Listen to Ettore play and it’s obvious that he has a style of his own. Like a true music aficionado, however, he never forgets to acknowledge musical movements from past to present. With a record collection specialising in dancefloor material but spanning way beyond, it’s evident that he’s explored – studied – absorbed to profound depths to arrive at where he is now.
Ettore grew up in the south of Italy listening to Italian classics in his family’s home. At the beginning of the millennium he rode the riviera wave, studied music, played the bass guitar and somewhere in between took a deep liking to Britpop. When he moved to Rome in 2004 he discovered minimal music and spent infinite hours at record store and “haven” Ultrasuoni – an outlet that provided him with new worlds of electronic music. Today, he’s resident for Pragmatism, plays often for the best underground parties in Italy, checks in to other parties across Europe, all the while continuing to dig! Have a read below what he has to say, and don’t forget to check out his new podcast recorded for Say What? We’re sure you’ll love it.
Ciao Tarita & Bambi – my pleasure to speak with you. 2016 was a very important year for me… it was the first year that I began to see the fruition of my efforts, the results of what I’ve worked on for the last ten years and this makes me happy. All the dates with the Pragmatism crew – they were exciting and of course Club der Visionare with Lize was magic, my first time playing in Berlin. Now the New Year has begun, and I’m really hoping it brings me more.
A serious digger like you must have so many stories to share… absolutely no doubt that you’ve searched far and wide for records – from this journey is there a moment that you’ll never forget?
I remember once that I went to Berlin for a weekend, to go to Renate actually. I slept during the night and when I woke up I called Francesco, to ask if the party was still going on… Ricardo was playing so of course! I spent the afternoon in Renate, 4 hours in Francesco and I looked to each other and said let’s go to buy records. It was like we had attended a lesson and then we just had to do our homework. We took a taxi direct to The Record Loft that had opened just a few months before. You know, it was a special day – I bought records that have not since left my bag can you believe.
It’s clear that you’re interested in different types of music, from downtempo to the dance-floor. I know you’re not one for categorising music into genres, but we have a few questions for you…
If you could pick a track, EP or album that really blew your mind?
Alcachofa definitely! It completely played with my concept of electronic music…
The first time that I listened to the album it completely hit me – I saw it as a true culmination of influences that stemmed from such a number of genres. Before I was listening to classic house or techno, but with Alachofa I begun to hear in just one track – a real mix of wave, jazz, house…funk, which brought me to discover the world of music that I’m still absorbed by today.
An artist or group that you could always turn to at any time?
When I was young I was a super fan of Oasis – they initiated me into Britpop, from this grew a passion and a study almost… I quote another group : Sad Lovers & Giants.
An instrument that makes you go ‘nuts’ when it’s played?
I’ve always been attracted by the rhythmical parts of music. When I was 14, I started to play the bass guitar – I even went to a music school for 2 years, so yes it would have to be the bass that makes me go ‘nuts’.
Now what if I said “groovy”, which track would you share?
Mick Jagger – Running out of luck
How about “classic house”?
Chez Damier & Stacey Pullen – Forever Monna
And “broken beat”?
Kyle Hall – Damn! I’m Feelin Real Close
Or “straight up electro”?
I-F – Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass – Viewlexx 1997
So how would you describe your style, and how has it developed to the present day?
About my musical education… I can say that I’ve been inspired by many different influences -from my family that led me to listen the super classics of Italian music like Equipe 84, Mina and of course Lucio Battisti, through to the journey of my teenage years where I was totally enraptured by the Britpop culture and its sound. That was my initiation into electronic music.
Right now, I’d find it difficult to describe my style, because in the end I just follow the excitement that a track gives me, that it embodies and I translate this to represent me and the energy that I’m feeling.
Would you say that Italy has shaped your dance music life? You must have been witness to the development of the electronic genre across the country.
Italy has played an extremely important role in my music. I began to frequent clubs in the last period of the great house wave on the Bologna & Riviera coast, and from there stemmed a big interest – I really explored its history. For me, Italy in the 90’s had a first class role in club culture, comparable to the USA, UK and Germany – I was totally absorbed by the journey and personality of DJs such as Leo Mas, Fabrice, Andrea Gemellotto, Flavio Vecchi – the mystery yet emotion that surrounded them made me want to listen to their music, day in day out, it sparked the desire within me to dig records.
You also spend a lot of your time in Rome – you used to live there for 6 years in fact. Tell us about Rome. What makes you go back so often?
So in 2004 I moved to Rome, I started to go to Goa Club – this was where I got to listen to, know and love the minimal techno and minimal house scene that was at core of what was exploding all over Europe. I lived and danced to the years of this wave. They were really wonderful years, also important for my music formation because they gave me the chance to live the German sound of the early and mid 00s. And if I’m talking about Rome, I can’t not mention a place – a haven in fact – where I spent more than half of my time in this period: Ultrasuoni Records. Even today it is for me one of the best record shops around thanks to the boss and a very close friend of mine, Marcolino, such a great DJ too!
Is there one party in Rome that stays in your mind?
It’s very difficult to remember just one party after 12 years of going to Goa. It’s been great from the very beginning – from the parties held in partnership with Circoloco back in 2004 and 2005, through to all the times that Ricardo played for ‘exclusive’ nights at the club – to the present day where the club hosts the likes of Francesco del Garda.
But when you say exclusive, what do you mean exactly?
Around 2007 to 2009, each time that Ricardo played it was an exclusive event in the true sense of the word. If you didn’t know the promoter, you wouldn’t have been able to enter – if you didn’t have a bracelet, you wouldn’t have been able to enter. But now of course everything has changed.
You’ve played several times at Coropuna. But in fact there are a number of great venues in Rome – it’s a city characterised by its raw architecture that is infused by history – the perfect backdrop for a full spectrum of electronic music…
Coropuna is a new place – I love playing there. Each detail has been curated with the finest taste and in the end it’s this that makes the difference.
In the last year, as well as playing around town, you’ve also been busy with Pragmatism. Throughout the course of 2016 the party has invited Slow Life, Treatment, Libertine, Nicolas Lutz, Andrew James Gustav, Francesco Del Garda, Niff, Omar, and of course fellow Pragmatism resident DJ Tree. How did the two of you meet, in Naples? And as for Pragmatism, how did it all begin – who else is part of the crew?
The founders of the party are Giuseppe and Davide. But to be honest, there are many guys who make Pragmatism what it is today… I could say to you 20 more names and I’ll probably forget someone. As for DJ Tree I can’t actually remember exactly where we met, most likely some years ago at Robert Johnson (like everyone!). We’ve become very good friends over the last two years.
Is there a stand-out moment in your friendship with DJ Tree?
Hmmm…it would be the last Summer when we played back to back for Play for Today – as the sun was rising – on the beach of Calabria. You can imagine…an unbelievable energy!
Is there a stand-out moment in your residency for Pragmatism?
Pragmatism has always been something special. Each party and after that we’ve had has had a story with a raw energy entwined, which has fuelled our desire to organise the next. But to name one moment, it would have to be the afterparty on Mount Vesuvius, back in January 2016, where Andrew played in a house situated on one of the craters, yes! It was an unforgettable moment. I could also say the afterparty that closed the last season with Onur and DJ Tree.
We’re so happy about the podcast you recorded for the mag. It is amazing! Can you describe the concept behind it?
Like all podcasts that I’ve recorded, I tried to find a strong combination from both my music and my concept of the platform… so just listen and enjoy!
Interview contributed to and edited by Kaajal Shah.
Cover image by Alessia Musolino