Venice-based musician, producer and DJ Bottin talked to Lagasta about disco, disco and disco. Yes, Italians Do It Better and our beloved disco king is here to prove it.

Discocracy or Discocrazy?

Discocracy doesn’t really mean anything. I really like the sound of the word itself. It then evolved in the kind of masonic artwork that Francesco Meneghini designed for the Eskimo 12″. I sort of like the idea of a secret society promoting disco in obscure ways. Many stores and reviewers mistaken the word for Discocrazy, which makes me smile. For me disco is basically an umbrella term I use for the dance music I like to play out, not only proper disco. Tracks belonging to difference genres, but that are all musically enthralling and not just heavy banging or chainsaw sounding teen electro.

When was your first night at Discotheque?

I was born in 1977 so I was too young to experience the real disco times. Also I wasn’t interested in dance music in the 90s (as a teenager). I was more into acid jazz and funk.

What made you turn to Disco?

Not sure…It was maybe a backwards process in researching where the music I like was coming from. What I like about disco is that whereas typical dance mostly relies on basic beats and minimal basslines elements, disco is a more complex blend of rhythmical, melodic and harmonic elements. There are different layers to it and different ways to listen to it. It’s music that was done by musicians, not by djs. Sometimes they overdid it and soaked the good funk elements in heavy strings arrangements or excessively soulful vocals. Other times they made masterpieces that still sound more modern and more adventurous than contemporary electronica.

What has influenced you in the past years?

Actually, I live in my autistic bubble. No, really I don’t really follow the contemporary “nu disco” scene. Sometimes I find a new record that I like and then I play it out at shows. But all my musical influences come from the past, at least from 30 years ago. Again, I find it very hard to discover interesting music ideas in contemporary productions. Also I have a lot of fun digging out strange unknown records at flea markets! Can’t really beat those discoveries with any new record or, worse, re-edit.

What makes you “Disco” in Venice?

Nobody cares or knows about disco here. And I do not make much publicity of my productions and dj tours, so I’m not helping at all to spread the word. But just recently I was having breakfast in this café at the foot of Rialto bridge and I heard this epic instrumental disco mix playing on the radio. I asked the bartender what it was and it turned out it was a mixtape he did himself in the 70s! He used to be a proper disco dj and told me about his records collection, the “professional DJ” license he had to earn, about all the promos the label would send him (he wouldn’t do trades unfortunately). Funny and interesting stories. So, now I know I’m not entirely alone in this town.

How can you escape from a “Disco Horror”?

You don’t. If you think it through, you’ll soon enough realize that you, me, us (the disco freaks) are the horror!

Which are your favoutire tracks at the moment?

I really like Paolo Conte’s new album ‘Nelson’. There’s one track in it, I won’t tell which one, that I’m planning to do a bootleg remix of.

Which is your favorite destination?

Anywhere I haven’t been to already! I like to explore. Although I must say that the more I travel, the more I learned to appreciate my geographical home, which I identify with the Mediterranean countries and cultures. From Ibiza to Istanbul and everything in between really!

Which songs would you love to listen to if you had a car?

I used to have a car. It was a white 4×4 Fiat Panda, old school model. I sold it to an ethnologist who does field research in the African deserts. I heard the Panda has been painted yellow and it’s probably driving into a dune right now. In that scenario I would definitely listen to La Bionda’s ‘Sandstorm’.

What do you love and hate about the Italo-Disco revival?

I neither love nor hate it. I mean there are very many great Italo tracks, especially the not so poppy ones. There are very deep Italo gems that I really love. Truth is that at nearly 90% of Italo is rubbish and musically uninteresting, so not really worth resurrecting. Also most people say Italo this, Italo that, but have little or no idea what Italo was or is. I’ve recently seen an Italo compilation (on a English label) which included Spanish and French songs. I guess it all sounded like Italian to them!

Will disco never die?

Never! Just like rock’n’roll. And polka.

Top-3 things to do when you wake up in Venice?

1. Wake up early, say at around 6am and enjoy the hectic movements of boat deliveries as well as hard working trashmen. It like a parallel universe, but they are really what keep Venice afloat.
2. Go to caffé Lavena in St Mark’s square and have coffee there, inside, at the bar: not sitting down in the square sieged by filthy pigeons.
3. Hear the sirens announcing an exceptionally high tide and subsequently stay in bed until it’s safe to go out without the aid of rubber boots.

What are your plans for 2011?

I’ve been lucky to play in almost 20 countries already. I’d like to reach 25 or even 30 with next year. That mean I’d really love to go to places I haven’t been to yet. Also I’m working a new album, which will hopefully be ready in 2011. So all that, plus having my Russian synthesizer, a Formanta Polivoks, fixed. It has been in the repair shop of over a year now, but I’m keeping the faith!



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