My interest in music started when I was about 12/13. I loved music videos and I believe I got messed up by one of those. It must have been some rap video where a Dj was scratching on the turntables. I soon discovered that my dad actually owned one turntable, as well as a huge collection of jazz records. I randomly picked up a record and started destroying the needle trying to scratch. It didn’t sound good.
I was incredibly fascinated by the turntable, it totally looked like a real instrument in the hands of that DJ. I spent weeks daydreaming, trying to decrypt the code and figure out how to make a beat out of those old records.
You must consider that I grew up in the mainland of Venice, Italy. No internet at that time, almost only word-of-mouth information, b-boys weren’t that many; they were old school and I was a kid, I was afraid to go there and ask my stupid questions cause, man, they were my idols. Those people lived hip hop, they used to spend their days dancing, doing graffiti, producing, rapping, scratching, skating… it was all connected, a whole new world that I was struggling to get into. When I finally took the courage and approached them I started to learn fast; I was sucking the hell out of everything they’d do. I learned the basics of beat making from Mezen, a living legend who was producing some real smooth stuff. With the insurance money of a car accident I immediately bought a pair of Technics 1200, a small mixer and a sampler.
Years later I started going to London quite often thanks to an acquainted auntie who lived there and offered me free room to sleep. Ryanair was new and you could fly extremely cheap so all my money was ending up in records. I was spending my days digging in the crates of old basements, looking for sound pieces inside dusty 0.99 pounds vinyls.
Back home I was living here and there. I had a base at my grandma’s, and a small studio with a pc and the equipment at my old girlfriend’s house. I was rapping, producing and spending hours on the turntables. By the time I was 18 I had released several mixtapes and rap demos. That was my dimension, music was the only thing I seemed to be good at.
During the years I developed an intimate approach to music, particularly to beat making. I was initially using a sampler to create loops out of my dad’s jazz records, but with time I enriched my tracks using synthesisers and drum machines. Every day I would spend some time producing, and this allowed me to keep a journal of emotions and mind states throughout the seasons and the years: a musical moleskine. Most of beats were just drafts or simple loops, but if I go back and listen to some old stuff even now I can remember what I was passing thru at the time I produced them. I honestly find this thing priceless.
While I was in Italy I wasn’t playing live a lot; with the crew we played at some parties where I was either rapping or playing records but there wasn’t much going on in our area. So the main dimension of my music for years remained the bedroom. I was focusing on sound research, collecting records and playing synthesisers. But I really felt the lack of a live dimension.
In 2008 after a couple of years doing back and forth between Europe and Asia I relocated to Shanghai first, and Hong Kong after. This brought a series of issues in my life and for a while I stopped releasing stuff. I was still making beats almost on a daily basis as usual, but when relocating I had left most of my equipment behind. So I decided to take some time to learn new methods and buy some new gear in order to start experimenting a new approach. I needed a break from the past.
I currently have some nice equipment, synthesisers, drum machines, all in a small home studio. The weather here is mostly sunny and warm 10/11 months a year and Hong Kong has a lot of landscapes that you can reach with a 30 mins bus drive. So I don’t really feel like doing all the process in the studio. There are plenty of forests, hills, islands, natural beautiful locations by the ocean where you can go to get inspiration. Now, when I make a track I start from some ideas, then I put together a few sessions in the studio, jamming over a loop, recording sounds, patterns, drums. When I feel I have enough material I go out carrying my laptop to some nice cafe near the ocean, breathe the soft breeze and try to capture the vibe.
I then go back home and add layers and melodies.
Obviously this new approach is affecting my music in a strong way. I still keep that “Venetian decadence” trademark, that kind of emotional melancholy in my productions, but those elements are now definitely balanced by a new dynamism and by a strong tropical vibe typical of Hong Kong and South East of Asia.
I still buy second hand records in some local market, mostly cantonese stuff from the 60s/70s or Thai funk. I sample voices and traditional instruments then add them to my compositions. It’s a way to keep that hip hop sampling tradition that I grew up with alive, and at the same time let Oriental elements influence my music.
(kavemura last ep cover)
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