A couple of weeks ago we had a little talk with Davide Squillace, Italian DJ and producer, about his career, projects and “Gualicho”, his latest collaboration with Marcelo Burlon. Enjoy.
- Naples, Barcelona, Ibiza, Berlin, Miami, New York and Tokyo are just some of the cities in which you are popular, but your passion for the Techno and House scene actually began in London. Can you tell us about your experience in London? What struck you about this city and what was your favourite club there?
DS: Actually my passion came out of listening to the artists who played at United Tribes in Naples, a real clubbing revolution that took place in my home town in the early 90s. The impact that London had on me was more cultural – I felt like a kid in a candy store. I was lucky enough to be able to take part in everything the scene had to offer. London is one of the capitals of culture in all its aspects, and it made me grow up. At the time I used to go to the Complex and The End.
- What did you listen before starting your career?
DS: SanRemo compilations actually, haha! Other than that I remember that my mother had a records collection and often we sat listening to them on a Thorens turntable. We often listened to Michael Jackson, Madonna, The Beatles, Riccardo Cocciante and Fabrizio De Andrè.
- In '99 you went back to Naples and begun to make a name in the town where you grew up, how was the return to Italy?
DS: Well, I’d got used to the English way of life, so I needed from quite a while to return to the fold and get my energy back. Around the same time, Naples exploded and became like the Berlin of Italy. I wasn’t there for long though, I left again after three years.
- In the same year you signed on to study Sound Engineering, do you think that studying music theory is essential to break into this field? Or do you think it is more useful to keep experimenting?
DS: Actually I've always been self-taught, so I already knew about music and various instruments. What led me to want to study was the idea of getting into even more theory and mechanisms "behind the scenes". I studied acoustics, psychoacoustics, electronics and similar subjects. I do not think it’s been that useful on the practical side, but I’m now more open to a more specialised view on various aspects of sound.
- After Naples you moved to Barcelona, what were the main differences you noticed between these two cities and the Italian and Spanish clubs?
DS: I would say that Spain, as a European country, is one of the closest to Italy, perhaps even more relaxed than us. They have a history of good times and clubbing that goes back for more than twenty years - Ibiza is one of the meccas of the clubbing world. Right now I think both countries have a great energy. The "Latin" audiences seem younger than the northern European one, but they are demanding and know how to dance and have fun to your music.
- How has your style evolved over the years and what are the artists that have inspired you the most?
DS: I went from a footprint of more "physical" sounds, to more "ethereal" material, and slowly mixed them. Over the years you mature and gain more knowledge of the world around you, so this is definitely reflected in your music. Artists? Too many to name them all…
- From Berghain to Womb and Circoloco, how does feel to perform in front of thousands of people at these kind of venues?
DS: One of the most important things when performing in such different countries is to understand and interpret the various reactions of the crowd to different sounds. As I mentioned before, each country has its own needs and different physical reactions. There’s also a difference between playing during the year in a city or playing during the summer in Ibiza, or other similar holiday spots.
- Your constant research and experimentation in music led you to found labels such as Minisketch, Titbit, Hideout, and This and That Lab in 2012. Can you tell us what are you working on now?
DS: I always want to work on several things at the same time to keep myself interested. I’ve just come back from a tour in Central and North America, and between the weekends I’ve been in the studio in Los Angeles working on an album. This And That continues to bring us a lot of work and a lot of satisfaction. Running a label with only the music you like rather than what "sells" is a mission. Me an my team (This And That Lab) with Along Boiler Corporation, are also working on a very interesting project, Blender; our vision of how to tie clubbing to contemporary arts and technology. If you're curious take a look at our introduction video below.
- What has changed in club scene in the last 15 years?
DS: The digital age - the people in the clubs are always changing, but those who never attend the clubs are still giving out misinformation.
- How did "Gualicho", your collaboration with Marcelo Burlon, come about? Do you have other plans for the future?
DS: I’ve been wearing Marcelo’s t-shirts for a while, and we met thanks to a mutual friend. Our background is similar and we started the project for fun. We wanted to find a creative synergy, intersect two worlds already very close but still quite parallel, fashion and electronic music. So we got in the studio to make music and create mood boards for the T-shirt.
- What are your favourite brands at the moment?