“Was it planned?” we ask young Italian producer Fabio Florido.

He bursts out an infectious laugh that seems to carry his Italian accent. “We all got a memo beforehand, yes,” he replied. “Dress in black. Maybe it was for the lighting or something...”

The Tuscan-born techno producer is on the cover of Mixmag this month as key part of a gang of obsidian techno punx that serve as the ambassadors for Richie Hawtin’s new PLAYdifferently Model 1 mixer. Joining the ENTER. boss are Dubfire, Nicole Moudaber, Loco Dice, Chris Liebing, Matador, Paco Osuna and Hito, all clad in the sultry techno dress code. For Florido, to be on the prestigious cover, holding his own with such titans of the scene, is a tremendous honor.

“It’s another dream becoming a reality. At this stage in my career, so early on, it’s a blessing,” he told Pulse from his home in Germany. “I know that many other artists have put in a lot more time than to get on that cover, so I really feel grateful.”

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The Model 1 squad on the latest issue of Mixmag. Florido is second right [via Mixmag]

There’s no doubt that the young DJ/producer’s career has gone at warp speed in the last couple of years. He’s released a string of high profile EPs on Hawtin’s Minus label, as well as celebrated techno imprints Selected, Be One and Night Light, and received support from a slew of the genre’s biggest names. But it was the Italian’s anointment into the ENTER. family in 2014, and the subsequent seasons at Space plying his trade under the eclipse that have changed the game.

“I moved to Ibiza in 2013 because I heard that Richie [Hawtin] was going to be doing his ENTER. residency at Space,” he explains. “He had been my idol since I was a kid. Every Thursday I went to Space for the party; first to experience the vibe but also I thought that if I put myself out there I would have a much better opportunity to get in contact with him.”

Hawtin was already playing his tracks in the main room just about every week, but it took some persistence for Florido to overcome his shyness and finally introduce himself, slipping the boss USBs whenever he finished new tracks. Hawtin first heard him play at house party on the island at the end of that season, and a month later, Fabio received an email inviting him to be a resident at the Sake Bar the following year.

“You know, I had to really adjust my sound to fit the room, because I was opening the club at 9pm, and the Sake Bar isn’t really the place for my sound at that time.” But Florido quickly reconfigured his rekordbox, and learned to appreciate groove and more mellow techno and tech-house sounds. “It was a great experience for me, and I grew to really enjoy welcoming those people with my music and taking them to the mood of what they experience later on!”

Prior to finding his feet on the White Isle—which he describes as a “magical, truly special place”—Florido had been living in London since 2007, putting himself on every dance floor he could and absorbing the powerful underground culture of the city. He’s now settled in Berlin, completing the holy trinity of European dance capitals.

“I always considered Berlin the perfect place for me. I always liked the mentality, and I really love the parties here. Everyone is...educated in the music, maybe,” he says, cautiously. “I mean, obviously the audience are super experienced in places like London and Ibiza. But once you are here you can really feel that the people know what they’re doing. Berlin has something different.”

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Aside from its unchallenged status as the home of techno, a key advantage of being in the German capital is the close proximity to the Minus citadel. But while the city is known for being saturated with DJs looking to soak up the energy of the scene, Florido finds that more of a help than a hindrance. “The competition in Berlin is great, it keeps you pushing. I think if you keep producing new music, trying new things and hearing other talented people, you’ll continue to get better.”

Since finding electronic music at 16 years old, the Prato native has split his time evenly between the studio, the booth and the dance floor, confessing to regularly coming home late from the club inspired to work on his tracks. “I was just this nerdy guy making track after track in my room! Every party I’d go to I’d be there the next day making new music and new tracks!”

The passion for the studio explains his staunch advocacy of his mentor’s latest business venture. When we ask Fabio about the Model 1 mixer—the hugely-anticipated collaborative project between Richie Hawtin, Audiotonix and Allen & Heath’s former lead designer engineer Andy Rigby-Jones—he’s reduced to head mode, gushing over the six channels with lo and hi pass filters on each, the sweepable band EQ, and the variety of different knobs. For a moment, he sounds like a wee boy listing off all the accessories that come with his new Action Man.

“The Model 1 is, it’s, I mean,” he starts, “it’s amazing. It brought new features and opened new doors for me. I love building layers and working effects from the laptop, and this mixer brings everything together without distorting anything. It really feels like it’s an extension of my hands and mind.

“I’ve seen many people try the Model 1 for the first time and it’s always the same: They can’t believe it. The sound, the feel. It’s unique.”

The PLAYdifferently mixer is one of the most anticipated pieces of DJ tech to launch in years, and clearly, Floridian is relishing his role as a Model 1 ambassador. His Mixmag cover mates Nicole Moudaber, Paco Osuna, Loco Dice, are equally behind the British-Canadian’s venture, which he states is ”for artists who strive to unlock and expand their own innate creativity”.

The coming year for Fabio looks set to be another hectic one as he works to ride the tsunami of momentum that has been building for the last three years. “2016 was really a brilliant year for me,” he starts. “I became the PLAYdifferently ambassador, I had a SCI-TEC release, and another on [Pig & Dan’s] Elevate. Things are moving fast, and I hope that I can keep it going. I also would love to see a more conscious scene, with more people protecting nightlife like they did with fabric. And any way that I can help to be a part of that would be wonderful.”

Fabio Florido has just released his latest EP Escape on Elevate. You can check it out here, and you can see his upcoming gigs below:

3/12 - Extrema Noir Hasselt Grenslandhallen - Ethias Arena, Hasselt, Belgium
10/12 - Familia Egg London, London, United Kingdom
16/12 - Apgrade Magacin Depo, Belgrade, Serbia
31/12 - 2016 HYTE Berlin NYE 2016 ARENA BERLIN, Berlin