“Thought of you as my mountaintop/thought of you as my peak.”
– Lou Reed
It’s approaching 3 am and Bill Ricchini aka Summer Fiction isn’t on the windswept beach his moniker may suggest. He’s in a dank basement echo chamber at Eve Studios—a 200-year old country house/recording studio just North of Manchester, UK. His wordless “oohs” bounce off the cinderblock walls overdubbing a tricky vocal harmony part Brian Wilson, part Jeff Lynn. A jangly guitar chimes in channeling Johnny Marr—born just a few miles away.
It’s been over 4 years since Ricchini’s self-titled debut as Summer Fiction was released to praise from New York Magazine, Vogue, NPR, KCRW, Magnet, and other admirers. In that time, Ricchini moved from South Philadelphia to Brooklyn and took songwriting trips to Mexico and the Pacific Northwest.
Ricchini also went through a rough spot during that time, losing two close family members to illness. Soon after, he saw the disintegration of his parents’ 40-year marriage. In the months that followed, he found himself writing songs that felt different. These were not love songs but they were about love and longing, often focusing on romantic and religious obsession. Songs that examined the idea of lover as deity and explored the broken and beautiful aspects of his own relationships
Ricchini approached long time collaborator and UK transplant Brian Christinzio (BC Camplight) to co-produce the new Summer Fiction record, titled Himalaya. Arrangements were made and Ricchini camped out at Manchester’s Eve Studios for two weeks that chilly spring shaping the songs: “the Big Star meets The La’s power pop of “Perfume Paper,” the smiley pet sounds carousel of “Lauren Lorraine,” the Nilsson/Bacharach melodic songcraft of “Religion of Mine,” the icy fingerpicked ballad “By My Side.”
Himalaya was mixed in Brooklyn by Grammy-winning engineer Geoff Sanoff and mastered by Joe Lambert (The National, Sharon Van Etten, Deerhunter, Panda Bear).
Ricchini’s songs have appeared in films such as The Fault in Our Stars, Safety Not Guaranteed and television shows such as Grey’s Anatomy.