Banfi is a three-piece pop-rock band from London consisting of Joe Banfi, Aaron Graham, and Chris McCuaig. Forming in 2015, we talked with Aaron about the beginnings of the band, dream headliner acts, and teetering on the edge of live music.
HEM: Can you tell me about the origin of the band? Where did it start and how?
Aaron: The band started around 2 and half years ago. Joe, who had been performing as a solo artist for a few years was introduced to me through a mutual acquaintance who kind of wanted us to start working together on the stuff Joe was doing on his own. As it turned out, Joe was pretty sick of the songs he was playing at the time, slogging about on his own, and he was moving in a different direction with his writing. When I heard these new ideas, it was so inspiring as we had a lot of similar tastes and ideas and seemed to view music in a similar sort of way. So we started sharing ideas and working on existing ones until we had enough stuff. We decided we would try to play it together (before this time we would primarily just be sharing ideas through our laptops or sitting with an acoustic or keyboard). So we hung out in my basement for a while figuring out how to play these songs live and that’s when we decided to give Chris a call. I knew Chris through another friend and I knew he played bass and could sing, so that’s when it became the Banfi you see and hear today, I guess!
HEM: What is your favorite song to play and why?
Aaron: This definitely changes all the time, but at the moment my favourite song to play live is probably Future. It’s not been officially released yet but somehow the crowd always knows the words! It’s a pretty emotional and dramatic song so this plays into the live arena’s hands as well.
HEM: Any plans to tour in the US?
Aaron: We would love to come to the US, just gotta get those plane tickets and someone to take us on tour! We’d love to come and play SXSW, it looks mental!
HEM: If you could open for any band who would it be? Why?
Aaron: When you open shows for people it can be a pretty tough ask – sometimes the audience isn’t in yet or is still getting a drink or just doesn’t care. So I think I’d say that we’d like to open for anyone who has a respectful and open minded audience. I go to some shows sometimes and I’m just like, “Will you all just shut up?!” or I’m just thinking that the only reason that people are there is to get pissed and see if they can talk louder than the person next to them. It kind of feels like the music is secondary.
Luckily, we’ve played to some great audiences. The Bears Den tour was huge for us, the audience was so respectful and engaging every night, so to all those Bears Den fans, thank you. How about this – we’ll be the opener if the line up after us is The Police, The National, and Biffy Clyro. That sounds good right?!
HEM: What is the most rewarding part about being musicians for you?
Aaron: The most satisfying thing about being a musician is when you play together and you can just feel there’s no gaps, no creases – it’s super tight and you can trust that no one is going to fall off the edge. I love it when you know how far someone can take their playing and they’re basically teetering on the edge but they never fall off! (If that makes any sense?) That trust between musicians is pretty special.
HEM: Is there any advice you would give up and coming musicians/bands?
Aaron: Keep working hard and commit to your art. Nothing is going to come easy so don’t expect it to. Oh, and listen to as much music and consume as much art as possible, try not to be to selective until you really know what you’re talking about.
You can catch Banfi on tour in March and make sure to watch their latest music video for their single “Caroline” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bB4nHljI_Gk
Tour dates: http://bandsintown.com/Banfi?came_from=234