How do you keep your work fresh and continue to evolve?
Honestly speaking, nothing is planned. I was always a curious and hungry music fan ever since I can remember. The day I will understand that I’m not good enough for this, I will immediately stop the label. I don’t want keep it going just because it is my main work and I must keep it going. That’s bullshit. Do what you love and what you feel, always.
What’s your favourite Mannequin rumour?
I’m a direct person and sometimes that can be a problem. When you tell to somebody that he’s bullshitting you, you know how it works. You will be the asshole and they will be the good ones. Most of the times truth is somewhere in the middle. I can be an asshole, too. I had many fights and many bad moments. But, as Greeks used to say: “πάντα ῥεῖ”.
On what future projects is the label working on now?
We have just launched a new series called „Death of the Machines“ in which we are releasing singles from new artists we respect, with a focus on the dancefloor. Besides that, my usual archaeological research continues, with many new reissues coming out soon: Plath, Flo & Andrew, Nacht’raum, Fred Ventura, Zombies Under Stress, Orphx, Din A Testbild and more.
Mannequin also releases contemporary bands/artists like Soviet Soviet, Police Des Moeurs, Jasss or Heinrich Dressel. How do you find them? And what does a contemporary artists need so that you consider his work for a release?
New artists, if they want or not, have to look at the past, do a reinterpretation of it and give it a new soul. Most of them, unfortunately, fail trying. And much music sounds like copy of a copy of a copy. It’s important to always keep your identity and to transmit real emotions when doing music. The audience will tragically recognize what is fake and what is not. I personally listen to every demo we receive, but sometimes it could be that a friend is bringing something to my attention or I see something in the internet. I do think that every media is absolutely necessary to have a proper vision of the good things that are coming out. And an advice from a friend counts more than one thousand reviews on Pitchfork, which anyway belong to the US/UK press agencies mafia. I really thank Groove for this interview in fact. It was totally spontaneous and natural. That’s how a music journalist should work, it should always be curious and always looking for the best music around, not just waiting the press download link from the usual agencies.
Stream: Alessandro Adriani – Crow / White Swan (Mick Wills Edit)
Do you think that Rome had and now Berlin has a strong influence on your work?
Many people think is more simple to make music or run label in Berlin than in Italy. I can tell you from my experience that here in Berlin you can meet a lot of DJs and musicians just hanging around and so you are directly influenced by many visions; some respectful, some others less. There’s always somebody around trying to take advantage of you. It is always important to keep your eyes open and don’t give 100% of yourself away. I don’t think that living in Berlin is making my labels bigger or better, but clearly it is making a big part of the pie. The connections you can create just living here are really incredible. I think it happens the same in places like New York, London or Los Angeles. In Italy, unfortunately, it was always hard to develop the label. There are different dynamics going on and for some reasons I understand them. 50% of the clubs I am going to in Berlin would be shut down by the Italian police the same day they open. There are a lot more controls, more bureaucracy, and of course it costs much more to develop a proper space to party. I have been living in Berlin only for few years, but my first time here was in 1996. I think the touristic component of clubbing is getting a bit too much. You can’t stop it. It’s a natural process. 8-10 years ago going to a techno party from an external point of view was generally considered for people who only take drugs and shit like that. Now it seems as if the situation has completely changed. More and more people are drawn to Techno music and its world. Something has also changed naturally in the audience itself. Look at our Mannequin party at Ohm: we are only booking friends of the label and people that I know in person and who were supporting us during all the years. I want to create a friendly environment, where you enjoy quality music and have a great time. I think we are working good in that direction.
What are some of your favourite places to hang out in Berlin?
I’ve been living in Berlin since January 2013, so almost four years. I don’t really have a favourite place. I would say to chill out and relax my studio, to drink something at Cafe Futuro (the owner is Francesco Scala from Slow Motion Records). To party you have plenty of places but my favourite is definitely Ohm, a spin-off of Tresor. That’s where we are doing every two months our Mannequin Records nights. I like Ohm because it has the right dimension to connect artists with their audience and vice versa. It’s a 250 capacity place when is super full. There is definitely an industrial vibe that you breathe in there.
You are a producer too: how does the music you re-release inspire you for your own artistic work? How regularly you visit the studio and produce? And what is coming next?
Under my own name, I have never released anything on Mannequin. I was always looking for a label to release my music, in order to have a feedback from other people, to improve myself and to show that is not easy at all to be on your own label. I think it is a strong message to the bands who submit music to us. In terms of production, I don’t really have a method. I’m not a professional musician. I really like to be in studio and jam, experiment and try out a few things. I know very well every machine I have in studio and that helps a lot. I like to find the limit of each machine and find out how I can make them sound differently. In the last year, I was sharing a studio space with Lee Douglas (An-i) and I learn a lot from him. He’s a great and talented producer. A creative mind, that you don’t find often around. Inspirations to me are really various. I listen to different music, from The Stooges to Piero Umiliani. From Italian horror soundtracks to New Beat. My influences are really different. I never tried to absorb them in my music but at the end an influence must be there, somehow. The next release I have planned is a 12″ for the label Jealous God. Thanks a lot to Juan Mendez for this opportunity, he knows how much I respect him and his work. And he knows too that I don’t kiss anybody’s ass.