101 with DJ Spiller

Italian DJ and producer, Spiller - sat down to compose his very first tune in 1995, using a home PC and sampler. Barely two years later, the 6'9" Venetian was making a big noise around the world with a single, Laguna's "Spiller From Rio". The Latinflavored house track swiftly became a club anthem and made it into the top ten on the Billboard dance charts. Not long after, Spiller applied his golden touch as a remixer to tunes by high-profile artists such as Gloria Gaynor, Matt Bianco, St Germain, Bob Sinclar, Run DMC and Smoke City.

In 1999 he again set the clubs alight with another house single, "Batucada" - a new take on Marcos Valle's original. The following year he became one of the best-known Italian musicians thanks to his next single "Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)". Named after a Miami club, this widely acclaimed disco house track was initially a club hit as an instrumental, but exploded in popularity after it was injected with the vocals of UK's Sophie Ellis-Bextor (formerly of the alternative group The Audience). "Groovejet" was arguably the biggest club tune of the year and won the top spot on singles and dance charts in many countries. It was also the song with most radio plays of the decade (2000-2010) in UK and Apple declared in an interview that they used "Groovejet" to test their first iPod prototype.

Spiller later released the electro-funk tune "Cry Baby", Royksopp did a remix, which became a classic downtempo. In 2003 he launched his own label Nano Rec with "Sola" a groovy disco track with a French touch flavor and in 2007 "Jumbo", one of Pete Tong's all-time favourite that went straight to n°1 on the Buzz Chart. He then remixed "Teen Drive In" by the Italian band Useless Wooden Toys, and made it into a national hit with the infamous riff "siete pro, siete pro, siete pronti per lo show!". Other artists he recently remixed are Digitalism, The Supermen Lovers, Bottin feat. Jupiter, Riva Starr feat. Noze, released on prestigious labels such as Made To Play, Z Records, K7 and LaFessé.

2011 was the year of the "Pigeonman's Revenge” release, an epic instrumental house track with a hypnotic video clip formed by real footage of starlings flocks over Rome, directed by photographer James Mollison. His last single was released in 2013 "URASTAR" featuring Nina Miranda (former singer of Smoke City). The provocative song combined with renown Spiller's disco looping and Nina's sweet Anglo-Portuguese voice made it a unique tune! Spiller is currently working on various studio projects as well as producing disco and electronic events in the intercity of his hometown Venice with the collective “Crocodiles in Venice”.

What’s your favorite piece of gear – something you couldn’t live without?

As a DJ it would be my Bozak mixer, I’m lucky enough to own one of the first prototypes ever produced and I’ve been using it in my studio for 15 years now. As a producer it’s my Manley Variable MU Compressor/Limiter.

Which do you prefer – playing at enormous festivals or intimate clubs?

Intimate clubs, totally. I’m actually planning an event in Venice with 6 micro-clubs that can hold 15/20 people each… it doesn’t get more intimate than that!

Which is the most mesmerising club that you’ve ever played at?

Difficult question, I’ve been djing for 27 years and I’ve been lucky enough to play in a lot of mesmerising clubs! My heart goes probably to some of the clubs of my early career, like House Nation in Jesolo which was a memorable club and my first important DJ residency. Also Ambasada Gavioli's Mezzanine in Slovenia gave me so many mesmerising moments that I’ll always remember.

What is your best and worst experience at a gig and why?

Another difficult one, I’ve had many favorite moments, it’s hard to choose one, let’s say everytime i manage to turn what appears to be a horrible gig into a magic party. The worst experience it’s an easy pick, it was my gig at Club Famous in Moscow: the promoters played a clip with a mini-mix of all my hit records right before I started playing, without telling me, then I played one record and a guy came to tell me that i had to change style because the boss didn’t like my music, I played another record and the same guy came to tell that my gig was over because the boss didn’t like my music, so they took me back to the hotel.

I think my set lasted 7 minutes in total. It was at the same time my worst DJ experience and the easiest money I ever made.

Do you have any interests besides music?

Too many, I’m a very curious person and you could say I’ve got a Peter Pan Syndrome... I like to play and experiment with most things… but better to focus this interview on music.

Do you enjoy sunset or sunrise sets?

I enjoy sets that start at sunset and end at sunrise, or the way around. Unfortunately I mostly get requests for 2 hours sets and I envy DJs who get to play very long sets… I’m an eclectic dj and I give my best when I can go through different waves smoothly. I always improvise my sets, I never have a tracking list to follow, so I love to "go with the flow".

What do you like and what do you hate about the music industry?

Music industry is a vast world, but if we talk about "house music" industry and compare it to when I started producing records in the nineties it’s now probably much better because it’s available to everyone, you can make great music and have it out in the market with a very small budget… But at the same time I find it ugly how marketing, graphic image and social networks have become an essential part of producing music nowadays. So many producers doing boring music are “big" just because they know how to sell themselves, or they have a big PR agency behind them.

In the nineties there were amazing producers who had an horrible cheesy “graphic image" but it just didn’t matter, they were heroes because of their music, it was all about the music. Now you are always part of a full marketing project even if you don’t want, even if you do a vinyl-only release with a white label and you don’t exist on social networks… it’s just something you can’t avoid anymore.

If you could pick any artist to do a b2b set, who would it be?

Oh so many! Gilles Peterson, Thomas Bangalter, The Black Madonna, Fango...

What’s your biggest fear?

Deafness and blindness

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you on a gig?

About 10 years ago at a party in Trieste I played Aphex Twin “Window Licker” and a huge glass window next to the dj booth crashed on the floor… I’m not sure is that funny or scary? However miraculously no one was hurt.

Could you pick one timeless track?

There’s only one timeless track and that’s Spiller “Groovejet”! No, I’m kidding, I can’t stand that track anymore so to me it’s everything but timeless! Chaka Khan "Ain't Nobody” it’s the first timeless track that came to my mind right now.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I’d like to take this chance to thank you all for the nice messages I received after my gig at Sea Star Festival, see you soon!

By SolvdMag, edited on 14 June 2018