Lerosa is the alias of Leopoldo Rosa, an Italian DJ & Producer who relocated to Dublin in the mid 90’s before coming to prominence with a series of productions for labels like Uzuri, Osgut Ton & Million of Moments – productions that range from Drexciyan-inspired electro through emotive techno to the rawest house. In addition to his studio talents, Lerosa is also an acclaimed underground DJ with a reputation for whipping eclectic selections of house, techno and Italo into heady dancefloor mix.
Ransom Note caught up with Lerosa ahead of him playing the final wonderful and fantastic Thunder of the year (the last in their current venue). He shared some fine thoughts on synth collecting, growing up with Italo and, err…crisps.
Ireland isn’t the obvious place for a DJ/producer to move to, what are the benefits of life on the Emerald Isle?
When I moved here I had stopped Dj'ing for a few years already and had not started producing yet. I think the main lures were that it was not Rome, which I was sick to the teeth of, and that I found Irish people very intriguing.
Was it hard leaving your home country – do you miss Italian food (I miss it and I’ve never lived there)?!
It was not hard, quite exciting to go a-wondering and become self-sufficient…I can cook so the food is no big issue besides I love eating all sorts of food…having said that I do love Italian food when I go back.
How does the club scene in Italy differ from ones in Ireland or the UK?
I haven't lived in Italy for 17 tears, I wouldn't have a clue, I can speculate the Irish scene has twice the craic but only a fraction of the sunshine.
What kind of set-up do you use for producing – are you a less-is-more man or do you have 500 vintage synths?
I use a hardware sequencer and three hardware synths, none of which is analogue, and use software for mixing and editing…I like a functional studio where I can get my ideas quickly developed from scratch and just as quickly recorded. Before I buy anything new I think about it long and hard as I don't like to spend money on things I don't use or don't give me a lot of bang for the buck.
You have spoken about your dismay at the amount of derivative Chicago house style tracks that flooded the scene in recent years, so as fan of New York house, how do you feel about the same thing happening to that genre now?
Ach, he who is without sin cast the first stone…At this stage I guess I'm OK with whatever everyone decides to release, derivative or not…in general if it's New York garage house I want to listen to I go and hunt for some MK dubs or MAW rather than listen to some French dude going to some embarrassing lengths to sounds exactly like an old MK dub…but yea, it's not a big bugbear.
Which current producers and DJs excite you?
I can't think of one particular producer, there are many doing different things that I like, Dj Spider from Chicago, Ekman, Storm Queen, Frak, the Paranoid London label, Willie Burns…DJs that 'excite' me I think Joe Hart and Andy Blake of World Unknown are what I call exciting.
You are a talented producer but also an exceptional DJ, why do you think so many talented producers find it difficult to make the transition to be good at DJing? Surely the basic principles of making people dance apply?
Thank you for the kind words. As any DJ who tried their hand at producing can tell you, they are two very different disciplines. Being accomplished at one does not imply that you'll get the hang of the other, it's down to aptitude I guess. I started as a DJ, took a long break from it, re-started as a producer and then took up DJing again. I had time to develop both skills separately and I treat each as its own thing rather than a continuation of the other although there is a certain amount of cross pollination when doing either.
What’s your dream DJ Line-up – dead or alive?
I'd love to have been able to see Ron Hardy or Larry Levan in their prime.
Did you grow up surrounded by Italo disco music or was it something you discovered as you became immersed in electronic music?
I think I grew up with a lot of Italo on the radio but I only learned it was Italo once, many years later, I came across viewlexx and Irish people who have a serious fetish
for that kind of music who pointed out to me that a lot of that terrible cheesy pop music had a lot of soul and was central in the develpment of house and techno.
Are you looking forward to Thunder and a return to London? What should the dancer expect?
I'm very much looking forward to it, it looks like a well-established night, organised and attended by people that love real underground music and love dancing to it so people can expect a fellow freak who loves dancing to great tunes 🙂
New York or Chicago?
Nu Groove or Dance Mania?
The Burrell Bros or Larry Heard?
Coffee or tea?
Wine or Guinness?
Tayto Crips or Walkers?
See on the 16th!
Some Lerosa highlights:
Heavy new remix for Christopher Rau; http://soundcloud.com/neverlearnt/christopher-rau-marbled
Timeless piece of house from 2010 on Uzuri –
Great Vocal track from last year – Horizons
Fantastic bit of dubby techno from his debut in 2005