We had the opportunity to catch up with Massimo Di Lena, DJ, producer and one of the pioneers for the label Early Sounds. Read on…
Questions & Answers with Massimo Di Lena (translated from Italian to English) –
• Your music is lively and versatile, and in recent years has taken on a totally new form, what brings you to these changes?
My career began when I was 17, the age of complete ignorance of music, in the sense that I was unaware of a lot of the music that existed in the world, until I threw myself into that world. Growing, and above all, listening to music from all different styles changed my relationship to Djing and the way I produce.
• One thing that struck us was your response in regards to our request for a podcast to go along with this interview: You emphasized your DJ sets are very improvised and that a podcast would not express your personality 100%. What characterizes your DJ sets?
My sets are completely improvised, there’s no preplanned sequence of records. It’s nice to be able to create spontaneously during the set, to allow the public and their psychological status to dictate my musical path. In my opinion it’s not the speed or the power of a track that moves a dance floor, but the energy that’s transmitted.
• There are several projects you’re working on, where did the inspiration come from on your latest EP that just came out on Early Sounds?
The EP was born from the desire to express myself by not following specific standards of music for the dance floor. By following oneself, is the best way to express freely without restrictions of any kind.
• What is the direction for Early Sounds?
For us we already feel like we’re moving towards our goal, having received positive feedback from many people and the fact that we saw our first album (The Early Sounds Collective vol.1) get sold out quickly. We would also like to start producing other young talent (Italian or otherwise), but for now we’re good with the momentum and direction we’re moving in.
• In addition to the previous releases of Early Sounds, are there any future programs you want to talk?
I just started a collaboration with the British label, Prime Numbers from Manchester, owned by Trus me . Also soon (hopefully), will see two projects come to life from recent days in the studio with my colleagues Rio Padice and Joseph Russell. My ep “Hardlife” will be out on Early Sounds in February, and we’ll see the light of Rio Padice‘s album, and an EP from the third member of our label, Leskin.
• There is a project you are carrying out with Lucio Aquilina called TUFO. How did your collaboration with Lucio come about and can you tell us a little more?
TUFO is an experimental music project through composition and modification of instruments such as microphones and hardware, the way we use and process them. The first EP was released a few months ago on the Belgium label, Citywurl, not fully outlining the scope of our musical styles, but a taste of the sounds to which we are addressing. We are currently working on an album, for which we are employing the use of Neapolitan musicians (bassist, drummer, guitarist). The fact of having so many influences come from different heads is very exciting, we’ll see :)
• Lately the analog sound has been a bit on everyone’s lips. Are you a fetishist of machines, have a broader or less restrictive attitude towards making music?
I am definitely not a fetishist of the machines. I’m more someone who loves the use of organic sounds in production. I share a studio my friend and partner in the project TUFO, Lucio Aquilina- The studio consists of analog synthesizers, samplers, drum machines and microphones. I do not exclude, however, the use of digital software, especially in preparation to better manage the recorded material.
• Do you think quality is always rewarded with the attention it deserves?
Unfortunately it is a world where almost everything can be disposable, and this is true within the world of electronic music… just look at the videos that decimated the network, the artist that get more airplay, which digital music tracks are more charted with online stores. Speaking on behalf of myself and my partners of Early Sounds, our intention is precisely to avoid returning to this mechanism, “disposable”, we propose a music which is “timeless”, a product that will be appreciated regardless of trends and genres that determine historical moments.
• Outside of the house and techno world, is there is an album that is not necessarily your favorite, bit you carry forever in your heart?
This question is difficult to answer. There are many records that I carry in my heart and each of them gives me different feelings. “D’angelo – Voodoo” is definitely one of them.