Dino Lenny is a named that many of you may know. He first gained notoriety in the late 90s after remixing Underworld, Missy Elliot, and Timbaland, as well as collaborating with everyone from the Scissor Sisters to Wu-Tang Clan, and Madonna. He began his journey into electronic music as a DJ at a small radio show in Cassino, Italy. He later decided to move to London where he began releasing music on labels including Innervisions, Crosstown Rebels, and many others. In 2015 Dino signed to 3 EPs to Maceo Plex’s Ellum, ‘It’s Saturday’, ‘Living In A Song’ and the huge ‘This Is a Love Song’.
In 2017 Dino’s track ‘Shoot Me to the Sky/ This Time’ on Sapiens was remixed by Agoria and Maceo Plex, and by the end of the year, Dino hits the Beatport indie top 10 with a stunning track on Correspondant with Fiberroot called ‘Suddenly’ with Jonathan Kusuma on remix duties.
His label Fine Human Records continues building nicely with great support meanwhile “Sand In your shoes” with Artbat on Diynamic is still getting a lot of support from many of the worlds big names. It looks like 2018 is set to be a continuation of his recent rise with more tracks coming out on Ellum, Darkroom Dubs and a great re-release of the classic ‘I Feel Stereo’ on Yoshitoshi featuring remixes from Red Axes and Steve Lawler (which can be heard below, as an exclusive premiere)
Decoded Magzine caught up with Dino Lenny recently to have a chat about what he has planned for 2018, and of course the re-release of that huge Yoshitoshi track ‘I Feel Stereo’.
When we spoke Dino was checking his emails and socials whilst kicking back with his daughter, and eating breakfast. I thought I would kick things off by asking what tempted him over to London from Italy… “The scene in Italy at the time was very housey and I was moving more into electronica. In those days it was also a good habit to show your face sometimes at record labels or meetings in general. London was a perfect choice and it worked out quite well for me.” We went on to talk about what first made him want to get involved with electronic music. I wanted to know what about the sound of electronic music grabbed his attention. “I was in Italy, I was very young and I used to listen to a lot of Radio. I used to pop in sometimes to my local station. I got to meet a couple of nice DJs and slowly I managed to get a slot at night, they had a lot of new records. It was so much fun and they were very exciting days, probably one of the best periods of my life.”
Dino’s sound has certainly evolved over the years so I was keen to see how he thought it had changed and how he would describe his sound today. “It will probably change even more and end where I started. I don’t know really, I don’t think about it. I don’t have a mission or a path to follow. I just go through fazes. It’s like you buy a new album and you listen to it for days, then all of a sudden you hear something else and you just leave it for months.”
“I’ve been in the business for so many years my only priority is to be entertained. As long as I’m having fun I’m happy. I don’t really trust a person that only likes one type of music, just ain’t right I think. My sound today can be described as loud adventurous electronic dance music.”
I really enjoyed Dino’s description of his sound and feel it perfectly sums him up in terms of his productions and his personality. Being a huge progressive house fan back in the late 90s, and early 00s, I had to ask Dino about his classic track on Yoshitoshi, ‘I Feel Stereo’ and re-release… “Well it is 16 years old and sometimes things come back. It was quite a successful release for me so why not. I’ll admit that it wasn’t really my decision, but Yoshitoshi thought that it was time to release it as a classic, so here it comes with some fresh reworks.” With reworks from Steve Lawler (you can listen above), and Red Axes you are in for a treat. Both are very well worked remixes and offer something different to the classic original. Whilst on the production talk I asked how his studio had changed over the years but he was quick to inform that it had not really evolved that much at all… “I have less and less these days. I write a lot, and sometimes I sing too. Personally, I have much more fun playing with my vocal than sitting on a filter for two hours. Don’t get me wrong I like a good LFO but it has its limits.” I went on to ask him what hardware/software he simply could not live without, and he added “Well, we have to admit that Ableton has made it quite easy for a few of us. Melodyne is a great plugin, and my microphone is quite essential even though I record a lot of stuff with different devices, iPhone included.”
Today we often see new genres popping up all over the place, and old genres getting recategorised so I thought I would chat to Dino about his thought on genres and the current categorisations. “If you try to find your way through online stores then possibly yes. But for people like me that still play a lot of different stuff and quite a wide range it’s quite easy. It’s just “I like this, I don’t like that”. I get a lot of music sent so that is the formula I adopt no matter if it’s techno or ambient, just to drop a couple of genres.” He laughed, and we moved on to talk about some of his releases on Seth Troxler’s, Play It Say It, and Maceo Plex’s, Ellum. Dino was more than honest and stated “When I think I have made something that sounds right for a specific label I just send it to them. Sometimes I get lucky. I don’t have a particular relationship with anybody actually. As they say… you’re only good as your last record, so the challenge is always the next one for me.” Personally, I feel that is not a bad mindset to have at all, and one many producers could certainly learn from, as this man is certainly releasing some very good music at present.
With releases set for Ellum and Darkroom dubs this year we went on to speak about his upcoming releases…
“I’m really liking the one I did for Darkroom Dubs. Has a very moody dark electronic vide, sounds like futuristic punk, as I said I need to have fun, and with this one, I really went for it. The vinyl looks great too. The release for Ellum is called ‘Guilty Officer’ and also has an 80s kind of vibe to it.”
Certainly two releases I know I am looking forward to checking out very soon!
After talk of releases for Dino, it felt only right to speak to him about what he has planned on his label, Fine Human Records over 2018. “You may not believe me, but I don’t actually know. I’m so moody that anything can happen, at the moment I’m a little more Indie. As you can see I’m living in an 80s moment, so post-punk vocals with a little Crash Course In Science meets Yello, and sprinkles of Trevor Horn is the way. So keep an eye out for something fresh from me on the label very soon.” With a description like that, it certainly intrigues me, and I am sure, many of you reading this! I might need to google some of those names mentioned but I think I get the idea! I asked Dino what he looks for when signing an artist to his label…
“I try to look for something I haven’t heard before or for a while, I like it fresh and original. Other labels do a great job in delivering what is happening and trendy, but my taste is to do what I love and what I can play out, but not necessarily at peak time, that would be too trendy and successful for us.”
With Ibiza only around the corner and many artists already filling their summer calendars, I asked Dino if we could expect to see his name on a few events over on Ibiza this year. “Yes, we are getting the bookings in and we are going to be around, we are not going to be at our usual spot but probably somewhere a little more underground this summer. I’m looking forward to it.”
After all this music chat I thought I would chat to Dino about food, as we all know Italian’s love their food so I asked him if he could only eat one last Italian mean what would it be? After stuttering for a bit with it being a very tricky question, he stated “it would have to be Frittura di Gamberi e Calamari” and he even sent me a link to the recipe so thought I would share it with you all… find the recipe here.
Before we both headed off I asked Dino if he would like to add anything else, and he just said the words, “Yes, Viva Astori Forza Fiorentina”. It was an absolute please to catch up with Dino Lenny, and I know I cannot wait to hear more of his music over the coming weeks and months.