Cxemcast 043 – Alessandro Adriani
You’ve been living in Berlin for several years already. Are there any places that you love the most?
I’ve been living here for almost four years, since January 2013, and during this time I couldn’t highlight one single thing. I like spending my entire free time in the studio. When I want to grab a drink, I go to Cafe Futurio to my friend Francesco, who is the owner of the place and also the boss of Slow Motion label. There are many interesting places in Berlin and when it comes to clubs, then surely I prefer OHM, where the parties of my label - Mannequin Records – are held every two months.
Why do you like OHM?
There you can feel contact with the audience: it is a small club that barely holds 250 guests and its scene is situated on the same level with the dance floor. When I throw parties there, I invite mostly my friends – those people, who have been supporting the label for years. I guess, OHM used to be a boiler room before and, just like Tresor or Kraftwerk, it has this specific atmosphere, associated with the location in the industrial part of the city.
Many local DJs and musicians can be spotted there, right?
It's true, but they actually can be seen everywhere in the city.
Do you think the possibility of such random encounters turned Berlin into one of the world music capitals?
I do not think that it is the only reason, Berlin is exceptional in different ways.
It is easier to make music here than in Italy?
In Italy I would have never opened my own record label. I simply could not have done it. Half of the clubs, which I attend in Berlin, would be closed in Italy once opened. The course of life is different: there are more control and bureaucracy, so it is much more complicated and expensive to open a place for parties.
During our recent conversation, you said that Berlin audience in clubs lacks ‘savagery’. Why?
I didn’t live here long enough to draw any comparisons. However, I think that people used to regard club as a place, where everyone takes drugs etc., but now everything has changed dramatically. Many people really understand and appreciate dance music that has also changed for better.
What can you say about techno? Seems that it has already left the underground, doesn’t it?
Not completely, but everything is leading towards it. Do you remember how a famous Hollywood actress talked about her visit to Berghain during one of popular American show?
Do you try to unveil what was prior to techno with your label?
Mannequin Records isn’t linked to techno, its main goal is to find undervalued groups or republish rare recordings of the late 70's - mid 80's. On the other hand, I ask modern producers to remake tracks from previously issued on their own manner for some records. For example, it was the case with Ancient Methods and An-i, who took up Bourbonese Qualk and Musimeci.
Is it something like a copy of the popular 90's?
Yes, it's kind of what happened with minimal synth and dark wave scene. Young artists, whether they want it or not, look into the past, rethink it and try to put soul in it, because otherwise music begins to sound like a copy of a copy.
Do you help Italian musicians?
Yes, I help artists from Italy with releases and promotion ever since the launch of the label. I often organize joint performances featuring bands from Italy and other countries in order to make them known a bit. This has happened, for example, with Led Er Est and Opus Finis. I remember, the album by Mushy aka Valentina F. became the album of the month on Rough Trade in 2012 - it was something amazing. Lately I have been working less with the Italians and been doing more re-releases, but I think everything is going to change in near future.
Is it difficult to find people from the past, to negotiate with them? After all, some have been long gone from music or even died.
I won’t lie - rather difficult situations occur. Sometimes it is impossible to agree with the artist - they don’t want to even hear about a re-release, for others, as Danza Meccanica, I had to search for 5 years. Working with in republishing field is, on one hand, like an archaeological research, on the other – like sociological and psychological experiments. Well, at least it has become much easier to reach people with internet.
Who do you dream to republish?
There is a legendary band - Solid Space. Everyone wants to get them, but, as far as I’ve heard, they are against re-release. I remember that a few years ago, I dreamed about releasing Italian band called Weimar Gesang, who put Milan on ears in the 80's, but again they were against it. However, one of my dreams came true – the reissue of Bourbonese Qualk, which I am proud of.
Do you think that Post-punk / New wave music is the future of club life?
I don’t think so. Nowadays many techno DJs begin to dig into the forefront of the club scene and discover bands that played EBM and industrial in the 80's. It all started in Belgium, Germany and Holland.
On the other hand, Optimo’s So Low compilation or Contort Yourself label push to the conclusion that this music is becoming more popular.
What are your plans for the future after all these remixes and re-releases?
We have recently launched a new series of releases titled Death of the Machines that includes only new artists. The first two 12" are from Jasss, talented Spanish DJ and producer, and me. The next year we already have several releases planned.
What about your own music, what ideas do you put into it?
It is important for me not to publish on Mannequin, I'm always looking for a new label to get a feedback from other people - it helps with self-development and the evolution of music.
As for writing music, I have no method. I am an amateur musician, who likes to spend time in the studio, play and experiment. I know my machines and it helps me a lot. I want to reach each instrument’s limit of merit. Last year I shared the studio with Lee Douglas / An-i and learned a lot from him - he is a talented producer and such a creative, I’ve never met anyone alike.
Which is your favorite instrument?
I’ve got mostly classical instruments at the studio, so my answer is not surprising. These are Roland TR-808, Korg MS-20 and Roland SH-101.
What kind of music does inspire you?
I listen to different music: from Stogges to Piero Umiliani, from Spacemen 3 and Psyche. Different music gives different inspiration and, although I never tried to imitate someone, it influences my work.
Will the Italian local scene to knock out a place under the sun?
We have artists to be proud of: Donato Dozzi, Lory D., Marco Passarani - they are real masters. I respect the guys, who run Macao club in Milan and Elsewhere in Rome - keep it like that up! However, as I mentioned at the beginning, local situation is not simple and it will be difficult to change something.
Interviewed by Bohdan Konakov