MauroÂ PicottoÂ isÂ likeÂ his native ItalyâsÂ finest desert,Â tiramisu. His nature is sweet andÂ easy to indulge in. You know what youâre getting when it comesÂ toÂ the 48-year-old producer, DJ, Alchemy label bossÂ and now-author âÂ noÂ substitutes or false layersÂ need apply.
After a five-year hiatus from the dance music racket, Mauro returnsÂ with a new album, âFrom Heart To Technoâ, as well asÂ an autobiographyÂ bearing the same title, which heâllÂ release this month.Â Â
Heâs flown to London for the day from his Jersey home in the UK specifically to meet with DJ Mag USA,Â whereÂ weâre gearing up for ADE.Â Some artists you chase for weeks to nab an interview;Â Mauro, on the contrary,Â is gracious and goes the distance for hisÂ second coming.
As we kick back over a few beers,Â discussingÂ his pioneering days of groovy techno andÂ getting upÂ to speed on hisÂ manyÂ new endeavors,Â it becomes clear thatÂ one thing has remainedÂ constantÂ when it comes to MauroÂ Picotto:Â withÂ some savory dashes of technoÂ sprinkled in for good measure, heâs essentially all heart.Â Â
Youâre on the heels of releasing a book and anÂ album, both with the same title,Â âFrom Heart ToÂ Technoâ, after five years?Â Where have you been?Â
âIâve been in fatherhood full time because I had a daughter a long time ago,Â andÂ I missed that side, I missed the children. I wanted to enjoyÂ it, and be with the family.Â Before,Â to me, the music was number one; now itâs number two. Still very high, but itâs still number two.
The children are in school, I have more free timeÂ and I felt something was missing in the music because it was all about loop and groove, groove and loop. I felt there was a gap in my side, and thatâs why Iâm back in the music business.Â
I am re-launching [myÂ label]Â Alchemy andÂ I made a new album;Â that is actually what inspired me to start again with energy, melody, groove and techno.Â The mostÂ important thing in âFrom Heart To TechnoâÂ is I found a way to make musicÂ in different ways than others. Thereâs a lot of energy but thereâs also emotion.âÂ
What was the processÂ that wentÂ intoÂ creating it?Â
âI felt like I was going to clubs, listening to the other DJs and all of them were playing not the same tracks, but the same sounds.âÂ
Like the EDM stuff?Â
âNo,Â even in the underground, even in the pop-y underground. It was more minimal.Â Actually there werenât many surprises;Â still yes, SvenÂ [VÃ¤th]Â is the only one, even he struggles sometimes because with vinyl thereâs not so much choice. Now thereâs more, but heâs still the only one who can manage to surprise me.
Heâs aÂ mood catcher.Â For the others itâs all about the brand. For me,Â the challenge is to find something new, at least something new forÂ me. Thatâs why I started this new album,Â to try to create a track thatâs like a journey around the world.
You know,Â itâs like when you watch a movie,Â you feel emotion in some moment of the movie.Â I felt I was missing that in the club,Â andÂ thatâs what I tried to bring in my album, a cinematic melody in the track, in the music.âÂ Â
Would you say thereâs a narrative to the album? Or,Â is just one sonic vibe or something else entirely?Â
âAs the title says, âFrom Heart To Technoâ âÂ heart you can catch emotionally,Â to techno, [which is]Â more for your legs, for your arms. To give an example of how eclectic I am, I donât like to produce one unique or one mono soundingÂ music like many artists are these days.
They say, âThatâs my sound, thatâs my musicâ. But I actually think itâs sometimes boring because thatâs the maximum you can go.Â I like to explore more.Â I need to feel some emotion.âÂ
And now some of the guys like Marco Carola,Â who spun your longstandingÂ MeganiteÂ residency at Privilege Ibiza back in the day, isÂ a king of the White Island today. How does someone like him sound to you now? Are you still friends?Â Â
âIt was simple. We were friends. We were playing South America and I was doing some party there and I was meeting Marco there asÂ well and it just became simple. Iâd just ask,Â âYou want to come play for me?âÂ We did the first party and it was in a space in Miami.
Then,Â MeganiteÂ party Ibiza was the same. It was just calling and saying, âMarco you want to play?âÂ And every year he was coming back, and coming back until then he realized,Â âIâm a big man, Iâm going to doÂ Music Onâ â¦Â and heâs right to do it because he created his own sound.âÂ
Would you ever go playÂ at a Music On party?Â
âI donâtÂ think my soundÂ would fit with what heâs doing;Â maybe not for his room, better not forÂ the main room.Â He has his own world, his own sound, itâs not the opposite but we are completely different styles.Â I also go and visit all of them in the summer because for me itâs an experience, but itâs also good to go listen to them. You can always learn,Â fromÂ watchingÂ a small DJ to a big DJ.âÂ
Now this soundÂ is bigger than itâs ever been, especially in America, butÂ itâs different in America. WouldÂ you call upon on anybody specifically to collaborate, or maybeÂ doÂ remixes?Â
âI donât know, Iâm not a big fan of remixes. I think when an artist creates a track, Iâm talking about a successful track,Â to be honest âÂ when itâs a normal track, someone can make it better and thatâs welcome. Itâs always in the plan to make remixesÂ â¦Â but I much prefer original stuff. Maybe a collaboration for a new track, itâs something that would be in the plans for sure.âÂ
Are you going to tour the new album? Do you feel you have to tour the album?Â Â
âYes, butÂ I want to tryÂ to give myself time. One week a month, I know the artist life;Â when itâs nice you canât sayÂ no but I still want to think, âI donât careâ. One week a month I want to stay home, and I want to enjoy myself.âÂ
What about the festivals?Â
âI was living in Italy and I moved to Jersey now. Jersey Live, they do in July and on the beachside of the island. Itâs in a beautiful location and now that Iâm there, I met the guyÂ who throwsÂ itÂ and he said,Â âIf you want, I can put you in charge of the techno stage and youâre going to take care of thatâ.Â
Iâm very excited about this, and I think next year I want to move my Alchemy Festival there. I will still do the party in Italy but since Iâm not there I would want to take care of this one in July, in Jersey.âÂ
How is your album going to translate live? Obviously you canât play an album live;Â some DJs do it with a USBÂ stick, but youâre not going to do thatâ¦Â
âNo,Â Iâve never been like that.Â I need seven toÂ eightÂ hours. It needs to be aÂ journey;Â it needs to be a compilation. The idea is,Â especially when Iâm touring, obviously when you go somewhere far from your hometownÂ thereâs always some fan following you because they want to hear some of the old stuff.
I donât want to play my old stuff asÂ it was say,Â 15 years ago.Â I want to do it with a new dress-up, like 2015, and thatâs my plan in the studio at the moment. Iâm working onÂ organizing some of my most popular tracks in like a megaÂ mix, where you will hear all of them in less than 10 minutes.âÂ
Do you see yourself returning to the forefront of electronic music?Â
âMy goal is not that.Â However, thatÂ would come if I reach my goal, whichÂ is to make my sound interesting for the new generation.Â ItâsÂ not that the sound isnât interesting;Â itâs me, I disappeared, I wasnât in the market for the last fiveÂ years.âÂ
Is there anybody that you could point out in the DJ super realm?Â
âThe techno guys always have that kind of puristÂ [attitude], and some people like techno, some people likeÂ house, some people like trance.Â I just like good music.âÂ
Besides the techno guys, are you into any of todayâs modern DJÂ superstars,Â say in theÂ AviciiÂ orÂ theÂ AfrojackÂ realm?Â
âNo, Iâm sorry, I never went to listen to one of them. I canât judge. I canât talk.Â I can just say Iâve never been to one of their performances.Â I still like to go see people with vinyl.âÂ Â
Whatâs the plan for the re-launch of Alchemy?Â
âI have already sixÂ new tracks. I always want to go in the studio now and make some new stuff because Iâm playing again. I didnât promote a tour but every week I still go play like I played for Jersey Festival and the after party last weekend.
I was in Italy, in a clubÂ withÂ DubfireÂ on a Tuesday.Â Itâs open air,Â itâs beautiful âÂ anyway, when I tried the trackÂ andÂ I saw the reaction in the crowdÂ to the trackÂ they never heard before, to me,Â that is the most importantÂ thingÂ you can do.âÂ
What about the book?Â
âThe book was an idea that my wife had because she was touring with me a long time ago when there was no mediaÂ or web media, to create documentation of what was happening 15 years ago, orÂ even more. SheÂ wasÂ always saying, âYou should write a book with your new album.âÂ
I started to write my point of view for the book;Â my memory, moments of my life traveling â¦Â I just started writing.Â I putÂ togetherÂ a proper autobiography,Â from when I was born in my hometown with my family, to how I developed to aÂ DJ. I sent it to anÂ editor in Italy and they saw it and said they wanted it.Â
InÂ the end we put a CD samplerÂ in. I did it because in Italy thereâs no record shops â thereâs some,Â but not many.Â I want to go to the normal crowd with my story fromÂ ageÂ 16 or 14 to 60,Â to explain how DJs work, whichÂ is why I chose a CD,Â because a CDÂ [can be played]Â in every houseÂ or every car.âÂ
In this day and age, you should put a USB stick in itâ¦Â
âIf you want the USB,Â go toÂ BeatportÂ and buy the real album because itâs 11 tracks andÂ the sampler isnât the main one â¦Â itâs the teaser.âÂ
Words: SARAH POLONSKY