For Lucy (Luca Mortellaro)making music is sometimes a painful thing. The Stroboscopic boss comes back to NYC on Feb 11th to play alongside Tommy Four Seven and NYC's own Subfractal. We caught up with him to learn a little about this beautiful pain!
CGNY: Ciao Lucy! Good morning! What’s going on?!
LM: Good morning! I’m good, busy. Trying to split my mind between gigging, producing and label stuff but it’s a good job!
CGNY: It is indeed! Well congratulations on a great year for Stroboscopic Artefacts. You’ve had a lot of great releases and I feel like the label has really come to the fore of the techno scene. And we’re excited that you’re coming back here to play on Feb 11th with Oktave with Tommy Four Seven and Subfractal. What can we expect from that night- what have you lined up for us?
LM: Well I always like to improvise in parties; it's something that I really enjoy about myself gigging. It’s that each set is very different from each other. It really depends a lot on the crowd, on the mood, on the place on the sound system. Some tracks I feel I can play in certain sound systems and not in others. So I always like to keep it open minded – go with the flow!
CGNY: I was reading that you started off in the publishing world, as an author! How did the transition come about from that to hard core techno producer and dj!?
LM: I don’t consider myself a hard core techno person. Like when you mentioned Stroboscopic being in the techno scene; we are often classified as a techno label but I don’t like to think that way. For me it’s just about electronic music I don’t think so much about particular genres when I select our demos or when I choose our artists. I like to absorb the mood we have around in the contemporary music scene, maybe adding something quite new in particular, an original you know? That’s why I don’t like so much to be boxed into a particular genre.
But yes my first artistic approach with the real public was through writing, writing words not music. Short stories mainly. Also some architectural pieces but they were not published. I wrote for some Italian publishing houses when I was living there. At that point I was already making music without thinking about any kind of release or contracts and stuff, just really for fun, for myself. Actually not really fun. It’s kind of wrong to say for fun for me because my kind of artistic output has been almost painful actually. It’s cathartic. That’s maybe why my music gets labeled as dark stuff because often it’s my dark side coming out. Like if I have something “black” inside of me, I need to take it out; otherwise it’s going to pollute my life. So you kind of ‘breathe’ it into an external object. And that’s something, to come back to your question, it's one of the few things that did not change from the writing of words to the writing of music. For example for my album, there is also some very light moments but the album format has allowed me to have some more space, to have the time and space in the architectural album sense to develop that black mass into something else, into a moving creature that evolves.
CGNY: Well whatever it is it's extremely danceable which is ultimately what I and many others are drawn to about your music because it just makes you want to get up and move!
LM: Well you know that’s the cool thing, when something so personal and so sincere and (being) honest with yourself as an artist gets translated into something that people can feel physically, you know, and can dance to it, and it's transformed also into body music, that’s kind of a magic if you think about it. It’s an extreme meeting point between something very intimate and something very collective like the dance ritual.
CGNY: So I just saw Dadub at Erratic NYC a few weeks ago here – one of the artists on your label.
LM: Yes Dadub have always been around from the very, very beginning in the sense that we realized to have a real record label with an artistic platform, we needed to also have a distinct sound treatment. From the beginning we discussed with Dadub about mastering and things and post production, really from the first release. Their sound has always been around in some way. They fully formed their musical shape and they felt really ready to go into the most public way, releasing full EPs and stuff only recently – like one year.
CGNY: Their set was great – very different – dub techno if you will.
LM: I really think that of the artists who’ve been collaborating with Stroboscopic, they are the ones mostly connected with the dub techno roots. Daniele came from the dancehall scene and all that. They give some kind of original approach to the way they interpret dub techno. They go so extremely far away that yes you can say its dub techno but you can also say its just Dadub!
CGNY: So Lucy when you’re starting to think about a track, what’s your approach. Do you have an idea, go in futz around on the computer and see what comes up?
LM: Let’s say that I don’t like to futz around on my computer! What I like to do is to restrain myself from going into the studio often, even when I want to until I feel that mood, that thing that I need to express is kind of exploding inside me and I need to run into the studio to get it out! I have to say that I’m more and more only going when I feel that way; not just for a track but that just the mood behind it is fully formed in my mind. Then I go to the studio and try to give a physical acoustic shape to it. That’s the way my mind works!
CGNY: Well there’s that similarity between writing and producing; you have to get it down on paper when the idea strikes you.
LM: Yes, the only big difference that I found, which is why I focused more on music writing than the written word, experimental electronic music is a much less ‘chained’ way of expressing yourself. Because linguistic grammar is always like, eh how do you say, very tight chains. With music it’s such more a universal language that goes beyond any language border without needing translation!
CGNY: Yes well we all speak techno as my friend Paddy says!
LM: Yes, everyone can speak techno!
CGNY: So and maybe you’ve already answered this question, if you weren’t djing and producing, what would you be doing?
LM: I do think that probably one day I will stop making music and I will just write again. Or doing both at the same time! But at the moment the music is satisfying me artistically. When I finish a track, EP or album, I feel good, I feel complete. I feel an organic relation to it.
CGNY: Have you played with Tommy Four Seven before?
LM: No it’s the first time we play together. We are very good friends, we meet quite often and we’ve collaborated, we’ve remixed each others work last year but it’s the very first time we find each other on the same gig so that’s very exciting!
CGNY: And it’s New York and it’s a Sama/Oktave party so it’s a triple header.
LM: Yes and the Oktave guys, I always have a good time with them. Last year at National Underground was something else!
CGNY: Well I’m sure Kevin told you – it wasn’t an official poll but your gig last year was definitely one of the Top 5 parties of the year. Looking forward to the Feb 11th gig Lucy! Thanks for taking time to talk to CGNY!
LM: Welcome see you soon!
http://www.facebook.com/events/223073044440177 for details of the Feb 11th event!