Born in 1984, Michele and Raffaele discovered electronic music in the year 2000. Soon after, they began following the Italian nightlife and attending the most important European festivals such as “I Love Techno” in Belgium and “Timewarp” in Germany. During those trips abroad they discovered the magical feeling between DJs and their crowds. Growing up, they started to open up to new sounds, especially the ones created by techno guru Richie Hawtin, aka Plastikman. Michele and Raffaele radically changed their musical tastes: their current style is minimal techno with Detroit and Tech House influences. They play sets with a mix of both traditional and new hardwares, achieving the best sound possible: a drum machine, FX and Traktor Scratch technology, creating a perfect mix between a classical DJ set and a computer-based Live Set.
Defined by Dubfire as “The future stars of electronic music”, MiniCoolBoyz are yet another hot flavour to emerge from the Italian techno scene. Beatport call them “Richie Hawtin’s Prodigies” which is a high acclaim by anyone’s standards. Their tracks are firm favourites with Marco Carola, Carl Cox and Paco Osuna and they are signed to leading labels SCI+TEC, Intec, Terminal M, Alleanza and many more as well as running their own label, Amazing Records and newly launched sister label Over.
Our Daz Pearson caught up with the pair recently for a chat…
Hi guys. First of all I’d like to thank you for taking time out to chat to us. For any newcomers who are not familiar, can you explain the MiniCoolBoyz experience in one sentence?
Hi and first of all thanks to you for the opportunity of this interview. MiniCoolBoyz is a project which comprises two Italian guys from Milan, Mike and Raffy, coming from the same town and with the same huge passion for underground music and clubbing. We are established producer and DJs since 2009 and this our most important thing in life.
How did you both meet and what made you decide on being a production/DJ duo?
We met each other many years ago when we were still young, than around eighteen years old we started to attend some of the underground parties that at that time were taking place in our area. It was a very important period for the scene, an amazing movement was just starting to develop across Europe. From there it didn’t take much time for us to start travelling all around some of the most important festivals to follow our idols. We became so passionate about the feeling between DJ and crowd that we decided to buy our first records….the game was started!
How did you decide on the name MiniCoolBoyz?
To be honest it was the only name to do so well for a duo haha! Also at the time, minimal was very important in the underground music scene and it influenced our sound a lot …So the Mini part was a must!
Your career started playing in various clubs on the Italian scene. Is there a specific one that holds fond memories or was vital in the making of your success?
It could sound strange but we started to play more in small clubs in Germany and only after we managed to become known, in our country.
Can you tell us a little bit about the scene in Italy?
The Italian scene has been growing a lot in the past years after being one of the most important places for Techno and rave parties during the last part of the 1990’s . The good health of our underground movement is clearly defined by the large number of parties organised all around the country and that usually host some of the biggest DJs worldwide. We maybe miss some huge festivals like in Germany or Holland, but we also gave birth to so many important artists in the techno scene, so we can’t really complain!
Your chosen DJ set up is a combination of drum machine, FX and Traktor Scratch. What versatility does this give you to enhance your performance?
Yes you are completely right about our setup, but I want to underline how important vinyl are still for us. We really love to play records and try to fuse them with the rest of our machines and devices. Having a complex but hybrid setup surely asks for some particular test in studio and it’s not always fast to sound check, but gives us a flexibility that would be otherwise impossible to achieve. And you can be sure that when you DJ for important crowd you always want to be ready for any kind of situation, and this setup really helps us to satisfy any dance floor we find in front of us.
And in the studio…….
We mainly use Ableton 9 as main sequencer, plus plenty of hardware (like the Virus) and some classic vst bundles, like Arturia and Komplete from NI. Our new partner NHB are both professional sound engineers and we are always implementing our workflow with the latest techniques both regarding the sound design and the mixing and mastering. We felt in love with the new Apollo device from UAD and their amazing plug ins. We are really working at eight hands since NHB joined us and we are sure our followers can clearly feel it in the huge amount of releases we’ve been putting out since last summer. We think that never like today the production and studio work plays a vital role.
The label ‘Amazing Records’ has served as a platform for your own music, but how important has it been in kick starting the careers of new producers? It must be a special feeling helping aspiring new artists release their music?
Yes you are right, the main aim we had with Amazing was to create a platform to express our sounds and to develop new artists. The Italian and European scene is full of talents and we managed to help some of them to find a way in the competitive marketplace. We are really proud of that!
I understand a sister label called ‘Over’ was launched the beginning of the year with a 3 track EP from yourself and NHB? What are some of the challenges faced with launching a new label and what direction will it be taken?
We launched now our new label with NHB, which has started with an EP featuring three tracks that perfectly express the line of OVER: finest techno. We are all really very motivated about this new project because the label immediately got huge support from top DJs worldwide and it’s already rocking the Beatport techno chart. This is a very ambitious project, because in the overcrowded scene that we live now is not easy to create a new reality, but we are sure that the only way of doing that will be working on quality releases. We and NHB started to develop this idea in the last year and we worked hard for twelve months to make it happen.
The biggest challenge is maybe delivering quality music with a hard schedule, because is not easy to find always new ideas and format them properly; also matching it with all the other work we have to do make the job even more tough. But we are used to this type of effort and we built an amazing team with our partner NHB.
Do you have any tips for artists sending promos?
Regarding promotional releases we think that the important thing is to send the proper music for the proper DJ. We don’t like to receive progressive house because we play techno! And all other DJs think the same… You would not like to receive bread if you looking for fish, would you? hahaha!
If you refer instead to DEMOS for labels, than I would suggest to send only quality stuff, it doesn’t make any sense to send projects which don’t deliver at least the average quality of the market… And also to introduce yourselves professionally, unfortunately the first impact really makes a huge difference for big labels that maybe receive hundreds of demos every week.
What do you think the biggest challenges are for new producers breaking through? Can you tell us about some of your own you have overcome?
Every story is particular and of course we had our problems, we still have them every day, so we think the best thing to tell here is how we approach to overcome them.
As we just said the most important thing today is focus on delivering quality music and also try to be innovative. The market is full of producers and the only way to emerge in such a competitive market is to make something different and to make it at the best quality possible.
It is important to take some artists as inspiration, but then we really suggest to move from there, to create something with a proper and particular soul. And of course behave professionally, with labels, artists and eventual promoters, manager etc. Today’s industry needs more than ever people who really love what they do, they are passionate, motivated but most of all serious, we all are tired of fake DJs and producers…
Your previous releases were mainly minimal influenced, but now your sound is more solid techno. In your own opinion what’s been your best work you are most proud of and why?
As you said we started our career as minimal DJs and producers, it was the time of MINUS and we had the honour to be part of this important moment, one of our first successes was a remix for Richie’s label that has reached the 2th place on Beatport techno chart. For the last 18 months we moved back to our techno roots and we think that we’ll stuck on that for ever! Also our partner NHB are really amazing techno producers and we all together make a really underground team. For sure one of the releases we are most proud of is the last release on Carl Cox’s INTEC, which reached first place on the Beatport techno chart last year.
What do you want to be remembered for most in life?
Finally is there anything you can tell us about that you have planned for 2014?
2014 is going be really an important year for us and it will be a really tough studio year because we have lots of stuff going on with our new label OVER and also we have a new sound library project which will see the light soon under Victor Calderone’s WAVEFORM Recordings. It will be called NHB & MiniCoolBoyz Techno Library.
Then we plan to release two albums, one MiniCoolBoyz on our Amazing Records, and one joint project with NHB on OVER. So you can imagine the nights which we will spend out of the bed!
And of course Gigging, that’s what makes us really loving our job, feeling the crowd enjoying at our rhythms! Among our plans there is the developing of a new massive Live Set of 8 hands with NHB, something really cool and unusual ….so.. Expect the Unexpected !
01// Shifted – Chrome, Canopy & Bursting Hearth
02// Luigi Madonna – Hypnotizek
03// MiniCoolBoyz, NHB – Placebo
04// Harvey McKay – Slip
05// Sam Paganini – Shade (MiniCoolBoyz Remix)
06// The Advent, A. Paul – A.Theory
07// MiniCoolBoyz, NHB – Knowless
08// Sasha Carassi , Mikael Jonasson – Void (Macromism Remix)
09// Richie G – This Again
10// Tony Rohr, Layton Giordan – After Sun Off
11// Thomas P. Heckmann – Leid & Seele
12// Alan Fitzpatrick – We Are Forever Young
13// Pascal Nuzzo – Going Nuts