#83 - Francisco
After a sun-kissed Sonar special from Buenoventura EPM’s Podcast series turns its spotlight to Roman maestro, Francisco. As a man with a massive and varied musical taste it will come as no surprise to those in the know that the Roman deck warrior can traverse genres and decades at the flick of a switch, whilst still bringing everything together for one big party. Here we find the likes of Novecento’s ‘Take a Chance’, DAF’s ‘Brothers’ and Soundstream’s ‘Inferno’ rubbing shoulders with DFX, Mickey Oliver, M&G, Heather Parisi and of course fellow Italo-friends Tiger&Woods.
Francesco de Bellis is an Italian DJ and producer, based in Rome. He first came out in 1996, together with Mario Pierro aka Rotla, as MAT101, an experimental dance project with strong electro flavors and video game references. The duo’s first album, Goodbye Mum, is still a sought after classic. In 1999 MAT101 evolved in a new project, Jolly Music. Ranging from psychedelic to soul, from electro to hip hop, the originality of the Jolly Music sound led to a contract with Illustrious Records, the Sony UK´s dance oriented side label. After 10 years spent releasing on Nature Records and Pigna Records, Francisco started his solo career as Francisco and Mr. Cisco, with releases on Klaxson, 2020Vision, Eskimo and Slow Motion, to name a few. His sound could be described as advanced Italo Disco, groovy house style Chicago and old school funk, and he's known for being a great collector and throwing all sorts into his mix. In 2013 he created Edizioni Mondo, produced by Gerd Janson´s Running Back. Focusing on the downtempo, balearic and organic sound of house music, the label has its roots in Mondo Movies and library records, offering a sound that's also descriptive of concepts, images and environments. The first Edizioni Mondo LP from Francisco’s L.u.c.a. project called "I semi del futuro", will come out on 26 August.
Q&A with Francisco
1. Please tell us about the party this mix came from. What can you recall from the night?
The mix was recorded at Rec room, the second room of Serendipity club in Foligno. Last season I was one of the residents. I only have great memories of it. The crowd was amazing and open to everything.
2. How did you first come into contact with dance music? And what were your first clubbing experiences like?
I was really young. The first club where I started to listen music was Piper club at the end of 80s in Rome. The DJs were playing Chicago House and I fell in love with that.
3. How did your partnership with Mario Pierro turn from electro / IDM as Mat101 to the funk, italo, disco collage of Jolly Music?
I started playing with him, he was a jazz musician friend of Emiliano Tortora, and together we founded the Mat 101 project in '95. We were both listening to many different genres and therefore, growing up, the need to change direction and try to compose something different came up as logical.
4. Are you still passionate about ‘crate digging’ and finding dusty old vinyl records?
Yes sure I love digging. I buy new and old things, vinyl is my passion. Finding the old stuff is always more exciting, it's like a treasure hunt.
5. You released the four Edizioni Mondo E.P.s on Gerd Janson’s Running Back label. What was the idea behind the series?
Actually Edizioni Mondo is a separate label. I take care of the artistic side and Gerd takes care of production matters. Back then when I was looking for someone to finance the project, Gerd was the first to offer his help and that’s how it started. I couldn’t have done it without him! These first four releases are all about Circeo, a place where I used to go on holiday when I was young and where I still go. It always had a special meaning to me and somehow all Edizioni Mondo's artists are linked to this place. Every release represents a specific ambience and season: from the start of spring with “Precipizio” (L.u.c.a.) to the early autumn rains with “Selva” (ODEON).
6. You have mentioned that film and Cinema is a big passion and inspiration for you. Are there any particular styles or directors that are favourite’s of yours?
As a kid I grew up with a TV in my room, so my fascination with cinema was a natural consequence. I'm pretty much an omnivore, but I've especially watched tons of horror movies, cults and strange movies. If I should mention a few in this context I'd say Carpenter, Elio Petri (a great Italian director), Jim Jarmusch, Joel & Ethan Coen, Mario Bava, Ruggero Deodato & Stanley Kubrick and more.
7. As you have a huge musical collection and taste across many genres and eras are clubs more open to musical styles these days or do you feel you still have to perform at a certain BPM or style in general?
It's not always easy, people sometimes need to play it safe. I usually play old stuff and I can tell that crowds are just not used to that. There's something about the way it sounds that seems to not work. What we need is more curiosity, more culture and good life.
8. A friend arrives from overseas and wants to see Rome. Where would you take them for culture, food, music and fun?
Well let's just say that Rome is better as an inspiration for composing rather than a place where you could listen to good or different music but a stop at Porta Portese would be a must. Foodwise it's easier. My studio is located in Trastevere and I live quite close to Testaccio and Garbatella, two historical quarters packed with great eateries and small shops. Perilli has the best Carbonara in town, so we would go there for sure.
9. What release plans do you have in the near future?
The first LP of my project L.u.c.a., "I semi del futuro", will come out on Edizioni Mondo on August 26th. Then I have ready two dance 12" with Cosmo for the Lineabeat series on Slow Motion, an EP that I composed for the Rec room with a new singer "Chiara" for Bordello a Parigi and several other projects to finish. It's going to be a busy year!!
10. What are the ten greatest ‘italo-disco’ records of all time?
Mr. Flagio - Take A Chance
Clio - Faces
Galaxy Band - Gosh
John Harrow - It's Late Tonight
Mac Jr. - Elephant Song
Peter Richard - Walking In The Neon
Helen - Witch
Expansive - Life With You
Funky Family - Funky Is On
Alexander Robotnick - Problemes D'amour
For more information about EPM’s digital distribution and other services: