Booz Exclusive InterviewJanuary 15, 2021
Interview Mike Moogi Mannnx & Mathew Mondo
Booz is an artist, DJ, and producer, that came out of the Italian Techno underground. He was a passionate drummer from an early age before his focus shifted to analogue sound and into studios.
He’s been releasing his music on labels as EDIT SELECT, ILLEGAL ALIEN, SUBSIST.ARTS, AFFEKT, and PROPHET. His label was born in 2017 with some of his releases getting remixed by RITZI LEE, STANISLAV TOLKACHEV, and others.
We caught up with him to get his views on life, covid and social media
MM: Nice one Booz thank you for talking to us at iconic underground. Give some background on your early influences socially and musically how did you get into dance music, what gave you the itch to mix?
B: Hi Mattew, thanks for the invite to Iconic Underground. Let’s say that my path has two phases, a first phase is spent in the 90s in Roman environments, where everything for me was a great game, where I started to take my first steps as a DJ, and a second phase in the 2000s, after my move to Naples, where I took everything seriously and started producing. Musically I was born a drummer, I started playing it around 1992 and with friends, we wanted to make a progressive rock band, but I was too loud in the house and the neighbors were not at all happy with my sound, you can imagine the noise in an apartment building.
In short, it didn’t last long, then I started going to a record shop in Frosinone, every time I passed it hypnotized me completely, I went in and spent hours thrown in there listening to a bit of everything and from there I was completely kidnapped by records, synthesizers, and drum machine. I remember the first approach with my old Roland 909 and I said: “damn I can play the drums without breaking my wrists, that’s cool!” To this, I then added synthesis studies and mix and mastering study courses.
MM: What DJ’s / Artists / Producers are behind your ever driving passion for the scene, and who would you like to work within the studio?
B: I would say that I have many musical references, and also very varied. If I were to stop at Techno I would be dead. I’d stop tomorrow. I developed my musical culture on Ultravox, Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, Jethro Tull, Talking Head, Joy Division, Jefferson Airplane, Kraftwerk… there is a lot of progressive rock in me, indeed I would say that it is also what is most missing today in the musical panorama, is just this sound.
From Kraftwerk to the first Drexciya, Maurizio, Juan Atkinson, Jeff Mills, Chris McCormack the step was really short
“Deep Sea Dweller,” I think is the album that has marked me most of all, together with Ploy di Maurizio. Then at the end of the ’90s, Mike Parker came out with Circulation, and then a whole world opened up to me. Well, let’s say that if I had a choice, it would be fantastic to spend a day with Chris McCormack and Mike Parker in the studio, two of whom I owe a lot of my sound. They would open again my mind.
MM: Walk us through the usual process of when you are in the studio creating your new tracks from the analogue outboard, midi, samples, and DAW you use and why. What is key in the whole production process?
B: I don’t know if there could be a key to this, each of us approaches differently and experiences it differently. For me, however, the quality and originality of what is produced, the sound research, and attention to detail remain important. My studio sessions are very humoral, to tell the truth, I can’t have a fixed methodology or a scheme…. entering the studio is always a delicate moment for me,
I have to have the mental freedom and the right inspiration
let’s say I have to be in the right mood. Having synth and drum machines in front of you helps this whole process because you can explore with pure dexterity, only with a PC I wouldn’t be able to have motivation.
When I start a new project, I always start from far away, the first question I always ask myself is: What do you want to convey to others? Can you transform it into what you feel? And that’s where my whole process starts. Usually, I start from life. I play for hours, what I like most is then recorded, and I tell you I record a lot, maybe even too much. I’m super critical with myself, let’s say that only 30% of what I do then sees the light, even making different music. I start by creating rhythms with the Roland drum machine, then processed with Sherman Filter, or
I take inspiration from modules and synths, recreating environments on which to develop a mood
MM: What’s the biggest thing you’ve overcome?
B: Unfortunately, I still have to overcome it. The death of my mother and my best friend within a few months, have marked me a lot, changing my character and further changing my vision of life. My mother was everything to me, and she was also the first to direct me towards music, of course, she would have preferred a pianist or drummer son, but instead, I hated those figures a little taken for granted, the DJ instead had a whole new charm, he was new, few did, in short, the exact opposite of today.
Eventually, I took a different direction but made her a promise, so I also have a visceral connection to this thing. Surely before these negative events, I was a much more extroverted person, I liked to always be in all situations, go to the party. Now instead I’m a bear, I even struggle to socialize, I have closed in myself in recent years, that today seeing me at social events or for the nightlife is impossible. They have been heavy years and I know that it will still be a long process, I have yet to go back to sleep peacefully, imagine how I am …
But that’s how life goes, you have to be strong and look forward
with trust, but I’m sure that I will become the best person after this story.
MM: Your standing in club / Festival/field tunes blaring on a rush to the outer planets and your thinking fuck this is real this is amazing… but fuck I’m bursting for a piss, ever happen and when…?
B: I’m not a huge fan of the masses, I’m also quite against the commercialization of the sector. Having said that, I still find it fantastic that there is a desire to experiment, explore, and above all “infect” musical genres, but we must always maintain the utmost respect for the history of that product. Some big artists manage to keep faith in these values, such as Dave Clarke, Jeff Mills, Oscar Mulero, Steve Bicknell (just to name a few) who I consider being among the best exponents we can have
MM: Back in the day DJs and producers had to put in some seriously long hours, dedication, patience, and money to learning the beautiful art and skills of mixing vinyl and producing original tracks. Now with the advent of sync buttons, constructions kits and templates are today’s electronic
B: Today everyone has an advantage, even
those who come from the analogue era can now get ideas from digital and vice versa
For example, one thing I regret is not having had the youtube tutorials when I started with my old 909. Today, however, everyone can overcome these obstacles and make good club music. Unfortunately, there is the downside that it is a sort of flattening of ideas with the digital era, there is a tendency to produce standardized music and little inventiveness
The Advantage 20 years ago was creative freedom, you had very little to copy and a lot to invent, and everything was truly original
MM: What advice would you give the aspiring DJ / producer today on how to be creatively original in an already saturated market?
B: Of course it’s to listen to a lot of music, above all from the past, to get out off the web, and to leave out the genres without fear, to absorb as many sounds as possible. The important thing is always remains to do what you hear and to not be limited by the circumstances that surround it.
MM: How is the underground scene progressing today and where do you see it evolving?
B: It’s really hard to figure where it will go, the thing is that now there are far fewer influences from the party’s, far less demand for hype music, and more freedom of expression… Now, and maybe even for the last time,
everything that comes out, really comes from within the artists
The only thing I’m sure of is that it will be a clever twist.
MM: If you ended up trapped on a godforsaken island with just your decks, a crate of spirits, and your vinyl case to your name, what would be the 10 essential cuts you need to have to survive and why?
- Vangelis – Blade Runner
- Kraftwerk – Radioactivity
- Galaxy 2 Galaxy – Journey of The Dragons
- Cybotron – Enter
- Chris McCormack – Redesigned
- Jeff Mills – Purpose Maker
- Infiniti – Skynet
- Drexciya – Deep Sea-Dweller
- X-101 – Sonic Destroyer
- Ultravox – Vienna
MM: What drives and motivates you?
B: Hard to say, I’ve been in it for so many years that for me it is natural to devote hours a day to music. Sometimes I miss music, it is my refuge, it is my necessity to make it, sometimes it acts as a mood regulator. I do it because it makes me feel good.
When I have to go and find motivation, it’s not a good sign, if I’m forced to do something it’s the end, I can’t do it not even for 10 minutes
MM: Love or hate it EDM what are your thoughts
B: If we talk about Edm from the origins I can only support it, but if we compare instead with the modern one intended as Big Room electro… I don’t know. Flying over the musical style, which one may like it or not, I am not very comfortable with everything that is Show for its own sake, and seeing people jump from consoles or shoot fireworks is not for me. Indeed, in those moments I think “What I do in this?”.
Music remains a serious thing for me
MM: What pisses you off the most about the scene / what do you love most about the scene?
B: Of the scene, I love the incredible wave that Techno has created and has been riding for years, a unique thing. When I started they said to me: “it’s a failure, it won’t last long without guitars and singers, concerts are another thing, that music can’t go on much…and Bla Bla Bla” it was 1995 … what has it become today? Here, for me, it is music that is breaking records, like rock or rap. Now, It is history.
What I hate instead are social networks, the exasperation for a selfie. I am old-fashioned but I still believe in meritocracy and talent, and I hope that in the future there will be more space in the scene for those who totally dedicate their time to the music.
MM: What are your biggest stand-out festival/gig moments where you thought ‘fuck this is real this is amazing ….’?
B: In an event in London at the Egg, about ten years ago, with Alex Bau. The dance floor height console and people all around were perfect for me. At the time, evenings in London were crazy, the audience was piled on top of each other but no one complained, what I noticed was the respect towards others.
This is Amazing!
On an evening in Naples, on the other hand, with Bicknell and my mate Giri, I enjoyed myself like a child, the kind of evening I love: our Idol, and 2 best friends, in the heart of Naples, all night long. What more could you ask for? I recently felt also the same warmth at the Temple in Athens, with the guys from really great Nomad, a staff who are immediately your best friend.
MM: What are the next big planned events and projects?
B: With this Covid situation, it is really hard to make plans, even if I continued to have proposals for the future, I am waiting for it to end to resume the discussion.
At the moment I am very focused on my Label, I want to make it grow and this year will be full of great artists!
With productions in the studio, on the other hand, I have many things coming out in this 2021, in particular, I am working on my second EP for Edit Select and my first LP on my Prophet. I also have a surprise this year, but I still keep away it confidential.
MM: Thanks Booz best of luck with everything!!!
B: Thanks to you Matthew for inviting me here and the nice chat, I wish the best to everyone. See you soon on the dancefloor 🙂