Dj Rocca talks plus r$n ears Exclusive mix
Having first come to prominence in the late 90s releasing music as Maffia Soundsystem Rocca has gone on to produce in numerous styles and under various monikers, a regular collaborator with Daneil Baldelli and Dimitri From Paris, we caught up with the man himself to talk everything from the Adriatic to working across various tempi… plus, the generous man that he is – he gifted us a superb exclusive mix ahead of playing for the first time at the glorious Electric Elephant festival this summer, too. Check that in the article body…
Where are you from, where are you now?
Im from Italy, and now I live in Reggio Emilia, a north Italy city very known for it’s cheese Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Who is DJ Rocca and who is Ajello?
DJ Rocca is me alone, I need my DJ name to do productions and remixes in every style I love, from Cosmic stuff with Daniele Baldelli, to old school House and Disco with Dimitri From Paris, from Deep House to Detroit, from Re-Edits to Dubstep. Ajello is a project with a friend of mine called Fabrizio, and were more into Italo Disco, Chicago House, Synth Pop.
Talk us through the mix you’ve done for us and the Elephant. It brings sunshine into this rain sodden London as I listen to it.
Im so glad to bring sunshine to you! This mix is a collection of some laidback stuff that make me feel good, with some new gems, and some old classics from my collection. Usually I dont play this stuff in a club, but I love to do mixes like this for my long journeys, in my car, on a flight, or by train
Adriatica is the new Balearia discuss.
In my opinion Adriatica has always been BaleariaI mean my side of Adriatic Sea, where Rimini was in the 80s and 90s the capital of the ClubsIve lived wonderful summers, comparable to the summers of Ibiza. Now the scene is more commercial and for tourists, so the good situation is moved on the opposite coast, that is Croatia.
Where would we find the the Italian Balearia/Adriatica these days?
In small underground brave clubs scattered around here and there along the Adriatic coast, from Venice to Brindisi
You share a bill at the Elephant with Mr Weatherall who’s recently remixed yours and Mr Baldeli’s Complotto Geometrico. I know it’s been laboured about a lot at the moment a lot but there really has been a slowing down of things in recent times – something which Gomma has often heralded in the past too. How important is this recognition of a tempo shift to the way you make music?
I really like doing slower stuff. I call this slowing down of things with an italian expression that rhymes: lento violentoit means slow violent, a 110 BPM kind of stuff that doesn’t miss the groove. If youre listening to the Baldelli tapes from the 80s you hear a lot of this slow tempo music, that influenced me a lot when making Another, our last album as Crimea X. I got a 90 BPM track in the album called NKVD that is a proper lento violento track. As for Sir Andy, me and Baldelli remixed his The Asphodells Another Lonely City track back in my studio, it’s out soon on the remixes album
On the flip side to all this, you’ve dabbled in and out of Drum & Bass throughout your career, what’s your attraction to the genre?
I was really into the early Drum & Bass, the Metalheadz stuff in 1995-96-97, or Good Looking and Moving Shadow stuffthat was a proper futuristic music at their timesdidnt care about the BPM, the big thing was into the sounds, into the drums programming, breaks culture, bass culturefresh air for my ears
Why can you never sit still in one tempo? 🙂
Because one tempo only is boring!
What’s the different nuances in your musical working relationships between Daniele Baldelli and Dimitri?
They’re two different styles, with Dimitri we explore the first rough House expression, when disco feeling still was into House, from freestyle, to spaghetti house, with Baldelli were more into Cosmic stuff, and of course slow tempo120 BPM is the boundary.
If your sound was a visual thing, what would it look like?
Like a good Risotto!
First and last record bought?
My first record I bought is still one of my favourite: Brian Eno & David Byrne My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts. The last one is a very hard to find boogie 12 from UK: Intrigue I Like It, produced by Andy Sojka, the man behind Atmosfear
This would seem a good point to drop Rocca’s superb mix, check it:
?You’ve been in the top ten at least twice a year for the last few years, How does it feel when you produce a chart topper?
To be honest Im so concentrated on my music, that I feel happy enough to live with the job that I lovedoin my music and see that my expression is liked by others is a new energy and inspiration to do better and better.
What are you obsessed with at the moment?
Drum Machines and RisottoI re-discovered my TR808, and TR707, but I want moreIm planning to buy CR-78 and a Casio RZ-1Ive seen that Mobys drum machines collection in a video, and made me so envymy other obsession is cooking Risotto, and in the last year I experimented lots of different kinds of Risottowith mushrooms, with pineapple, asparagus, pumpkin, saffron, sausages
Are you a kick drum, hi hat or a snare? And why?
Snarefor sure! I think more than a kick, its the snare to fix the tempo in a track, in every style of music
Where will we find you at the Elephant this year?
On the beach, but also dancing on the boat parties!
Complete the sentence: I’m proper Adriatic because.
I grew up with the Riminis Discotheques!
What’s your answer to everything?
Yes, Im a Yes Man
Finally, big question: Zapp or Zappa?
Both! Roger Troutman for funk, and Zappa for George Dukes keyboards