This week we catch up with Italian DJ / Producer Fulvio Perniola who many of you will know from his ‘Fathers of Sound’ project which graced the Renaissance and Sony Music imprints in the late 90’s. Fulvio has a new EP out this week on the UK’s Pro-B Tech Records and we had a chance to chat with him just prior to the release. A transcription of the interview is below and we hope you enjoy it.
1. How old are you and how long have you been producing / DJing?
Fulvio: Hi guys 🙂 I’m 47 old … I start djing in 1982 in a small club near my city … and then started producing in 1990.
2. What are your earliest memories of music, what did you listen to growing up? How did you get involved in electronic music and what made you decide to pursue it seriously? And where do your roots in electronic music lie?
Fulvio: Since I was young I always listened to dance music … disco dance , 70’/80’ music … and I immediately loved artists like Bohannon , Gino Soccio , Giorgio Moroder :), Patrick Cowley , Kraftwerk , Rockets , Depeche Mode , Erasure .. and many others … so I grew up always listening to dance and electronic music , and naturally playing this kind of music in my first years of djing.
3. Did you have any formal music training growing up? in regards to composing or engineering / sound design etc.? and if not did anyone help you out along the way?
Fulvio: I remember that when I was 16 a great dj from my city called Paolo Gasperini, he taught me the very first steps of mixing, with Technics 1200 … very difficult for the first 2/3 months … but after 6 months I had my first gig in a club near my city called Miami .. and I started my career :). I always was self-taught, with decks , with studio equipments … mixing , engineering , everything .. But I studied and read a lot to always improve my technical knowledge, and also I have always been careful to learn from other people with who I have worked … exchanging advice and opinions to each other
4. So we first heard about you as part of ‘Fathers Of Sound’ which had some very well received releases on Renaissance and Sony back in the late 90s but following that you were pretty quiet on the production front until around 2009-2010, what were you up to in the meantime? Did you leave electronic music for a period and return or just kept a lower profile during that time?
Fulvio: Yes so many great memories , Gianni and myself had a lot of success in the 90’s and we have to thank many people involved in the music business, especially in the UK. Just to name a few, F&G agency, Geoff Oakes at Renaissance, all DJ’s and producers that we have met and supported our tracks , first of all John Digweed and Sasha (they brought us to the UK for our very first gig). F.O.S is still alive but for now we are each involved in our own projects, labels, and recording studios. On top of that myself and Gianni have our own families and we do not live in the same town, so as you can see it’s difficult for us to make records like 15 years ago.
In 1996 I got married and had my first baby. Before then I was all day in the studio or in a club in Italy, Ibiza or the UK ! I then decided to stop this way life because I wanted to be with my family . I wanted to see my baby grow , so I started a normal life working in a small computer shop near where I live, you know, regular daily work. Now my children are older and I have more free time. 2 / 3 years ago I decide to rebuild my studio , create a new label and restart with my passion :Music ! Old passions may sleep a few years, but they never die … so I’m back :).
5. So as we mentioned you have a new release out now on UK label Pro-B Tech this week, it’s got two originals on there, talk a bit about those tracks a bit, These tracks are your first original material for the label, is there anything special you can tell us about them?
Fulvio: Yes … now I’m working daily on new projects … productions , remixes , personal edits and remixes that I do only for my gigs … When Mick Park contacted me on facebook I was very glad to hear him again after 15 years … and from there we began the collaboration with Pro-B Tech. He involved me in a project called Underground Allstars and we started our first work .. so now I have a future release on the label called SuBBuuM and surely I will have other projects with them :).The track was originally created to be one of my personal remixes, with a sample of an old record of Tori Amos … but when Mick listened to it we decided to release it on Pro-B Tech .. and decided to remove the sample .. 🙂
6. Talk a bit about electronic music in Italy, do you think there is a healthy scene there? How do you think it compares to the rest of the world?
Fulvio: Music scene in Italy is very strange … there are a lot of good producers and releases of electronic music … but however these are only a very small percentage of releases … Most of releases are commercial and cheesy tracks … this is the best part of dance music in Italy . But I see that this thing is happening all around the world … Now there is a line to identify and to divide house and electronic productions from those that I call electro dance and commercial dance . For my personal opinion a lot of tracks and releases “named” house or club are actually what I call commercial dance music , or Swedish dance … Of course I have nothing against people who do this kind of music, but I think it ‘s wrong the way to call them.
7. How would you describe your music? And how has it changed over the years in terms of sound?
Fulvio: I love any kind of electronic music , in all his faces , from chillout , to deep and soulful , from house to tech , from trance to techno … but the is a main component that I need in all those genres , are it’s harmony and a melody, .. because I think that a melody is what hearts are searching when you listen to a track … So I always try to follow this main line in my tracks .. and I try to put together great rhythms for the pump , with great pads or sounds to create a special atmosphere that I want to listen in a track … to create an emotion also for people who listen to it … Certainly sometimes also hypnotic tracks are very nice , but I prefer to put chords and pads in my works :).
8. Many of our readers are probably curious about your current studio setup, what does it look like right now? and how is it different now as opposed to 10-15 years ago? Do you still have some hardware?
Fulvio: 🙂 Main difference between my old studio and the new studio is that now I do not have a big mixer .. I have a small summing mixer adder of 16 channels , but very good , with 16 channels of old Newman mixing deck of 80’ . For the rest I kept all my old equipment and outboards but especially the synth expanders , so now I have 4/5 racks with the best expanders and sounds of last 20 years . Of course computers , hard disk and screen monitors have multiplied 🙂 I have 2 MacPro , 1 iMac , 1 MacBook Pro … with terabytes of HD space and wall of screen monitors 🙂 . I also abandoned the original nearfield NS10 to switch to the current Adam A7 , plus a rare pair of nearfield very very good : Hafler TRM6 .. I use Logic and pro Tools to create, mixing and mastering my works , plus some external hardware.
9. What are you working on right now? anything you can tell us about?
Fulvio: Actually I’m working on many projects .. some single/ep productions, some remixes for labels and friends , and a lot of personal and exclusive remixes for myself , only for my dj set and gigs … I think this is the only way now , in the digital era 🙂 , to have a real “promo” like vinyl promos of 15 years ago :)… and I’m working on my new album for next year .. it will be a double album with tracks from chill to house, from deep to electronic.
10. You’ve had a long career thus far, looking back what stands out for you? Any memorable gigs and which of your productions are you most proud of and why?
Fulvio: I remember a lot of great gigs and nights … in Italy , Uk and Ibiza .. but I will always have in my heart some special places and gigs : the Renaissance Anniversary @ Colwick Hall castle , The Cross in London , Pacha and Mambo in Ibiza . The production to which I’m more attached is Revelation, because it was the first that made me arrive in Uk and start my career and my adventure :).
11. What in the electronic music industry irritates you the most?
Fulvio: I can not stand the arrogant , incompetent and false .. people who say one thing one day and immediately after turn their backs on you .. I was out many years from the music scene and business .. once it was not so , it was better . Now I see so many more people , especially young people , that do not have a real ethical behaviour and a good competence in the music business.
12. Thoughts on the DJ Mag top 100 poll?
Fulvio: I read DJ Mag since 90’ .. it’s a very nice magazine with a lot of interesting articles and advertising … but I think DJ Mag top 100 poll does not reflect the true reality :).
13. What artist or track would you love to remix?
Fulvio: I love Depeche Mode and I hope to work one day on some DM tracks :).
14. Where do you get studio inspiration from? What producers consistently inspire you? Who are some of your favourites?
Fulvio: I get my inspirations from a lot a lot of things … a simple sound , old tracks … old vinyls .. or a sample …. I listen of course all djs and producers with great attention to their works , and dj sets too , because I think that we could always learn from everyone … so I always listen and I take small things from all and fit all to my way of working .. 🙂 I came from 90’s so I’m attached to old school .. I love a lot of “old School” dj and producer … just to name a few : Sasha , John Digweed , Dave Seaman , Nick Warren , Jody Wisternoff , Danny Tenaglia , Kevorkian , Grant Nelson … and many , many other … but I love also some “new” djs producer : Maceo Plex , Todd Terje , Mario Basanov , Tale of Us , and many many others .. Lists could be very long :).
15. What do you like to do for fun outside of the music? and do you have a regular job? What is a typical day like for Fulvio Perniola?
Fulvio: I had a computer shop for almost 10 years .. but now I have closed it … my job actually is , again :), around my new labels and studios and music business … So I spend most of my hours in my offices and studios … but every early morning I go to buy the daily expenditure … take my children to school .. and sometimes have a little time to do a bit of sport … I have a more quiet life , I do not have more 30 years :).
16. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic? How big of an influence are other styles of music when it comes to composing your own tracks? Could you give any examples?
Fulvio: I listen a lot of pop music … and many genres .. I love Seal , Massive Attack , Lenny Kravitz , Air , Morcheeba , Maxwell , Incognito , R&B music , George Michael , Pink Floyd , U2 … I also love listen a lot of soundtracks , that in every case have a big influence on my work … I love Hans Zimmer , Ennio Morricone , Paul Haslinger , Pino Donaggio , Graeme Revell .. just to name a few .. I’m slowly moving with my works and my labels to create some music like these big artists .. I plan to try it at least The important thing for me will always create music that gives me some excitement, and hope to transmit it to other people :).
17. Fulvio Perniola Current Favourites (you can list more than one per category if you like)
Food: I eat too much 🙂 I prefer salty to sweet so .. of course .. pasta , salads , chicken , cheese…
Drink: I don’t drink a lot of alcoholics … usually I drink water .. sometimes wine , or beer
TV Show: I don’t have time for TV 🙂
Movie: a lot of movies … usually action , thriller , epic movies ..
Video Game: Fifa 13 with my baby 🙂 Virtual Fighter
Album: —- Out of memory —- 2much 🙂
Track / Song: Enjoy the silence 🙂
Producer / Band: Depeche Mode
Record Label: HMM Records 🙂
Nightclub: The Cross (London) Pacha (Ibiza)
DJ: Danny Tenaglia
18. If the final DJ set of your career was next week what would be your last record be?
Fulvio: haha, cannot answer to this … will be a secret ! 🙂
19. What can we expect to see in the second half of 2013 from Fulvio Perniola?
Fulvio: I’m starting again with djing and gigs .. so .. I hope we could meet personally in some club around the world again :).
Release Promo would like to send a huge thanks to Fulvio for taking the time to do this interview.
Fulvio’s ‘SuBBuum’ EP is out now on Pro-B Tech Records, you can purchase the release: here