Marco Faraone started his UNCAGE imprint back in 2012 and has since released some outstanding tracks from artists both established and those up and coming. Marco has always expressed a desire to explore to find the next generation of talent, which lead him to discover Mattia Trani – whom he also recently listed as one of his top picks of producers to come out of Italy.
Ahead of his debut EP on Marco Faraone’s label this July, we sat down with them both for a chat on new talent, Italian techno, the release itself and what Marco has in store for the remainder of 2018.
Electronic Groove: Hi Marco, thanks for your time. What do you look for when signing a new artist to UNCAGE? Does the label have a specific style of musical output?
Marco Faraone: Thanks for having us. One of the main goals of UNCAGE is to believe in new and real talent and to build up a family like a vibe with the label. I really dig into new artists and names with my partner Norman Methner, we spend hours and hours researching to find an artist that grabs our attention. The label has a sound of course, but we always try to find something special or different to perhaps the standard or expected techno sound. We love to hear the soul in the music, it can be house, techno or anything else in between, but when we hear quality then we go for it!
EG: When did you first discover Mattia Trani? What was it about his music that caught your attention?
Marco Faraone: Mattia is one of those special artists that caught our attention, and I am very supportive of all Italian talent. The same applies to artists such as Hertz Collison and Black Stone. I have been in touch with him for a long time, and I have played out many of his tracks in my own sets. He also runs a massive label, and this is something I really respect because I know the time and the passion you must have today to press records and try to collaborate with other artists. It looks like everyone wants to always focus on their own releases, but a knowledgeable person once said ‘unity is strength’ – don’t forget that!
EG: Welcome Mattia, you also run your own and very successful underground label, Pushmaster Discs. How do you think running a label has helped you to develop as an artist?
Mattia Trani: Thanks! Yes, I do. I think that running a label is an important way for a producer or artists to promote themselves, and also for collaborative opportunities with other musicians. Sometimes without a platform that enables you to produce and release whatever you want, it can be really difficult to get noticed by fans, music lovers, magazines and more. I mean, I think that today without Pushmaster Disks I would not be where I am now.
EG: Mattia, you have also worked with some outstanding remixes for your last album, including Ben Sims and DJ Rush. Your ‘Collider’ EP on UNCAGE comes with a legendary remix from Donato Dozzy – can you tell us how this came about, and what his remix brings to the pack?
Mattia Trani: As my father is an icon of funk and soul music in Rome, he was a friend of Donato and there is a lot of mutual respect they had between one another. They collaborated on so many different projects about 20-25 years ago in the studio. In the city, there is a lot of respect in general between artists and musicians and this has helped to create a connection between myself and Donato. I decided to ask him about working together, thinking it was maybe the right time now that I had some more experience and was a little more established. (I was too nervous to ask before, as I felt I was not ready). Everything was very to the point and he said yes, finally the dream now comes true with his remix on the Collider EP out in July. When I first listened to Donato’s work, I was surprised by the dynamic and dancefloor style approach, as he is an artist that generally produced ambient and different techno. But this style of sound from him is totally insane and I’ve played the remix in every set for months. It’s going to be a firm favorite for many of his fans I am sure.
“One of the main goals of UNCAGE is to believe in new and real talent and to build up a family like a vibe with the label. I really dig into new artists and names”
EG: Marco, having Donato on this package is a first for UNCAGE also – do you think getting remixes on releases is a good way to grow a label?
Marco Faraone: Donato Dozzy is a real maestro and he has an incredible profile. What I release on the label is not necessarily what I always play. As you know, I play for so many different parties and venues, from small clubs to huge festivals and you cannot play the same set, it has to change and the vibe is always different. I would say I am a little like a chameleon! However, what vinyl I do press on the label, that is where my heart it. I really like Donato as an artist, and it’s such a huge honor to have him on board, especially with Mattia because I am sure this will also help to build his profile, which is what this is all about – getting those young talented names into the limelight.
I normally get remixes, of course, to build up a label and get some extra names to the roster, but also to combine new talent with established names. Giving these smaller artists the visibility they deserve, and of course, with a really strong remix, this helps. UNCAGE means freedom first of all, so I like to give free expression to the remixers to really just do what they want and experiment. Nick Hopper, for example, made a Balearic house remix on Pablo Mateo’s release, which is something I would not play in a peak time set, but its still a true masterpiece, which I love.
EG: Both your labels release on vinyl still – is this something you are both passionate about and feel important to continue?
Mattia Trani: I started my label 7 years ago and the basic concept was the vinyl only to start with because I thought it was nice to do this and keep releases exclusive. But every year the ideas change and also the fans grow up, so Pushmaster has changed from an underground label for only a few fans to a better-known one which more people need and want more access to. I had a problem with pirate streaming and free downloads but that has now improved. After a while, I decided to produce less vinyl, and we now strictly have only 150 of each release, and then its available digitally 3 weeks after. This way we still satisfy the collector and also the digital age. It works for everyone.
Marco Faraone: Of course. As long as I can keep releasing on vinyl, then I will. Music on vinyl has a different value for me. I grew up playing records and honestly this is something that I do for myself more than anyone else, even if I only sell 10 copies! Releasing on vinyl, creating the artwork to the masters – everything is curated with love and passion. It costs a lot of money, something which is an important sacrifice with the way the market is today, believe me! But come on, you get to hold your own record with your hands, and that gives me complete satisfaction. Everything from the producer, graphic designer, the mastering engineer, everyone comes together to achieve something which is really so creatively beautiful. Also, the smell of the record is unique, I am sure many people who are reading this now, know what I mean! And if you don’t, go and smell some records.
EG: Italy has an endless supply of talented producers in the industry right now, can you tell us some of your personal favorites?
Marco Faraone: Mattia for me, is actually one of those. Followed by Hertz Collision, Black Stone aka Malandra Jr, Nick Anthony Simoncino, Marco Bruno, Boston 168, SLV, Stenny, Viels and Manuel di Martini.
EG: Now that’s a lot of new artists for your readers to get discovering!
Mattia Trani: I have a lot of respect for so many producers here in Italy. Some of my favorites are Zippo, Raffaele, Attanasio, Domenico Crisci, The Analogue Cops, Claudio Prc, Lord D, Boston 168, Drafted, iMax, Durante, Grienkho, SLV, Volcov and many more! The list is actually huge, but I think that we both better stop here, or we may run out of space!
EG: Finally, can you both give us three words each which describe the new EP?
Marco Faraone: Raw, acid and explosive.
Mattia Trani: Dynamic, dark and tension (But I have added a little extra down here too!)
Dynamic: This applies to the rhythm in every track and the power of the dynamic compression drums in the Donato Remix.
Dark: As a lot of people may know me for my ‘Detroit’ stuff, they know about my melodic synthesizer but in a lot of my tracks, I want them to know I like to have happy / soul chords. For this EP, I decided to ‘turn into the dark side’ and I did more chords a little melancholic, with a touch of ‘dark’.
Tension: A track like ‘Arachnide’ (both original and warehouse remix) and ‘Collider’ have got some points of break when all tension comes in different emotions and then they leave when the groove comes in the reboot.
UNCAGE’s ‘Collider’ is already available. Grab your copy here.