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PLAYLIST + INTERVIEW WITH APPAREL MUSIC | PLAYLIST + INTERVIEW WITH APPAREL MUSIC | PLAYLIST + INTERVIEW WITH APPAREL MUSIC
INTERVIEW WITH APPAREL MUSIC
DM: Diego Martinez
GD: Giuseppe D'Alessandro
LS: Ludovico Schilling
DM: For those who aren’t familiar with Apparel Music and Apparel Wax, can you introduce yourselves and give us a brief rundown of who you are and what you do?
GD: My name is Giuseppe D'Alessandro (Gius) and here with me is Ludovico Schilling (Ludo), my associate and co-founder of Apparel Music’s sub-label called Apparel Tronic. We will answer your kind questions together. I (Gius) founded the Apparel Music brand back in 2010, wanting to create my own record label that could convey the philosophy of Jazzy, which is an experimental and evolutionary approach to music. The brand was born in London in 2010 but in 2018, when Ludo moved back from London - where he lived for as long as 8 years - we permanently settled here in Milano.
The term Apparel was chosen because I felt like I wanted to dress the world with sound and to spread tailor-made, quality music for everyone who approached my world, trying to represent and promote it with the utmost care and creativity.
Apparel Music has now become a creative factory, an aggregator of other labels and media. As we became a more and more established platform, we also opened up an online service agency for the people who want to work in the field of independent music and promote their products. So we’re not just a label anymore.
I launched Apparel Wax back in 2017, with the strong will of putting back music in the spotlight, rather than the single artists, the big names, so yeah, Apparel Wax is an anonymous collective of artists that has been releasing music on vinyl for 4 years (10 EPs + 1 double LP) without disclosing the names of the amazing producers behind it. In 2017 together with Ludo, we also launched Apparel Tronic, a label that focuses on a vast range of genres but always keeps an experimental aptitude towards music: from Trip-Hop to Jungle, Downtempo, Classical music, Left-field, and Ambient. Tronic is a common ground where we can release everything we really like, without submitting to a genre and giving space to young, talented artists as well as established and more famous ones. We felt like we needed to coin a new word to give a name to this macro genre, an aggregator word, which is ‘Bliss-Beat’.
DM: How would you guys describe the Jazz-House sound you guys are presenting? Where did that sound come from and where does it fit into the scene in Italy and Europe?
GD: Jazzy, like I said, is not a genre but an attitude that starts from Jazz, applying its rules to electronic music and vice versa. It's a vibe, that has been growing and developing itself since the beginning of my DJ career in Milan, when I used to play at the ‘aperitivo’ (aperitif), passing through clubs all over the world. As a DJ I had the opportunity to perform in many places: from South Africa to Russia, some of the European legendary clubs such as Fabric, Tresor, Fluid in Bergamo, Peter Pan in Riccione, and many more. I have always tried to enclose in the label my experiences, the contacts and creative people I met along my path, the emotions of an aperitif or an after-party transposed into a song or represented on the artwork of a cover.
A few years ago I started moving away from music production (under my moniker Kisk) and I got closer and closer to illustration, animation, and web marketing. I try to devote myself totally to the creativity and communication of the music and I try to make my experience available to the new generations. Traveling the world I learned how to convey my message. Today we use our website as a pivotal tool to enter the imagination of all our listeners/followers from all over the world, who stimulate us every day. We try to be consistent and true to ourselves and our roots but also to be projected into the future, always without straying from the underground soul that represents us and that we represent.
JAZZY, LIKE I SAID, IS NOT A GENRE BUT AN ATTITUDE THAT STARTS FROM JAZZ, APPLYING ITS RULES TO ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND VICE VERSA. IT'S A VIBE, THAT HAS BEEN GROWING AND DEVELOPING ITSELF SINCE THE BEGINNING OF MY DJ CAREER IN MILAN, WHEN I USED TO PLAY AT THE 'APERITIVO' (APERITIF), PASSING THROUGH CLUBS ALL OVER THE WORLD.
DM: What other music are you guys into?
GD: Any music that moves, crosses, accompanies, swallows, surprises, enchants us and helps us feel better or forget the bad things. We look for that intangible thing that someone might call ‘groove’ but that is impossible to express with words, but most importantly: we don’t care about genres. Especially when we listen to, produce, or release the music we like.
DM: How’s the music and DJ scene out in Milan, and in Italy in general? I'd imagine Milan has a unique scene being such a fashion capital.
LS: The scene in Milan is varied and very fragmented, which is why it is difficult to really call it a scene. Italy in general is a country in which many musical genres have taken roots late compared to the rest of the world, due to a sort of sense of superiority and very little predisposition to welcome and accept what comes from abroad, which is a very negative thing. Some Italians think that Italy is still the center of the developed world, which is wrong and anachronistic (to say the least). Milan, however, has always been the most connected city in the country, and - today more than ever - it travels at a different speed than the rest of Italy. First of all, is the city of fashion, therefore there are many musical events related to this world but it is also a city where in the 80s / 90s there was a very strong cultural ferment linked to social/community centers.
From the 00s Milan started to process all the foreign ‘waves’ of electronic music from the UK / Germany which influenced many producers / DJs / promoters and pushed them to create a niche of parties related to that culture. One of the main issues is that, at least until today, the legislation and the complex bureaucracy in force made the opening of a club (or a cultural space) very complex for young entrepreneurs, hence, the ones who make it tend to keep their ‘success’/experience/know-how for themselves, instead of sharing to create a collaborative and prosperous environment with other professionals. It's a scene made up of many individuals, rather than several cooperating entities. However, recently things have changed a bit and we are witnessing the birth of many new cultural spaces where people share their love for art and music in a spontaneous and free way. Milan has become - in the past 10 years- an increasingly developed European and cosmopolitan city. We can safely say that it is a fully-fledged European capital, with its pros and cons.
DM: What do you guys think of the scene in the rest of Europe? NYC?
LS: I lived almost ten years in London, so I always tend to take London as a benchmark, which I know is wrong but often musical trends are actually born there and are then taken as an example in the rest of Europe. However, I've got to say that by now, the music market is so diversified and interactive that we are witnessing the birth of actual musical genres almost everywhere, from Iceland to Portugal. Then of course there are the usual trailblazers such as Holland, France, and Germany where the cultural melting pot is so active that super interesting things, culture-wise, usually take place. But Europe is now becoming - even more after this terrible war - a bigger and united country, with a multitude of different cultures within it. If, as Europeans, we understand that we really are on the verge of a new era, then we will make an enormous qualitative leap from a cultural and - more specifically - musical point of view. All this while keeping our identities intact, which is something that Europeans really care about. The United States is another example to follow and even there, being a huge country, there are so many different musical and cultural references to follow with interest. We’ve been massively influenced by the States in terms of culture, for what the American folklore/way of life/ art has been able to produce in the past century. There’s a sort of myth of the USA for those who have never been there. However, talking about scenes, apart from the well-known meccas like Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, and L.A., I know that some historic clubs have recently shut down in NY, but maybe you can tell us more on this one…
DM: What places do you guys listen to music to in Milan? Is there a lineage of important venues that are still going?
LS: We have consciously left the clubbing circuit for many years now. We realized over time that the music we promoted on our labels was more and more varied and different therefore not identifiable only in a single place like ‘the club’. For a long time in fact, if we have an Apparel party, if we go to play or if we simply want to listen to music, we prefer to do it in different, strange, uncommon places such as basements, art galleries, open spaces and even clothing stores, like yours! We’re actually very happy to have met you and we hope to be able to collaborate with you again in the future and create a beautiful, fruitful and creative connection.
DM: Thanks so much for your time guys - what’s next for Apparel Music and what can we expect from you guys in the future?
GD: You guys are the first with whom we share this big news: we are working on the first Apparel Music festival, that we hope will come to light in 2023. Before the pandemic, we used to promote and produce showcases all over the world, but for some years things have changed and so have we. We opened to experiences like the Apparel Drink, where we make music interact with mixology to create bespoke cocktails for the artists, followed by the new Media section - which we briefly mentioned in the first question - where for more than a year we have been interviewing, writing articles and publishing premieres of other record labels. Generally, we hope to keep evolving, making great music, and strengthening connections with inspirational people like you guys, because these are the things that we look for, to inspire, influence, and motivate us to keep doing what we do in the best possible way.