“Those four freaks with lipstick scared me for years to come! But they also planted effective seeds in my young soul…” Rodion reminisces about his formative musical experiences.
What’s the first record you ever bought?
OK, it’s time for me to confess: I haven’t told anyone, but the first record I bought was in 1991, and it was Guns N’ Roses Use Your Illusion, Part I. The only explanation I can give you is that I was 14…
The first time you remember hearing electronic music?
I think it was in the early 80s. I was watching cartoons on TV with my grandma when I heard Kraftwerk on an Italian music show called Discoring, performing the Italian version of ‘Pocket Calculator’. I remember that those four freaks with lipstick scared me for years to come! But they also planted effective seeds in my young soul.
Your favourite ever record?
Hmmm… This is a really complex question. There’s no such a thing, at least not only one. But I’ll name one record that influenced my music and teenage years a lot for its sublime blend of new wave atmosphere and melodies, pop attitude, innovation and out-of-this-world sound: Depeche Mode’s second album, A Broken Frame. The beginning choir with the four-to-the-floor kick drum drove me nuts. I remember totally destroying the cassette tape with too many plays.
The guaranteed floor-filler?
Whenever I feel my DJ sets are not going as well as I would have expected, whenever I need to give crowds an adrenaline injection, my number one choice is usually to drop a tune from my Mexican colleague Eddie Mercury.
You can choose any of his tracks, and drop them at peak time, at an after hour, with disco heads, with techno heads, in Germany or in Vietnam. The result is always the same: people start dancing and screaming like they were possessed by some shaman high on mescaline.
The last track of the night?
I’ve been a huge Daft Punk fan since Homework, and have ended many of my sets with their track ‘Veridis Quo’.
I think it features the right degree of magic, mellowness and inspiration. It also plays with some classical music stereotypes without sounding cliche at all, and being a classical musician myself I can tell you that this is a really hard result to achieve. It’s the perfect goodnight tune by my side.
The best chillout record?
I don’t know, but the first music that comes to mind when talking about chillout is the one by Esquivel. A good friend of mine gave me their wonderful album Space-Age Bachelor Pad Music. I’m still investigating the meaning of that title, but Esquivel mixed a lot of different music languages in a funny and unpredictable way. I can hear baroque harpsichords, latin percussions on steroids, sounds from the future, choirs, charming melodies and a lot of fun. I love it!
The soundtrack to a lazy Sunday afternoon?
Lucio Battisti‘s album La Batteria, Il Contrabbasso, Eccetera. Lucio Battisti is part of my youth, and of the youth of millions of Italian people of different generations. He was one of the very few ones able to combine a number one, chart attitude with innovation and true feelings. His voice was unique, pretty bad but totally fit for his music.
No one can even try to cover his songs for how much they are unique. Mina, probably the greatest Italian singer of all times, even failed when doing that. Roisin Murphy triple-failed when she tried as well. Battisti is just Battisti, and for me, it represents and reminds me of the sound of my childhood afternoons, that peculiar joyful and mellow feeling that you have when you feel you are growing up but you don’t want to.
My upcoming album Generator has been heavily influenced by the moods and sounds of him. It’s pure magic to me – music ahead and out of these times – and I’m sure I’ll be listening this stuff until I die.
The record you’re proudest of?
My second album, Generator, is coming out early spring, on Nein Records. It will come out nine years after the first one, and it took ages to make it happen, but it’s something I listened to 20,000 times and I’m still happy with the results.
I wrote and performed it together with a bass player and a drum player, so there’s an human flow together with electronic sounds, and there’s a lot of psychedelia but also firm grooves and hooks. You can listen to it in the car and drop it in a party. It sounds classic without being vintage, modern without being hipster. It is serious music but it features that trademark Rodion touch of camp humour, which makes me quite proud.