The label focuses on delivering house and techno cuts. Monika Ross, Cassy, Maceo Plex, Dewalta and Cesar Merveille are just some of the names featured on the imprint. With more than forty wax releases to date, the label style varies from elegant refined house to slow techno and soulful grooves.
What was the funniest / most bizarre request you’ve ever had while playing?
Maybe not that bizarre but a funny one I have for sure. From the back of my mind, it’s something like me playing live in a club in East London a few years back. The booth is full up with my analogue gear and some girl is coming close trying to get my attention for a while: “Hey man, can you unplug this machine so I can charge my phone?” (pointing to my main drum machine)
Can you describe your studio setup for us?
Synths: Roland Juno 106, Clavia Nord Rack2, Roland sh101, various pieces of Modular System, Vermona Mono Lancet and Korg Volca Bass.
Drum Machines: Jomox 888, Korg Mx Elektribe, Roland tr8, Electron Analogue Rhythm and Vermona drm1.
Besides that, I have mixing desk Allen&Heat GL2400, Akai MPC1000 Sampler, Roland Electronic Vdrums, Yamaha digital piano, Arturia Laboratory, Arturia Beat step pro, BCR2000 Berhinger, Maschine and Kore from Native Intruments as midi controllers.
I also have few outboard FXs from Boss, TC Electronics, RAT and Rhodes Mark1 Seventy-three, few acoustic and electric guitars, a couple electric basses, a lot of old and new ethnic instruments like harps, latin percussions, ukuleles, harmonicas, flutes.
Could you tell us the story about your first gig?
I still remember it like it was yesterday. It was in 1999, I was living in Milano and I was part of a collective of artists and DJs called Tokoloshe. We had our first official call to play a real gig in Lugano, on the Italian side of Switzerland. It was a rave in an old warehouse in the middle of nowhere in the mountains. There were a couple dancefloors, one big stage with trance and industrial techno and the other one was a bunker with drum&bass, hip-hop and breakbeat.
I and my partner Kamekaze (my alias was Czar at the time) had an all night long room for us. I was so excited! I had spun records for a couple years already but only in my bedroom and in front of few friends. This time I had around 200 people in a room to shake for hours at a rave party! The funny part comes now; At the time marijuana was legal in this region of Switzerland. Long story short, just before starting to play in a packed room, I smoke a big fat skunk joint with the promoter and I got so stoned I couldn’t mix one vinyl with the other for the first hour, although I’ve had prepared the set for weeks! It was a disaster haha... but I won’t forget the beautiful adrenaline of playing in front of a crowd for the first time.
Name three artists that currently inspire you.
Ricardo Villalobos, Four Tet and Flying Lotus (but it’s a real shame to name just three).
Recall the worst experience of ‘killing the vibe’ in the club.
I had a few bad experiences of course but now I recall this one particularly. It was around 2008, I was headlining a super party at AlteBorse in Zurich, probably one of the best locations/clubs I’ve ever played (this wasn’t my first time). I had just started playing with Traktor (paired with turntables) a few weeks before as Native Instruments was sponsoring the new product to some labels and artists. I had a full floor of hundreds of people dancing like there wasn’t a tomorrow. I was playing after Margaret Dygas and before Mike Shannon, two of my favourite colleagues and the party was 100% dope. Time code went, records started to jump, flow got stocked in a loop and, as I wasn’t that smooth yet with the new system I just made it go too long - too weird. I changed the tune and nothing, same thing, and a third one and the same again even after trying to re-cable.
By the time I changed plan I’ve already lost the love of the crowd. I decided to put a CJ instead. No way, the sky wasn’t with me on this one. The CD also jumped!! I got the CD out, had a laugh with the crew but unfortunately, I was never called back to played there anymore.
What do you do before and after your set?
It always depends. Now I mostly relax or sleep after dinner before the gig and then when I finish playing, I stay a little longer before returning back to the hotel. It wasn’t like this before. For years, I was well ready to pre-party and then to after party. I was definitely a party monster. Still happy to break the line when it’s the right occasion of course but that’s not my vibe at the moment.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Polishing car wheel rims at a petrol station and probably easier but also demanding was distributing advertisement of food for pets door to door, both in Italy in the 90s.
The first one was to make some cash to go on holidays around Europe when was 16 during summer holidays. The other one was when I was 18 during my last year of high school in Milano to fuel my musical needs (buy records and follow my dreams).
What are your favourite labels at the moment?
Young Turks, Ninja Tune, Warp, Perlon, Yoyaku’s labels, Amphia, East Enderz, Discobar, A:rpia:r, Nervmusic, Transmat, Vakant, Ostgut Ton, Novel Sound, Rekids and many more in different styles.
Imagine a cold winter, a fireplace and two glasses of wine—what song would you play?
What I’m playing right now on vinyl; Teardrop from Massive Attack’s Mezzanine album (it’s also the 20th years anniversary of this beauty as we speak).
Last but not least. What's the best advice you've ever received?
Focus on what you love, on your personal story and not on what others are doing.