March 15, 2011 Nicholas Iammatteo – USA underground via Perugia, Italy
Artist Bio Nicholas:
If you find it difficult to locate classic American underground dance music of quality in Orange County then why on earth would you think to look in Italy? The answer lies in one individual who has has taken on the mighty task of sculpting a global scene and put in more than his fair share. Let’s be thankful residents of U.S.A., that both classic sounds and songs are tended to by those who could easily be distracted by their own countries immensely deep culture. Italian native Nicholas Iammatteo, at his young age of 25, has an impressive and extensive sense for deeper dance music, on the same level of heavy hitters like Iron Curtis or Ilija Rudman.
Nicholas’ Latest Release [as of March '11]: “Bring Back”
“Reachin” (my personal favorite from the release)
What’s even more impressive is the consistency of Nicholas’ releases and his range. He has releases on many labels including Undertones, Kolour Limited, Ourvision, House is the Cure, Small World Disco Edits, Dikso, & Kojak. Has done remixes for Andy Ash (check out his mix of “Another World” one of my personal favorites, got the record in my crate) and also Mario Basonov on the super fun label Needwant.
Many of his releases are on the vinyl only label “No More Hits.” The label has eleven releases since March of 2010, roughly one per month for a year now. And as the name suggests, there simply are not hits made like this anymore. The label includes many 12″ of his original works and edits along with production work from the likes of LTJ, Daniel Solar, and more.
***Edited on April 22nd, 2011, fixed the error that No More Hits was owned by Nicholas. It is not.***
When asked about his production tools he said he keeps them modest. When asked for this article he said in his own words:
“Production wise I have a very basic set up, not necessarily hardware.. I use replicas of old rhythm machines (like the roland TR 909 I use a lot ), Virtual instruments, midi keybord and of course a lot of sampling from records taken from my collection, especially when it comes to vocals.”
His emphasis is on content not technology. Diva samples, commanding soul and warm inviting synthesizers breath heavily in his tracks. His work gives the basic tools he uses room to move and play. His track construction gives life to the forgotten energy that classic underground dance music utilized.
Looking into Nicholas’ inspiration isn’t as easy as explaining the sequence of events of a producer or DJ who has been a pioneer to the core that is Chicago, Detroit, and N.Y. Underground sounds. What’s harder to explain is how an individual, who by all means should be raised on modern dislocated club culture, is instead completely conscious of the roots. In today’s world being a deeply rooted producer/DJ is a valuable specialty, and generally the old guard is firmly in place. And as a global scene we are damn thankful of course, but the point at hand is Nicholas is an anomaly. And a refreshing one at that! The departure into music for Nicholas occurred at the Red Zone Club in Perugia, Italy. This is where Nicholas took his lessons. He credits that club as the catalyst for him becoming aware:
“Residents and guest deejays [at Red Zone Club] have always played that kind of stuff, a lot of house classics and obscure records that I would have never known if not played there…”
His top label of all time is the Chicago label that Chez and Trent released scores of records on, Prescription, parent label to many influential labels and distributed by the power house Cajual. More influences in the house vein include Romanthony, Moodymann (listen to Nicholas’ “Many Shade of the Blues” released on Undertones and see for yourself), Pal Joey & Kerri Chandler. Soul/funk/disco influences include the likes of Patrick Adams and Leroy Burgess, both members of Phreek and electro pioneers along with influences from the sounds of Motown Records.
While the global scene is flourishing, the scene in Italy isn’t necessarily a paradise. Although Nicholas’ releases would lead you to believe that it’s a Mecca for Night life of this sort. Nicholas alludes to the state of dance music in his home:
“the scene in Italy is very difficult. Of course harder and more minimal styles of house have taken over, but there are still many great producers out there like the renowned Marcello Napoletano that has produced a lot of great classic house & techno 12″ in the past 2 years. Also the scene in Bologna is great with the likes of disco edit maestro LTJ (Luca Trevisi), Riccio, Volcov and more. But it is clear that people tend to prefer harder stuff a la Ricardo Villalobos and Richie Hawtin.”
Regardless of dance music fans tendency to go for the “harder styles” it’s clear there is an audience for the alternative. Enthusiasm to a degree unseen of with the recent fallout of “harder” scenes is evident. Take a party at KINKI Club in Bologna, Italy dubbed Oh Christo! where Nicholas had a guest performance with residents LTJ and Memoryman. Nicholas describes the night:
“people dance to downtempo beats, disco and all the music of the nu disco & slow house scene. I started my Live [set] with 100 bpm in the middle of the night around 2 pm and people were actually dancing…it proves you don’t always need 125 bpm’s to get people moovin!”
Nicholas plays what some would consider warm-up tracks or late night lounge after-hours music at prime time. It’s a similar approach taken by the likes of Ali Herron (OOFT/The Revenge). This style is truly elusive and genuinely heartfelt in regards to party music. But It works! And beautifully. Looks like people are ready for a steady rhythm and highly conceptualized dance music. We’ll be bring you it, promise.