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Premiere: Leopardo Explores New Cosmic Territories on "I Can't Help Falling in Love with Nobody"

Hailing from Fribourg, Switzerland, Leopardo create their own well-seasoned blend of buzzing garage pop and absurdist post-punk, bridging the gap between The Velvet Underground and Spacemen 3. Following up 2021's group effort, Malcantone, Leopardo is back with Solo Recordings 2019-2022, an album mixed of frontman Romain Savary's favorite solo recordings of the last three years. Along with today's premiere of the lead cut "I Can't Help Falling in Love with Nobody," we caught up with Savary to discuss what it was like revisiting his vault of solo recordings, the new single's accompanying music video, and what it was like touring the USA last year.

Photo by Eric "Biff" Bafaro

Paperface Zine: Hey Romain! First tell me what you've been up to lately and what has the Leopardo crew been doing since the 2021 Feel It-release Malcantone?

Romain Savary: We did some gigs in Europe, but not a real tour as there still was the pandemic when we released it. Then we did this awesome US tour, which was such an experience. Since 2021, I also spent some time writing new songs, that we arranged together with the band when we could practice. It's only happening if we have shows as we aren't living in the same city. Lately, Giuliano and I did a good amount of shows with his project called Autobahns.

PZ: What were your favorite memories from the US tour/Gonerfest 19 appearance?

RS: Meeting our driver Biff, partying in Mansfield Ohio, playing with The Drin at the Gonerfest Feel It Records after party, getting paid $12 in New York City, eating a cheese fondue mailed from Switzerland with Sam and Cat in Cincinnati, all the breakfasts in the American Diners, playing for kids in Hattiesburg Mississippi (who Hampton, the promoter, was driving back home after the show), and the hot dog with Froot Loops that Biff ate in Cleveland was also such a good one!! Well we're full of memories, we loved the USA!

Photo by Alexzandra Roy

PZ: Take me through the origins of Leopardo and how it eventually branched out into a five-piece band?

RS: I bought myself a Tascam 4-track tape recorder back in 2016, and discovered I could record some songs alone. It's how the project started. Then my first solo record, Di Caprio, came out and I wanted to play this project live. I knew Giuliano Iannarella and Noah Sartori from the garage-punk scene, but they were living in Lugano. They were the only people who were really into the same kind of music than me, so I asked them anyway if they wanted to do this project together. Some months later, Blaise Yerly, who I knew from our hometown joined the band. Later on, we did a special show together with Radiana Basso. Since this show went so well she never left the band!

PZ: Talk to me now about this new record you got coming out September 22nd called Solo Recordings 2019-2022. Are these solo Leopardo recordings from the vault?

RS: Yeah, exactly. I like to record some stuff alone when I have the time for that, and sometimes, I’m happy with the result. This album is a mix of all my favorite solo recordings of the last three years. As I moved a lot in those last years, this album was recorded between Lugano, Düdingen, Fribourg, Treyvaux, and in Alpe des Chaux, a family chalet in the alps (where we actually also shot the new video).

PZ: We're premiering the single/video "I Can't Help Falling in Love with Nobody." Talk to me about how this song came together and its accompanying visual?

RS: It was a really hard time. This song is about how you feel when you're alone, and it makes reference to a theory in The Symposium by Plato, when someone said that humans used to have four arms, four legs, two heads, etc. so Zeus cut them in two pieces, and that should be why we need our other half. I love this theory! Musically, all came really fast. I was recording in my old room at Spazio Morel in Lugano (a house where most of the band used to live). Isumi and Radiana were in the house that day so I asked them to do the backing vocals. I think that this song was done within a few hours, and that’s what I love with solo recordings sometimes. For the video, I asked my friend Elias Gamma to do it. I had some ideas, but Gabrielle d'Alessandro and Elias wrote the scenes. I love boxing sometimes, and I think it's a nice metaphor for life, or at least of how I see it. René is an old version of myself. He's more than 80 years old and sings in a rock 'n' roll band. He's a legend of the new city where I moved, Biel/Bienne. The shooting was really fun!

PZ: What's the significance of its cover art?

RS: No idea about its significance, but we were on tour in Strasbourg back in 2019 and I saw another painting of one of those artists (the one used for the cover of the 7" split with Augenwasser). I'm very happy that Julien Marmar and Thomas Simon let us use their painting for that album. Sadly they don't paint anymore together. Fun fact: one of them is doing artworks and animations now for the Red Hot Chili Peppers!

PZ: What are you most excited about to get this new album out? Do you have any favorites from this new album?

RS: As I recorded most of it by myself, it’s an honest personal diary. I'm free to record what I want without thinking of the band direction or of how it would sound live, so I can explore other kinds of music and dig into other influences. I was listening to Cindy Lee, Baxter Dury, Martin Rev, and Fat White Family, so this album is more mellow, psychedelic and lo-fi compared to what we do with the band. My favorites are "I Can’t Stand Falling in Love with Nobody" and "Temperature." I'm also happy with "Evil Party II," which I just found on an old tape that I totally forgot about for many years. I think it's important to also release those kinds of homemade demo recordings.

Photo by Nikita Thévoz

PZ: Can we expect another full-band release sometime soon?

RS: Yes, we were in the studio three weeks ago. We still have to record some voices and some overdubs, but it's mainly there. This one is gonna be more coherent with Malcantone.

PZ: What else is on the horizon for you and Leopardo?

RS: Radiana who plays with us also has a solo project. Right after recording Malcantone, we recorded her songs together with most of the band. Now that we created a record label (Chrüsimüsi Records) with two friends, we convinced her to finally release it on tape. It is called Dizzy Davis. I love it. She's a mystical bird who loves Mazzy Star and other '90s stuff. We're gonna do a tour together in Switzerland and Italy this October, playing songs from both projects. A kind of release tour of our solo albums. After that, the plan is to mix the next band album and wait for its release to tour again. We hope to come back to the US, so let's see how things go!

Solo Recordings 2019-2022 is out September 22nd on Feel It Records (US-cassette) and Chrüsimüsi Records (EU-vinyl).


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