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“I’m focussing on the meaning behind my creativity” Nicola d’Angella interview

Nicola d’Angella, a Puglian native born in the 2000s, witnessed the zenith of minimal music shaping the era’s trends and ethos. Influential venues like Mandarino and Clorophilla were trendsetters, their pulsating beats captivating many, including Nicola, alongside thousands of youths.

Driven by a passion for club culture, Nicola aspired to be a pivotal part of this scene, channeling his music through hip-hop influences and the raw sounds emblematic of his personality and Puglia’s dynamic culture. His productions are marked by a distinct, robust groove, finding homes on esteemed labels such as Sk, Issues, Viva Music, and Raw Thentic. His tracks have climbed the Beatport charts, supported by industry giants like Michael Bibi, Cloonee, Detlef, Marco Carola, Mahony, among others.

His latest release Ssociety launches his new Raw Cutz label. We spoke to Nicola to find out what the year holds in store.

Thanks for talking to us today – how has 2024 been for you so far?

Every year that passes, I increasingly realize how challenging it becomes to pursue the goals I set for myself. This year, in particular, I have faced many challenges both in my personal life and in my artistic endeavours.

I have entered a phase of my life where I desire to express my creativity through music, and I want to do so meaningfully. However, I find myself confronted with a dilemma: I wish to release a large quantity of tracks, but I am firmly convinced that quality should always prevail over quantity.

I prefer to focus on achieving excellent results, even if it means releasing less material than expected.

While I may be held back by my relentless pursuit of perfection, I am determined not to compromise on the quality of my work. I believe this attitude is key to building something substantial.

First of all, we want to get to know you “from the beginning”. How did your history with music begin?

Music is one of those things that is present in the soul of every individual since their childhood. It is the only thing we carry with us from the early years of our lives to old age. Music is a constant for every human being. It is both irrational and rational, joyous, yet painful.

I was captivated by it from the very beginning, from the first day I came into this world: they told me I enjoyed listening to the radio and playing CDs on the stereo. I found in it an answer to every need, a kind of hypnosis that allowed me to forget every worry.

Music has been and will always be a lifeline for me, a safe haven where I can find comfort, inspiration, and hope. It is the universal language that connects human souls in an embrace of harmony and understanding.

Starting your musical journey at such a young age, how did learning the drums shape your approach to producing techno and minimal music?

My musical journey has been shaped by various influences and experiences, but what has had a fundamental impact is my relentless pursuit of new sounds and inspirations. While my learning of the drums has significantly contributed to creating groove in my tracks, I’ve learned that there is much more to creating an authentic musical identity.

The real key has been my immense thirst for musical knowledge. I have always dedicated time and energy to discovering new artists, genres, and musical styles, diving into the depths of music in all its forms. I have frequented clubs and venues, listened to albums and tracks of every kind, studied current trends, and explored the past in search of inspiration.

I’ve learned that it’s essential to listen to and closely observe the world around us to be able to create something authentic and meaningful.

Knowing how to play instruments is certainly important, but it’s only part of the complete picture. The real magic lies in the ability to translate one’s musical experiences and influences into something unique and personal.

Your tracks have been supported by industry giants like Marco Carola and Loco Dice. How does it feel to receive recognition from such renowned artists?

I would like to share a somewhat unconventional thought: personally, I’m not particularly concerned about whether the “big names” in the music industry play my music. I am entirely indifferent to this quest for approval from the industry elites.

Naturally, if one of my tracks is played by an artist, it pleases me, but what truly makes me proud are the signs of appreciation I receive from the clubbers.

What makes me happy is the support received through a simple message, a comment, a listen on Spotify from the people on the dance floor.

Many in the industry seem to focus primarily on gaining the support of the hottest artists of the moment, but for me, what matters is that my music reaches the clubbers. That is what truly makes me happy and satisfied with my creative journey.

You’ve released music on respected labels like Natural Rhythm, Luup, and SK Recordings. What do you look for in a label before deciding to release your music with them?

When evaluating a record label, my first impression is often influenced by the visual aspect of the artwork. It’s the first thing that catches my attention and allows me to make a superficial initial assessment. If the image that the label projects doesn’t strike me or doesn’t reflect my artistic aesthetic, it’s unlikely that I’ll send them a demo.

In addition to the visual aspect, I’m also interested in the consistency of the label’s editorial line. If I notice that they release a large quantity of releases every month, I might be reluctant to submit my music. Too much material released simultaneously could dilute the attention and dedicated promotion given to each individual project, reducing the impact and chances of success for my EP.

The size and prestige of the label are not necessarily my primary selection criteria. Instead, I seek a label that demonstrates an appreciation and valorization of my work, and that is able to understand and support my musical vision.

Why did you think the time was right to launch your own label?

I deemed it the right time to launch Raw Cutz because I noticed a gap in the current landscape of the music industry. Despite the market saturation, there was a lack of labels offering comprehensive and dedicated support to artists, drawing inspiration from the structures and philosophy of major players in the American rap scene.

I wanted to create a label that stood out for its commitment to quality and excellence, providing artists with all the tools and services necessary to maximize their projects. The focus on minimal/deep-tech glitch vibes represents a strategic choice to differentiate ourselves in the music scene, offering an engaging and innovative musical experience for our audience.

Moreover, I noticed a growing interest in these types of sounds and musical styles, which convinced me that the timing was right to launch a label focusing on this market segment. Raw Cutz aims to become a reference point in the industry.

Your collaboration with artists like Guido Farias and Ma.Ke has resulted in standout tracks. How do you select your collaborators, and what is the collaborative process like for you?

My musical journey, starting from studying drums, has always pushed me towards collective music creation. I’ve always had that instinct to share my ideas and creative energy with other musicians. For me, working with other people is a source of inspiration and continuous enrichment.

I don’t feel the need to have a close friendship bond with the people I collaborate with. On the contrary, I often enjoy collaborating with individuals whom I don’t know personally but admire from an artistic standpoint. I believe this dynamic can open up new creative horizons, bringing fresh and unexpected perspectives to the creative process.

Currently, I am collaborating with Aaron Klugg, an artist whom I deeply respect. Our collaboration didn’t stem from a long-standing friendship but from mutual admiration for each other’s work and the desire to explore new musical possibilities together.

What can you tell us about the inspiration for your new single Ssociety?

In the complexity of modern life, we often find ourselves confronted with two seemingly opposing realities: on one hand, the enchantment and inspiration we can find in everyday experiences such as travels and cultural encounters; on the other hand, the brutality and harshness of contemporary society, with its challenges and injustices.

My recent trip to Paris was a moment of profound inspiration, where I could immerse myself in the beauty and poetry of the city. The mist enveloping the streets, the ever-changing colors of the building facades, the unique sounds and atmospheres that only Paris can offer… all of this contributed to nurturing my creativity and giving me new vitality.

However, upon returning from this trip, I found myself confronted with the harsh reality of modern society. A society where brutality and injustice are often the order of the day, where social inequalities, political tensions, and humanitarian crises are constant.

I tied these two things together, and from there Ssociety was born.

What is the best advice you ever received as an artist?

A popular saying in Italian: “Ciò che semini nel tempo, raccogli nel futuro,” which basically means: you’ll harvest the fruits of your present actions in the future.

What should we be keeping an eye out for from you in the coming months?

At the end of April, I will release on Issues, Detlef’s label, while in July, an EP with very dark grooves will be released on my label, Raw Cutz. I am working a lot in the studio during this time, and I have two really strong collaborations with Aaron Klugg and Efferre. I can’t wait for new music to come out.

Looking forward, how do you see your music evolving, and are there any new directions or projects you’re particularly excited about?

I find myself in a moment of artistic growth where I am exploring a darker and more energetic side of my music. I am satisfied with my current sound, but at the same time, I am aware that over time and with my artistic evolution, I will increasingly gravitate towards new musical avenues.

This phase of exploration is exciting and is allowing me to discover new musical nuances and enrich my repertoire. I am confident that this journey of growth will lead me to embrace new influences and create increasingly diverse and exciting music.

Ssociety is out now on Raw Cutz

It matters little whether you are an artist or a visitor, the love for music is the unifying factor.

We are a magazine & record label dedicated to quality underground electronic music. We do not look for just any music or anyone, we are looking for music, and people who create memorable experiences, that inspires and invokes emotion. Let’s create timeless music.