Antonio Pepe drops his debut EP on Loose Records which over the years has also championed tracks by iconic artists such as Uto Karem, Spektre, Frankyeffe, Luigi Madonna, Rino Cerrone, Roberto Capuano and Joseph Capriati. Based in the Italian city of Naples he has been a regular performer at many of the city’s best-known events, either warming up for the world’s most iconic DJ talent or headlining parties himself.
Hi Antonio, it’s nice to chat with you today, please could you give our readers a little bit of background about your sound, and how you first discovered electronic music?
Hi guys, it’s my pleasure!
Well at the end of primary school I started buying hip hop and rap vinyl at a local record shop, and then I started creating mixtapes on cassette with a cheap turntable just using the “pause” function to cut the mix and the record. I was also fascinated by the DMC turntablism championships at that time, and then I started going to parties during the nineties. I was so open-minded to music and was able to listen and enjoy house, techno and even hardcore music. Soon after I bought a pair of 1200’s and a two-channel mixer so I could start DJ’ing myself and building my own vinyl collection. Once I started to DJ my background is definitely in Chicago house, Detroit techno and electro. The DJ’s/artists that influenced me the most are Dave Clarke, Jeff Mills, Richie Hawtin, Rino Cerrone, Surgeon, Boards Of Canada, and Autechre.
I’m told you are one of the unsung heroes of the club scene in Naples where you are based. Which of the events do you usually play for, and do you run any of your own parties in the city?
I have a strong and intense relationship with the electronic movement here in Naples, as I was involved in the scene since the early nineties. I was pushing the party scene with the seminal crew Loose Club which later on gave name to the Loose Records imprint. I played at the Loose Club parties and eventually became a guest then resident at International Talent, which is globally acclaimed as one of the most respected party companies in Italy. This year International Talent is celebrated the 20th anniversary, and we plan to keep running it for years to come with the same passion and love.
It seems that many of Italy’s best-known techno DJ’s come from Naples, which is unusual in the sense that often it’s a countries capital that produces many of its most successful artists. What do you think makes Naples a breeding ground for creativity, and which of the cities homegrown talent do you hold the most respect for?
The city of Naples has strong and intense traditions that come from the past, and we had several influences from the multiple occupations during the centuries. All those different cultural influences are why it’s a city full of art, music and creativity. Techno and electronic music definitely came in Naples thanks to the first city crews at the end of the ‘80s, and the parties at that time were magic. Personally, I respect all the artists that make and play music for pure love and passion.
Getting back to your own music, I really enjoyed your debut solo EP on Loose Recordings. Could you talk me through the tracks, and your relationship with the label?
I’m so happy you like it, as it means a lot for me that people are enjoying what I make. The idea behind my tracks is about making music with a few but effective sounds arranged in a classic and relatively basic way, so the tracks flow with a purposeful energy.
I’ve felt so close to Loose Records for many reasons… first of all because the label name come from that Loose Club party crew I told you about before, and this is very significant for me. Then the label was founded by my good friend Rino Cerrone, who made many milestones in the history of techno here in Naples, so it’s the perfect platform for me to express my own ideas of techno music.
I know you had previously featured a solo track on a mixed artist LP for Loose Records, but prior to the new EP, that is your only other release. You already have quite a developed sound, so I wanted to ask how long you had been producing, and what equipment you use?
I’m into music and have always spent my time in music studios of friends even before putting my own together. Today I mainly use software but use them in analogue style and the enhancement of the “x-possibilities” (which is the name of my track on the Loose Records EP) that modern software can give to you is simply amazing.
On your EP there is also a remix by KAN3DA which is in a classic Detroit style that’s a stark contrast to your original in terms of how raw it sounds. I also really like the remix and how it adds some nice variation to the release, so wanted to ask if you had picked out that remix artist yourself?
Electro music is my passion, and I listen to a lot of the genre. Karl (KAN3DA) is definitely one of my favourite electro producers ever, and I had the chance to meet him which lead to the pleasure of having him do this fantastic remix. It’s had strong feedbacks from people like Dave Clarke, Laurent Garnier and Cisco Ferreira aka The Advent, plus so many more. This remix certainly gave my EP that variation you mentioned and it’s exactly what I was looking for. I’m so grateful to KAN3DA, and in terms of music passion this is the best for me.
For any of our readers that are planning to visit Naples in 2019 could you mention some of the places worth checking out in the city for music, food and culture?
Oh the list is way too long, as Naples is so full of art that is really difficult to make a short list. I suggest going to see the Caravaggio paintings at Galleria Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano, Museo di Capodimonte, and Chiesa e Quadreria del Pio Monte della Misericordia. You can also enjoy the city walking through it, and tasting the excellent food you find almost everywhere. Regarding music definitely have to come to our International Talent events!!!
Before we finish, what are the rest of your plans for 2019, do you have any big events or other forthcoming releases planned?
Soon as I’m settled in my new apartment I need to set up my studio. My plans are to make another EP during 2019 plus do some collaborations with friends.
Thank you for your time. Ciao!!!
You can pick up a copy of Antonio Pepe’s release on Loose Records from HERE