‘Everything has radically changed’: Interview with Flashmob’s Alessandro Magani

THERE’S an extra day of partying over the bank holiday, and it’s turning into the busiest weekend of the year in Irish clubland. Milan DJ Alessandro Magani, aka Flashmob, has picked a good time to come over, as he reckons Irish crowds make him go “bananas”. He’s playing Curve at the Button Factory tonight, before taking the party to the Savoy in Cork tomorrow.

We last chatted to Sandro a year ago when Flashmob was a duo, along with his pal Danny Minchella. They’d just released the first EP on Flashmob records – the metallic-edged techno double A-side Who/Do You Do – a dark departure from previous trademark house like Brick House and Need In Me. Since then Alessandro has gone solo with “no hard feelings”, and he’s veering towards a tougher techno sound for now. We caught up with Sandro during the week, to see what he’s been up to.

A lot has changed in the Flashmob world since I last chatted to you last summer. What’s it like working without Danny? Do you miss being a partnership? From your recent Facebook post it wasn’t a bad split.
“Yes I am very, very happy to be alone, and there no hard feelings, everything is really good with Danny. It was just a matter of wanting to put a certain amount of commitment into the project to be at a certain level, if you don’t have that kind of drive it will ultimately drive you crazy so Danny thought he’d be better doing something else.

“I have felt really good over the past three months since Danny moved out, the project has massively took a different dimension. I’m touring South America in February, I’ve got a new album, got a new agent, management, press, media, accountant. Everything has radically changed with Flashmob and things are going really well with Miken my new agent. Obviously it is different to work alone as you are completely in control of everything and there are no discussions about the music. I can also put all my energy in the DJ set alone as well as being in complete control of all aspects of the business etc, I’m really pleased.”

The last Irish Daily Star interview was around the time of Who/Do You Do on Flashmob Records, how has the first year of the label been?
“The first year has been incredible, I released Don’t Leave which was another single that was selected by Defected for their Ibiza 2015 compilation, although I haven’t released on Defected for two years it is always good that we kept the relationship there, it is good they are still licensing my records.

“The label now is going to be divided into two, Flashmob Records on one side where I’ve signed Javier OrdunaAlexi Delano, I’m talking to some other really incredible names, I’ve got Emanuel Satie, Maximiljan, other stuff from JMX. There is a new Irish guy I’m putting my eyes on called Jordan Nocturnal, I also have Ruben Mandolini, Mennie, along with number of new talents.

“The next EP on Flashmob Ltd is from DJ Wild with a Mennie and Phill Weeks remix which is incredible. We have all the artworks done by Monja from Berlin, an incredible DIS artist. This is what the last year has been about. Mennie’s Calling was the last release on Flashmob Ltd. Since I’ve gone solo it’s all about investing, moving forward with both labels and showcasing. We’re going to do a showcase at Sugar Factory in Amsterdam. I’m talking to some really key clubs around Europe, we’re going to do a label night with Mennie at Café Loco on Christmas Day, so there’s a lot happening around the label and I’m really pleased that the big artists are coming in as well as all the new incredible talent.”

Flashmob sometimes sometimes reminds me of the Green Velvet/Cajmere alter egos. Not really the same sound, but sometimes you’ve got a house groove while more recent tracks have a darker techno edge. Does that depend on your mood or are you moving towards a more techno sound in productions?
“It really depends on the fact that then we were a duo and now that I am a solo artist the sound will be going darker. I have an album like I said, I’m not sure whether I will release it as an album or split it into EPs. My tendency is to produce darker stuff as you will know if you saw my album, three tracks are house and about seven are techno.”

The last time we were chatting to you a year ago you were getting ready to bring vinyls of Who/Do You Do to Ibiza to hand to DJs. Did you do press any promo vinyls up this year to bring to Ibiza or any other festivals?
“Yes, I pressed Don’t Leave, it went very well and I am about to do the vinyl for DJ Wild in three weeks, I will probably distribute it personally. Depending on the kind of deal I will get on my label for the vinyl then we might decide to press all the releases or just some of them.”

Do you still get a buzz hearing your records being played in clubs?
“Of course, for example my release on Little Helpers was played on BBC Radio 1. Obviously when you see such underground music played on such an incredible radio station which is also mainstream then you know that you are doing something right. I always get a buzz, obviously I’m always checking the feedback to see if people are supporting your records. It’s important that people use your music and feel that your music is part of the overall musical movement – you’re influencing the movement to go in one direction of the other.

Ibiza season has just finished, then Amsterdam Dance Event kicked off a different season. Does it seem like festivals and big umbrella events are taking over from one-off independent club nights? It sometimes seems like it’s a festival merry-go-round?
“I mean yes in a way, this year there has been a lot of the events and playing some really huge events, I don’t know if it is me that is growing because I have had a huge growth in the past year, or if the events in general are just getting bigger. There is so much going on; it is incredible that people still manage to sell so many tickets. I like big events, I love the smaller clubs too but the big events are great, a lot of them are in the daytime too so you can sleep! Which is magic when you’re touring.”

I read your interview with Soundspace recently and you said Ireland and specifically the Button Factory is your favourite place to play. Lots of DJs and bands come out with that line, but we believe you as it wasn’t on an Irish site! What’s the biggest buzz about Ireland?
“I mean in a way it is incredible, believe it or not I have Irish blood in me, my mother’s parents were from Waterford, so for me Ireland is a very special place, everyone in my family always says that I am the Irish one, I have a fire inside me. If you come to see me at my gigs you’ll see that. To me Ireland is a very important territory for these reasons, I always have a great time. The energy that is out there is incredible. I did the Button Factory, it is incredible the energy that you get into the club. You end up screaming and sweating, it all goes bananas.

“At the end of the day that’s what people pay the money for, to go bananas and for you to give your best. This is why I love Ireland the most, I always say that the Button Factory is one of the best places to play. There is Toffler in Rotterdam for one, and many other incredible clubs around the world but the Button Factory is one of my greatest memories. My first booking was from was David De Valera, who was a great guy who really helped me a lot in Ireland, he’s now Matador’s manager so I have to thank Dave so strongly for putting me on the Irish market, he was the first one to take me to the Button Factory.”

Picture 16Have you got any works in progress you’ll be playing at Button Factory in Dublin and the Savoy in Cork?
“Yes, these days I am trying all my music from my new music collection, there are ten new tracks, and I’m trying all those out.”

You’re a good man for keeping it going into the next day, and even played the morning slot at ADE last week. You also played with Skream at Ministry of Sound at the start of the month — who stayed up the longest?
“I was with Matthias Kaden until 8:30am, he wasn’t going home, he stayed for all of my set and then emailed me complimenting me on how my set was. This was a big thing for me because Matthias is such a big name in the underground, I love his music so much. With Skream there is really no competition, because we’re different in ways, we’re two night animals, in a good way obviously.”

“He’s really big on partying, there’s no doubt about that, I must say that although he’s probably the biggest UK DJ at the moment, he was the most humble and a really nice guy, we spent a lot of time together that night and really had fun, played, had drinks – great guy! I think he’s one of the few really big names that I associate with, I’m really happy for him, there’s no doubt that he deserves every piece of his huge success.”

Have you got any other productions or remixes you’re working on at the minute? Your recent post online suggests you’re really getting back in the studio.
“I am getting back into the studio after these 10 tracks, I’ve got another two three EPs that I have done with my Detroit-chords sort of techno sound. I have done a Tools album with 10 tracks; they’re made up of all tools. After this I switched to the album sound which I did in June-July. I came back from Dominican Republic in August, I have literally not got back into the studio yet, I spent one afternoon fixing everything and making a couple of beats, but in the next couple of weeks I will be back in the studio because I miss it deeply.”

Original version in Irish Daily Star