On the brink of launching a new release series, we caught up with recording artist Concret to discuss his latest endeavour...
Concret - Interview
Hey Diego, thank you for taking the time to speak with us at Minimal Mag! As you’re an avid traveling DJ and producer I thought it apt to start by asking; where are you based right now and what have you been up to recently?
Hello guys, it’s a pleasure to meet you. When the pandemic started I was just moving in New Jersey, in the country side but close enough to Manhattan. So during lockdown I spent most of the time making a home there and building a new studio to feel proud about. Of course I always keep a foot in Mexico City, having a room in my best friend apartment. You know Mexico for me is my artistic mother, there is no place like that. No matter where life is going to move me around I will always have a place called home in Mexico jaja.
Your new EP ‘Santifica le Feste Vol.1’ in collaboration with Mijo is coming out on Rollover Milano Records and is dedicated to traditional holidays in your native country Italy, can you tell us something about the concept behind the series?
Well Mario (aka Mijo) and me we have been friends since I first move to Mexico in 2013. So we always keep each other in touch and have a scheduled appointment with music every since and then. This idea came on a raw session in Mario’s studio in Mexico City before pandemic. We were playing around and then I came with this name and he loved immediately. I mean Mario has a lot of friends in Italy and is completely in love with Italian food and Italian tradition.
‘La campane’ feels strongly experimental, spiritual and cinematic. It stands out to me as not necessarily being a dance record compared to the other tracks, is there a particular narrative behind it?
Thankyou for asking that! Campane was a nice add that Rocco (Roll Over) asked me because due to the long delay on the released caused by the pandemic one of the remixes dropped down. So he came to me and asked about an intro that was more cinematic and ephemeral. Something that can put you in the mood of the concept of Santifica Le Feste. And I was more than happy to accept because in that moment I was putting my hands on some ambient and minimal experiments with modular synthesizers. So Campane is a simple answer to something I was already doing for myself in the new studio.
Mijo is a multi-instrumentalist and also a good friend of yours. What was it like working on the project together? Did you both have respective roles within the production process?
I’ve been working on and off with Mijo since I met him the first time. He is extremely talented and has a grotesque humor and a very punk way of working. When we do music we make drinks and we talk about life and our own issues.. in the meanwhile we turn on a synth or a drum machine and we just jam. And when something is good we just press Rec. for this specific occasion we wanted to be minimal and extremely raw. Trying to avoid any instinct to make things sound prettier. I think was an answer of all the electronic music boom of plastic sounds and super mega productions that are now so common and make electronic music sound more like a new pop. Oh I hate melodic techno so much!
Mijo is from Mexico, was it interesting for him to work on a project taking its inspiration from Italian culture & tradition?
Yes it was, as I said before he loves Italy, he has been to Italy many times. He is a long time friend of Mammarella and Rodion and all the Slow Motion crew. So for him was not a new thing to be working and having fun with italians
The track ‘Madonnina’ features hypnotic, shadowy vocals. Who’s behind the mic and can you explain the lyrics referencing the Madonnina to our English readers?
I am the infamous singer in that track. We did few takes and the idea was to make it sound like an old drunk homeless guy walking in a cold night in front of Piazza Duomo in Milano. La Madonnina is a symbol of the city is the highest little gold Saint Mary statue on top of the Cathedral. The song is a traditional song written in the 30’ as an answer to the more common napolitan ballads (like O Sole Mio) that were becoming very popular also in the north as a consequence of the heavy immigrations from souther regions to Milano. So became the song of pride for Milanese people and let me be honest very often with also a little of racist attitude against southern Italian people. So of course the image of this drunk guy was enough grotesque for us that we decide was right. I grow up in Milan but my father is from Sicily so I kind of appreciate the aspects of both worlds and I don’t feel guilty laughing about it.
Tyu delivers a high energy remix of the track. You’ve worked together with him before on the ‘Halo’ EP, are there plans to invite other collaborators to do remixes for the future instalments of this release series?
Yes definitely! Tyu, by the way another Mario.. lol, is an artist I discovered first signing him in Tráfico Music and then working with him on Halo Ep. He is a great producer, extremely talented on mixing Latin sound and percussions with techno beats. I could work with him anytime but nothing is planned yet.
Speaking of, can you share some info on the next three volumes for this project? We’re looking forward to hearing what’s following in the series.
Mario and I we already had a couple of studio sessions for the Volume 2 of Santifica Le Feste. The only thing I can say is that sessions were very prolific and the flow was incredible. I think we both kind of want to use this as a starting point after the pandemic so the intention is to have the next Vol. 2 by summer.. inspired by the same attitude and irony. And who knows.. maybe in the future we could do a Santifica Le Feste showcase with that folkloric traditional vibe and raw edgy talent from Italy and Mexico together again!
Concret - Links
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