AAA Interview : Kathisma – We are chasing our dream and so far we are making it grow slowly, but surely. If we put it into simple words – hard work does pay off.

Kathisma Purosangue have been a force in the Italian techno scene for a number of years now. Born out of a love of the music,  the Kathisma faithful have seen everyone from Reset Robot to The Advent and even Harvey McKay grace the decks there, bringing a totally global and unique sound. Italy might not be the first choice travel destination for clubbing tourists but with such a vibrant, passionate and wildly entertaining underground scene, we just had to meet them and find out some more. A&R Simon Huxtable spoke Kathisma promoter Raffaele Petris.

Hi Raffaele, so tell us about Kathisma Purosangue. How did it start, where is it held and what is the music policy?

Ciao and thanks for having us! The Kathisma project is 3 years old now and we can proudly say it has been 3 years of successes and joy, but behind it there is lots and lots of hard work and passion. The project itself was born as a logical step forward for us, the Purosangue crew.

In the past, we have worked on various venues and we’ve been collaborating with other promoters in the North-East Italy on different club nights. Kathisma has its home at the Kursaal club in Lignano, more precisely at the fabulous terrace with the sea-view. It’s format is dedicated to the sounds of techno and tech-house mainly, but our line-ups are constantly evolving. We do not believe in pre-defined categories or in fixed patterns . We believe in good music.

How has this seasons events compared to previous years?

The third season has just ended and without doubt for us, it was certainly the most prestigious and beautiful of them all to date. The project has grown enormously in terms of nights we have done, sound quality and also number of visitors. In fact, during the summer season from June to September, we did 18 nights of Kathisma which basically means every Saturday night. A real tour de force! What is really amazing is that the audience has always responded positively, we had people travel from quite far and quite a lot never miss a single night. In one word it was CRAZY!

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We understand you have several DJs who play for you every year. How important is it to you to have those returning guests with connections to the crowd and the venue?

Yes, it’s true. Over the years we have bet on some artists realising that our events were perfect for their performances. Following this formula with the same guest DJ on the same date every year, the response from the audience is growing in terms of satisfaction but also in terms of event attending. This happens because the public loves a little bit of tradition and likes to think that something beautiful can be repeated over time on a regular basis. We are doing this with Marco Faraone (15th August) and Fatima Hajji (25th December) creating two appointments that year after year have become a must among the club-goers in our region and beyond.

How long after you finish a season do you need to begin planning the next one?

Let’s say that as in fashion, in this business we have to work for a season ahead . However we stop for about a month between the end of summer and the beginning of the winter season and about the same time between the end of the winter and the beginning of the summer! So we work more than 10 months a year.

Are there any DJs on your wish list still? Who are they, and what makes them special?

Guy Gerber for its unique and inimitable sound, Carl Craig for his personal vision of techno and Kolsch for his intimate and melodic sound.

Italy has a proud tradition for underground dance music. Who were your heroes growing up and how did they influence your decision to go into the world of club promotion?

In the years while our scene was shaping, it was divided between the Italian progressive phenomenon in which names like Mario Piu, Ricky le Roy, Farfa, Miki, Cominotto, Francesco Zappala and Mauro Picotto to name a few were the kings, and then there was the club scene more influenced by the sounds of the underground house where Ralf, Coccoluto Claudio, Claudio Di Rocco, Alex Neri, etc were reigning. Before that in the 80s there were two great characters : Daniele Baldelli at Club Cosmic and the legendary DJ Mozart – probably the first modern DJ in Italy. In the late 80 ‘s and early 90’s the phenomenon that became legend was the Magic Triad or Gemolotto Andrea, Fabrice and Leo Mas, by many considered the first true precursors capable of proposing a sound that was way ahead its time.

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Techno has long been a sound associated with Italy. What is it about that genre of music that captures Italian hearts?

Techno is an immortal genre. The strong sound has always been appreciated in Italy because it goes very well with the large venues, big sound systems and the big crowds. In fact there were many Italian clubs that have been able to combine the two. Surely Cocoricò is, and has been, the mecca for all Italian clubbers into the techno sound.

Over the years you’ve changed venues as the popularity for your events has grown. But do you find promoters starting out are too quick to try and fill large venues without learning the art of promoting?

I firmly believe that in all of the projects as in life, you must work within your possibilities and abilities, it’s just a matter of balancing everything. If you are capable of doing so, there are more chances for you to succeed.

The glamour and appeal of promoting has long been a draw for those who think its a quick way of making a lot of money quickly. However the reality is much different. Were there times in the last 15 years where you’ve though of quitting and getting an office job instead?

The difficulties have always been there and still are and always will be, especially in our line of work. We are chasing our dream and so far we are making it grow slowly, but surely. If we put it into simple words – hard work does pay off. We spent countless hours working on this project and we still do it today, as we did at the beginning – with all of our passion. We believe in our work and we see it as a divine mission. We never stopped believing in our public, friends and into ourselves too and this is our strength.

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Promoting events has changed dramatically with the upturn in social media usage. Now promoters spam your Facebook wall and twitter feeds with information for upcoming shows. Do you feel it happens too much and actually has the reverse effect on people when they get spammed? How do you use online promotion?

We use quite a lot of internet promotion and social media promotion, I think it’s a must in the age we are living in. We also try to spread the word directly among the clubbers who came to our parties and let them talk about their positive experience with other friends as much as we can, as the direct personal approach still has the most positive impact. I believe that the modern marketing is absolutely horizontal and not vertical . This means that the public is actually a community in close contact so if you’re worth and if you can communicate and prove it to the people, they will spread the word among their personal circles, which in my opinion is the best way to promote and get promoted. Today is very important to be authentic as the lies do not hold up among the people.

A lot of promoters I know have a certain ritual on the day of a show to make sure it goes well. Do you have any rituals or things you must do on the day of your events?

Yes, we always drink the same drink before and after the event . In our own way we are superstitious too!

Lets finish with a cool tour story. Something incredible thats happened in the last year?

Like every season, there have been many incredible and nice stories, but certainly the most incredible was convincing Bart Skills that unfortunately at 6:30 am we had to turn off the music at all costs, was almost a mission impossible kind of thing!

Finally, whats in store for the rest of the season at Kathisma?

We have just relaunched our winter venue CUBE CLUBCULTURE, a small jewel with two rooms with an incredible Martin sound system. The first two nights with Spektre and Reset Robot were a success. Beside this, we are planning some new and exciting collaborations with several clubs before our Kathisma summer season 2016 .