Rocco Universal: The ‘Shine A Light On’ Mix


We were intrigued to speak to Rocco Universal about his self-described "genre-bending music for love making." Somewhat of a global nomad, moving from Italy to the UK and spending time in Asia, Rocco Universal is Patrizio Cavaliere's kitsch alias. Following his recent debut release on Leng records, 'Tiny Islands', and before his upcoming release on ISM, we caught up with him for a chat. His words and the mix below have helped us discover the force championing sounds from a rich melting pot of Italo-influenced honey, where retro production methods, funk and disco sounds marry with those of Chicago house and Detroit techno.

Download the mix here:

Who are you, where are you and what are you?

I'm Rocco Universal, I'm a disc-jockey/producer/guerilla gardener.

What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?

I can't lie, my niece Mimi drew this.

Where was the mix recorded?

It was recorded live at a party me and my chum Ben do called 'Cosmic Soup'.

What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?

I guess in a boxercise class, or possibly at a bunga bunga party.

Suitable listening attire?

Lycra, or nothing at all.

What would be your dream scenario for recording a mix: location, system, format? 

At beach rave where everyone's having a right good bop, with a tight sound system and a pair of 1210's. I don't even care if there isn't a rotary mixer as long as everyone's having a jolly. I much prefer recording mixes live as it can be tough to get vibed up and horny staring at your living room wall.

Do you have a favourite track in the mix? 

I'm sorry to be a drag, but it's a toss up between Bianca Chandon and Co. 'Best of Friends', Velvet Season and Hearts of Gold 'Love Generation' and Kiki Gyan 'Disco Dancer'.

Favourite recorded mix of all time?

There was a Daft Punk essential mix back around the time they released homework which was a game changer for me. It included DJ Deeon '2 B Free' which is a record I paid well over the odds for (on Dance Mania, annoyingly got a repress last year I think). Around the same time, there was another essential mix by DJ Sneak that had loads of disco cut-up Chicago House on it. They were both cracking and hit the spot for me at the time. I pay less attention to DJ mixes and more on individual records these days, so I'm sure there's plenty I've missed!

If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?

I have to say François K, because I always admired his output, though to be fair I've not heard him play for a long time. More recently, I think Hunee is brilliant. Basically, I dig it the most when people aren't one dimensional with the music. I love hearing grubby Detroit techno mixed out of string heavy disco or stoner rock, for example. I get pretty bored listening to the same shit all night.

In 90s cartoon, Rocko's Modern Life, a loud-shirt wearing wallaby relocates to the U.S with his dog, Spunky, to find the American dream isn't all it's cracked up to be. Give a brief synopsis of the cartoon version of Rocco Universal's Modern Life: 

I'm very glad you asked that because I've been working on a storyboard for just that. The parallels between the two stories are striking, but in mine it's not the dog but the femme fatale that's called Spunky. The lead character sets sail for the colonies in search of an amulet reputed to endow it's owner powers of seduction. I won't give away the ending, but it's a bit like the love child of a three way between Mills and Boon, Magic Realism and Self Help in cartoon form. I got a fax back from Disney expressing a great deal of interest, but it went a bit cold when I insisted it was animated with plasticine. 

Describe your DJ set up:

A pair of Technics 1210's with an old Vestax scratch mixer modified with a Dymo sticker that says 'Patty is cool' on it. I believe this reduces low frequency rumble.

What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?

That might depend a little on whether the jock preceding or following you is clambering all over you to plug in his or her Traktor controller, but assuming they're not, I'm gonna say the last track because that's the one that the tricks go home humming.

What were the first and last records you bought?

The first was Dee-Lite 'World Clique' when it came out, which is still great. It may lead you to believe that I had precocious taste in good music which is, in fact, untrue as my second purchase, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack, will reveal. But hey, I was 13. The last record I bought was the brilliantly named German disco dude Steve Bender 'Final Thing'. It's the instrumental you want, the vocal mix sounds like a 70's euro-porn soundtrack.

If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?

Pasta al Forno. Hearty like and with meatballs.

What would its spirit animal be?

What are those monkeys called that have a nose shaped a bit like a giant winkle? One of those.

One record in your collection that's impossible to mix into anything?

I dunno, anything old with a live drummer and not recorded to a click can be tricky, but in these cases you just gotta get the job done quick. Like love making. In, out and put the kettle on.

Upcoming in the world of Rocco Universal/shameless plug alert: 

I'm playing at the Midsummer Terrace Party at Prince of Wales in Brixton on 17th June, and at various events for my ever fantastic Turf family over the summer. My latest record, ‘Tiny Islands’, is in record shops now on the wonderful Leng Recordings, and I have a couple of EP's worth of new tracks that I just got back from mastering and now need to get busy sending them out to labels. 

Anything else pressing?

Be nice to each other, give your Mum a hug, and remember that borders aren't real and we're all brothers and sisters when you vote in the EU referendum.

Follow Rocco Universal on Facebook HERE

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