, - on 3/7/12
Technical geek, musical aficionado and party lover, motivated by a liberal and open-minded attitude to music, it's not really hard to see why this guy has been making such waves in the dance music scene recently. (I daren't define his sound any more than that!) Italian born Stefano Ritteri started his 'Solo' career as a resident in a few impressive Italian establishments, before discovering Fabric nightclub for the first time and inevitably, moving to London. A few successful releases down the line and he's got his own label, he's recently completed his first world tour, and his latest release, Home is Where it Hurts, is out on Defected. Pulse Radio hears about his early exploits, his diverse influences and his obsession-led ascension as he drops us an exclusive guest mix.
So for those who don't know much about you, how do you go about introducing yourself? Hi, my name is Solo. I make music. I love music. And I like a bunch of other things too. But ultimately, yeah, I really really love music.
Can you tell us about your first steps into music? My mum always likes to remind me and her dinner guests about my childhood performing exploits, like when I was only 4 and I loved singing naked and very loud in the balcony. Then piano lessons came, then drum lessons. Then turntables. Then a lot of letters from angry neighbours.
What was the first record you ever bought? How much does it contrast with the sounds you make today? I used to play my brother's records all the time, I don't remember which was the first record I actually bought . Probably Michael Jackson. Or Tina Turner, or something my brain refuses to remember.
Your musical career has spanned from being in a band and touring as a teenager, into DJ'ing where before you settled on your signature 'midget house' style, and you explored drum and bass, hip hop and house. If you had to pick one track from each genre how what would the soundtrack to your musical adventure sound like? From the bands times it would definitely be a Pantera song, I love all of them, so I would pick Fucking Hostile. Drum and bass, I would say Messiah by Konflict. Hip hop, I Wanna Get High by Cypress Hill and house Get Down by Paul Johnson.
If you could pick one of those tracks to be your own which one would you pick? All of them!
Your first experience of Ibiza was as a guest of one of the then owners of DC10, but nowadays your Ibizan working relationship is centred on your releases on Defected Records and at Pacha (you must be a talented networker!) How did that cross over occur? I think everything develops naturally when you follow your heart. The first time I was in Ibiza it was fantastic, I knew I wanted to be part of it, and now many years later I still think is a special place with a magic energy. And no, I'm not a hippy!
How has your relationship with Defected Records developed with your sounds from minimal to fidget? The guys at Defected have always been very supportive with my music, and I like how they balance in between commercial records and underground sensitivity. I have done a remix for them years ago, and we always said we wanted to work on a record together. When they heard Home is Where it Hurts they called me straight away, and we thought that was the right song to put out on the big D.
Yes! You've said this is your most romantic song, who are you producing your music for? For my mum of course!
You're making a video for it too, which quite a few electronic music producers have started doing these days. How important do you think visuals and VD'ing are to electronic music? Well, YouTube is the first choice for people to look up songs, play them to friends, or talk about them online. And for Home I wanted to have a proper video, cause in my mind is more of a song than just a club track. We are working on the video this week, and it's being very good fun so far, can't wait to see how the results will look!
Can you tell me more about the ethos behind your own label Congaloid and the sounds that the label is exploring? Congaloid is a collective of people, we all love house music, from the deeper side to the more jacking. Ultimately we want to make good music and go out and play parties more and more as group, see people dancing and have lots of fun.
Lately you've reverted back to the classic house sound and reworked some classic house vocals as new samples, where do you search for your vocals and how do decide on which vocalists to collaborate with? Looking for samples is a big, important part of what I do. It could be out in charity shops for old dusty records with funny covers, or movies, documentaries, and again, YouTube. Actually to watch a movie with me can be a bit annoying, cause even if I'm really into the story, as soon as there is a cool speech from a character my mind gets into nerd mode and I HAVE to rewind and record that sample before I forget. People get angry sometimes, but I can't help it. Singers, there are so many good ones out there, but the special songs are always about the vibes in studio, recording proper vocals is not enough, there has to be a good energy between producer and singer, otherwise there is something missing, and you can feel it in the song.
And just quickly -
What do you always travel with? New samples to play around with in planes or trains.
If you weren't Solo and could be a DJ partnership who would you pick? DJ Funk.
If you were Farina what would you have said to the guys at Marquee? Ah it would have been big trouble, my Italian manners would have had me kicked out from the club.
Finally where can we look forward to hearing you play this summer? In the best and the worst clubs all around!
Solo plays at Ministry of Sound for Defected on July 21st.
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