What are your names?
Luca: Hi Gemma! I am Luca Bluefire.
Flora: Hey Gemma! I’m Flora Lin.
Tell us the story behind the name ‘ HIMMEL’.
Luca: Ok. Thanks for the question, I had almost forgotten that! 😀
Right before “A Long Cold Winter”, our debut album was out, I had these 8-10 instrumental ready that I didn’t exactly know what to do with. And I was wondering about a name for the project.
So one day one of my little danish niece was drawing: she then showed me her drawing and asked “do you like it”?
And I answered “yes I like it , it is … this… (something I don’t remember)”. And she replied, a bit offended, “No! That’s HIMMEL!!!!!”. Himmel is the word in danish and other nordic languages for “sky”, but also for “heaven”.
I thought it fit perfectly the music I was making!
What is your genre of music?
Luca: It’s always difficult to label one’s music, I would call it “introspective guitar/synth music”.
Give us a little bio about you as a duo and individuals.
Flora: I was solely a music lover before I moved to the UK a few years ago. The place really inspired me to start singing, then writing, and collaborating with musicians like Luca. I still consider myself a rookie!
Luca: I’ve been playing mainly guitar and rock music for many years. I’ve recorded records and toured also in this genre. Lately I’m mainly working as a producer and Himmel is my “artistic” project.
Are you a signed?
Luca: Himmel’s music is released through my own label Long Gone Days Records.
Tell us more about your track ‘DANCING LEAVES’
Flora: ‘Dancing Leaves’ is about saying goodbye to a lover, while cherishing all the little moments and details, like the leaves moved by the wind, the smell of rain…
What was the writing process like for ‘DANCING LEAVES’ ?
Flora: One of my favourite movies is “Before Sunrise” by Richard Linklater, which has a very sweet and inspiring story, so I thought of what I would remember or do if I were in the protagonists’ situation.
Will you be releasing an EP or album? If so can you tell us more about that?
Luca: I always hope I can release an album. Then I get anxious about it and get stuck. So, at the moment, I think that releasing singles is the best way for me to fully express myself and my creativity.
Will you be touring this year?
Luca: unfortunately not. Himmel is – and I guess it’s going to stay – a studio project.
What made you go in to music?
Flora: When I moved to the UK I saw a great scene, there were open mics everywhere, so I decided to try singing and see where it would take me. Then joining bands, writing, collaborating with musicians came naturally.
Luca: It is a need for me to make music. It can be frustrating, sometimes it’s a waste of time and energies, yet I have to keep doing that. To me music it’s the perfect way between a gift and a curse!
Do you play any instruments?
Luca: I play guitar, bass, and a little piano. I used to sing also, then I realized I’d better find some good singers to sing my music!
Flora: Actually I’m a big fan of A Blue Fire, Luca’s personal project! Since I started quite late, unfortunately I’m not a very good player.
Who are your influences?
Flora: I was a kid in the 90’s, so I absorbed every single thing from that period! Alternative rock, r&b, pop, trip hop, britpop… My idol was and still is Fiona Apple. When it comes to singing one of my main inspirations is Ladyhawke, but at the moment I listen to a lot of Japanese rock bands such as Polkadot Stingray, I also love Chelsea Wolfe.
Luca: I was a teenager in the 90’s, so I’d say all the rock/alternative music from that period has influenced me a lot, from Guns’n’Roses to grunge to Faith No More. But also trip hop had a big impact on me. When it came out, in the late 90’s, it was something really new.
In this last decade Beach House and other dreampop bands have brought melodies and emotions back at the centre of music, and that’s something that was lost for a long time, and it kind of gave me a new inspiration to keep making music.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
Luca: I don’t look or wait for inspiration, I see myself more as an artisan rather than an artist. This means I work as much as I can, preferably every day, and good things will come.
Flora: When I’m collaborating, some melodies and the mood are already there, so lyrical ideas usually appear quickly. In that case I imagine that I’m reading my songwriting partner’s mind, wondering what they would want, then my imagination gets pretty active. When I’m alone, I wait for inspiration. Whenever there is a song title that feels right, a theme idea, a catchphrase, a good melody, I write it down/record it somewhere then I wait. Sometimes everything comes immediately at the same time, sometimes it takes a while.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Luca: Hopefully still making music!
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
Luca: I nervously drum on things I find nearby with my fingers.
Flora: Writing other stuff!
Where would your dream venue to play in your hometown?
Luca: Well my hometown is Rome, Italy. But now I live in Denmark.
So I would say the dream would be to play Roskilde Festival.
Flora: I’d love to do a festival too, like Dour Festival.
If you could collaborate with one UK Artists or Band who would it be?
Flora: Paul Draper, as Mansun was a huge influence and his album is great.
Luca: I love Daughter. The bad news is they don’t need me as they have one of the most talentful and tasteful guitar players out there. But you say Uk, so I would also mention Chvrches and Marnie. Love these bands as well.
If you could collaborate with one US Artists or Band who would it be?
Flora: Converge, I secretly dream of blending jazz and metal into my songs. Or The Dillinger Escape Plan, but now it’s a bit late.
Luca: The already mentioned Beach House, DIIV.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
Luca: mmm I dont’ remember, probably it was Welcome to the Jungle back in ’92/’93.
Flora: ‘Again’ by Archive had a huge impact when I was a teenager, it’s 16 minutes of perfection.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Luca: I’ve been given a lot of good, great advices! Too bad I wasn’t listening :/
Flora: Luca gave me that advice for writing new melodies. He told me to forget them, then try to remember them again after a few hours. If the melody is easy to retrieve and still sounds good, keep it!
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
Luca: well the music business has collapsed, the industry around music is 10 times less profitable than twenty years ago. This is generally bad, but has also some good sides.
For example the people that somehow manage to stay are really passionate about music, and the greedy for money have moved into other businesses.
So I think that for an artist is easier today to be honest, coherent and, thanks to the internet, find its own niche.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Flora: “There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” Bill Watterson
Also with a similar feel, the song ‘Waltz’ by Fiona Apple is always in my head.
Luca: if you’d talk with the 20 years old me, he would say something, and every year it would be something different. I guess the only important thing is to learn and grow. So that when you look back you can notice there has been an evolution, in yourself as a person or in what you’re doing.