Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – Strawman & The Jackdaws

Cover artwork for ‘F∇X.’ Photo courtesy of Strawman & The Jackdaws.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

Dublin-based group Strawman & The Jackdaws recently dropped the official video for their single “Field Of Wonders,” taken off their debut EP ‘F∇X,’ recorded at Flaked Studio with Adam Redmond and Terzo Mondo Studio with Giampaolo Rossi and mastered by Robin Schmidt.

According to the band, the EP “explores the meanings of the concept and experience of traveling, driven by the belief that no matter the effort it takes, there will always be something to rely on and have faith in, a symbolic light emerging from shadows.” Eager to get onstage again, they’re set to play shows and festivals around Europe and Russia in 2021.

Strawman & The Jackdaws are singer-songwriter Riccardo Ranzani, drummer Michael Reolon, guitarist Jacopo Stofler and keyboardist/saxophonist Rory Fleming.

The Music Bugle had the chance to speak with the band about ‘F∇X’ and more.

Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the band name? 

Riccardo Ranzani – When I moved to Ireland, people started calling me “Strawman” because of my huge jumpers and curly hair, so we wanted to have a very visual and imaginary name. The Jackdaw – which is an Irish type of crow – is theoretically scared by the strawman, but in this case, the first one is attracted by the latter. This creates a strong metaphor on the meaning of the band, our music and live shows. We want to encourage people facing and overcoming all their fears instead of running away from them.

Music Bugle – What was it like making your debut EP? 

Jacopo Stofler – This process lasted three years and taught us a lot on how to approach recordings in a studio setting, since we are more a live band. We had lots of ideas we usually implement during live concerts, but in the studio, we had to rethink arrangements and structures of the songs. Fortunately, we had some great and professional people who helped us to take out the best from this EP. For sure, this experience, along to the tours, helped us bond together even more.

Music Bugle – How would you describe Dublin to someone who has never been there before?

Michael Reolon – Before the pandemic, the city was musically active. Even in a Monday evening, you could come across a live show. I come from a very small village in the North of Italy, so for me, living among all these musical stimuli and cultural diversity inspired me a lot.

Music Bugle – Which of your songs was the hardest to write? 

Riccardo Ranzani – Every song was really spontaneous in the writing process. Probably “Field Of Wonders” was the most difficult one to arrange together because of the rollercoaster vibe it has. We didn’t expect it to be the most appreciated song from the EP.

Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians? 

Michael Reolon – Social media helps for sure to stay in contact with fans and people who like our music. Probably, all of us should give them the right weight in our lives and not take them too seriously. Instead, people should go more to live shows for a more human experience with music in general.

Music Bugle – If you had to pick a theme song for yourself, what would it be? 

Jacopo Stofler – “Knight Rider” by Stu Phillips.

Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Rory Fleming – All of our shows were cancelled. We were just about to perform in our first tour in Russia. We were supposed also to play in Ireland, Italy and the United Kingdom. During the lockdown period, we had been in different parts of the world. We still played together through virtual live videos.

Music Bugle – What are your goals for 2021? 

Riccardo Ranzani – For sure, we would like to play all the shows that were postponed, release new music and see again all our fans, family and friends at a live show.

Music Bugle – What’s something you wish happened more in today’s music industry? 

Michael Reolon – Nowadays, streams and views have taken more importance than the actual live shows, which brings connections and emotions between people. As we said about social media, the digital world doesn’t sometimes reflect the real image of a band and the potential that it can have in the music industry.

Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?

Jacopo Stofler – We all come from different musical backgrounds and have different tastes. For example, I’m actually listening to Bon Iver, Riccardo to MGMT, Rory to John Coltrane and Michael to the Prodigy.

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