Mattia Prete is the kind of artist who is not content to slowly digest his potential in a style that has worked for him from the beginning, but whose mentality forces him to evolve in other fields, combining and mixing his skills as a techno producer with other primitive influences such as jazz or, somewhat more contemporary, advanced electronic music.
He is the head of aurora. and Jazz-o-Tech. The concept of the first label is to establish connections with movements and artists from all over Europe, while Jazz-o-Tech is a label with an interesting development that fuses jazz with techno and experimental sounds. Indeed, the most recent release on this label is by Mattia Prete himself.
We know you from several projects, but we want to go back to your beginnings. How did you started?
I have started spinning records at a really young age and after a few years of training, I started to perform under my own name in small events in my hometown. Mostly they were private parties, aperitifs, and events organized with some crews in town.
It was my beginning in the entertainment environment, the projects started to develop a few years later when I moved from Lecce to Rome.
For years you produced techno, what motivated you to create a label oriented to jazz fusion like Jazz-o-Tech?
Everything happened so unexpectedly and naturally, it was in fact my friend and the current audio engineer at Jazz-O-Tech (Luigi Difilippo aka Dlewis) who put me in contact with Alessandro, the founder, who needed a label manager for his new label project.
We then started thinking about how to develop this idea into a label, and in which direction we wanted to go. The passion for both genres definitely facilitated this path. Also, with Alessandro there is a great understanding and we are very open to new ideas and new music.
Jazz has been a necessary influence on electronic genres like house. Mixing electronic music with jazz is nothing innovative nowadays, but Jazz-o-Tech has something different, first of all that it is a label dedicated exclusively to this style. How do you think it differs from the rest?
I have to say that Alessandro and I are very happy to see how our roster of artists grows, we are discovering many creative and talented artists that are really motivated to share their idea of Techno-Jazz through Jazz-O-Tech; Plus, asking techno producers and Jazz musicians to team up in the same track is certainly a real form of exchange between two different worlds and it is nice to hear always something new and unexpected.
In Jazz-o-Tech we can distinguish two stages. In the first one we place the first 6 releases, as they are oriented towards jazz and techno fusion, and from the seventh album, we see that its style matures and moves towards advanced and less subtle electronica. Did you want to give the label a change?
I would not call it a change, but you know, it takes time to experiment and to mature a sound, an identity, a roster of artists.
Actually, we are in continuous evolution, and we try to push always forward.
Besides Jazz-o-Tech, you are also involved in aurora., a label with several connections in Europe, what do you have to do with this label and what is the philosophy of this project?
Well, as a DJ I have always been looking for rare music and unfindable tracks to play on stage, and for some time I had in mind the thought to open a label that could basically represent the music of the artists I often play.
So, once I decided to look at all my music on the hard disk and to select and contact the artists I liked more, independently of their hype or style.
As the slogan says is “Techno Without Boundaries”; In fact Aurora. does not follow any trend but indeed, it’s aimed to discover the sound of the nation or a precise style, involving emerging and affirmed artists that the techno scene offers.
I feel that in this way we also help people to translate and understand better the meaning of “Techno”, which is often confused.
You participated in the first release of aurora. with a track, I think it was your debut as Mattia Prete, are you going to continue publishing under your name or do you plan to use some alias or get involved again in another projects?
To be honest, for me this EP on Jazz-O-Tech signs the real debut of my solo project. There has been a lot of preparation behind it and it is really part of personal evolution in terms of sound and experience gained by working with musicians.
I have a few releases scheduled by the end of the year and I am very motivated to continue releasing under my own name.
Meanwhile, with my friend and studio partner Daniel Calvi, and Leonie Fraudenberger, we built up a Band, a trio that proposes electronic beats mixed guitars, synths, and saxophone. We are preparing something interesting for this winter, but you can already give a look at the live set we have prepared for Monument.
You will soon be releasing solo on Jazz-o-Tech, your own label. Moon, Please Don’t Go Away is a release in which you have had several collaborators, instrumentalists who improvise with piano, harmonica, guitar, trumpet, saxophone or percussion, what is the recording process of these tracks?
Generally, the best process would be like spending time in the studio with the musician involved and working on each singular track, so to understand and to bring the song in the direction you want.
Unfortunately, during this last year and a half was not always possible to meet people, so it was more like virtual collaborations. I used to prepare the beats and then I’ve asked the musicians to improvise on them.
After receiving their recording, it was all about the arrangement. In some cases, it took weeks before to export the final version as it’s important to give space and value to each sound.
Anyone who doesn’t know Jazz-o-Tech will think it’s a label that only combines jazz with techno, but it’s not like that, we can see in your EP that you mix jazz with other genres, with industrial or experimental sounds, and of course, also with techno, how would you define the style of Moon, Please Don’t Go Away?
It’s Techno Jazz, but specifically, I would call it electro-organic music with a cinematic soul.
In this 5 tracks EP, I represented different emotive scenarios, trying to don’t be repetitive and opening myself to a new perspective of music.
Each track has a very different musical landscape and artists like Alberto Fiori, Bada-Bada, Uri Gincel, and Daniel Calvi completed this job by inserting special keys and harmonies. It’s also thanks to them if I could release such an EP.
By the way, even if the name of the label is very bold, Alessandro and I keep our mind open by offering to our listeners’ different ideas of how this music can be interpreted: for us, Techno Jazz is not only a 4/4 beat with a sample of an instrument taken from somewhere. Techno Jazz is a futuristic way to manifest a continued evolution of this crossover between experimentation and improvisation; merging electronic music producers with Jazz musicians..this is how we like it!
Reeko is a huge producer, both in techno and experimental electronica. His remix complements this EP extraordinarily, why did you choose this Spanish artist?
When with Daniel Calvi we produced the track “Stein”, I felt like that somehow Reeko in particular, with these samples could really make a good job. So I’ve asked him if he could participate and…I wasn’t wrong! The remix perfectly fits in the EP and it’s great for warehouse situations, I would be curious to hear it in a huge Soundsystem!
Do you plan to release any work on a label other than aurora. and Jazz-o-Tech?
You can count on it, I have just started 🙂
By Ximo Noguera