Mauro Picotto is one of the busiest, most versatile, and well-known figures in dance music, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He has, to date, released over 700 singles, EPs, remixes, albums and compilations, shifting in excess of 7 million units, and winning a string of awards along the way. He has played at some of the biggest parties of the last 20 years, including an appearance at the sadly ill-fated Berlin Love Parade. He also curated Meganite, which was hosted by Privilege, and became one of Ibiza’s most legendary techno nights. And he established Alchemy, a label that has released work by some of techno’s finest artists, including: Adam Beyer, Christian Smith, John Selway, Enrico Sangiuliano, and Joseph Capriati.
The Italian DJ and producer first crashed into the consciousness of clubbers the world over in 1998 with the release of the bombastic techno/trance crossover anthem, ‘Lizard’, which rode the crest of the superclub wave into the Top 30 of the UK singles chart. He followed this up in similar fashion with ‘Iguana’, and ‘Komodo’, which was heavily inspired by Deep Forest’s 1992 new age hit, ‘Sweet Lullaby’, and which charted even higher, eventually reaching number 13, leading to an appearance on Top of The Pops.
He now returns with yet another album, A Call In the Club, which constitutes a broad sweep of the eclecticism for which he is renowned. We caught up with the veteran to find out a little more about the new album, and what makes a legend tick.
Hi, Mauro, and thanks for talking with us. After your five-year break, you’ve now released two albums in as many years. You don’t show any signs of slowing down. Did the break re-energize you?
I didn’t really have a break because I kept on doing gigs touring a lot, but in the meantime I also started a family so now I am balancing the DJ and artist life with the amazing job of being a dad and a husband. I have released new music because I like to produce music that I enjoy. I still have ideas and like to go to the studio and experiment with productions.
You touch on quite a few genres on ‘A Call in the Club’, including trance (‘Mystic Force’), house (on the Hall & Oates-sampling ‘Private Eyes’), and a little nod to the tunes that changed everything (the aptly-named ‘Old But Gold’). Did you deliberately approach the creation of the album in this way?
I don’t like to classify music into “genres” for me there are only 2: good music and bad music. I produce what I like and think can work. Even my sets now cannot be classified into a specific genre. I hope the music I play is good and make people dance and have a good time. That is the ultimate goal.
You’ve once again teamed up with your Alchemy stablemate Riccardo Ferri, most notably on an inspired take on Dead Can Dance’s haunting ‘How Fortunate The Man With None’. You do often take inspiration from somewhat obscure music. Has this marriage of techno and the relatively unknown always been a passion of yours?
Riccardo is a long time friend, great studio partner and I am very proud of that track. Also the video is quite strange and received quite good feedback on YouTube so far. I always like to experiment new challenges and how can inspiration be transformed in music. Cristian Piccinelli is an excellent musician I normally work with and he helps me transforming ideas into new melodies and with a team like this I’ve got exactly what I need to create, listen and produce for my sets.
‘A Call in the Club’ will delight Mauro Picotto fans. Do you plan on touring it?
I have a busy summer with Alchemy and Meganite parties in Italy, Ibiza, UK and Holland with more on the way as well so it is safe to say people will be able to listen to my album at one of my gigs this summer.
What is your favourite piece of kit in the studio?
The last album productions all started with my laptop using Ableton. For me studios are all the same I’ve got my “ingredients” to be sure to end up with a track when I’m working in the studio.
People will automatically associate you with ‘Lizard’. It was a huge hit, of course, and it changed your career. Do you look fondly upon it or is it a burden that you have to carry around with you?
I still play it in my sets, that music is coming back now so it is very nice to see old and new generations still getting excited about that track!
Alchemy do a lot of work for Italian artists, and acts like Enrico Sangiuliano, Dario Di Mauro, David Dega and Stefano Pini have had work released by the label. Do you feel a sense of patriotic duty to help fellow Italians to forge a path into the world of dance, and is there a sense of pride in watching them succeed?
Alchemy is a label that wants to promote up and coming talent. We have a lot of Italian friends that send us great tracks that are perfect for the label. I like the idea of supporting Italian talent, but in a wider scale, I like to support beautiful music. That is the goal. I have focused a lot on the label over the past few years, we are releasing 2 tracks every month and aiming for 1 track per week moving forward.
Do you have any plans to resurrect the Alchemy Festival?
I’m living in Jersey now and it is something would be nice to do again maybe here but I’m actually too busy at the moment but we never know as it was so much fun planning and playing at that event so it could possibly happen again.
Is there one piece of advice that you could give to anyone trying to make a career in music?
Music is always evolving with technology and changing directions but for me working hard and believe in music you like, this is the key. Trends come and go, good music remains.
Thanks for chatting with us Mauro. We wish you the best with everything!
Mauro Picotto ‘A Call In The Club’ is out now.
Photo Credits: Samuel Colombo