ITW : OPL [Outpost Live]

Sound, when alive, is a restless organism. And the sound that rises from Outpost’s production is a pulsating life in continuous and relentless evolution. The simple attempt of defining it ends up bridling even the farthest idea of prismatic production. But what’s inside Outpost – which prolifically unravels – is also the result of an immense study. These are seeds whose mysterious growth cannot be told, but just enjoyed. The journey is concrete and pulses in the nerves of who’s in it. It departs from internal dimensions in the shape of a (just apparently) distant Earth; it moves between the broken rhythmics of hypnotic loops. And, finally, lands to resonate as a new, aesthetic awareness; as a new approach to the sound matter.

As a producer, you have a lot of experience. When and how did you discover electronic music and when did you start playing and producing?

I think it was a very natural process.

I remember that during high schools I used to listen to various genres, from rap to rock music, and in my hometown there was a pretty strong scene on both sides. One day a friend of mine from school gave me a ripped cd, it was white with just a crooked scribble on it: “The Future Sound of London” – a new world opened up! I started searching and listening to everything I found in that genre until I got to Aphex Twin. In the same period I had become old enough to go out and attend the first clubnights in my hometown, where they played house music exclusively. I didn’t like the genre but I liked the freedom that it allowed. From that moment, I became passionate about djing, I went to friend’s home who owned a DJ console and I tried to play my cds. I didn’t have the faintest clue of how to use it, and nobody ever explained it to me.

Later I moved to Rome, after high school. I knew an historical place in Rome, a vinyl shop, they had a DJ console there to practice and eventually I learned by looking at others playing.

Production came much later and it was like a cure for me. I liked to write and after high school I enrolled in the Faculty of Humanities in Rome. There I had such a terrible time with my study colleagues and the people I met there that I turned out not even being able to write anymore. At that point, I missed what for me was a relief valve. So when I found out that I basically could do the same thing, not only by spinning records but, even better, by creating something of my own, it became my everyday life. After that, I decided to dedicate some time to studying it and I spent two years in Rotterdam, NL where I attended the SAE Institute.

Your musical universe goes from ambient to techno, with drone, hypnotic and dark influences. What brought you into this musical universe?

It’s actually just what I can naturally do. I never pushed towards a genre, I also listen to different genres and like other things, obviously ambient and techno are the genres that I like the most but I would never be able to produce something that does not come naturally out of me. When I started producing, I was doing things completely different than today.

In these strange days with Covid-19 virus and quarantine, do you feel you are more motivated and inspired to make music, or less?

Well, certainly more inspired. Not so much by the disease itself which, anyway, is something tragic – like what is happening all over the world – but more for the constrictions it is creating. We are limited in everything and obviously this generates something, emotions that need to come out, music is “simply” the medium.

It seems you produced a track for a compilation of Italian deep/hypnotic techno artists united to give their contribution to healthcare facilities operating against the COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Can you talk us about « United Against COVID-19 » ? How did your collaboration for this compilation started?

The idea and the realization of the project is Dorian Gray’s. When he contacted me and told me about the idea, it immediately seemed like a good thing and I accepted. In my opinion it is a very valid compilation, there are names of great Italian artists, I really like all the tracks and I was very happy to contribute in this way.

Let’s talk about your creative process! When starting a new track, what’s the first thing you do? What’s your process in the studio? 

Most of the time I like to build the whole environmental part first. The sound carpet on which to lay the track. Most often a pad, like a breath. But let’s say it depends on how I am inspired or if I already have a specific idea in mind. Sometimes I record sounds in the studio and other times I start from the classic bass drum and turn of bass. Let’s say that when I sit in the studio and turn on everything the only clear thing I have in mind is the mood of what I want to do, an ambient or techno track. More or less hypnotic and deep. Then the rest comes by itself, I let myself be carried away by what slowly takes shape.

Do you prefer producing on software or hardware gear, or a combination of both? What’s your favourite pieces of equipment? 

At the moment I have sold all my hardware. In addition to computers and controllers I only have a Moog Mother32, but I’m starting to delve into the world of modular.

I believe that the combination of hardware and software is of unlimited potential, obviously. It depends entirely on the feeling.

I can’t say which one I like best, I certainly don’t like having an analog interface on a synth. I prefer to have everything in front of me rather than going through the various menus. And at the same time I really like working with vst, too. Some have a really remarkable sound and are of course easier to manage and intuitive, in my opinion.

And do you have a particular process to prepare your live acts ? 

I’m always looking for a better setup so no, I don’t have a particular process. At the moment my live set is completely based on software, mac and two midi controllers, some pre recorded loops and some channels with vst on it.

OPL live at Tresor [Berlin]

There is a lot of focus on contemporary producers to be equally as good at DJing as they are at production. Do you think that DJing is important in the path or career of a producer ? And what about you? 

Yes I think it is fundamental.

Firstly, because it multiplies substantially the musical outreach you have and broadens your own creative range.

Secondly, djing makes you acquire a different awareness of music, certainly important even in the compositional phase, also from the point of view of the arrangement for example. I think it is now essential for a DJ to be a producer and vice versa. For me it was. I started playing as a DJ before approaching production, then I stopped and I started doing exclusively live sets, now I have also returned to djing.

Alongside this interview, you recorded a live podcast for InDepth. How did you prepare it and what was the idea you wanted to convey through it? Is it only your own tracks ?

The live podcast/set I prepared is exclusively based on unreleased tracks and some releases that I have adapted. In this period I am not particularly inspired by fast tracks and the live set I prepared reflects this moment.


Last but not least, what’s coming next for you in the next months, any plans, any releases or exciting projects you’d love to mention?

Yes, a lot of plans and releases. I plan two EPs together with Worg in June on Illegal Allien Records and October on Lowless, while in August I have a solo EP for The Gods Planet with a remix of another dear friend of mine. I am also working on several other things which I’m still not disclosing until they have materialized.

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