Nicholas, the up and coming Italian producer is undoubtedly one to watch. On the occassion of the release of 'Back On Track', we decided to ask the Perugia born artist a few questions.
Born and bred in central Italy, the 26 year old Nicholas Iammatteo undoubtedly loves house music. And he has proven it time and time again with his slightly less than a dozen official releases, and just as many unofficial vinyls. However, Nicholas isn't exactly a household name just yet. But this could change quickly with the release of his latest project - a compilation of reinterpretations of classic house records that were released on the once seminal New York-based label Nu Groove. And on the occassion of the release of 'Back On Track' we decided to ask the talented, up and coming Italian a few questions about his musical background, the compilation, and what he thinks of Italian club culture.
INterview: NICHOLAS (PERUGIA)
What was the first record you ever bought with your own money? Do you still have it?
It was DJ Camacho 'The Camacho' EP. It’s the first 12” I bought. Still have it, there is a super party rocker in there called “Macho da Macho”, recommended tune.
How did you initially become involved in the dance music scene?
I’ve always been into dance music from when I was a kid. First it was the commercial stuff that was very big here in Italy (which is still fun to listen nowadays) then my interests naturally moved towards house, techno and disco.
What came first for you – DJing or production?
Production is my first and only thing. Even now I’m not properly a DJ, when I go out to clubs I perform a live set of my own material, I don’t mix other people records, so technically I’m not a deejay.
Your latest release, 'Back On Track, is a collection of reinterpretations of classic New York house from the Nu Groove imprint. How did you become aware of the label? After all, it closed down in 1992, and you are 26 years old...
Once I got into proper house music I had no idea of what was classic house. It was while going to a local club called Red Zone that I discovered that the best house music was made in the early 90’s. So from that moment on I’ve started researching throughout the roots of house music and during this hunt Nu Groove stood out from the very beginning. I loved the dubbed out feeling and murky vibe that most of those tracks have. So from then on I started buying every single Nu groove 12” I could get a hold of.
Was working with a 100 plus release catalogue in any way a daunting task? Did you go through every single release, or did you have a concrete idea of what you wanted to include beforehand?
Unfortunately I couldn’t choose from the whole catalogue. Needwant was in contact with the Burrel Brothers so all they could license were those NG records that were actually produced by the Burrel bros themselves. So basically it came down to not even 25-30 records to choose from. The decisions were based on what original material was best to work and play with, that’s the only criteria I used.
Has the label's entire catalogue been digitalized? Did you in any way rely on old vinyl records?
I don’t think the catalogue has ever been fully digitalized other than some random cd’s that include just some of the original tracks usually in short/radio versions. So basically I had to relied only on the old 12”s that I had.
How long did it take you to complete the record?
I worked on it at least three months on a daily basis.
Biggest challenge you faced while working on this release?
Trying to make things sound clean. It was very difficult considering the rawness of the material I was working with. Other than that the biggest challenge was probably to try not to ruin the originals and make something that could stand up to their level.
You sometimes also collaborate with other artists. What's the best thing about working with someone else in the studio?
Actually I’ve collaborated only a few times with Simoncino, that was all to be honest. It’s fun, it keeps things more interesting and it’s always good to have someone else’s point of view.
And the worst?
Fighting on the song title, hahah!
Perugia isn't widely known for since dance music scene, what's it like, then?
It’ rather good I have to say. There are many great deejays, some of the best I’ve heard worldwide! Maybe not famous but better than a many of the big names out there. There is a great music culture here in Perugia, maybe not enough chances to show this talent to the rest of the world.
How about the rest of Italy?
There are some places with cool things happening, like Bologna and Torino. But in general I don’t like the clubbing scene here in Italy (with some exceptions of course). There isn’t enough appreciations toward Italian dj’s and producers, most of the promoters are just booking the same old international guests to play some boring minimal shit. Plus everyone is in competition with each other instead of joining forces.
Last record you bought?
When I was In Berlin I bought a bunch of old records, one of them was a classic 80’s disco-electro tune: The Earons – Land Of Hunger, super tune!