Maurice Uzzan alias Whitesquare unloads his all-enveloping rhythmically influenced music with the skill and sheer emotional engagement of a genuine lover of the wide House/Techno genres. With releases on Jimpster’s infamous Freerange Records as well as EPs on 20:20 Visions,Tropical Animals and others the Rome/ Tel Aviv-grown up DJ and producer has left his footprints within the scene, on the dancefloors in and and outside of his hometowns. His ‘Traces To Nowhere EP’, which was released earlier this year, manoeuvred Whitesquare musically right where he belongs: to the top. As his latest remix for Iain Howie’s track ‘To Forget’ released shortly on British label Needwant, Torture the Artist caught up with Maurice to chat about his music, his wish to be invisible and the most rhythmical part of his body.
Torture the Artist: Hello Maurice – tell us something about your day.
My music is always changing.
Torture the Artist: It’s been quite a year for you since your EP’s ‘Traces To Nowhere’ and ‘In Light’ were released on Freerange respectively on ‘Tropical Animals’ – and they were heavily supported by the scene’s key players. Furthermore, your track ‘Dahlass’ was released on your own label. To what extent does 2018 mark a turning point in your career – do you think maybe the perception of your work and music has changed?
Whitesquare: My music is always changing; I made lots of techno tracks in the past, but the Freerange EP has some afro-style elements, and the In Light EP is much more of an experimental, trippy EP. My nexts ones will be different too… probably!
Torture the Artist: You’ve toured quite some number of countries and cities this summer. What memories, impressions (or even souvenirs) have you brought back home?
Whitesquare: I’ve toured Asia almost every summer now for some years now; this year was undoubtedly the most special tour as it was my longest stint around the continent. I stayed there almost 2 months, with one entire month solely in Japan. Luckily for me though, throughout the years touring there I’ve built strong, personal relations with the promoters, so it always kind of feels like home – Japan in particular as I consider many of them as family now.
And there’s just too many memories! I had the chance to visit many non-touristy places this year thanks to my friends there – especially in Japan – and I had the chance to see a bit of its beautiful countryside and mountains. That was truly amazing for me, as usually I get to stay in the big cities like Tokyo, or Osaka, or Kyoto… and yes, of course, the food is great!
I usually show up at the club an hour before or so to check out the warm-up DJ; that way I try to learn the vibe of crowd and the club before my set.
Torture the Artist: Regarding the aforementioned, generally it’s obvious that DJs travel a lot – but what they see of the place surrounding where they actually play at is rather little. How do you tackle this matter, and does getting to know a different city and its vibe influence your track selection when you play your gigs?
Whitesquare: If possible, I try to get to the city that I have a gig at around the day before, as I really love to travel and learn a bit about the culture of the country. Unfortunately, that’s not something that happens all the time – especially if it’s Europe – but, when it’s a far country I always try to do that!
As far as the track selection, I usually show up at the club an hour before or so to check out the warm-up DJ; that way I try to learn the vibe of crowd and the club before my set.
Torture the Artist: What items do you always have in your hand-luggage when you tour?
Whitesquare: Sunglasses, earplugs and medicines!
I usually never start a track or a remix with something in my mind before.
Torture the Artist: Up next is a remix of yours for Vancouver-based DJ and producer Ian Howie, with his track ‘To Forget’. Simply put, your approach to the original was to implement percussion and combine them with the original’s vocals and synths. Did your approach to give the original this kind of treatment emerge during the production process, or was it something that you had in mind beforehand?
Whitesquare: I usually never start a track or a remix with something in my mind before – I just get it, and then start to jam! Even when I do have an idea sometimes, it never really ends up like how I planned!
Torture the Artist: Generally speaking, where does that rhythmical approach in your music come from?
Whitesquare: My hands! <laughs>
Torture the Artist: How much does the music you produce and what you’re into now differ from the music you enjoyed during your teenage years?
Whitesquare: It’s changed a lot, probably due to the fact that music has changed so much since then. Personally, I think it was better before.
I do other electronic music stuff too… but that’s another story, or interview!
Torture the Artist: Most of your tracks are aiming at the dance floors and are heavily club-orientated. What type of track have you always wanted to produce, but which didn’t fit your current style of releases?
Whitesquare: Yep – most of my tracks are club orientated, but that’s what I do with this project: dance music. I do other electronic music stuff too… but that’s another story, or interview!
Torture the Artist: Name a current record/track that has left a lasting impression on you personally, and why?
Whitesquare: Too many – I can’t think of one in particular!
Torture the Artist: What music, generally, or tracks do you like to listen to when trying to get away from electronic or club music?
Whitesquare: I rarely listen to club music in my free time, so it can be anything really.
Torture the Artist: What’s an artist that you would like to work with on one of your future productions, and why?
Whitesquare: Hmm, I don’t know… Really, there’s so many great artists out there, but I guess, personally, someone like Mathew Jonson. I’m such a massive fan of his work and all of his alias projects.
Torture the Artist: You grew up in Rome and Tel Aviv – how has this fact affected you musically as well as personally?
Whitesquare: I was born in Rome, and when I was about 8 years old my family moved to Tel-Aviv for work-related reasons. I went to school there and my love for music and clubbing started there a couple of years after. The scene is utterly different from other countries in the world – more special I’d say. It was amazing back in the mid-90s right when I started to go clubbing as a kid. The place has had some ups and downs since then, but the scene started to get super strong once more in recent years thanks to great clubs like The Block, Breakfast, and so on.
Torture the Artist: Have you ever experienced being torn between the two cultures you’ve lived in, and if so, how did you overcome this feeling?
Whitesquare: Not really. Both cultures are pretty similar and complementary to each other.
Torture the Artist: Which nightclub in either one of the cities you grew up in would you recommend that everybody visit, and why?
Whitesquare: In Tel-Aviv, I would say Allenby 58, which was the place where it all started for me personally. But that club doesn’t exist anymore, so I’d suggest The Block! In Rome, I’d say Goa Club, even though I don’t hang out there much myself.
Torture the Artist: What’s a super-power that you wish you could have?
Interview by Holger Breuer