After making a mark through Music On last year, Italy’s Leon has stepped up his game. He's been selected for four dates in Ibiza this year in addition to playing in Barcelona, Milan and Madrid just before the start of the 2013 season with the Music On tour. However, Leon is no stranger to lightning quick success - in recent times he’s gone from a relatively unknown Italian jock to hitmaker, releasing on such lauded labels as VIVa, Cecille and ReBirth and in turn gaining support from heavy hitters like Steve Lawler, Luciano, Carol Cox, M.A.N.D.Y, Loco Dice and more. We caught up with Leon just before his set at Music On later that night to chat about his recent success, his plans for the future, and a few of his current favourite tracks ahead of his back-to-back session with Nathan Barato at Music On this week. Belissimo, indeed.
Last year you played three gigs for Marco at Music On, but this year you’ve played not only the Music On tour in Barcelona and Madrid, but have been booked for four dates at Amnesia, effectively making you a resident. Congratulations! Can you tell us more about how this came about? Luca Piccolo, my manager, together with Marco Carola and Salvatore, immediately believed in me, and I have been part of Music On from day one. Later I met Roberto and Ernesto, and they made me feel at home. I immediately believed that we could be very strong and could only grow more and more. Now we are very strong and definitely one of the best parties in Ibiza.
What is it like to be a resident at what’s basically the world’s hottest party right now? It's very emotional, like a big wave, haveing the chance to play with Carola and in the best clubs in the world. And I get to meet the best artists in the world, play with them, share ideas, music, everything. It’s a big experience and I’ve grown so much in these two years.
How do feel this has helped with other bookings around the world? It has definitely helped me. The gig requests have increased, especially in 2013, but also the work in the studio with the production helps. Now it is important that an artist manages to be a good producer and a good DJ. My work focuses on the selection of music, but I also like being in the studio and making tracks. I prefer when a club or a promoter asks me to play in his club because they know Leon is a good DJ, but unfortunately many of these make their booking through the charts on Beatport, and that's not good, it is not true. Music On artists are all great DJs first.
You’ll be doing a back to back with Nathan Barato tonight. With the success of your collaboration “Que Pop,” do you see yourself working a lot more with Nathan in the future? Nathan is a friend. We played together for the first time at Music On in Milan this winter, and we had fun, so we wanted to try again in ibiza. This Friday, we'll play 4 hours together, which will be a lot of fun. Nathan is a very nice person and a talented producer, his tracks always great. Our track "Que Pop" out on Saved a few months ago has been successful, and we are very happy for this, and surely will do other things together. I asked Nathan to prepare also something for my new label, D-FLOOR. I hope he does a bomb!
Your career has been steadily rising from day one, but the last few years it’s really taken off at a rapid pace. Do you have any big plans for the future? It’s a very funny thing, I remember like 9-10 years ago at the beginning I was playing for free, but I wanted to do that. Then I started doing the first productions on VIVa Music, Cecille, Saved and also an album. I've done remixes for Audiofly, Felipe Venegas, Tim Green and compilations on Cocoon also. I have been a resident of Cocoricò in Italy, and I often play in America and Tokyo, there are so many things to talk about! Now I'm very focused on Music On and my new label D-FLOOR, and I have a lot of parties with Marco this summer like Kappa FuturFestival, Kazantip, Cocoricò, Cavo Paradiso, Amnesia...
There will also be the first party of my label at Sankeys in Ibiza with my partners Pirupa and Nice7, and then I will be back in America for a tour. With regard to production, I have my track “A-Bomb” just come out on D-FLOOR, and some remixes for Betoko, Kaiserdisco, Saso Recyd coming out soon, and more on lables like Inmotion, Be As one, and I think also on a special white label at the end of the summer with an edit that I made, which now everyone in Ibiza plays.
What’s been your favorite tracks from Music On's events so far? Wow, good question. There are lots of beautiful tracks that have characterized Music On in Ibiza. Certainly in 2012, "Hard Work" by Nathan Barato was been one of the biggest, but this year it's hard. Maybe it's still too early. My sets are always long, I can find always plenty of things to play, but two of the tracks that I like the most right now are Franco Cinelli’s “Citylights” or Patrick Chardronnet’s “All I Got.”
If you're on the island tonight, be sure to head over to Amnesia to check out Leon playing back-to-back with Nathan Barato, as well as all the other action!
Listen to Leon here on Pulse!