Artist & label spotlight: Mique & Patch Series
Bologna, a hotned of creative talent
The Italian student city of Bologna is famous for a few things. Of course, spaghetti Bolognese is its most renowned creation, but it’s also been home to arguably Italy’s most fertile house and techno scene. A hotbed of creative talent, it’s also proved a massive inspiration for Mique and his emerging Patch Series label. A musician of some distinction, we have a feeling this is a name you’ll be hearing more of soon. So who better to put a few questions too about Bologna?
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Mique and Patch Series:
Can you tell us a bit about your relationship with music? Was there one album or piece of music you really loved as a kid that has proven very influential for you, for example?
I think about music every second of my life when I wake up until I fall asleep. I constantly think about how to create new sounds. I study and I often compare synthesis techniques and obviously, I listen to a lot of music. Maybe my attitude is a bit obsessive but without music in my life, I would feel dead.
I don’t remember anything particular that I listened to as a child that influenced me, but I have a strange memory of an album that has definitely opened my mind and it’s “Exciter” by Depeche Mode. I was a kid when my cousin was constantly listening to that album, especially the song “Dream On”, and I hated him because I considered those sounds very sad and gloomy, then like magic one day I started to love that band. I don’t know what changed. Now it’s one of my favourite bands.
Growing up in Italy, what was the scene like where you live?
I grew up musically in Bologna. Between 2000 and 2010 Bologna was one of the best scenes in Italy for me. There were a lot of parties known all over Europe and I had the privilege of being part of HQH, a fantastic party that hosted a lot of artists who are now famous all over the world (Ellen Allien, Tama Sumo, Fabrizio Maurizi, Kiki, Ben Klock, Aérea Negrot etc). The Party took place inside the Cassero, an association that is active socially and politically for gay rights. When I started playing there I was 19 and this path has contributed to my musical growth, my education and my values. Today in Bologna, as in most Italian cities, many talented artists are born, but very often they struggle to express themselves due to the lack of space. Fortunately, the new crew was born and grows more and more often in Italy so I’m confident.
Who or what has been the sole biggest influence on your career?
My main inspiration comes from my city, which is full of different artists and artistic influences. Surely two points of reference for me are Dino Angioletti and Fabrizio Maurizi, two great friends who are always available and who have always given me excellent advice and have actively contributed to the Bologna scene. The artist that inspires me the most is Ricardo Villalobos, who I consider a true genius of modern electronic music. His productions have a unique sound and technique. Another great inspiration for me is ECM Records, a creation of Manfred Eicher.
What’s your favourite piece of kit that you own and why?
I prefer to create sounds from scratch. I study and use a lot of modular synths that allows me to better express my creativity. I also often use a small portable microphone to record the sounds that I hear during the day.
And can you tell us a bit about how you approach production? Are you quite disciplined with it each day or is it more a casual thing?
Every day I dedicate myself to music. My productivity depends on my state of mind and very often I use whole days to create a single sound or to understand how to recreate it. I create a lot of new ideas but before I decide to finish a track it takes a long time because I need a lot of time to metabolize.
You recently launched your own label. What’s the idea behind it?
“Patch” means studio setup with different connections between one instrument and another and can be different from one artist to another. In this case, “Patch Series” is a metaphor that indicates a series of releases and artists that connect with each other thanks to a very similar soul.
The initial idea reflected very much my tastes and I must say that today I have not moved far from this idea, but I think that to better understand my project you will have to wait until the 5th or 6th release.
And how did you discover the music of Paul Walter and what was it about his music that you liked?
I was listening to some new music and I discovered one of Paul’s previous releases that caught my attention. I noticed a great technique and an affinity with my sound. I contacted him to congratulate him on his work and the idea of making an EP for Patch Series was born from there.
Is the label generally focused on similar sounds or will it be quite diverse?
There will be similar sounds but also different things. For one of the upcoming releases, there will be more jazz sounds in which involved different jazz musicians…but I do not want to say anymore, surely there are good things for the future.
The artwork is quite striking too. Can you tell us a bit about the idea there, who designed it etc.?
The artwork is created by Roberta Cleopazzo, a graphic designer from Salento who is also a great friend. For each release, we give her the theme of the EP, which in this case was inspired by Africa since Paul has drawn much inspiration from a friend of his from Africa for this EP. Each artwork immortalizes the theme of the release with a more distorted view of reality.
In terms of your own career, where do you feel you’re at right now in terms of where you want to be? Are there certain labels or producers you would love to work with?
Now, I do a lot of things to live, and I would like music one day to be my only income. I don’t mean becoming rich but attributing the right value to my music. I want to clarify that this is not for me a business but a path, it’s my life so I want to live all day by day. There are artists that I respect but I can not really say with whom I aspire to work. It’s all very personal and I approach only those who can transmit great emotions to me.
DJing or producing: do you have a preference? How do you think one benefits the other?
The production is a personal and introspective process. Being a DJ is not always easy, you have to be able to interpret those in front of you and not always succeed, but when you find the right feeling with the dancefloor you can express your music at its best and that is the most rewarding thing. I don’t have a particular preference and I love doing both. I am very moody and I try to do everything that makes me feel good. I think that performing in front of people is therapeutic and helps a good mood.
How has the industry and scene developed and changed in Italy since you began DJing/producing?
In recent years I have noticed too much mainstream party planning at the expense of content and local artists. People try to have fun in the easiest and fastest way possible, without too much effort, without searching and without losing too much time. This is the reflection of a modern society where everything is always faster (social, media, food, work etc…) to the detriment of feelings and love. Fortunately, there are new crews that create new communities that enhance local artists, research and above all; feelings.
Where is your favourite place to perform at home? And why?
My favourite place to perform in Bologna was Cassero (HQH Party) and the LINK. I don’t know why you should not come here and see it with your own eyes.
Is Patch Series your first experience of running a label? And if so, what motivated the decision?
There are many artists and it is increasingly difficult to be noticed, so to avoid wasting time looking for someone who believed in me at the expense of the time I could devote to music, I started this project. I do not want to depend on anyone and I want to be 100% responsible for my successes and my failures.
What advice would you give to any young aspiring producers/DJs?
If music is really what you want, go ahead and never stop, whatever happens, or whatever they tell you. Good or bad does not exist, but only people who engage more and people who are less committed exist. We are all the same and we can all do great things only if we want to.
Can you give us 5 classic Italian house/techno tracks that you consider classics?