Spreading his music from the region of Umbria in Italy, Francesco Chiocci‘s rise has begun last year. The self-entitled hard-dreamer created ‘Nightmares‘ on Dixon and Ame‘s label Innervisions having a ‘Black Sunrise‘ prequel on Connaisseur. Torture the Artist spoke to the DJ and producer who also delivers the latest art:cast for the site.
I have to say that everything you heard in 2016, was just the result of what I had thought and created the year before.
Torture the Artist: Last year saw you releasing on labels such as Innervisions, Connaisseur Recordings, Be Free Records and Broadcite Productions, on which you released a remix back in 2012. How did you perceive 2016 from the point of view of an artist?
Francesco Chiocci: Of course, 2016 was such a prosperous year, if you just look at the releases. By the way, I have to say that everything you heard in 2016, was just the result of what I had thought and created the year before and the previous years as well. Probably people discovered my music that year, but I’ve been producing music for round about nine years now. So from my point of view, I would say that 2015 was at least the key year, while 2016 was just the year, when all these track were released.
Torture the Artist: You started 2016 with a banger in form of ‘Black Sunrise‘ and closed it with another one called ‘Nightmares‘ on Innervisions. How are you going to start this year in terms of music?
Francesco Chiocci: I’m thinking of doing something new. I will try to come up with new music and hopefully I will be able to do so soon. In 2015 I never thought that I would be releasing all the stuff I‘ve actually released. I cannot assure anything, but ‘something new‘ is sure to be done in every kind of sense. Actually I’m working on music under my new moniker.
Torture the Artist: During a production what is a vice or positive feeling that accompanies you?
Francesco Chiocci: Basically I have no vices or anything like this. I just do what it takes, when I have something to say or to release. That is what takes me through the creative process. So it can be a positive but also a negative feeling. I just try to do, what is the best for me. Over the years I have realized how important it is to focus on what you can do best, not on what you want to do, because you do not only have strengths. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade!
By the way, I have to say that the main issue, when producing, is always the question ‘isn‘t the volume too loud?‘ as my neighbour from upstairs cannot agree with me on that at all. Well, you got to know that my ‘homestudio‘ is my bedroom.
I like it that when I listen to music and I cannot categorize the track and it covers more than one genre. I think that makes the difference nowadays, because of the crazy amount of music you find every single day that sounds pretty much the same and evokes the impression that there are only three or four main producers.
Torture the Artist: What accompanied you during the production of Nightmares‘ and how did the title come about?
Francesco Chiocci: It just came up by chance like everything I produce. I try to create and produce music without any specific formula, so my music is something basic and honest. I think less is more. That is what House Music is. Then Dixon just edited some small things here and there and the mastering did the rest. Personally I like it that when I listen to music and I cannot categorize the track and it covers more than one genre. I think that makes the difference nowadays, because of the crazy amount of music you find every single day that sounds pretty much the same and evokes the impression that there are only 3 or 4 main producers. I think ‘Nightmares‘ tries to cross more worlds, but at the same time it does not suit one genre only.
Torture the Artist: Tracks like ‘Black Sunrise‘ or ‘Jimma‘ have an African influence. What is your connection to African music?
Francesco Chiocci: Yes, ‘Jimma‘ is definitely something I would suggest to everybody. I really had so much fun doing that remix back in 2011! I think Culoe De Song’s ‘Bright Forest‘ on Innervisions – that came out back in 2009, if I’m not wrong – had a great impact on me and my vision on making music.
Sauro Cosimetti, a living legend here, used to delight us with a mixture of Afro music and new African influenced House tunes on Saturday at the club. Plus, I was already in love with the first stuff from Manoo, when a friend of mine came to me with Culoe‘s track, it definitely changed my world. That’s why I feel connected to this kind of music, but it is just one aspect in House music. Plus I totally agree with Osunlade’s words in one of his interviews, when he said that ‘House music is a drum and that’s it‘. This does not mean that what I do is African music, because it’s not at all. You can just find some kind of influences as you’re probably going to find organic elements in my tracks and music.
Torture the Artist: There are a lot of uprising artists coming from Italy like Toto Chiavetta, Musumeci, Lehar, Olderic and you – just to name a few – that gain more and more recognition internationally. Where does this Italian phenomenon has its roots when looking at yourself?
Francesco Chiocci: Yes, Italy has a lot of talent and internationally well recognized musicians as well as DJs. Italians have been influencing the scene rather well since the 90s, when there was the Italo-House movement. We have always done it our way. I think it helps nowadays to bring a different flavor and approach to music and that makes the difference, if you ask me.
I can’t imagine to do this thing [producing music] with another person, not even with my favourite producer or DJ.
Torture the Artist: With whom would you like to share a studio and why?
Francesco Chiocci: Honestly, I would say anyone. I mean, I would say that there are so many artists I admire, but it’s a very personal and spiritual thing to produce music with. I don’t know how to explain it really. I can’t imagine to do this thing with another person, not even with my favourite producer or DJ. In my experience, it is something special and personal happening by chance that I can’t imagine to set together with anyone else. It’s just like that. Maybe I will change my mind about it n the future. Plus, I don’t want my way of producing to be influenced by others and their way in order to keep my sound different; today I hear too much similar music due to the massive use of the same plugins and devices or whatever. My music is just one approach or one way to do it of course and I think there are a lot of genuine and cool collaborations, so I cannot say that they are wrong. Probably many others like to connect with others and improve through this, but it is nothing for me for at the moment. My one and only collaboration has been with Black Soda, but that is a different topic as she’s a singer. Maybe I would collaborate with her again though.
Torture the Artist: You live in Ponte San Giovanni in Italy – not quite a region that is famous for electronic music. What motivated you in the first place to get started with electronic music and what were the clubs/ events you attended?
Francesco Chiocci: Well, Ponte San Giovanni is just a district of Perugia, a city in the middle of Italy. Any Italian should easily understand, why I mentioned the city. One of the resident DJs, Ricky L, at Red Zone Club had already released his music via Pastaboys‘ ‘Manocalda‘.I went there so many times and there were already guys in town doing their own music and I started ‘making music‘ with a friend of mine as a duo, just to try to create our music. I used to attend the club for a few years – not for a long time though. Most of my peers had attended it earlier, but I could not because of restrictions from my parents. But despite everything, it has significantly influenced my way of perceiving music; at that place I always listened to that different flavor I talked about before. The two resident DJs were my first ‘educators‘ alongside another friend of mine. I understand now that it made the difference. There you used to listen to different flavors and sides of music, it was not just the same music over and over again. I had the chance to listen to a wide range of music from resident and guest DJs, so I had the chance to choose what I liked the most and that still influences my choices now. This is something you can hardly find in today’s DJ-sets, that mainly consist of the same music, except for a handful of DJs.
There was also another club, where I had the luck to listen to the best music from the dance music scene. For lets say two seasons I could witness amazing guests, such as Louie Vega, Culoe de Song, Osunlade or Black Coffee. I definitely consider myself a lucky privileged person, because this is something still influencing me in the production process as well as a DJ.
I don’t trust instant and seasonal stuff. I would like to find confidence in what I do and keep on doing it. I don’t want to lose motivation, because that would mean that I am done with music.
Torture the Artist: What goals do you want to achieve as an artist as well as a person when it comes to music?
Francesco Chiocci: I don’t trust instant and seasonal stuff. I would like to find confidence in what I do and keep on doing it. I don’t want to lose motivation, because that would mean that I am done with music. Of course, I want to grow firstly as a person, because I know it will help the artist side too. Everything has its time and I don’t want my music to be overexposed, then let’s just see what will happen and then we will be able to see, if I did it the right way or not. I’m in no rush, I prefer to wait for the right time and just kee on developing my sound and, if I deserve it, let’s see what will come. It’s all I’ve been doing till now. And what’s better than listeners understanding your view or music?
Just seeing people absorbing your journey in a longer lasting path over the years is probably every artist’s dream, but we’re all hard-dreamers.
Torture the Artist: How do you want people to perceive your music?
Francesco Chiocci: I just hope they perceive it at all, no matter how, no matter when. I would say it’s even good that people have different perceptions of my music. That’s what I was talking about. Just seeing people absorbing your journey in a longer lasting path over the years is probably every artist’s dream, but we’re all hard-dreamers.
Torture the Artist: What clubs in Italy can you recommend our readers?
Francesco Chiocci: Actually my favorite clubs do not exist anymore. At the moment, I‘d say ‘Serendipity‘ here in Umbria and ‘Cirq‘ in Venice.