Beat Factor meets one of Slovenia's finest musical exports - Valentino Kanzyani

Techno music has the habit of unearthing inspirational talent from the most unlikely of locations. It was definitely the case with its formation in Detroit, and the emergence of Berlin as the nucleus for forward thinking electronic experimentation is still surprising considering the socio-economic instability of the region during the 1990's.

A similar pattern has been apparent in Eastern Europe, although it rarely gets the underground music attention it perhaps deserves. Slovenia, especially, has been an inspiration for party techno over last 5-10 years. Speak to any international DJ worth their inflated fees and they will muse excitingly about the energy, atmosphere and passion for electronic music in Eastern European countries like Slovenia. Indeed the local energy and enthusiasm has been compared to the early rave and acid house movements, something that many UK promoters attempt to capture (complete with staged warehouse operations from time to time) but never really achieve. Naturally a vibrant techno scene requires some key protagonists and in Slovenia they have some of the very best. Top of the pile, alongside Umek, is Valentino Kanzyani who has been successfully exporting his brand of energetic techno around the globe thanks to his untouchable DJ sets and blistering productions.

DJ-ing is my first love so I always preferred to be renowned as a DJ, but after spending so many years in the studio my passion for production started to grow and now it's nice when I'm recognised as a good producer too. I'm happy to get good reviews and nowadays it doesn't matter if it's for my sets or my production work.
Kanzyani burst onto the international techno scene on the back of releases on Prime Evil, his own Recycled Loops label and of course Intec. Further releases on techno imprints such as Wet Muzik, Primate and Tronic expanded his reputation as an exciting and refreshing producer. High profile fans include Deep Dish and Carl Cox, with Valentino releasing on Dubfire and Sharam's Yoshitoshi label - highlighting in turn his flexibility and open-minded approach to techno. Ground breaking release 'House Soul', put out on C-1 and Carl Cox's Intec in 2001, knocked down the then prominent dividing wall between techno and house and began a successful dancefloor adventure for the producer. Since then Valentino Kanzyani has made serious waves, taking in peak time material such as 'La Sala Loca' on Recycled Loops and 'Burros Eslovenos' on Christian Smith's Tronic - and via more musical compositions like his sublime remix of Ken Ishii's Detroit inspired 'Auburnia'.

His DJ sets are pure dynamite. His style, developed first through key residencies at home and now as part of a globetrotting schedule, incorporates 3 deck mixing of the highest order - cutting up different sections of different records to create original dancefloor grooves. It is an art that is regularly attempted but rarely achieved. Acclaimed mixes for Matrix and Intec have cemented his reputation as an inventive and impossibly talented DJ, and although he may not be as well know as some international techno heavyweights, you only have to ask anyone with an interest in techno and Valentino's name will be mentioned alongside the best.

With a new virtual label causing major vibrations, it seemed like a suitable time to catch up with the man himself as he takes some time out from his busy schedule to talk music, technology and, of course, his new project Jesus Loved You...

Beat Factor - Thanks for taking the time to speak to Beat Factor. What have you been up to this week?

Valentino Kanzyani - Hello friends. After arriving back from Holland where I played at the Awakenings festival - I was, as usual, busy in the studio, working on some new remixes. I have just finished my new EP for Intec as well.

BF - You are renowned worldwide as a DJ - but in the UK you are perhaps better known for your productions and remixes. Which gives you the most satisfaction - being in the studio or being in the DJ booth?

VK - It's hard to say. DJ-ing is my first love so I always preferred to be renowned as a DJ, but after spending so many years in the studio my passion for production started to grow and now it's nice when I'm recognised as a good producer too. I'm happy to get good reviews and nowadays it doesn't matter if it's for my sets or my production work. It's nice both ways.

BF - Over the last couple of years the development of new software applications and affordable hardware consoles has meant that more and more people can attempt to make electronic music. What do you use in the studio? And do you find the new technological advancements exciting?

VK - I find it very exciting right now, and I use a lot of software. I began using sequencers like Cake Walk and the first versions of Cubes, as well as analogue sequencers and even drum machines to make my tracks. It was so difficult to do things that are today just a click away! The facilities that we have today make people more inventive and have pushed progress in production techniques. I mostly use my G5 with Logic 7 as a sequencer, and many plug-ins from Native Instruments like Reaktor, Absynth, Battery and other soft synths. I stopped using hardware because the sound quality of the plug-ins became better. The most important thing in my studio are my main monitor speakers, if you can't hear properly what you are tweaking it doesn't really make sense. So my advice to young producers is to buy a big computer with loads of power and some proper speakers to hear the results!

BF - Anyone fortunate enough to see you DJ live will no doubt agree that you are technically inventive, utilising multiple decks and effects - following in the tradition of legendary DJ's like Carl Cox and Jeff Mills. Are you still using decks and CDJ's in your sets, or have you embraced the digital era through programmes such as Ableton and Traktor?

VK - I love to play with turntables and I have just started to play with CD's after I experienced troubles with Final Scratch! In the end I gave up because it was making me lose my comfort. I started to use CD players, like the Technics unit, to play unreleased stuff from both my friends and myself. To be honest I don't see much fun in just using a programme like Ableton or Traktor for my sets as it is easy and would make me too lazy! I would consider the potential of adding those programmes and using them to add some extra twists on the decks, but at the moment I don't. I definitely like to use effects like reverb, delays and filters, and samplers to expand the fun.

BF - Your new digital only label Jesus Loved You launched back in December of last year with the well received 'iPray EP'. Tell us more about the future plans for this virtual label - about its musical direction and the music and artists it will aim to showcase?

VK - The future looks bright. I'm very happy about the success of the first release and now I have to roll out the new one with a very nice EP from our wonder boy Marko Nastic. After this release I have an extremely interesting EP from my friend Umek – that in my opinion has huge cross over potential. The label has no proper style and is open to a variety of sounds and we always welcome new producers so if anyone is interested they can find more information on our web page. A new addition to the digital label is a vinyl release because of the huge demand for vinyl copies. We decided to start a limited sub label that will release the most dancefloor friendly tracks... so watch out for its first release.

BF - Do you see the digital format becoming increasingly important for enabling wider access to your music, and the distribution of electronic music in general?

VK - I think digital music can be widely distributed and can reach more people so I am positive about the MP3 format. It's already happening that more people have excess to the productions of their best DJ's. Not only can DJ's buy my records but also people at home can buy it on the net and listen to it at home while they are surfing, or just put it in their private collection.

BF - Your Recycled Loops imprint, run with Umek, has been quiet of late. Can we expect new material in 2006?

VK - We have been quiet since last June because we had to change our distributor. Now we are ready with many new releases. One of the first to be released is the already famous track called Lowis from Anton X, which should be in stores now. After that will come a great record that we have licensed from Border Community - Nathan Fake's Outhouse, complete with a great rework from Umek. Then a new EP from the Canadian duo Marco G and DJ Preach with a strong remix from Marko Nastic and of course a new EP from Marko himself - and many more things to come. So we are ready to get back on track stronger than ever...

BF - It's an exciting time for techno music at the moment, with the current minimal movement introducing new and innovative artists, and greater experimentation from established producers. Which producers and labels are you listening to? And who inspires you musically?

VK - I love a lot of the new and already established producers and labels, to name a few - Trentemoller, Ozgur Can, James Holden, Nathan Fake, Oliver Huntemann, Thomas Schumacher, Sebastian Leger and many more. I'm inspired from many things and it is hard to say from where I'm getting that inspiration. It is definitely when I play out and create my own sounds from mixing different records together that gives me more ideas!

Features Archive

[2008]

Beat Factor meets one of Slovenia's finest musical exports - Valentino Kanzyani
PUBLISHED

February 26, 2006 at 3:31 PM CET

WORDS

Paul Pritchard

BF - 'Intecnique' was critically acclaimed when it was released last summer. The mix illustrated your skill as a DJ as well as your upfront techno selections to many people who may not have been aware of you as a DJ, or who may have missed your excellent 'Rock The Discotheque' compilations. Do you have any new mix projects lined up?

VK - I have been invited to do a mix for a famous club in Spain named Florida 135 and I'm just waiting to get some more information about when they want it - but it is definitely going to be this year! Probably after the summer...

BF - It would appear that the success of 'Intecnique' has, in part, contributed to the increase in your bookings in the UK. You recently played at The Dirty Disco in Leeds. How did you find the atmosphere in UK clubs?

VK - The Dirty Disco night was awesome, the crowd they have is very cool and have a love and passion to party, so I really enjoyed it there. I like to play in the UK and hope to play in Leeds and the UK again soon... before Blair starts to think clubbers are a threat and closes the clubs!!

BF - DJ's such as Danilo Vigorito, Danny Howells and Carl Cox have all mentioned the energy and passion for electronic music in European countries like Slovenia. Does the techno and club scene(s) in your home country still inspire you as a DJ and producer?

VK - Of course! I love to play at home but in the last 4 years I have rarely played there. I have a busy international DJ schedule and I prefer not to play as much back home because, that way, I keep it special. I'm doing a maximum of 2 performances a year. The last time I played was in January and it was great. I did an all night long set of 8 hours - nearly 9! The club was full from the beginning to the end and we had more than 2000 people attending and the club was sold out!

BF - Other than on home soil, what have been your favourite places to play?

VK - I love to play in Spain, Holland and all over Eastern Europe because the energy is always at the top! South America is also one of my favourite places, countries like Colombia and Brazil never lets you down!

BF - Your now legendary residency during the mid 90's at 'Ambasada Gavioli' in Izola, located in the south west of Slovenia, saw you play alongside some of the best techno DJ's in circulation. Which DJ's had an inspirational impact on you during this time?

VK - Definitely Terry Francis, Laurent Garnier, Richie Hawtin and some more that came to play there. It was a great period and the atmosphere was very special. Last year we rented the club and organised a mini festival called Summer Gathering - where I played after 6 years with Misstress Barbara, The Youngsters and others and it was just amazing to see that club in pure action again! We had an even bigger sound system and an amazing light show and a laser to increase the power of the club and it was pure magic! We were voted by the people as the best night of 2005 so we are going to repeat it this year!

BF - Do you feel this residency was crucial for your development as a DJ?

VK - I think things in anyone's life are crucial at certain moments - to develop anything, or to reach a certain goal. I have enjoyed every moment of getting here and I have definitely had the opportunity to work with many great DJ's. Plus - I always dream about my time that I have to come!

BF - Finally, before we had off, what can we expect from you over the next few months?

VK - I'm working on some housey-electro-disco tracks that are going to be released before the summer and I will work with some vocalists on these projects to push it towards a wider crowd. Otherwise, like every year, I will be travelling around the globe!

For more information on Jesus Loved You check out www.jesuslovedyou.com

For information on Valentino Kanzyani visit www.recycledloops.com

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