Young Italian DJ/producer Claudio PRC is one of techno’s enthusiastic explorers. He combines an inspired, informed passion for classic techno with a productive interest in the legacy of electroacoustic experimentation. Combining the streamlined with the raw, the repetitive with the unpredictable, his music is a study in sonic and tonal combination.
Claudio’s set to follow up a productive 2011 this March with a new album for Prologue, an abyssal dive called “Inner State,” sampled below.
He took some time to share with us his thoughts on the techno scene, his own progress as an artist, and keeping dance music stimulating.
You did a lot of traveling in 2011. Any surprises along the way, about local techno scenes or anything else? Any favorite shows or destinations?
Yes, 2011 was a year of adventures and discoveries. I visited many places that I’d never been before and each one left with me an indelible memory. My favorite trip was definitely my first tour in Japan. Their gentle culture reviewed my perspective on life in general. My greatest satisfaction in 2011 was definitely the gig at Berghain in Berlin with Prologue, where I saw myself playing in the present temple of Techno! The biggest reward so far. Also very exciting was my appearance at the Test Festival in Spain, where I presented a special “back to back” set with my friend dj Ness, sharing the stage with Surgeon and Sandwell District. I reserve a special place in my heart also for Athens (Astron Bar), Nicosia (Klub D), Moscow (Shanti) and indispensable Italian scenes such as Padua (The Frag), Rome (Alchemy), and Bologna. Even my home city, Cagliari, has had a year full of surprises. All the places I have been have never lacked the primary ingredient – passion for a genre, a lifestyle, a culture named Techno.
In 2012 to promote my debut album on Prologue in March, there is a tour planned where I will perform in various cities in Europe and Asia, probably also USA will come… I would love to!
What were some of your favorite releases in 2011 from yourself and others? Who are you looking forward to hearing from in 2012?
I don’t have a single favorite release, I like them all because I feel like they are the indelible proof of my development. Each one added something to me. The Mono Records EP with Svart1, was essential to my research on sound materials, the EP with Terence Fixmer on Prologue was a lot of work and our sound was fitting together so well in the end! I also enjoyed working with Obtane on Aconito Records, a deep conceptual project or doing a remix for my dear friends D. Carbone released by Prosthetic Pressing in Chicago and for Abstract Souls on Stroboscopic Artefacts. Regarding my music preferences at the moment, of course everything that has been out on Prologue and 2012 seems even better. In addition I recommend Italian dj/producer Alan Backdrop and the new forthcoming album of Berlin based producer Hubble.
What trends in techno are you excited about? Any you’ve had enough of?
I am always attracted by what is strong conceptually. There are few things with a magnetic appeal, able to set roots and pass through me, such as artists like Jeff Mills or Donato Dozzy; I like their personal view on music and open approach to it. Among the few met in the last few years, I am fascinated by Silent Servant and of course by my big brother Dino Sabatini.
I can’t handle clones anymore, and all those who exploit the other’s art following an ephemeral trend, with no respect and knowledge for the past. This superficial music business is going to kill the magic — nothing to do with art.
Can you give us a brief description of your studio setup? Any key/essential elements of gear?
My setup is very simple: PC, handy recorder, software for audio editing and sound libraries. Right now I am also studying, through the University program, the use of patches for the development of sound material through Max/MSP.
It’s been noted that you’re a student of both Midwestern American dance music and European electroacoustic composers. How do these approaches and styles of music inform your own work?
About dance music (Techno) I am a fanatic lover and self-seeker of its history and the whole world of interests around it. When referring to Electronic music, or Concrete music, I continue studying it at the university. On a certain point in my musical career I saw these two genres melting together inevitably. I am studying how to balance the two elements, and I can recognize them as essential. In most of my tracks, the Electroacoustic side plays the more emotional role, where the atmosphere created by the sound research and processing are my means to tell a story, while the rhythm reveals my natural matrix of energy I use to give life to these stories.
You’ve discussed the state of music as one in which our ears have heard most sounds, and the composer/producer recombines and re-presents a universe of sound. What do you think are the ripest domains for musical exploration?
This is a topic I really feel. A few months ago at the University I presented a project for an audio/video installation where the main theme was the relationship between people and the infinite universe of sounds this planet offers. It would be trivial to answer that any music domain is mature enough to borrow material sounds and the perceptual experience that any traditional music conveys. Indeed my answer is to concentrate on careful listening of the surrounding sound landscape, make myself aware of the presence of the infinite number of combinations between the different sound objects found in nature and creating a unique and spontaneous compositional experience that unconsciously we are unable to locate. I think this is one of the biggest challenges for musical exploration, a field that’s in constant motion.
As an experimentally-oriented techno producer, how do you reconcile the tension between sound experiments and the expectations of functional dance music?
This is my ultimate issue. My ambitious goal is to compose music to make people move but also intellectually stimulate. There might be many considerations about it, but from my point of view it doesn’t have so much to do with the sound object you picked up, it’s just how it goes. I’ve learned that the track’s mixdown phase plays a key role in this sense, directing the way you want people listening to it and to considering the entire spectrum of feelings you can get from it. As I said it’s not the only aspect to consider, and I am still looking for the right balance. I would like to find it before the age of 30 ; – )
Prologue, where you’ve released the bulk of your music these past two years, has such a distinctive, recognizable aesthetic. How would you describe the “Prologue sound?”
Natural and synthetic at the same time. Natural because it’s a spontaneous and deep sound that hits the soul, synthetic because it is essential, concise, goes straight to head. We all at Prologue have this feature that unites us. Everyone has his own sound belonging to this concept that (nicely) you call Prologue sound.
British TV producer Simon Cowell recently announced his plans for a DJ talent show, and there are reports of a rival show to be shot in Ibiza called “Superstar DJ.” What are your thoughts on the presence of the “DJ” figure in mainstream popular culture, and how does this figure ultimately affect your own work as a DJ/producer?
Certainly in recent years the figure of the DJ has been growing, so it’s no coincidence that many international pop stars frequently rely on this figure. I’m more into a classic idea of it. Being a DJ is a way to shout, same as for painters, singers or actors. A DJ set is sharing time to express your state of mind and the result is down to the crowd. The aim should be to communicate something, no matter what is used. Behind the turntables there should be a soul, a heart and mind. I see now a lack of awareness, which feeds some ridiculous partying dj cliché. Until now the world met only one Jim Morrison and one Jeff Mills! Artists must have a message.
What can you tell us about your upcoming album for Prologue and your plans for 2012?
Totally excited, I was waiting for the moment to be ready since years. After two years on sound research, the project came out naturally. I felt many times the need to fix my state of music with a complete work. At the end it has been a spontaneous flux representing my sound, mental and spiritual metamorphosis until today. I see it as an introspective journey around my young experience and deepest perspectives. The album stylistically represents my musical philosophy: Electroacoustic combined with Techno; lean, primitive and repetitive Techno, deep basslines supporting a long and smooth sound. The album was ready almost in a year, track after track according to a precise logic, starting from black to white, from darkness to get glimpse some light, it describes my constant evolution as well as the movement of the whole universe around me. I really feel hungrier to discover now than when I started making music. The album will be released through Prologue in March, on double vinyl and digital. I want to mention also the people involved on the album project: Svart1 and Mauronster Photographer. Svart1 / Raimondo Gaviano, works in the fields of Ambient, Dark Ambient, Industrial, live-performance and video. He is a collector of sounds and noises, which are the basis of his music. He generates it from field-recordings, syntheziser, guitar, dulcimer, pc or other interesting stuffs. He currently lives and works in Cagliari, Sardinia. Svart1 is one of the most influent dark-ambient musicians in Europe playing in places like Gyari Club, Budapest, very popular in the industrial scene. Mauronster Photographer is Mauro Prevete. Mauro did the cover pictures and he is also from Sardinia. He is an active member of the prestigious WPJA (Wedding Photojournalist association), TAU (Italian Professional Photographers Association) and of ANFM (Association of Italian wedding photographers). He collaborate with some editorial offices as reporter. His style is something unconventional, able to catch the unique and spontaneous poetry in his subjects through the images. Now I just hope people will like it…Let’s see, I am really excited!
About other plans for 2012, I have three remixes done, the first, for Alessio Mereu, will be out in April on his own label Amam (12” and digital), then a remix for Error Etica on his own Spanish label Psychoskunk (12” and digital) and the latter a really huge release on a new Sardinian (berlin based) label called Deept Records with a remix for Hubble. These are my plans at the moment, but still have a lot of things to do in mind. I will see what happens!