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Go BackWHAT A GIFT! – DJ Luca Ricci delivers a delightful and exclusive mix while he discusses the island called Ischia and always giving your best to ‘mamma musica’…

Posted: 4/11/04 8:32

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Strong words maybe, but we think if Zen and the art of DJing were to be investigated then Italian artist Luca Ricci should be case studied. A positive character with great energy, Luca was born on a small, idyllic island named Ischia in the Gulf of Naples. With music in his blood, at the age of six Luca studied the classical guitar and several birthdays later continues the family tradition – albeit with a modern day twist. In 1997 Ricci moved to London for six years, but the peaceful island paradise lured him back in 2003 and so Ischia remains Luca’s natural habitat to this day…

Ultimately it is better that you listen to his expressive mix, but if we must use terms to describe his sound then it’s possible to say that Ricci’s music is endearingly concerned with deep, sexy house and twisted, progressive grooves. In short, Luca’s loaded style equates with meaning: ‘music for the body and the mind’.
Quite rightly regarding his music as an art form, producer Luca Ricci is also known as: When Is Dark, Aenaria, Vesdino, Vibe Junction, and with Diego Dari and Jane Kumada as Against The Grain (AGT).
Luca has furthermore demonstrated a dynamic nature by remixing Jennifer LopezAin't It Funny’ and Cat Stevens, both via Sony. Having unleashed solid output on quality labels such as: Bedrock, Renaissance, Stereo, Low Pressings, Kaos, MoDo and Screen Records, Luca’s material has been supported by a wealth of DJs like: Danny Tenaglia, DJ Vibe, Chus & Ceballos, Steve Lawler, Saeed & Palash, Peter Rauhofer, Satoshi Tomiie, Tom Stephan and Timo Maas, among countless others...

Luca meanwhile continues working hard with his band, ATG, on a forthcoming album plus live gigs. He also has numerous tracks ready to enchant the world including Aenaria’s ‘Set Me Free’ with Chus & Ceballos  remix lined up for Miami WMC 2005 (Stereo Productions). On the subject of seeing sparkling new names rising up in the music scene, Ricci says with experience: “There are so many people that you need to ‘set free’ out there in this jungle!” Well, whilst liberated and free, Ibiza-Voice obviously agree so read on now to discover more about the various gifts of Luca …

Can you tell us about where you were born and how it affected your musical youth?
“I was born on a small island in the Tirrenian Sea, called Ischia, near Capri in the gulf of Naples. My family has always been into music, my big brother is a music teacher and so is my cousin. When I was six years old my grandfather bought me a classical guitar, he wanted me to learn how to play well, so that I could play for the rest of the family and for the little church nearby on Sunday. Since those early times music, from classic to electronic, has always been in my life.”

Where in Italy do you live now and can you reveal more about that habitat – does it include a studio for example?
“After living in London for six years, I moved back to Ischia where I live right now. It feels so good, it’s a perfect habitat where you can rest and find yourself again after travelling from gigs. It’s far, far, away from the crazy life! My bedroom is my studio, and my world, with a nice view to my parents’ garden. It is quiet and peaceful – exactly what I need to put down some ideas into music! ” :-)

October was a busy month as you played in Mexico, Portugal, and Spain – so how were those gigs?
“Yeah, thank God lately I have had the chance to experience many new worlds. When I think of that, I realise how lucky we DJs are... We get to travel around the world meeting people and making new friends with whom we can share emotions through the music, what a gift! I love Portugal and Spain, and I really feel at home when I’m there as we are so close each other. Mexico was also great, and spicy, he-he… very exciting for sure! The house and electronic scene is kind of new and happening for them now, so as you can imagine it needs to develop more, but yeah, it’s lots of fun.” :-)

You’ve had several remixes out of late. How do you choose the projects, artists, and labels that you work with?
“Yeah but I have to admit that I’m quite picky and difficult with remixes, as I prefer working on original music. Since all I do has to have a meaning and a message inside, as you can imagine it is not so easy to pick up tracks and projects to remix. Plus having a deadline puts pressure on me, which I don’t like as I’m not used to it.”

Can you explain more about the new release Luca Ricci presents Ventunesimo Secolo’s Tribute to St Francis of Assisi on Screen Records, Italy?
San Francesco d’Assisi is, of course, a saint – a very important figure for me, and all the Catholic Church. This is a deep project for ‘body and mind’, influenced by a prayer called ‘Il Cantico Delle Creature’, where he talks to creatures and other elements of the planet’s heart (he calls them: “sister moon and brother sun...”). In this world we live in, we send out text messages and emails; but sometimes forget on a day-to-day basis how important it is to meet, talk, and understand each other! Francesco (1181-1226) taught us about communication, but in the 'Ventunesimo Secolo' (21st century) it seems we often forget how to ‘talk’ to each other! I have signed this project to my Italian friend Stefano Greppi for his label Screen Records. The 12-inch, out in December, will not include the original mixes for now, but just two mixes from young and talented producers (since we too want to help the scene with presenting new names). They are the Italian duo Cassino & Laben, and a duo from Madeira (Portugal) Alex G & Juan Pestana with vocals by Monica Hernandez.”

Have you any further news on the original production front, maybe plans for an artist album?
“Yes I do, I have a project called Luca Ricci presents AenariaSet Me Free’ prepared for Miami WMC 05 on Stereo Productions with a remix by Chus & Ceballos. My first collaboration with Portuguese producers Paulo Rocha: Villanova feat. Gary BardouilleAbout Me’ will be out on Magnetica (PT). And I am working on new a Luca Ricci project feat. Monica HernandezMusica Vs el Dinero’ (a double 12-inch) that will include my originals and two mixes from Marcello Castelli and Evolved. Then there’s a new ATG single ‘Sim City’ that will include the original and a remix by Tom Stephan.”

Traditionally most DJ/producers go on to establish their own labels, will you?
“Maybe one day I will, but not yet for now.” :-)

What’s the music media like in Italy, and how is dance music represented generally?
“Even if I’m Italian and some of my music gets played here, I don’t play out much in Italy, :-( and so my ideas about the media and club scene are very confused. We have innovative DJs and producers plus several good clubs, but I‘d love to see less ‘fashion DJs’ on the circuit.” 

Do you have any press people representing your sound, or does the music do your talking?
“Both really! I’m currently working with different DJ agencies and managements like: Stereo Productions from Spain, UroMuzik from the USA, Mixxitup from Canada, Eleganza Elettronica from the UK, and Taste Promote from Italy etc. However, most important of all, it is vital to have my productions out there because I mainly get my booking requests because of these.” 

Your band, ATG, how is that doing?
Against The Grain was formed to create a deep, meaningful project, where every track is to have a strong lyrical concept based around the darker sides of life but with positive resolutions. Fusing haunting beats, electronic sounds and guitars with emotional songs thereby trying to create a unique underground sound. We have released three singles so far: ‘Seven’, ‘The Mask‘ and ‘Further’; and are working on new ones at moment like: ‘Sim City’, ' I Can’t Pretend’, 'What We Are' and many more!”

As an art form, how do you see DJing and club culture evolving – live elements of delivery mixed with technological aspects seem important; what do you say?
“Yes, where I can, I love combining acoustic and real instruments into electronic dance music. This gives a new touch and it is a way forward. With regard to DJing, because of the internet and music sharing programs, often we all think it’s so important to have exclusive music for a gig only to have the warm up DJ play it all before we go on – he-he! As a result, and to make a difference, we all need to bring in our laptops and effect machines, making edits and playing with the music in a live and creative way!” 

The new website looks cool so far, how do you hope to develop it?
“Thanks! The idea is to have a simple website with updates and news about my music and me mainly. It will soon run on a fast server so it will include lots of music for sure, DJ sets from me and my friends, and also videos for everybody to download. We are still developing the graphic aspects.”

Luca, please educate us on your magical mix that we have the privilege of hosting?
“Well it goes from deep, tribal house, to a more progressive style - it reflects my personality. The music I produce and play in a set is music for the body and the mind. :-) I hope that you like it, please post your comments and considerations to:” 

Have you ever spent any time in Ibiza or DJd on the island?
“Unfortunately not, and I have never played in Ibiza. I wish that one day I will though!” 

Have you any remaining message for Ibiza-Voice?
“Well, first I want to thank you for this interview. It’s very nice that you help out new names like me in the music scene. There are so many people that you need to ‘set free’ out there in this jungle! I hope to see more DJs smiling and interacting with the crowd, rather than beating them like slaves with music bombs – more good music, and less drugs! We should always try and help each other to keep the vibe of good music at the top of the priority list! Never stop giving your best to ‘mamma musica’ and, like I keep remembering to myself first and foremost, ‘it’s the inside that counts’.” :-)

Words by Beara