How are you, what are you up to right now?
I’m great thank you. Enjoying the summer days but also working a lot in the studio
How and when and where did you get into dance music in Italy – what scenes and sounds?
I live in Brescia in the North of Italy, and I started to approach the music world in 1998, thanks to the amazing person who was Fabio Bacci, at the time A&R at Heartbeat Records (a division of Media Records). I learned some aspects of the music business and I started working in the studio producing some remixes for the historic American label Easy Street, and for soulful artists like De’Lacy, Debbie Pender and Lisa Hunt.
I was graduating in economics, but the desire to continue in music was great. So in 2001 I started to collaborate as A&R and promoter with Oxyd and after Time Records. I was scouting and looking for new artists, creating contacts and strategies.
What was a passion finally turned into a proper job. It was a period full of satisfactions and I gained good credibility in the industry. The commercial success, however, was trying to move me away from what I was looking for, and in me was emerging the need to create something totally mine, to follow my inspirations without any compromise. It was 2006 when I decided to create Rebirth and it was a shining moment for me.
Is there a certain sound, style, that defines the scene there? Like Berlin has its own techno, Chicago has its own house style etc.
Italy was the center of music in the 90’s, the scene was in ferment and a lot of original and interesting productions came out. In 2019 Sueño Latino turns 30 years old, a record that defined a certain italian sound.
I don’t think exists an Italian style these days. There is a great interest and rediscovery of the cosmic sound, names like Daniele Baldelli, Beppe Loda and Alexander Robotnick are back due to big demand, and actually a few talented producers are growing in Italy but is quite difficult to join forces and build something, a movement that is credited in the international music scene. Bringing back the Italian taste and quality back to the world is an important goal that goes beyond the music itself.
Tell us about the dub plate backstory to new release Habanera on your label.
‘Habanera’ is my new single produced with Robytek and featuring the soprano Katia Ricciarelli. It’s a new version of the famous aria of the Carmen by Georges Bizet’s Carmen. It’s an innovative idea to mix opera with the electronica, and fusing it with downtempo, and house music. I’m happy to see it is loved and supported by djs of different genres and musical style, from Pete Tong to Gilles Peterson, from David Guetta to Dj Koze, and is doing very well in Ibiza.
It all started last summer. During a dinner with old schoolmates, one of my my old friends proposed me the collaboration. He had been working with Katia for a few years, and he was following my label and my music productions. At first I was surprised and a little skeptical, but when I put my hands on the song I realized that something great and completely different was coming out. I tested it for the first time at the end of last summer and the peoples reaction was amazing. Katia was also loving it, she is so open to music ideas and experimentations.
Tell us about your Rebirth label – what is the aim, the sound, the style?
My music finds its roots from the past but is combined with a modern approach and new technologies. My taste is very eclectic, and I always look for something that catches me instantly or something timeless, that can last through the ages. I take a lot of time in selecting our music releases, and in a world where everything has become so fast and consumed very quickly, I still believe that electronic music has to give us emotions.
What are the best and worst bits about running a label in 2019?
Today is definitely easier and less risky to start a label compared to 10 or 15 years ago, when you needed big investments. Although there are more aspects to take in consideration today: from the production to the sale side, from the promotion strategies to the use of different social medias. What is much more difficult today is to create a long path, your own identity and make it grow over the time. The best thing about running a label is that you feel independent, you decide and you can help very good talents in their career. The worst thing is that time is never enough to do everything.
What are your key tips on being a successful A&R?
Being yourself and unique in what you do!
Anyone you really want to work with, or do you hope of doing albums and such one day?
I’m actually working on my album, finally, but very slowly. It’s hard to concentrate in the studio when you run a label. I’m trying to involve and collaborate with some of my heroes, but that’s a secret 🙂
What is your style as a DJ? What are your aims when in the club, do edits, entertain, amaze, or what?
My style is eclectic, I can play a downtempo track, italo disco, house and techno. I do a lot of research, and I prepare carefully my selection. I also work on edits to personalize and differentiate my sets. Some of these have a big demand since they have been supported by important names in the scene.
What else have you got coming up or are you working on?
There are so many interesting projects planned for this year. Out now digitally and soon on vinyl is my new single ‘Habanera’ produced with Robytek and featuring the italian soprano Katia Ricciarelli, and remixed by the DOP and Nu. An experiment of opera and electronica, which has been receiving a lot of interest and amazing feedbacks especially in Ibiza.
I am also proud to present ‘Drum’N Voice Remixed’, a collection of remixes of songs by Billy Cobham, one of the most important drummers and percussionists in the world, a true legend for jazz fusion music. Remixes have been done by artists like Max Loderbauer & Ricardo Villalobos, Gerd Janson, Mark E, Folamour, Khidja, Danny Krivit, Lexx, Boris Dlugosch and more.
During the summer there will be a new single from Modular Project called ‘Vivid Poison’ remixed by Perel and Autarkic, and a release by the afro congolese singer Samba Mapangala called ‘Matadi’, a song remixed by me and Robytek.
In addition to Rebirth I have just launched Tempo Dischi, a new vinyl only label distributed by Rush Hour, to repress classics and rarities of Italian disco and afro cosmic music. The first release, Steel Mind ‘Boss Man / Lionel’ is out now.
‘Habanera’ by Shield & Robytek Feat. Katia Ricciarelli is out now on Rebirth / EGO Music