever!
And how is it overall, for you all, playing live?
MORRIS: Playing live is everything! We work hard to build a band in every aspect of a modern concept of how a band is gonna be…I mean: social network, nice pictures, social media, all stuff like these!
We are producers, composers, songwriters, but our biggest satisfaction is playing our music in front of the people that love what we do as we do!
And finally, what are the band’s initial plans for 2019?
FAITH: We recently released a video of a live single, ‘Trust’, which is a tribute to the incredible summer we had playing all around Italy.
The next step now is come out with our first full-length record! We are working hard at the moment to write new songs, and we hope to go back into the studio early next year, and when the album comes out, we hope to do a little European tour, so I think 2019 will be very demanding, but worth it in the end.
‘TRUST’, THE NEW SINGLE FROM BREAK ME DOWN, IS AVAILABLE NOW.
FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: