Ace, January 21st, 2022.
The mind behind Di Saronno is Francesco Ferraro, born in Santa Barbara California he establish himself in Italy. Having a high interest in the fine art of sampling, combined with his love and experience on disco, he seeks to deliver original tracks under his house production style. We have a conversation with Di Saronno talking about his music journey, some of his great releases on labels like Dopewax Records, Nervous Records, Glasgow Underground, and InHouse Records, to name a few, his introduction to the endless world of sampling, his creative process, and a deeper insight into his daily life.
808blogg: How can you describe the main purpose; the mission of Di Saronno, on this musical journey?
Di Saronno: On this musical journey, Di Saronno’s mission is to launch a turbo-funk vision for most of the legendary and iconic’s cuts of all the time. Determination and perseverance are demanded to leave an indelible signature in the actual and future house music scene. The journey continues.
808blogg: When was your first introduction to the vast world it is sampling music?
Di Saronno: I think since the very first beginning, as sampling music is what we encounter every day in our ordinary life. Either we do it on purpose or not, even nowadays in the mainstream we keep listening to a lot of scorches from the past blended in one way or another.
My introduction of digging samples started exactly circa 2004, simply using old hip-hop vocal hits on breakdowns and drops, that were looking very fancy into the Eurodance and disco house songs there were circulating around. A simple cut, without taking any other element of the original song, as I was convinced I could have been sued for that. From time to time I started to realize that pretty much most of the records I thought were original made, contained a lot of elements from various records from the past. All this came when I bumped into the masterful music ‘’thievery’’ by Daft Punk “Discovered” not “Discovery”.
Also because on wax many samples they were bootlegs or just uncredited without any sign of what was the original record but just a courtesy license note from the label, so I made my research on the internet and I got introduced to the world of Discogs and WhoSampled, that are still my reference websites to discover if I may be able to use a sample that hasn’t been processed before into the house music or any other genre.
808blogg: You were born in Santa Barbara California and later in your life you move to Italy, how does that transition add experience to your music?
Di Saronno: Let’s say that is something that this transition was impactive in a passive way. I moved to Italy when I was just 3 in 1991, where meanwhile my dad was doing back and forth from the US where he was working on his business. Music-wise my childhood was really signed positively because I was surrounded by vinyls from the best musicians and artists of the 70s and the 80s that my dad was bringing from overseas. My dad had and still has one of the limited Technics very first turntable with a personal diamond needle. Able to listen to what he was listening starting from James Brown, Wilson Pickett, George Benson, and many others. The same situation during a car road trip, where he was bringing a bunch of DATs, so during that musical journey I was ‘’djing’’ and changing these cassettes at his own choice passing from Buena Vista Social Club to Grateful Dead, or Elvis Presley his all-time favorite.
My adolescence instead was more mainstream but never been fancy of Italian Pop Music, even if I was always watching the traditional Sanremo, Festivalbar, and some other music festival of my times. Thanks to MTV and his continuous programming like Partyzone in the middle of the night, I was able to pick up the alternative sound reference that in the near-future brought me to the curiosity of djing and music production, circa 2004 this way I’m reconnecting to the previous question.
808blogg: How do you develop your creative process, which things trigger you in order to get productive and creative?
Di Saronno: Creativity I think is the first stage of getting productive. Without that, you won’t get the right elements to get fully immersed in the production session. It all depends on my mood, and I like to take pauses during random days of the week and go back to real life because I know for sure that the idea will come and knock at my door. I may be traveling, or be at the gym, or simply in a lounge bar… story of my life, you may be impressed of how many ideas you can develop with a chilled state of mind, and just because I mention a lounge bar… that’s simply what triggered me to start my Di Saronno project. Completely unexpected, but this is another story, not to get off offtopic. Daily I listen to tons of music, no matter where I am, my mind always needs oxygen and at least a background beat. As mentioned above, I dig a lot on YouTube nowadays, continuously researching and making sure that what I found reflects my criteria, and of course when I have the possibility also jump to my dad’s records collection from the US black culture. Once I found my bunch of gems, I use my MPC Studio to slice, chop and reverse all the elements I’m interested in and then everything will just turn into a studio live show until I found the perfect match between the samples and the drum programming, finalizing everything with no rush day after day. But I can confess that some of the best cuts I have personally made, came out after a couple of hours or sessions, so for me, intuition is a self-driving perception.
808blogg: Can you tell us more about Houseswingers?
Di Saronno: Houseswingers is mainly an artist collective open-project that consolidates the collaboration and development of some of the most talented producers, audio engineers & experienced musicians from the Italian branch. To name a few I have collaborated closely with Pasquale Cardona, Franco Modesti (both known as Mo.Ca) Domenico Pagnotta, Divine, and Jame Starck. Our high determination is demanded to turn over most underground throwbacks cuts into radio-friendly ‘classic’ remixes. Signed already on prestigious labels like Nervous Records, Launch Entertainment, Henry Street Music, Good For You Records, King Street Sounds, we have been very proudly assigned as official remixers for housemasters names like Kerri Chandler, Todd Terry, Blaze, Mood II Swing,
Ultra Natè, Ron Carroll, Victor Simonelli, DJ Pierre, DJ Romain, Phunk Investigation, and more reworks will be on the way.
808blogg: How is your environment, the place where you spend your days producing music?
Di Saronno: I think is not anymore a mystery for whoever is following me between my personal socials or fan pages. I have a double life as a producer and at the same time a professional seafarer on cruise ships for 15 years. I have been always giving 110% of myself in both of these fields. Not many of shore-based people or fellow producers would wonder that 70% of my discography has been drafted overseas in my cabin during my daily time rest periods, and then post-finalized in studio by myself or some of my collaborators or label masters for the time being to be pre-released. Salt-water breeze and tranquility in my cabin with open balcony is my kinda-of environment during producing, all in the background with stunning colors landscape, sunsetting, waves crashing the ship side and seagulls chants.
808blogg: Nowadays how can you describe the electronic music scene in Italy compared to other parts of the world where you had presented your music?
Di Saronno: Let’s say that is a question that I always struggle to give a perfect answer because is all based on my personal experience. Italy besides the great musical history, still today has some gaps and has not shown any solidarity with the artists, especially in this last period of the pandemic. It shows itself to the eyes of the world as a closed mentality, which brought out the worst in itself. Fortunately, among us artists, we have managed to maintain a charisma and an attitude that goes beyond what has been talked about regarding the denigration of the sector. My impact with club culture in Italy started with pride knowing that pioneers like the late Claudio Coccoluto brought the underground sound made in Italy out of the box, but nowadays compared to those times the scene has lost its grip. Anyone I respect in the scene today is precisely because he left his mark on my path as a producer, and contrary to many, instead of finding new artists, I go to dig further and further back to meet the purists who have made sure that the scene itself could talk all over the world, where every track in the smallest details was created with carefree and not for business, unlike today it sounded dirtier, in a world where the conscience was cleaner.
808blogg: So far the re-activation of everything is going well, what are your future plans for this next year?
Di Saronno: Besides what I have just answered in the previous question, I have been always active in the sector, even during the pandemic. Luckily during all 2021, I got the chance to play in
Mexico where I did a mini-tour with my main stage act “Francesco Ferraro”. This amazing country welcomed me like no ever, leaving aside the usual stereotypes, only and only for the love of House Music, and for the concept of giving artists from all over the world the possibility to find their comfort zone. My plans at the moment are to make a Di Saronno debut at WMC Miami Music Conference. Besides all of that, I will be back in Mexico, Playa Del Carmen in April 2022, and also a Colombia tour is in the program as FF. Then once Italy restriction will be abolished there will be some future Body Heat Music theme parties in Milan, where I’ll be happy to be back to throw some beats and show some love.
808blogg: What artists can you recommend, what have you been listening to more often recently?
Di Saronno: Just to be consistent with my past interviews, there are so many producers I respect in the scene, and not all of them I manage to became simply friends and at the same time, close collaborators. So I won’t hide the deep esteem for the following:
“Hector Moralez” fast becoming one of house music’s elite, has paid his dues by working tirelessly from the bottom up and renowned for his intelligent and soul awakening faith in house music. Proud to have recently collaborated with him on an EP that will be revealed soon.
“DJ W!LD” has a rare skill of evolving as an artist (both as a performer and a producer), meaning he has kept up with trends and remained relevant, whilst never compromising his art, an instinct for the cool and erotic in fashion, style and music. Loving all his past Robsoul and recent W Label tunes.
“Oliver Dollar” “GramophoneDzie” favs bed-room DJ like all of us, finding themselves headlining a continuous success with massive cheeky disco-house cuts. “Tuccillo” wow! his House Of Tucci vol.1 EP drives me insane, a product where the right combination of elements makes a supreme outcome.
“Demuir” with his variety of “rawness beats”, caught my interest only in the last year, so I feel to keep digging into the past of this artist, whose classics still sound actual in all of my sets.
“Tripmastaz” and “Kenny Summit” great skills and production techniques, for my side two of the best in the market right now, forged by genial deep and old school masters like DJ Sneak and the great Frankie Knuckles.
“Inland Knights” is a master duo with a rich musical legacy and outstanding music selection during their live sets.
“Jason Hodges” “Scott Diaz” Whichever sub-strain of house or garage, they turn everything upside down into a jacked masterpiece.
808blogg: By now you have already published your music on respected labels such as Dopewax, InHouse Records, Nervous Records, Glasgow Underground, and many others, how has been your personal experience releasing your music on these labels?
Di Saronno: Satisfaction up to the top of the world, because before the release, what’s important to me is the reciprocal respect and support as an artist from the label head bosses and A&Rs. That’s how this happened with Kenny Dope and Todd Terry, that have been since forever two of my main reference figures from the beginning of this adventure in the global house movement. Also my debut on legendary imprints like Nervous Records, and also Launch Entertainment from Gladys Pizarro (ex-Strictly Rhythm) marked an important goal in this game, reaching the highest standard. I’m always keen to drop my beats to make sure they fit 100% with the right imprint, and most of the time, it’s a sixth sense that I always feel when I start to record the first bars, or in the sample-flippin’ phase. In fact, you may notice in my discography that most of the time what I release on a daily basis, reaching out different stamps with various label crew and partners. There’s a lot of material cooking up, and for this 2022 upcoming on the rocks… I can confirm tons of collaborations with artists of caliber like DJ Dan, JohNick, Hector Moralez, Inland Knights, Gramophonedzie, and DJ Gomi (to mention a few… as I don’t wanna spoil much). Ending on the same line of the question there are still label barriers I’m aiming to break soon, like Robsoul Recordings, Madhouse, Large and Soulfuric.
Hey, I’m Ace from 808blogg a music addict, a video nerd, an information freak, and I wrote this interview, you can get more 808blogg content here: 808blogg.wordpress.com.
Thanks for reading and please don’t ever say no to good music…