They have a name inspired by the school system in Bologna Italy, but we assure you A Classic Education is far more exciting than their namesake. Singer/guitarist Jonathan Clancy and his fearless indie pop outfit bravely came all the way to the Philadelphia to record a session for Shaking Through.
It's not often that music coming from Italy has the ability to take root in the U.S. "We always joke about the fact that being a band from Italy is like starting at a minus 10 points. You have to do that much extra to get to 'zero' to be on pace with everyone else," says Clancy. A Classic Education's humble yet determined attitude make them a perfect addition to Shaking Through, a series created to help establish sustainable careers in music. After a quick listen, you'll know what we're talking about.
The band was selected for Shaking Through by guest Curator Elise Oleksiak of the smart Brooklyn-based music BLOG "Pixelhorse." "I love pop music. I love music that is well written, well composed, well executed..." says Oleksiak. "People need to know their music. People need to hear them and see them!..."
The group recorded "Night Owl", a dreamy love story between a boy and an owl, deftly capturing the band's elegant and soaring pop sound. It's a band favorite for its unconventional song structure: three parts that fail to repeat, all jammed into three minutes. Even without a verse or chorus to be heard, "Night Owl" still holds true to A Classic Education's irresistibly engaging pop sensibility. "I thought this tune would work nice in a studio with a big room sound," said frontman Jonathan Clancy.
Formed in 2007 by Canadian singer and guitarist Jonathan Clancy and his Italian mates Luca Mazzieri and Paul Pieretto, the band has grown to a six piece with the addition of Giulia Mazza, Federico Oppi and Stefano Roveda. They've released recordings on small indie labels Bailiwick, Holiday Records, and recently on California's Lefse Records. Their latest EP, "Hey There Stranger," has Spin Magazine, Gorrilla Vs. Bear, FADER, and Brooklyn Vegan all singing the praises of A Classic Education.
According to the band, it's far more difficult to balance musical aspirations and work in Italy. The members of A Classic Education have a banker, radio manager, photographer, computer programmer and psychologist among their ranks, meaning they had to book vacation time to fly over to the states. In one marathon trip, they recorded their full length in Brooklyn with Jarvis Tavenerie of the band Woods, they played CMJ and drove to Philadelphia to record "Night Owl" at Miner Street.
When they come back in March for a US tour and an appearance at SXSW, they'll certainly have to tie up lose ends with work. Regardless, they're excited to be back in the U.S. playing music.
"It'll mean giving up secure jobs and lives! But we like that idea."
Turns out we have a process! Hear Jonathan and Brian discuss how rehearsing a song moments before tracking helps the process go smoothly, and how we discovered it on accident.
While shooting our interview at Bookspace in Philadelphia, we discovered a piano and keyboard. We rushed back to grab a guitar and some percussion and had A Classic Education do a run through of Night Owl, just for the hell of it.
Our friend Joel from Ecstatic Electric lent us his brand new Wagner U47. It sounded amazing, but more than that it had a big impact on the tone of the day.