MARCO PASSARANI
interviewed by Anna Bolena

01. Are you ready to start?

"Yeah, quite ready..."

02. I know you are very busy at the moment. Do you want to talk about your last tour? Tell us about your impressions and feelings. Did you enjoy yourself? What about the audience?

Marco Passarani No problems, but it wasn't a tour really. Three dates in the same weekend so we can't call it a tour. Basically it was very stressful, and yet very cool. On Thursday I was in London for the showcase at Smallfish, one of my favourite shops. There I had the chance to meet many people that I usually can't meet and besides I played live with the J's Pool (an English band that releases on Nature as well) and this was exiciting! We had a lot of fun playing together... even if I had some technical problems and I couldn't play everything I wanted. On Saturday I DJed in the south of Belgium with Joost de Lyser (one of the best selections I've ever listened to) and Sandbenders (he played live). I played in the main room (that was too much "techno" in my opinion), however people were really open minded and danced to all the records I played! The last day of the mini-tour was in Notthingham on Sunday afternoon: a night called DeSelect which is organized by Kamal Joory & Alan K Fish every month. I really had fun there: it's a sort of pub where people dance and listen to alternative electronic music, and every month they invite someone to DJ or to play live. I can say those guys do like music and are really up for the electronic sound effects. I enjoyed playing live there.

03. Would you be able to describe the Italian scene at present, where raving has cooled in comparison with the past?

In the past the Italian scene was very enthusiastic and raved probably because there were a lot of novelties. Now this kind of music and parties... that's to say the movement as a whole is getting older and older, so that it's probably losing a little of its instinctual happiness & freshness. On the other hand you have acquired a greater consciousness and experience. I still feel very fresh myself, although in a different way and so probably do the audience: maybe they're more interested in the music itself than in parties.

04. Do you prefer to play in places in the north of Europe or in Italian nightclubs?

I like playing everywhere as far as places are the right ones for the kind of music I perform. Most times I prefer clubs because you can create a deeper atmosphere there.

05. Maybe it depends on different kind of music, your style is good for small places, but I think some kind of music is able to create a deeper atmosphere in bigger places: what do you think, anyway, about Roman parties on Fridays such as Blue Cheese or Agatha? They appear to be the only electronic scene in Rome at the moment.

It certainly depends on music. I'm talking about what I've been through, what I've seen and experienced so far. There's still some kind of music that could sound great if played in big rooms, but this is not a concern of mine. Most sounds I used to play have turned into something different and I prefer the deep side of it. I'm not interested in the parties you're talking about but sometimes I like playing there 'cause there are lots of people that never had a chance to listen to something different from the music they usually hear and to me this is an exciting challenge. I respect all these events 'cause (although their language is rather different from mine) sometimes they try to perform new things, and that's very hard to find nowadays.

06. Are you sure people involved in these parties are really interested in music and its quality? And what about your DJ colleagues and their attitudes?

I think people involved are interested in music - the fact is that they're usually interested in a different kind of music which I don't like. It doesn't mean that I don't respect them... everyone has his own right to do whatever he wants. However I hope their tastes are not influenced by an idea of music-business: no problems if you like commercial stuff. If you like it 'cause that could easily get you money.... Even if it is not good in my opinion.... yet you're free, do what you want. I mind my own business.

07. Don't you think there is usually a trend to play bad or easier music because we as DJs think that people are stupid or in any case they want to dance only commercial music? I think DJs are lazy sometimes. It is difficult to meet a good DJ who wants to improve himself and the audience with something new!!!

I think that most times people (and DJs too) choose easy music especially because it's the only kind of music you can easily get info about or find easily. How could we pretend that experimental music and underground music become more popular if no media deal with it? Unless you're not fond of alternative music, it's even hard to know who Aphex Twin is (he's one of the few genuine players of electronic music who gets his music on MTV's commercials and on the night video-rotations).... However it's true that most DJs are a little lazy... I agree with you, and so should you, when I say that there isn't so much which could make them wake up.

08. Ok, anyway we ought not give too much importance to media since we ourselves should act as "media", shouldn't we?

Yeah you're right in a way, but... how could you make music, distribute it, promote it, spread it... and at the same time be your own media? it's a question of time! 24hrs a day are not sufficient to do so many things. And besides, considering that they exist 'cause they have to inform people, media should deal with everything.

09. That's enough. Let's change the subject. What do you think about a few resources to improve our music, propaganda and infos. I don't think this is always a matter of money... maybe sometime we have not got any good ideas...

Basically our structures need a better organization, and we should be helped to get a good place to work in (where we have the possibility of performing our lives, a noise-proof room where all our projects from audio to video can come true). We need help in order to acquire the best resources and be able to establish permanent communications among all the scenes (ADSL could be the best one to maintain a continuous communication flux); recently something has changed, email & web pages make communications easier. I think we have plenty of good ideas and - once we are technically ready - a web-based magazine (a paper version for the Italian country where internet is not so strong yet) and a web based radio station could be the keys to a better spreading of the message.

10. You are right, however in Italy is very difficult to find money and resources for the realization of our best ideas. In our country all technologies are really expensive. Even if it seems things are going faster than in the past I am in touch with cool people who are brave and full of will. Let's talk about the Amsterdam scene, that's to say the last place where you played. Did you enjoy it? I know it's very different from the Italian scene.

That was great!! Probably the best "night" in my life! It was a festival with artists such as Phoenecia, I-f, Phako, Funckarma, Adult, Like A Tim, Barbara Morgenstern and many others. The place was the Paradiso club. An unique atmosphere, great music and great sound system. The audience was so enthusiastic and interested in meeting new artists... you can really feel that their culture is much more electronically oriented than ours, but the thing that impressed me most was the perfect balance between electronic concert and dance DJ set! Besides I saw good graphic art shows made with lasers, paint, computers, old computers and stuff like that.

11. So in other countries things appear to be running better than in Italy or maybe at the moment we need to collaborate with foreign artists to acquire or learn something innovative. Even if we have got good musicians, we sometimes could take advantage of multiconnection - it would be educational. On the contrary I often realize it's a self-referential vicious circle. You can have great parties in the places where is possible to listen to the same Roman artists [and that is good] maybe with a guest star [for example Cylob at SPAZIOKAMINO (a roman squat)] but where are communication and real links? Don't you think all people involved in techno scene should help? You are experienced in this, aren't you? Can you propose some good devices?

I think that everyone on the scene can bring something good for the others. that's the point. Foreign artists feel in a different way than us, and so we do. Exchanging our experiences each other we can create something good and strong at the same time. Devices? We have to work on a respect basis, so the best would be to meet, maybe in a party, maybe in a festival and then discuss about what we're doing. For those who run a label it's a bit easier 'cause in this case you can exchange tracks for compilation, remixes or whatever... real links then will happen.

12. Do you like remembering the time when you were a kid and started to become fond of electronic music? Did you listen to electronic music?

I worked in a videogames and records store. There I learned a lot about music 'cause the other guys who worked with me (they were older and more experienced than me) told me a lot about good music and played very good records everyday: from jazz to electronic, from synth pop to the earliest acid house tracks. I took care of the videogames side of the shop (I worked after school, in the afternoon; I started when I was 13) so I used to manage the computer and all those programs (trackers) and I started to combine my passion with the musical conception. I learned a lot thanks to those guys. I was very interested in Kraftwerk's music, Depeche Mode, David Sylvian and Prince.

13. Which were your first experiences as a DJ and your first musical collaborations? What kind of places did you play in at the beginning?

I used to have private parties with friends playing those records right before the house music explosion. It was exciting since I was very interested in movies such as "Beat Street" or "Breakdance". And one of my dreams was organizing huge parties where I could play my music. The real beginning as a professional player was in 1990 when I played at the first official parties thanks to collaboration with Centro Suono Rave, the best radio show for techno music in Rome.

14. I'd like to know your impressions about the first Roman raves where Lory D and Leo Anibaldi played.

The best party I've ever been at is "The Magic Eye" in Borgo Sabotino [near to Roma]. Lory DJed there together with other good DJs. The best one in my opinion was Andrea Prezioso... he was great! Lory was super as well. I still remember most records he played, it was 4:30 a.m.... and I had been completely blown away from his music. I met Leo's music a little bit later, and I liked him a lot too. The magic Eye was an unique experience for me and my friends.

15. What do you think about the Illegal Raves that took place afterwards?

I think that the feeling was quite similar at the beginning. Even if the soul and the conception behind it were different. As regards music I can say that at the beginning its quality was something better... especially because of the many good releases coming from everywhere in that period: UR ruled!!!! Later music was not that good, but people were still going forward, exploring the unknown, and discovering new states of mind.

16. Did you find many problems in pressing your records at the beginning? Do you want to say something in particular about your label Nature Rec.?

At the beginning it was very hard because the only choices I had were Sounds Never Seen and ACV. The first one was very hard to get into since it was the label representing the crew of Lory D, Andrea Benedetti and Eugenio Vatta and I was not part of that team. ACV was very good for Leo's music, D'Arcangelo's music and Micheli's music but it was very bad with regard to contractual terms. Nevertheless I had the chance to release my stuff on Detroit based label Generator (Alan Oldham's Label). He helped me a lot as he understood that I come from a "new" musical place and was very cool to me. Then Remix (the shop) helped me a lot to build my own label that I called Nature. I and Andrea Benedetti have formed an independent distribution network for our music, and after the very early days we met a good favour from people belonging to different scenes... This gave us enough strength in order to go on and resist till now and I'm proud of the hard-work we have done so far.

17. Are you satisfied with everything you can do daily?

I'm always satisfied whenever I do something, but to tell the truth I still complain too much. However I'm very happy about things I'm working on, yet I know that I can do better and I have to. You can never be completely satisfied... electronic music is also a philosophy for life... you can never turn back, you have always to go forward, you have always to work hard so to reach those places where no one has been before (Star Trek - The Final Frontier).

18. Concerning music making, tell me: what sort of inspiration does usually lead your work?

Basically I can get emotions from everything but one of the things that gives me more inputs is dreaming about science fiction and real science. Recently I've been impressed by all those theories about pyramids in Egypt and their bond with the Maya civilization. I suggest you to read a book called "Fingerprints of the Gods" written by Graham Hancock.

19. Do you have any other interests besides music?

I could mention few other things like science (as I told you before) or travelling, but at the moment I'm too much interested in music and I don't have time for anything else.

20. What do you think about TV Broadcasting and all those cameras so obsessed with people's life?

That's what people wanted. TV is monopolizing everybody's attention and lots of people would really like to be part of the game... the worst example is Big Brother [a stupid TV serial whose characters are common people living into a house full of video cameras]. I would be happier if TV paid more attention to good music instead.

21. Do you agree with copyright and SIAE for your musical productions?

I think that copyright is ok as far as it isn't a problem for those who want to get the music and enjoy it. What is wrong is the way the Italian company for rights manage it. I've subscribed in favour of the English company of rights 'cause they can better understand new music and its way of producing. SIAE is totally crap, it makes things go better for major-companies, it represents the old system that is afraid of losing its power. I'm totally upset about that. That's why I decided to face it every fucking day of my life under observance of the law, following all their weird rules... my aim is getting into the system and fighting it from inside like a virus.

22. And what about the Internet, do you use or abuse it?

I think that the Internet is the best chance for all those little and independent "worlds" which wanna spread their messages and get in touch with other similar worlds easily. Abusing it depends on its recent introduction I'm sure we won't talk about it in a few years' time. I use internet a lot and I'll never give up.

23. Do you think technology could be responsible for the evils in the world or is it only a fetish ?

Things in life can be good or bad. Even when you're in love... it sometimes can make you the happiest person in the world, sometimes can kill you. Everything must be related to men's attitude for destruction in the name of something. Unfortunately technology is generally bound to the big business which rules a little part of the planet while the rest is suffering. This is very bad. So in a way I agree with you... yet I still want to be optimistic... it can't be all like that.

24. And what do you think about pornography: can it set men free or become a new sort of addiction?

I think pornography is a sort of "way out", but it's a matter of choice, since it depends on the circumstances.

25. Do you use drugs?

What is the proper definition of drugs?

annabolena@tin.it
2001-02-12