Musumeci has been a constant in the electronic music scene for over two decades or as he states ‘I have been involved with music for 24 years.‘ Over the years the Sicilian has not only built up a reputation for himself as a DJ, but at the same time has created and defined his own unique sound as a producer and DJ and founded the label Engrave Ltd alongside his mate Dodi Palese. We spoke to Mauro ahead of the label’s first ever compilation that is due in March.
Torture the Artist: You released your EP ‘The Gemini Project‘ back in 2014 and it was heavily supported by the Innervisions-guys. From your perception would you say that this EP was a game-changer for you and your musical career?
Musumeci: I made my first production back in 1993 and I have been regularly doing music in the past 24 years under several aliases and different music styles. I never thought about having a ’career’ in the music business. For some reason music was simply yet strongly present in my life. From the moment I had started to listen to my mum and dad’s record collection till the time when I fell in love with DJing to be precise. Back in the days to be a DJ wasn’t a matter of reaching a particular status or traveling the world and make a lot of money. I remember my dream was to become the resident DJ of a club in my area. Of course, nowdays it is very different and it makes sense to talk about a ‘career’ as a DJ and producer of electronic music. Anyway I still like to think that what really changes the game is the own personal motivation and how much effort you are ready to put into it in order to live the life the way that you believe is right. Talking about ‘The Gemini Project‘, of course the support that the track received was completely unexpected for me, I was super glad and it certainly helped a lot to introduce the people to ‘Musumeci‘.
I met Alex for the first time in a coffee shop in Amsterdam the same year and I think we had a common basis and a good feeling from the beginning due to the fact that we are two ‘old‘ men and we consider certain things in a very similar way.
Torture the Artist: With the start of 2015 your first track on Connaisseur, ‘Clausius‘ saw the light of day and ever since you have released regularily on the label. How did the relationship with Connaisseur and one of its founders, Alex Flitsch, come about and what is your relationship to the label?
Musumeci: This is what happened: In the beginning of 2014 Lorenzo (editor‘s note: Lehar) had his ‘Sargas EP‘ ready and he was interested to release it on Connaisseur. At that time the label was distributed by Intergroove and I was in touch with the head of the physical distribution, so I sent an email with Lehar’s EP and asked to forward it to Alex Flitsch. As you know the EP was signed by Connaisseur and Lorenzo started working very close with the label. I met Alex for the first time in a coffee shop in Amsterdam the same year and I think we had a common basis and a good feeling from the beginning due to the fact that we are two ‘old‘ men and we consider certain things in a very similar way. Right after my first meeting with Alex, Lorenzo asked me if I was interested to do a track for a various artists EP on Connaisseur. Well, I don’t remember the reason anymore, but he told me also they need the track within one week. I agreed and sent back ‘Clausius‘ in time. From the first release I have started to collaborate with Connaisseur and I still am. The most significant events of my life have happend thanks to the music, music is the strongest way of connecting people that I have ever experienced in my life. The quality of the connection depends on how honest you love music.
Torture the Artist: By looking at your discography one can say that you prefer continuity and when looking at who you produce and work with it evokes the same impression. What aside from continuity is important to you when working with labels and other artists?
Musumeci: I live music and it is a necessity to me and a way to express myself, so I try to be as clear as possible about it. In a conversation you have the time to listen and also the time to talk, I’m usually open to listen to my counterpart, but I am less ready to talk, if I don’t feel I have something relevant to tell. I often have the feeling that I‘ve already told something, so I’m working on it to avoid the unnecessary. The people I work with are – first of all – friends, we share the love for the music, we have common values and we respect each others.
If you want to really understand what kind of leader you have in front of you, you need to see the people that surround him.
Torture the Artist: One of your close friends Lehar works with DIYNAMIC, Solomun‘s label. In the past you were already responsible for a remix on the mother label and DIYNAMIC‘s sublabel, 2DIY4. When can we expect a full EP from you on the label?
Musumeci: In 2016 – thanks to Lorenzo – I had the chance to get to know the Diynamic Music family better and I have so much respect for Solomun and everybody in the team. If you want to really understand what kind of leader you have in front of you, you need to see the people that surround him. When and if I will do a full EP on DIYNAMIC is a question I can’t answer. It depends if/when I will be able produce something interesting for the label. Let’s see, music always finds its way aside from the usual plan.
Torture the Artist: You got a new EP with your ‘group‘ Human Machine coming up as well as an track on Engrave Ltd. What else can you reveal in terms of releases for 2017?
Musumeci: We are currently working on the first Lehar & Musumeci EP. Maybe you will be able to witness it at some point this year. I did a collaboration with H.o.s.h. and a remix for A45 on Engrave Ltd, which will be out next summer on his ‘Stray Part 2 EP‘. That‘s all I can reveal at the moment.
Torture the Artist: Your contribution for the upcoming Engrave Ltd EP is called ‘Funi‘, which is Sicilian slang for ‘rope‘, and the name of the Human Machine track is ‘Elena‘. What is the story behind those titles and are they connected in a way?
Musumeci: The Japanese ideogram ‘Funi’ is about the concept of non duality, of oneness. Everything changed in my life, when I started to believe that the causes of my joy and sorrow originates within me. To see my environment as a reflection of my inner life elped me so much to take on the responsibility for my life. The title is a simple tribute to this personal discovery and a reminder for myself at the same time. About the Human Machine track, ‘Elena’ was the name of Francesco’s grandmother. He expressed the desire to entitle the track in her memory and we were happy to give he track such a deep and personal meaning.
Torture the Artist: The Engrave Ltd Vol. 1 consists out of nine titles and is a potpourri of merely all artists on the label. Who selected the tracks and what was the intention the collection shall reflect?
Musumeci: In the beginning we were working on a split EP consisting of tracks from Musumeci, Dodi and Human Machine, but at some point we started receiving some other tracks from friends. They sounded very interesting, so we ended up with the Engrave Ltd Vol. 1 compilation. It represents a collection of tracks that we feel in particular, I have personally played all of them quite a lot. Usually Dodi and I have a different taste in music, but on this one you can’t really tell. I like to consider this occasion as the beginning of moments, when we will merge together for 100%. So this means you can already expect a Vol. 2 by the end of this year.
Torture the Artist: As a producer, DJ, member of Human Machine, label-head of Engrave Ltd and a loving father, how difficult is it for you to deal with all these responsibilities and when do you find time for yourself?
Musumeci: Wherever I am, I just try to do my best to do what needs to be done. The best time I can dedicate to myself is the time that I dedicate to the people I love.
Torture the Artist: Aside from music what else is a treat for you?
Musumeci: I like playing chess, reading books, talking with a good friend and spending time with my family.
Toto is the only heavy sushi lover that I know, that uses a fork to grab a roll.
Torture the Artist: We recently spoke to Toto Chiavetta, who is also in the rooster of the Twelve Notes booking agency, and he revealed that he would be most happy to open up a Sushi Drive Through. What is your relationship to raw fish and what are your plans for the time after your musical career?
Musumeci: Toto is the only heavy sushi lover that I know, that uses a fork to grab a roll. <laughs> Anyway, I can still see myself driving for couple of hours to eat some raw fish at Toto’s Sushi place. I’m sure it will be as excellent as his music. My plans are to die at one point just like everybody else, but I don’t consider to stop doing music before.
Torture the Artist: Quite some artists contribute music for fashion designers and the fashion scene starts to focus on music that is more underground. You as an Italian – who do have quite a sense for fashion – do you see your music being played at some fashion event or even play there yourself and if you had to choose, who would you like to play for?
Musumeci: Music is a human creation and goes straight from heart to heart, any place can be the right one to play music. What is the right music to play at a certain place? That’s one of the most important challenges for a DJ. The wide spectrum of colors in music gives us so many choices to create a precise feeling and a particular ‘moment’. I can’t tell you a brand or name from the fashion industry with whom I would like to work with. I’m more interested in the fact itself. Playing music for a premiere of a new collection could be a very exciting experience and for sure an important occasion to get big inspiration to push my personal knowledge forward.
1.Capofortuna ‘Color Club‘ [unknown]
2.Elliott Lion ‚Pearl‘ [Cin Cin]
3.Phunkadelica ‘Keep It Stronger‘ [unknown]
4.Mattheis ‘Osi‘ [Nous’klaer Audio]
5.Terr ‘Misantropicalia‘ [Hotflush]
6.Fred Und Luna ‘Galakto‘ [Bigamo]
7.Fatima Yamaha ‘Araya‘ [Dekmantel]
8.Nathan Surreal ‘Star Dust‘ [Biologic]
9.Applescal, Hessel Stuut, Deltawerk ‘Corridor (Marvin & Guy Mix)‘ [Atomnation]
10.Slideshow Park ‘Shining‘ [Sea Of Sound]