Born in 1979 and known for his unique sound and distinctive works, Italian Artist, Alex Costa has become a regular on top charts and producers set lists alike. Already having releases on top labels such as, Intacto, Bitten, KD Music, Terminal M, Alchemy, ToolRoom, Aella, Time Has Changed, Stereo Productions, Pacha, Alleanza, Alive, Italo Business, Alex is showing no sign of slowing down. Costa’s sound is a mixture and influences of genres such as techno, tech house, house, funk and tribal music.
Alex Costa original tracks and remixes have been played by international’s DJs from around the globe; names such as Karotte, Richie Hawtin, Dubfire, Kevin Saunderson, Hernan Cattaneo, Mauro Picotto, John Acquaviva, Victor Calderone, Umek, Bart Skils, Ramon Tapia, Monika Kruse, Chus & Ceballos and many others…
Performing in cool club and festival in Italy , he is also credited with international performances at clubs in UK, Belgium, Swiss, Austria, Tunisia, Netherlands and Turkey. With a steady release schedule well into 2013, Alex Costa’s perpetual growth as an artist has begun to propel him into the upper echelon of producers in the industry.
Alex Costa’s brand of chunky tech house has found favour with a number of high profile DJs. Already signed to Toolroom, Stereo Productions, Alchemy and many others Alex shows no signs of slowing down either. A steady flow of releases in 2013 has ensured his star is rising with club and festival appearances across Europe. 2014 looks like a good year for Alex and This is Progressive thought it would be an excellent time to catch up with the italian superstar to talk about his career so far, Italian clubbing and the future of the scene.
Hi Alex, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. So tell us about growing up in Turin, You worked as a PR in a club during the 90s, that must have opened your eyes…
Hello guys and thank you for this interview, yeah I’ve always loved electronic music and starting to do the PR in the best underground clubs in my city. I had the fortune to meet and hear the best DJs on the Italian scene since the late 90’s, names like Mauro Picotto definitely gave me a big inspiration.
I remember one frustrating night in Milan standing outside a busy club waiting for the door picker to look my way, something we used to experience all the time in the UK, but times change. How has the Italian club scene evolved over time?
Well from my point of view, the Italian scene is not the best at the moment with regards club culture, there are small parties that work, but the owners of the clubs I think are still too attracted by the easy money that you get exhibit the so-called “commercial” names or “big” names, and is for this reason that in Italy we are full of great electronic /underground music producers who perform outside the country. I hope that in the future we can get back to having a good level of club culture not caring too much about the money factor.
When did you learn to DJ? What did you learn on?
Well, I first learned to DJ on Pioneer turntables (really old) and a simple 2-channel mixer in 1999, I learned almost everything by himself, thanks to the experience behind the console during my years as PR of course, thanks to technology, with the passing of the years I had various evolutions of set up, from vinyl to CD and from CD to Traktor + controller that i still use.
At what point did you decide that producing music was your career? What challenges did you face to make your dream reality?
First of all I started to learn how to use turntables and mixer in 1999, DJing was my first love, but after a few years I felt the need to complete this passion so I started trying various software to produce music, I still remember the sleepless nights.
What software/hardware were you using to make music at the time and how has your studio changed?
I use Reason from PropellerHeads. That is the software that I love and have always used. As I am a software lover my studio consists of a PC and Mac with studio monitors, mixer and a keyboard, there are no big secrets.
Where do you find your inspiration to make music?
Sometimes it’s a specific mood , especially if the mood is happy or boring. Those seem to give the most clear inspiration, but it could just as easily be a new or old track (bad or good), a good sound, a vocal, etc.
Tell us about those first releases , How did you get them signed?
Hehe it took a couple of years before deciding to send my demo around to various labels, let’s say I directed first on minor labels, by beginners luck I sent one of my first “big room” pieces to a great Italian producer who then put me in touch with the Pacha label to release it along with great remixers, from then on I’d say it was more easy.
Hold Jack U is still your biggest seller on Beatport, how much focus do you put on chart positions?
Simple. Don’t ever look! hahaha. Now the charts are no longer very reliable I don’t waste my time.
Which producers are really exciting you at the moment? What is it about them that inspires you?
There are many names that I like actually such as Bart Skils, Kaiserdisco, Arjun Vagale, Anil Chawla, Mladen Tomic, Sinisa Tamamovic These names never fail in my DJ sets and I have to say that their music gives me great inspiration.
Touring can take its toll on your mind and body, what tricks have you picked up for relaxing?
Warm showers, listening to a lot of music (not electronic) of my favourite singers and I’m long time connected on my social networks. These things distract me a little bit making me very relaxed.
Beatport has been taking a hammering again over genre classifications. When you shop for tunes is it a pleasurable experience or do you go away feeling like you’ve missed loads of possibilities? Which stores do you use online and do you still buy physical releases?
Unfortunately there are a lot of new releases every day, so sometimes you loose too much time and do not find anything interesting. Now I follow the labels I really like so when I miss new music I go direct to the label I follow. As for online stores I use Beatport mainly to keep me updated, but often also Trackitdown, or Juno and Decks I buy the vinyl EP that impresses me most for my personal collection.
Whats in store for 2014?
Well I started the year with the single “Phunka” on Toolroom, then in February will come my 3 tracks EP on My Best Friend Records (MBF), looking forward I come back again with a new EP on my own label Comade Music accompanied from a great remixer. In March I’ll have the honour to mix the compilation Miami Bites on one of my favourite labels Bitten records!
What’s your current top 10 tracks?
1: Alex Costa – Looky Ep (MBF)
2: Arjun Vagale – Maelstrom(Stereo Productions)
3: Alex Mine – Crain (Comade Music)
4: D-Deck – Secret Dumb (Agile Recordings)
5: Dani Navarro – Bootcamp (Rusted Records)
6: Nino Bua – Want me to Be (Steve Mulder rmx) (Prospect Records)
7: Michele Pinna, The Southern – Turn it Back Ep (Night Light Records)
8: Axel Karakasis – Chains (Alleanza)
9: Alex Costa – Brooklyn Sirens (Terminal M)
10: D.Saunderson & J.Norman – Stuck in my Mind (Dub Mix) (KMS)
01 Damien K Sahri – Little Helper 102-1 [Little Helpers]
02 Dani Navarro – Bootcamp [Rusted]
03 White Brothers – Shake your Drinks [Jekos]
04 Joesky – Psychedelic Music [Kinetika]
05 Project AKC – Tacocat [Intec]
06 Raffaele Rizzi – Active [Deeperfect]
07 Sinisa Tamamovic – Underwater [Night Light]
08 Anil Chawla – Pig in a Blanket [Alleanza]
09 Nakadia – Signs of Happiness [KD Music]
10 Enrico Sangiuliano – Capernoited [Alleanza]
11 Kaiserdisco – La morena [Drumcode]