Friday, January 22, 2010

Artist Interview: Lerosa

Deep Transmissions has been in hibernation mode for awhile mainly due to personal reasons. But as we're having a bit of a mid-winter thaw here in Toronto, I figured it was time to reactivate it. To kick things off we have an interview with Ireland based Italian producer Lerosa (Leopoldo Rosa). Leo has been building a steady name for himself on the back of several great releases on labels such as Real Soon, Quintessentials, Uzuri & Millions Of Moments. The recent inclusion of his track "Plesso" on Tama Sumo's Mix CD on Ostgut Ton also up his profile no doubt. Rosa's sound is derived from his love for classic house and techno as well as all things deep but there's a quirkiness that gives it his personal touch. As discussed below his musical interests and influences span beyond just four to the floor. Deep Transmissions talks to Leo via email about working with Donato Dozzy, his impressions about returning to DJing and doing live shows, and his new found appreciation of vocals.

DT: Now that you’re back playing live and Djing, how do you find the current vibe in clubs? Does the club environment excite you as much these days?

LR: I quite enjoyed the places I have played at; I am hardly what you’d call a big clubber so gigging gave me a chance to see venues across Europe that I would not have seen otherwise. It’s nice to be back on stage either Dj’ing or playing live, I had not played in a good few years and I really enjoyed the feeling even more than back in the days (late 80’s early 90’s) mostly because back then a lot of the Dj’ing involved having to play some commercial music whereas now it is acceptable to play quality underground music from start to finish. Also I am enjoying the little bit of notoriety

Any particular experience (city and club) that was memorable?

I think Fabric was the most memorable, sharing the stage with big names, an immense sound system, a great crowd, it was quite overwhelming. Also Tape in Berlin alongside Jus'Ed was a blast, great fun from start to finish. I've enjoyed the smaller parties a lot too with Luxor Live in Arnhem, Club 80 in Amsterdam and the party for Sound the Alarm in Glasgow being some of my favourite. Can't say I have seem much of the cities but the little time spent in each city I really enjoyed so far. It's nice to meet new different people all geared up and in party mode, you catch them at their best :)

A lot of people were surprised (maybe stylistically speaking) of the collaboration with Donato Dozzy. Have you known him for awhile? How did this project come about and what was the working process like?

I have known Dozzy for ages; we went to the same school, lived in the same neighborhood and for a few years Dj’ed together at various parties and venues. We lost touch after I quit Dj’ing and moved to Ireland but then found each other again when we realized we were both producing electronic music. Once we got in touch again we immediately decided to try and work on something together as we were curious on how the years and experiences had changed us and as a way to rekindle our friendship and artistic relationship. Because of the distance we decided to start 2 tracks each and to send these to the other to finish. As a result some tracks have a closer association to the style of Dozzy and some to mine but I think as an overall project it worked nicely and generated an EP with variation which we both enjoyed.

Are there any other collaborations in the works? What other artists would you be interested in working with?

At the moment I am working with Lakuti of Uzuri on a vocal project. I have always been more interested in instrumentals but I have recently come to appreciate vocals more, in particular thanks to Prosumer’s productions and Dj sets as well Theo Parrish DJ sets. Something about a good vocal tune can definitely make a track special. The Prosumer Dj sets I have been lucky to catch of late have really been a revelation in that sense. I hope to be able to produce something worthwhile. I think I would like to work with Prosumer at some point as well as with Oliverwho Factory.

Have you maintained any links to the Italian scene (producers or Djs)? Do you know what the scene is like there now?

No, the only Italian Dj I know is Dozzy, I only go to Italy once every 3 or 4 years and when I’m there I’m too busy catching grief from my parents or stuffing my face to find out what the scene is like! In terms of producers I rate Marcello Napolitano very much as well as Ra.h and K Soul, very talented bunch.

You’ve mentioned before that you have a lot of other types of music that‘s un released. It’s also obvious even in your house tracks that you have a lot of other influences. Do you ever feel pigeon holed into being a house artist?

I feel some labels pigeon hole themselves in focusing too much on house at the moment. I produce a lot of different things but all I’m asked of is mostly house. I can’t blame the labels as at the end of the day it is the distributor dictating what they will carry. It’s a buyers’ market so the distro is just stocking up on things they know will sell and won’t chance their arm on styles that are not hot, what with vinyl sales being what they are. I’m happy to produce and release house music when I can, the other stuff I still record and store away, when I come across labels that want something different I release these other things too as I think they are worth being released.

Seems actually that you were able to stretch out a bit more on your recent debut album release “Dual Nature (Further Records). In the digital age, why did you decide to release your debut album “Dual Nature” on Cassette? Was it your idea or did Further Records approach you on this?

Further proposed the tape format as they were keen on giving artists a channel to release a physical product that because of its cheaper costs did not weight as heavily on the choice of tracks as vinyl would have. When Further approached me they presented this as a chance to release ‘the album I always wanted to release’. I immediately accepted as I did like the idea and felt I had finally found a way to release my less dance floor oriented projects. This ties up with the point I made earlier about the pressure of releasing sure fire sellers. It can be argued that digital releases are a neat solution to this but I don’t feel excited about releasing digital files. I Dj with records, I buy records, CDs, books, I like things like that.

Do you have any desire to start your own label (as it might give you more creative control)?

If I had more spare time I probably would give it a shot but as things stand with my full time job I have just enough time to produce music and to work on my sets, adding to that the running of a small label would just be too much for me, I'd rather give that hassle to someone else and concentrate on making music.

You’ve been into house for a long time and seem quite knowledgeable (as evidenced by your classic house mixes for ISM). Do you find a lot of the current trend in classic sounding house tracks derivative or are there producers in this vain that are pushing the boundaries for you?

I don’t know if I am that knowledgeable but thanks! I like a lot of the current producers that use sounds and production techniques from yesteryear. I have always loved trax and nu groove, dance mania and even though I missed on things like Cajual, Relief, Balance and Prescription when they were new I am very much enjoying those too now. I like producers like Levon Vincent, yourself, Spectre, Polarius, Prosumer , Omar-s etc etc as I hear what might have influenced them but I also see their willingness to add a bit of their own to that and for taking things further.

2009 was quite a productive year for you. Are you working on music full time now?

Na, I still have my day job (thankfully!), but I do tend to work fast on my music in general and I don’t like holding releases back in order to create some fictitious sense of demand, so when I have music and a label that I like working with I just go ahead. I am always working on something as I enjoy working in the studio.

What are you inspired by and listening to these days outside of house or techno?

Well I listen to a lot of 70’s Jamaican dub, soul and funk, afro funk, jazz and fusion…since I have got my Dj hat back on I have found myself listening to a lot of Dj sets; again Prosumer, Theo Parrish and the regular ISM contributors have been my main inspiration in that sense as they tend to have a lot of variety in their selections.

What can we look out for from Lerosa in 2010?

I hope to finish and release my collaboration with Lakuti on Uzuri soon, plus hope to wrap up EPs for Love What You Feel, Quintessentials, Apnea and some contributions to Lunar Disko and another as yet unborn Irish label which I hope to work for. Also March should see me play in Japan for the first time so I’m very excited about that.

Dual Nature Cassette album available here


Anonymous said...

nice piece. always good to see artist on artist interviews. I can't wait to hear what Leo comes up with in terms of a song-based production with vocals.

Basic Soul Unit said...

Thx, hopefully more to come in 2010. Planning the next piece with Toronto local James Duncan.