Leon [ViVa Music, Inmotion Music, Cecille]
Being a part of the Italian producer/DJ pool which is packed with talent, Leon is a name that has started to be heard more and more. A key member of the family oriented entity that is ViVa Music, this Italian has begun to turn heads as his discography continues to grow with releases on some of the world’s most respected labels. With releases on imprints such as Nick Curly’s Cecille, Nic Fanciulli’s Saved Records, Inmotion Music as well as a full length solo album which recently dropped on ViVa, Leon has shown his true ability as a soulful and skilled producer. While recently signing with Marco Carola’s management team and the plan to participate in two Ibiza residencies this summer, (ViVa Warriors at Sankeys and Music On at Amnesia) it is a guarantee that there is much to look forward to from the young Leon. Luckily I was able to have the opportunity to interview with him during this already booming summer season. Check it out below!
Leon’s guest mix for John Digweed’s radio show ‘Transitions’
Datilly: Hey Leon, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. For our readers, how old are you and where are you from?
Leon: Hey mate, thanks for the interview. I am from a small city near Rome called Teramo and I am 31 years old.
Datilly: Not many people know this but your younger brother is also a producer, Pirupa. How would you say you guys effected eachother in the development of your careers? Did you guys get started together? What was is it like having him to bounce ideas off of?
Leon: Pirupa is younger than me and I started to DJ and produce many years before him. Even though we lived together and had similar music tastes, we have never made a track together. This summer we will be releasing our first joint project on Get Physical. Even though we have two separate styles and two different methods of making tracks we are still united.
Datilly: You recently started working with Marco Carola’s management. Since then you have announced a residency in Ibiza as a part of Marco’s party at Amnesia. What is it like being able to play with Marco? How much of a role has he played in your development as a producer/DJ?
Leon: I am very happy to be a part of Marco’s new project, Music On. Being that my manager Luca Piccolo is also my friend, I think it is very important that I work with him and be able to play with Marco. As with Steve Lawler in recent years, I grew up and I’m sure that I will continue to do so thanks to Marco. He is now one of the most important DJs in the world and playing with him is very exciting. The first time I played with him was a few months ago in Paris at the Rex Club. It went very well, he liked how I played and I was able to gain his trust. With much hard work and perseverance I can now join him at Amnesia.
Leon playing at Paranoic Dancefloor (Italy) with Marco Carola
Datilly: You also have tight ties with Steve Lawler and ViVa Music. How did you initially get involved with ViVa? What is it like being apart of the family entity that Steve has created?
Leon: It started 3 years ago when I had my first release on ViVa Music. It was great, Steve has helped me a lot and always believed in me. Having the opportunity to do a great tour with Steve, he taught me a ton about the importance of our big family. I am happy to work with ViVa and have tried to give as much as I can back to the label. My album just was released through them and is going well.
ViVa Music Loft Party at Eden (NYC) with Steve Lawler, Leon and Darius Syrossian
Datilly: You recently just released another multi – track album through ViVa. After taking a listen, the listener can obviously see the groovy and melodic sound you try to embellish. During the making of this album what were your goals when going into the studio? How would you describe your sound?
Leon: It was a difficult album to make which took over a year of work. I wanted to do something different. Something that represents me as a whole with not only tracks for the dancefloor but something also a bit more electro, indie, and ambient. I wanted to reach a wider audience and that’s why it took me so long to realize it. But I am happy with the result. I think my sound is sexy but not only house.
Leon’s new album ‘In My Factory’
Datilly: Italian producers and DJs are renowned for their musicality. Some of the most recognized names hail from your country such as; Marco Carola, Mauro Picotto and Stefano Noferini. How would you describe the Italian sound? How much of a role did the producers who established this iconic sound play a role in your development as a musician?
Leon: It is an excellent time for Italian DJs and producers. I know many of them and they are my friends. I like their products, support them and help them when needed. Some of the greats like Ralf, Coccoluto, Marco Carola, and Picotto are examples of who I admire. This being that they are considered brave, professional, and great artists. Now I like to support new talent like my brother Pirupa, Nice7, Toky (my partner in Superhero), Mazu, Fabio Neural, Alex Piccini, Stefano Testa, Giuseppe Cennamo, Dirty Channels and many many many many others … the list is very long!
Datilly: Who are some upcoming producers you think we should look out for? Who else are you excited about?
Leon: To difficult to answer, many Italians!
Datilly: What is your setup currently? What is your production program of choice?
Leon: I like to use vinyls with the Traktor x1 effects controller. I also use Ableton Live 8 with a lot of VSTs…Very simple!
Datilly: What producer would you like to collaborate with? Do you have any big collaborations upcoming?
Leon: Maybe Nicolas Jaar and Modeselktor. Upcoming I have a big EP coming out on Saved with my new partner Toky. Our joint project is called SUPERHERO. The EP will also have a remix from Nic Fanciulli. Also I still have my collaboration with my brother for Get Physical.
SUPERHERO – Its Not For You
Datilly: Aside from your Ibiza residencies, what are some upcoming gigs you have coming up? Where is your favorite place to play?
Leon: Aside from Sankeys and Amnesia in Ibiza, I will also be playing at the Saved Party in the UK, Rebel in Rome, Orbeat in Naples, Herry Klein in Germany, Cielo in New York as well as Warung in Brasil. I think my favorite club to play is STEREO in Montreal.
Datilly: Final question, with electronic music becoming so popular there has been a corresponding surge in the popularity of a deeper and soulful sound. This sound is easily found in your productions. That being said, what sound do you prefer to produce more? Do you prefer a deeper sound or a more upbeat rhythmic tech house feel?
Leon: I always like to make different tracks although I almost always use the same synths and drum libraries. But I like to consider myself an eclectic artist so never expect me to have a ‘usual’ sound. I don’t consider myself a famous artist. I prefer to say that I use the music for my soul, my heart and my body..not for business. This is really for the passion of it, not only for the money.
Big thanks to Leon for this great interview!