Emilio Bonito crafts intricate instrumental songs that fuse acoustic fingerstyle guitar with avant-garde, indie folk and pop culture influences.
Born and raised in Hamilton, Canada, Emilio Bonito began playing the piano at the age of 4. Emilio credits Hamilton pianist Flavio Danieli for introducing him to classical music and encouraging him to explore composition at a young age.
A decade of piano training from the Royal Conservatory of Music provided the young artist with a solid musical foundation to build on. “When I picked up the guitar at age 9, I started imitating Jade Puget from AFI (A Fire Inside),” explains Emilio.
Emilio began developing his own repertoire while studying at McMaster University. “I wrote a lot of music throughout my time as an undergraduate, bottling up experiences and influences into these acoustic instrumental songs,” explains Emilio.
“I was listening to a wide range of other music while writing these songs – avant-garde metal, progressive rock, indie folk, even psychedelic pop,” he adds. “Everything from maudlin of the Well and The Mars Volta to Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver.”
Released on Hamilton-based indie label Maisonneuve Music, Emilio’s debut single “Marth” fused the artist’s eclectic influences into an artful mix of new and old. CBC Radio’s In the Key of C declared it “a great example of contemporary fingerstyle guitar.” Emilio followed up his debut a few months later with “I Saw Three Ships” — a warm, acoustic fingerpicking-style take of the Christmas classic with Medieval and modern influences.
Emilio’s latest single, “Midnight Runner”, creates a dreamy narrative with changing dynamics, tempos and time signatures. The result is an atmospheric, flowing track that explores themes of rumination and self-reflection. “It’s about having too many thoughts that run wild while you’re trying to sleep,” explains Emilio. “Sometimes it feels like running a marathon, thinking and over analyzing situations that happen on a given day. By the time you wake up, you’re already exhausted.”
“Even the song’s form (ABCA) reinforces this cycle,” he adds. “Going back to the A section is like repeating the process the next night.”
The song’s production salutes other fingerstyle greats such as Andy McKee and Canadians Don Ross and Antoine Dufour, while staying true to the Emilio’s hypnotic and undulating percussive style.
“We recorded the song ‘Midnight Runner’ as a solid, single take solo performance,” explains producer moon:and:6 (Whitehorse, Royal Wood, Sarah McLachlan). “We wanted to highlight Emilio’s dynamic playing style, from gentle and soft to loud and percussive,” he continues. “Once we captured Emilio’s performance, we added a low ambient drone to allow the guitar to float through the song.”
“Midnight Runner” by Emilio Bonito is available on March 14, 2016.