The Mix 004: TSVI

today13/03/2024 1

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Let’s talk about your new record, ‘Mediterraneo’. It’s your first release on Nervous Horizon since 2022, how does it feel to be back?

Good! It’s always nice to release on the label. I feel like every time I do a release it’s basically a summary of what I’m listening to at the moment, what I’ve been playing, you know, taking influences from genres and putting them together. I feel like that’s my way of expressing myself: taking lots of stuff in and then making something.

From the outside, it sounds like quite a shift from your previous works on the label.

Totally. These tracks are very functional and aimed at a certain moment in the night. You can’t play them when you’re warming up! More and more often I’m playing peak time when I’m gigging and that has definitely influenced the vibe of the record.

You can always tell what’s been influencing me in every single one of my records, even from the beginning of Nervous Horizon. My first record, you can clearly tell I was into grime, the next UK funky, and then the percussive stuff with all the Middle-Eastern influences. Nowadays it goes wherever, but ‘Mediteraneo’ is essentially about me having fun again after my mum got better and the pandemic was over. It’s specifically for the club, nothing too complicated.

Even though it’s functional, it still feels quite conceptual. There’s clear references to the Mediterranean progressive movement from the late ‘90s and 2000’s throughout.

I’ve been going to club nights since I was like 16 years old and at that age I was really into the kind of commercial, top 40 stuff that was playing in these places. I consider that stuff to be quite cheesy now but in recent years people have been playing all sorts of crazy stuff like that in their sets. It made me revisit this sound.

I didn’t know what I was hearing was Mediterranean progressive at the time because blogs and stuff didn’t exist back then, but I learned about it afterwards on the internet. In the late ’90s there was a very trancey sound coming out of Europe that influenced what the Italo intelligentsia like Gigi D’Agostino and Mauro Picotto were making, and this is the main reference for the EP: what I was listening to from around the age of 13 to 17, before I moved onto minimal techno and house. It felt nice to reference some of my Italian heritage making this record.

In recent years, especially post-pandemic, there has been an emphasis of having fun with dance music and rejecting seriousness, which has led to the rise of sounds such as trance and hard house on the dancefloor.

Yeah, definitely. I consider myself very much a product of my environment, so it was definitely in the back of my mind to do a release on this idea and reflect the stuff that I’m listening to and I’m playing out. Who knows if this kind of vibe will last, but we’re having fun with it while we can.

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Nostalgia plays a strong part in your creative process: this project, like a lot of your previous work, takes a lot of inspiration from your personal experiences.

I don’t think it’s something that I actively seek to do, but every project I work on seems to take inspiration from something in my past, especially when I was living at home with my parents. They’ve been such a source of inspiration, and one that I didn’t necessarily know until I left home to come to London. My dad exposed me to so many different types of music so there’s loads of stuff to reference. ‘Stella Remota’, for example, is heavily influenced by the choral music and Gregorian chants that I used to hear at home. I’m really glad that I put it out and I didn’t expect it to connect with so many people.

We can’t talk about your new EP without touching on your linkup with DJ Babatr.

I’ve been obsessed with him and the raptor house scene. Everything is so simple and effective. These tracks have very few elements but bring out the maximum from each of them. What also struck me is that, when speaking with Babatr, I found out that one of the inspirations for raptor house came from stuff that was coming out of Europe, lots of Italian trance.

Some of the sounds in Babatr’s music are referencing 90s, 2000s, Italian and European trance records. Straight away, I felt like there was a connection between what I had listened to as a kid and raptor house. Picotto is one of his idols. You know, he is from Turin and he always used to come and play in my hometown, Pisa.

That was the concept of ‘HHG’: I wanted to combine raptor house with the Italian stuff that I had been listening to. That’s why I went back and took snippets of recordings from Italian club nights in the ‘90s to put into the EP. It was an honour to have DJ Babatr on the record, and now we speak almost every day.

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Throughout your production career, you’ve always shown an eagerness to work with other artists across the whole spectrum of electronic music.

For sure. I listen to lots of music and therefore I like to make all sorts of things. That’s why I’ve worked with this great range of collaborators. I can appreciate Avalon Emerson for what she does, but I also have massive respect for people like Loraine James and object blue.

Collaborating with other people is really useful as it re-energises my solo work through the constant exchange techniques and processes. Me and Avalon, for example, are really nerdy about VSTs and we’re constantly speaking about new patches on Serum or whatever. On the other hand, when I lived with Loraine she blew me away with how she would arrange her tracks, object blue too. I come from quite a conventional way of making music where you’d want to put a drop in after 32 bars and things like that, so the stuff that she was doing really fascinated me and made me want to go back and try different things. Collaboration is a very important part of my music-making process.

At the moment I’m making music almost every day, which doesn’t happen very often. As soon as I finish a track, I’ve found inspiration for another one. I’ve started to make some edits too, which is something I haven’t done for years now. I made my first album in a similar state where I couldn’t stop making music for a month and then, without realising, I had written an album. I just want to keep going.

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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