Producer and songwriter Bien et Toi shares the musical firsts that built the foundations for his sonic craftsmanship: from John Scofield to Mambo No.5.

Bien et Toi, real name Gianluca Buccellati, has a natural aptitude for artfully reconstructing traditional electronic forms into ambient soundscapes. The experimental artist returns with his first single of 2024, ‘So Long’, featuring hip-hop duo Paris Texas. With its infectious rhythm, soulful storytelling and intricate production, the single acts as a prelude to his forthcoming EP, A London Safari II, set for release in May.


The New York-born artist started cultivating his signature sound from a young age, inspired by ’70s funk rock and influenced by legends like Led Zeppelin and Parliament Funkadelic. As a Grammy and Ivor Novello nominated artist he has made waves working with an array of talented artists, including Lana del Rey, Biig Piig, Tei Shi and Declan McKenna, winning a Mercury Prize for his work on Arlo Parks’ debut album, Collapsed in Sunbeams.


Despite his impressive breadth of collaborative achievements, it’s Gianluca’s solo work that shines a light on his untethered talent with his diverse sounds and ability to encompass a dynamic range of genres to create a refreshing and unique sonic world.


Anticipating the release of the EP and the exuberant next chapter of Bien et Toi as a solo venture, we sat down with the man behind the alias, to unpack his musical firsts, from his love affair with ‘Mambo No.5 (A Little Bit Of…)’ to the first time he truly fell in love with music.

First time you fell in love with music?
It’s hard to know exactly when I fell in love with music, as it’s always been very present in my life. My father built a recording studio in our childhood home and he was very excited to show me the records he loved, which were predominately bands from the ’60s and ’70s. His taste differed a lot from my mother’s – she loved more gentle songs and she would show me artists like Norah Jones, James Taylor and Rufus Wainwright. I grew up in a town called Katonah, New York, which was home to commuting parents who worked in New York City. My father would come home and we’d go into the control room to watch a Black Sabbath or AC/DC concert. Together, we would try to recreate what we saw in the live room.
These were the early days of my infatuation with music, but it was subconscious and I felt like I was just bonding with my dad. The conscious turning point happened when I was about 10 years old. I’d known kids I was around to be musical in an educational, classical sense. Meanwhile, I was rocking out with my dad and hadn’t fully appreciated orchestral music yet. There was a talent show and I remember three kids my age set up a drum set and some amps on the stage. They performed ‘Black Dog’ by Led Zeppelin and my mind was blown. That was when I realised people my age could play rock music or have a band. From that point on, I relentlessly made efforts to find people to start a band with.
First song you were infatuated with?
I remember when ’Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of…)’ came out. When I heard that song and saw the world’s reaction to it, it became my favourite song. I think I was particularly attached to it because it was a song I found in the world as opposed to a song that was shown to me by someone else. 
First gig you ever played?
The first gig I ever played was with those three kids I saw at the talent show. I must’ve been 12 years old at that point. When they heard me play the drums it was a no-brainer for them to let me join the band. We’d spend every weekend hanging out, wreaking havoc on Katonah, and a lot of time jamming together in the live room at my house. At that point, I was listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. My father let us record to the tape machines and we made an EP where we covered the song ‘Aeroplane’ by the Chili Peppers. When it was time for me to move on from the band, it led me to immerse myself in music more seriously, to better my skills, to practice every day, and to learn more instruments. It was the turning point that inspired me to become the musician I am today.
First time you worked with someone who you admired?
I’ve not yet worked with an artist I grew up admiring, but I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with some incredible musicians who I have grown to really admire.
First person you’d recruit if you had a band?
Flea or John Frusciante.
First time you felt starstruck?
Meeting John Scofield for the first time. His guitar playing has informed how I conceive articulating melody and feel.
First thing on your rider?
Fresh fruit.
First track you play when handed the aux?
‘Nine Out of Ten’ by Caetano Veloso.
First artist you’d add to your dream festival line up?
Jonathan Richman.
First purchase after a major music cheque?
A plane ticket around the world.

Listen to 'So Long' now:

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