Some say there is no such thing as coincidence, that the universe has a plan- in the case of Leo and Omar, the plan was for 15 years of friendship and collaborations to develop and form what is known as, Re-UP. A special duo who’s musical styles have complimented and fused together in a rare symbiosis. Together, they share their like-mindedness discussing history together, past and future projects as well as giving us some insight into their personal “best” and “worsts”.
Questions & Answers with Re-UP :
How did you guys meet?
Re-UP : We were born in a small cities near Venice, so it was just a matter of time before our paths crossed. A passion for a special kind of underground music made this unification so conceivable, eventually becoming something special within itself. Omar was a resident for a local party, and at some point had to go into the military service which is when Leo took over my residency position for a year until Omar returned and we started playing together. It was an unexpected collaboration as we were expecting to have separate sets, but luckily we developed a complimentary and natural understanding of one another, the strength of which continues to grow.
How did you get the name “Re-UP”
Re-UP : The name came about after we moved back from Barcelona. It was a way to let ourselves step up once again.
What do you think is the difference between djing as a duo versus solo?
Re-UP : Every Dj creates a sort of wave made from a mix of various sounds, and above all, the way in which those sounds transition from one to the next. A Dj needs to draw a story, combine different elements whilst meeting a logical thread. This is the creative edge that every Dj has available. Multiply that by two, and the result is an excursion more extreme and unexpected. There is also a factor of “surprise” given that each of them can take an unexpected turn, breaking a linear style and creating something more eclectic.
What were some of the earliest influences that got you into electronic music and how did that help shape your styles?
Re-UP : Radio was playing some quality stuff at that time, and there was a lot of streaming for good parties where one could listen to proper music. Unfortunately, we were too young to attend these parties and we spent years dreaming of our first night at a club.
There are plenty of good memories related to some special parties there after. People and music that we encountered during this time assisted in shaping our styles. If we have to pick 1 for each of us:
Omar : Brian Eno & David Byrne – My life in the Bush of the ghosts.
Still one of my favorite albums and reminds me everyday that there’s no limit in music.
Leo : For sure the moment I fell in love with electronic music was a special personal shocking experience, which happened when I was around 10 years old. My uncle was showing me his new car and at one point he decided to lock me inside it… On the cassette player was playing a Pink Floyd track “On The Run” at full blast. I was scared but fascinated at the same time. This electronic arpeggio stuck in my in mind in such strong way that I decided that electronic music was the one for me! The tape that shaped more my actual style is maybe “The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld”, I was 12 years old when my uncle (my musical pusher) recorded a copy for me and I fell in love immediately with the ambient atmospheres of this psychedelic technoid trip.
How do you view the Italian party scene and upcoming djs these days?
Re-UP : The Italian scene looks the same over the past years. There is always a great difficulty with sharing and pure cohesion because of too many hidden mechanisms that limit the growth of many good Djs.
Re-UP : Barcelona is the search for new ideas on a personal level first of all, but also for the desire of new musical input. The Spanish scene offers various opportunities- a lot of bars, beach parties, after hours and numerous events that merge art and music, as well as a greater freedom (both personal and by government). One memorable evening was in an art gallery in which an artist created iron sculptures while we were playing. When you arrive in a new city you think everything is more beautiful, but in hindsight we should recognize that the only real difference is in the audience. The Spanish mentality is designed for the party… alegría and going out to parties are part of the Iberian culture.
In terms of infrastructure, in Italy we have the best and most cutting edge spaces and locations from a technical standpoint. But in Spain we play in situations that in Italy would be considered Illegal. In the last years there’s a new bunch of promoters, which are doing the thing properly, investing efforts and time to make Barcelona a good place for clubbers.
Best and worst things about Barcelona?
Best: Alegria, Mujeres, playa y el clima.
Worst: The Barcelona party scene can be somewhat of a careless environment because things were organized in a superficial or improper professional manner. People were there to party without a strong appreciation for the culture behind the music.
Best and worst things about Italy?
Best: Food, Family time. Nothing better after playing than coming back to where we’re born and everything started!
Worst: A Political system made of injured people. This is surely a warning for democracy- we’ve allowed people to act in an illegal way for long time. We still pay the effects for that… Music wise, everyone talks about collaborations and good intentions to help the scene grow, but at the end of the day, seems they just care about their own backyards.
Luckily, there’s a new generation of promoters who understand that we need a change in mentality if we want to keep this culture alive.
Can you talk about your residencies and some of your favorite spots to Dj?
Re-UP : We were residents at some of the finest parties in the north of Italy and lately at TAG Club, the infamous after hours in Venice. These residencies had a great influence on our style and improved the research of that intimate feeling which is made by slowly evolving tracks. To name a few of our favorite spots to Dj, we have of course Tag Club which is home, Sunday Breakfast in Zurich, and recently Ibiza’s Amnesia Terrace with the MusicON crew!
Can you talk about your label, Kina Music, how that got started, what’s the focus and concept behind it…
Leo : Kina was a project originally created by myself along with Nico of Cosmic Cowboys. The first EP was released in late 2008, but in 2010, different musical tastes and opinions resulted in myself fully taking over the label, and this is when Omar joined in and Re-UP was given it’s personal imprint to the project. The concept behind the label is simple… It represents our ideal bag of records- this is why you can easily find some smoother tracks melting into some others which are more focused for the dance floor. Let’s say, we ‘re trying to strike a balance between the many genres we love to play out.
What do you think is the key to a successful label?
Re-UP : Well… It depends on what u mean by successful… For us things are going pretty well! We’re connecting with the artists we would like to collaborate with and we just started a Vinyl only series. We’re always thinking about new concepts to make the label a more interesting platform. Kina Music is considered one of the leading labels of the genre and we’re happy about it because everything came naturally, never forcing to release something for the hype of the moment. We’re also thinking to use the popularity we’ve gotten with the label to promote some acts of charity as well. If, instead, “successful” mean mainstream we’re far from this… luckily :)
Any future projects lined up you can tell us about?
Nelcorpo Album – A project that took more that one year to get finalized is finally ready to be released. It will be released as a triple vinyl / CD / Digital, bringing us to cities like New York, Madrid, Rome, Venice and London, among the others.
We have a remix on Leon’s imprint, Chelsea Hotel- we had been asked long time ago for that one… We love this remix, even if it took more than expected. Thanks Leon for the patience ;)
Our annual Kina Music showcase at Tag Club is taking shape these days- we just announced our line up with us along with Livio & Roby and Ferro.
We also started a new project a couple years ago called Wizz Music Tools, with the aim to share our knowledge in order to help new labels and artists facing this business in a professional way with friendly support. We built a team who’s working on this project with the same passion and dedication we would have, and major developments are coming!!
Re-UP : This past summer was a concentrate of emotions and first times. We had the chance to showcase at tINI and the gang in Ibiza- what an amazing vibe on the beach that day! We played twice with Music On at the infamous Amnesia’s Terrace, and have been invited to play the after party for the closing, along with Marco Carola. Thanks to Music On for giving us such an important slot! Last but not least, we have been invited to Cocorico in Riccione- it was a great feeling to play the Piramide… that place is an institution in Italy.
I think there’s something of the soul being passed around through this style of music that is rare and makes people smile. People find out that there’s a sound they’ve been waiting to fall in love with. Can you talk to us about your love for what you do and this musical style, what makes it unique?
Re-UP : We think it’s mostly a state of mind.
Both the crowd and djs are playing the main roles for a party. The Dj must be heading the ship, but always looking at the people’s reaction.
It’s like an hologram. Our Dj Set is a reflection of our state of mind and we hope to affect the crowd with that energy. In return, the public responds to us through dance, smiles, looks at the intersection of closing the “circle”- at this point the success of an evening is achieved through this continuous exchange between ourselves and the audience.
Within this process, different tracks solicit different reactions that shift the energy from one party to the next. Music is a way to connect people, and our role is figuring out the best way to transport them along this unique journey.