Monday, December 22, 2008
mnml ssgs mx17: Lerosa
Ladies and gentle people, the SSGs are proud to present Mr Leopoldo Rosa.
We first became acquainted with Lerosa last year through his 'Design' EP on the always excellent A Touch of Class records.
Since then, Lerosa has released five other EPs, including 'Much Later' on Uzuri, this year's excellent 'Killester' (again on Touch of Class) and more recently the 'Lovers' EP on Millions of Moments.
Lerosa's style is calm, tranquil, personal and historical – tied in with Leopoldo's listening habits and histories in Detroit techno, hip-hop... but rather than listen to me gab on, I'll let the man represent himself.
Tell me a little about your musical development: what were you listening to when you were five, ten, fifteen, twenty years old? How have all of these styles shaped the development of your musical perspective?
As I kid I used to listen to the radio, mostly Italian 80s pop, Loredana Berte', Lucio Dalla but also stuff like Kraftwerk or Michael Jackson – a bit of everything. In my teens I remember listening to hip-hop from some tape from a guy who had just returned from NY, I don't know what crews were on it but I definitely remember Roxanne Shante somewhere in it. Anyway, that was me for the next few years, a complete hip-hop fiend. Public Enemy, Run DMC, Whodini, Grandmaster Flash etc, etc. It went on all the way to the early Chicago house, acid, NY stuff like Todd Terry and NuGroove and then the more Euro rave sounds on R&S, Frank de Wulf etc, etc. That was me up to my early twenties, after that I went on a bit of a bender and mostly just started listening to Led Zeppelin, blues, dub, some Orb and early electronica. I guess all these styles show up in different ways in what I do now as I still try to capture the emotion and energy I remember feeling listening to those records.
And which has had the greatest influence on the music you make now?
I think the basic stuff like NuGroove and early Trax sound, things like Marshall Jefferson, the Burrel brothers, Bobby Konders, Tyree and Joe Smooth, all these things still resonate strongly with me. Of course on top of that more recent strong inspiration has been coming from Carl Craig, Drexciya, Theo Parrish, Moodymann, Afx and Ae.
What's your musical 'guilty pleasure'?
Hmmm, old Lucio Dalla stuff, cheesy Italian pop, reminds me of road trips with my parents when i was little I suppose.
What influence has your background (family, geography, history) had on your musical development? How do you think it shapes the perspective on the music you make?
I don't know, I remember getting into hip hop and acid as an escape from the cheesiness of the sounds of 80s pop. I was a bit of an odd kid and I loved how the early house and hip hop didn't seem to have anything to do with the music on the mainstream, it was just raw and intense. I think still to this day I'm strongly attracted to music that has that aloofness and balls.
What were some of the challenges, getting into production? What's been the biggest influence on your sound and style? What's/who's been the biggest help in developing it?
Well, not having any academic music background didn't help but it was fun to figure out how things worked from a strictly technical point of view. Not knowing really how to play I mostly taught myself by listening to great producers like Carl Craig, Derrick May, Drexciya, Ae, KDJ. When I started putting my studio together these were the people I was listening to regularly so they had a really strong influence in the direction I ended up taking. I also had really great encouragement from my mate Graham and the labels I work with who are always very supportive of what I do.
Tell me a little about your composition process: (typically) where does a track begin, how long do you work on it, when does it feel 'finished'?
There's really no main process. I might start with anything and build some sort of groove with different elements. I often change the groove around some more but keep the original sounds. My best tracks are the ones that sort finish themselves, where all the groove and sounds elements quickly fall into place and I am able to jam and record this in a very short amount of time. 99% of my tracks are live jams recorded on a 2 track editor, so I normally just jam for a while, muting channels, triggering different midi clips, playing with EQ and dials until the track sort of finishes. I then check what I have recorded, see if it needs to be edited, and voila! This can take a few hours or a couple of days. It depends on the track.
What equipment do you use? Is this important? Do some producers have
an equipment fetish?
A computer, Ableton Live, Nord Rack 2, some soft synths/drums machines, midi controllers and occasionally an old groovebox called the Rm1x – but not that often anymore. I think it's important to use whatever makes you creative. If it must be an 808 and hardware only, so be it. If it's a laptop only that gets you going, fine. I never really understood the big debate. I don't personally know many producers and
find gear talk a bit too nerdy when meeting people in person.
How would you describe your style? What do other people tell you about your music?
I can't really say about what I do. It's kind of quirky and groovy. Other people seem to appreciate my stuff more that I do but then I'm my own worst critic.
What makes a great track for you? Which of your own tracks is your favourite, and why?
I guess whatever tune thats completely take you some other place, transcendent. I don't have a favourite but if I had to pick I'd say 'Tempio' off the Real Soon EP.
And in general, what are some all time classics/favourites?
That would be a looooong list. I'll just mention Juan Atkins "Off to
Battle", Carl Craig 'at les' and Kevin Saunderson 'the groove that
won't stop' as some of my favourite music
What makes a great party? And what's an important thing that some people forget to bring?
What's something that you know now (both about music and in general) that you wish somebody had told you ten years ago?
I don't know. Never go to a gig without a European mains adaptor?
What's something that music has taught you about life? And what is something that life has taught you about music?
Things might be better after a good night sleep.
Finish this sentence: 'The world would be a better place if only…'
There were no people in it!
mnml ssgs mx17: lerosa (click to dl)
Rapidshare Mirror (now fixed!)
Full Irish (unreleased)
Pumping curls (Quintessentials)
Ruski (Real Soon)
Demon (a Touch of Class)
Design (a Touch of Class)
More info about Lerosa here at his myspace. The photo was care of Giita Hammond. Big thanks to Lerosa for putting this together for us. There will probably be a week or two break from the ssg mixes over Christmas/New Year, so more time to enjoy this and all the other ones we've thrown at you recently.