Amongst influential Italian DJs, Federico Scavo has gained respect and notoriety on international level. In a short period of time he gave birth to several dance hits that soon become staples for DJs around the globe, learning how to play and produce the most innovative funky house and electro tracks. In 2002 the release “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Coffee Project, officially approved by Pink Floyd, soon puts him amongst most innovative and interesting rising talents on international level, winning also the so-called “Disco D’Oro” in Italy.
“Let’s all chant“, “Gimme five“, “Get Funky” and “Otherside” both gain n.1 in the Beatport chart, and soon came important remixes commitments such as Bob Sinclar’s “Far L’Amore” or John Acquaviva “Wiki leaks“, which made him one of the most required remixers at this time. July 2011 is the date of incredible success “STRUMP“; the song gained a relevant place in the 10 Top dance on iTunes with an intriguing 100% burlesque-style video.
Still at number 1 on Beatport house chart with “Lady remix“, Federico has a busy schedule both in studio and all over the world thanks to his incredible gigs.
His résumé is also enriched by TV SHOWS experiences, one in 1998 when he released a soundtrack for MTV Europe Music Awards and in 2009 when he took part as composer and presenter of the Gambero Rosso TV show on an Italian national channel, which makes him a very eclectic artists even outside the club culture boundaries.
Hello everybody and welcome to House of Frankie, Underground Radio in Milan, Italy. We’re here with the DJ and producer Federico Scavo. Hi Federico.
Can you tell us briefly how did you start you career as an artist and why you decided to become a DJ?
Well, briefly it’s hard because it has been now 26 years since I started DJing all around the world. At the beginning of my career I had a contact in Zurich and that’s when I started traveling as a performer. My career started thanks to my father, who was a musician and so I grew up surrounded by music, luckily, and I got passionate about all kind of music. Then I started to play drums because I was in a rock band, so music started running in my blood. From that, I first started at private parties until I got to some clubs in Tuscany, because that’s where I come from, as a support DJ, which means paying my dues. At that time, in 1991 this involved bringing vinyl, which were very heavy, for the resident DJ of the club and spending the rest of the night taking care of the lights of the club. That’s how I’ve paid my dues for many years.
Do you have any inspirational figure, maybe your father that as you said earlier helped you to get closer to music, or maybe some artists that got an influence on your career?
Well, certainly my father is the one who introduced me to music, I remember when I was young he used to listen to classic music which I called “the sad music” because I was really young. So, he gave me all these emotional feels since I was a little kid, I was 4 years old. Role models’ DJs for me are David Morales, Roger Sanchez, Frankie Knuckles who’s for me the real father of House music and I also had the chance to meet them and work with them, so those are my gurus.
Well let’s talk about Frankie then, something he’s left to you, the relationship you two had, an inspiration you got from him we could say.
I was lucky enough to be in the same label of Frankie, which is now run by David Morales, Satoshi Tomiie… So, I was introduced to Frankie and I immediately had the feeling of such a good person, with that toothy smile… he always welcomed everybody with a hug. For me seeing my legend treating me as a friend he’s known for his whole life was really exciting. And then I’ve seen him so many times; I remember in Barcelona’s airport coming back from Ibiza when he greeted me so warmly saying “Hey Federico!”, he was really happy to see me, fantastic! I’m really sorry for his demise.
Tell us something about your label “Area94“. How did you get the idea of creating your own label?
Well, the brand “Area94” refers to some events I performed in this club in Montecatini Terme. This period was such amazing for me, we played the music we really liked and that’s’ when I decided to name my label after it. We started in 2007 on Beatport – a “landmark” music portal for the DJs all around the world – slowly and quietly. We produced many many things, new DJs and also established artists such as Alex Kenji, Luca Guerrieri and many other Italian artists and now we are slowly creating our space in the worldwide discography. I would like to thank the staff run by Ylenia Laconi, who’s my partner in life, cause behind this there’s sooo much work.
Earlier, we talked about how you started from the bottom and you had to carry those heavy vinyl. Today, technology has really changed the way we DJ, and the same goes for music in general. What do you think about it? And what equipment do you use during your live performances?
I use fast USBs – usually I bring at least 4 USBs with 4 identical backups, because I’m a little bit paranoid and I want to be sure things go well. I’d say technology really helped us, at the expense of the classic vinyl, which I think is more exciting. However, I’m sorry to say there’s a flaw in all this; when I used vinyl, I was able to found out more (about artists and records) thanks to cover arts, pics, whereas with new technology you can only see the writing, so, it’s a little bit difficult to judge, for I am a little bit old-school. Anyway, I think I’m doing a good job, because 70/80% of my DJ sets consists of songs I produce, so of course I know what I’m playing. But on the other hand, I’m happy about new technology, because I don’t have to carry those heavy cases. So, I accept it and we keep moving forward!
Well, Of course it wouldn’t be a problem for you now. You would have someone to carry those heavy cases for you. wouldn’t you?
Could you tell us your next projects? What else have you got coming up?
Well, I’m always looking for new stuff, and I do enjoy proving myself both as a producer and DJ. As a DJ, I’ve created this new format called “Federico Scavo In Da Box”, for 100 people only. The concept is pretty much like the Boiler Room one; people basically dance behind me and not in front of me. So, to sum up, for 100 people and it’s by invitation only. And plus, it only takes place in unique locations. We have already held two editions in a greenhouse in the woods in Tuscany, Chianti, and we have a dress code too to this “Federico Scavo In Da Box”. Also, I call on everybody to watch it on Youtube, where you can find all these one-hour videos in which you can watch my DJ sets and world exclusive songs/tracks.
As a producer, I’m super glad to know that house music has again a say in this, because actually I didn’t enjoy this new genre of EDM. As to its commercial side, it really works well in terms of sales but it didn’t belong to me. I started in 1991 with the original House music and then moved forward. My favourite record is Milk & Sugar “Higher & Higher”, I even have three identical vinyl. For me it’s amazing when I hear House music, I have goose-bumps.
You are well-known in Italy but you perform abroad too. Do you think the Italian house scene is different from both the American and European ones?
I’d say America is where house music was born. NYC, Morales, Roger Sanchez. But there’s also a contribution from UK. House music is where all branches originated. Lately, I can see that Kryder and Tom Staar, even though they are closer to the EDM branch, they are doing a really good job. We all know as well Defected (Records), considered a mother to House music, a real badass label. So, I think as to the American scene, they’re masters mostly in classic House music. I even had the chance to collaborate with Barbara Tucker, one of the most beautiful voices in the world, it was love at first sight. I hold her in high esteem, because she pulled out the classic side (of House music), and then I tried to adapt my arrangements to today’s music scene.
Thank you, Federico for joining us. Good luck with your new projects!
Watch Federico Scavo’s live DJ set from our HQ below!
Federico Scavo’s latest releases