Luca Donzelli is an Italian artist with many years in the game, and a classy reputation to match. Releases on the likes of hedZup Records, Moscow, Heavy House Society and Ransom Deep prove his skills in the studio too and with a recent release on likeminded, we spoke to him to find out what’s going on with him right now, and what inspired the recent “”Dat Astrocyte” EP…
Hey Luca, how are you, how has the last year been for you?
Hello party people! Thanks for having me 🙂
I’m really good! Struggling with some jet lag, but really happy for that!
I think everyone in this last year, was deeply stressed, a sad and negative part in themselves. One of most difficult things was to wake up in the morning and have no-targets, as our industry was stuck in this horrible purgatory. No one playing, so less music released and no way to get some inspiration from the weekend, that always has been the main spark to get back to the studio in the week! Luckily, this period was not long, so then I started to focus on new projects, around music of course. I always had in mind in these years. At the end I’m really happy how I managed the purgatory 🙂
Are you back to playing gigs now? How does it feel?
Yes, and I feel so lucky to get back to this kind of normality. I’ve just come back from a weekend in Ecuador, playing at legendary Lost Beach, so full of good vibrations.
One of the problems of this year for me, was to miss the connection with the people! They are everything for us! You know that moment when you are playing, and observing the crowd, to think which track you can play after!? I missed that a lot. I missed playing and dancing with the crowd, and knowing them, meeting them! I always love to go to the dancefloor, if I can, even in the parties I’m playing!
What did you learn during the pandemic year, what did you miss most?
One of the most important thing in this pandemic for me was to protect my mind, from bad thoughts and depression. Not easy when you are stuck at home all the day long. So probably this is the biggest thing I learnt in this year: manage myself 🙂
What did I miss? Taking away everything that revolves around music and our industry, my family and my close friends for sure, as we are living in 3 different countries!
What does being Italian mean to your music – does it give it a certain characteristic or sound?
I think that the country gives you a lot of influences of course, but it’s also combined with the generation you have around and how curious you are. When I started to go to clubs, me and my friends were a lot into “Made in Italy” parties. Alex Neri, Coccoluto, Dj Ralf were the main djs, and at that time swinging vocal house music was the main genre with some electro influences.
But in parallel, when I was alone at home I was getting to know electronic music through Carl Cox and John Digweed. So if you just get influences only from what you have around in your country, I think you get only 50% of the experience! I always loved to go deep and discover by myself new music and new artists, and that’s the other 50%, that for me, changes everything and evolves your roots!
Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?
We’re creative people. People who see any form of art and connect it to the music they do. I’m talking about a human and natural art, because our world also, has so much to give us! It is inevitable for me to be influenced by the everyday things in life, or even by memories. Everything that happens around me ends up in the music I’m making! I can’t keep emotions out. Without them, I believe that music wouldn’t have the same ability to give us goosebumps and give us indelible moments! Would be like a blank page of a book. EMPTY.
For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a ‘visualisation’ of the finished work?
When I start a new track, the first step, or let’s call it desire, is to recreate a feeling that I experienced in the club, dancing or playing. This is the basis for me. The visualization of the finished work, then comes during the arrangement. As I’m doing 90% of the track live, I imagine when I could play it and where. Then after recording many sessions, I find the right balance between the track and all the images I have of it in the club. So at that point, I get the last input, to finish it.
What inspired the likeminded “Dat Astrocyte” ep – where and when was it written for?
I made the entire EP during the first lockdown! April 2020. Was the time when I realized we were going to stay closed longer then June 2020, so I said to myself: do what you feel, all these tracks that you never had time or balls to do it, just do them now. And so this ep came out.
Are you making tunes to play in your own sets, with certain clubs and situations in mind?
Many people that saw me in the studio, told me that I have to arrange live shows with only my music. Like Ableton Live set. Because of the approach I have to make music. When I’m producing, I’m thinking always “where I am going to play this track, at what time of the night/morning?”. If I’m playing in club or festival, day/ night time. So as I said before, the fact that I’m recording various sessions of the track before to decide where to go, helps me to get the perfect result (for me) between what I had in my mind, and what I really need in my set! Trying to feel if it needs a longer structure, less drops or more energy! So definitely I’m always thinking to play what I’m producing.
Your tunes often hit the top of the charts – is that feedback useful, do you bare it mind when making your next tune, knowing what worked etc?
I am a very passionate guy. So every time I start something new, from scratch, I’m trying not to be influenced by what worked and what didn’t. But over the years I learnt that it is important to give your touch to the tracks, so people can recognize them in a set, even if the song didn’t come out. So sometimes I’m going to some presets or rack I’ve done and saved to start from a bass sound that I already used, or an effect I’ve used in other tracks, and start from that point. So you can hear where it comes from, but it’s always new and fresh.
What’s next, what else you working on?
After this special EP on likeminded, I have another one coming on Mindshake in September, that is receiving already big plays from Enzo Siragusa, Eats Everything of course Paco himself, and it’s a great evolution from the EP on likeminded. After it, there is a couple of remixes, one track on vinyl, and more Eps coming, but everything is in process, so I don’t want to say anything as I’m a classical superstitious Italian guy. 🙂
Luca Donzelli EP “Dat Astrocyte” feat. Jansons Remix released on likeminded is out now
Grab it here