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Mauro Picotto Interview - Go Away Purists

Author: Clare Dickins
Monday, December 5, 2005

To the uninformed observer Mauro Picotto may seem like just another techno artist, but to label him as such would be to neglect the achievements of one of dance music's most groundbreaking names.

Simply put, when it comes to harder-edged dance music, no other producer has played such a scene-defining role. Picotto's versatility is extraordinary. Trance fans still weep when his CRW gem I Feel Love is played; his classics Iguana, Komodo and Lizard have been embraced by hard house heads as bona-fide treasures; Mauro's Taub Megamind offering is cherished as a nasty-as-fuck classic by the hard trance masses and his 2003 hit New Time, New Place unquestionably goes down as one of techno's landmark crossover tracks.

Without pretense or snobbery, Mauro is a refreshing entity in world dance music. When Zebra catches up with him, the Italian is shivering through a chilly autumn morning and professing his need for some warm Australian sun.

Mauro has been a busy boy of late. His latest album Superclub is due for imminent release and in typical Picotto style it's as ambitious as ever. "One CD is called 'Giganite' and it's music I've produced over the last two years and I've played in the club. And the other CD is called 'Megalounge' and of course it's lounge music, chillout and some pop-style love songs. It's something completely different to the normal Mauro Picotto style and I like it."

Indeed, Picotto bends and flexes his production muscle to dish up everything from shimmering slices of electronica, to upbeat chugging bangers, uplifting synth-laden gems, minimal cuts of funk and stunning James Holden-esque soundscapes. The album even includes a new interpretation of Lipps Inc.'s Funky Town completed with Fergie.

"I remember last summer I was in Ibiza and went to a couple of excellent parties on the island. One night there was a random DJ playing this track in the club and it reminded me of when I was young. I saw the reaction and thought it might be a good idea to do a remake of this track that people can play during their normal sets and make people recognise something from the '80s," he explains.

Referencing from the past is not uncommon for Picotto. Superclub features the tracks Winter Games and Darkroom, both of which undeniably draw from his trance-laden past. "I wouldn't say they are proper trance tracks, but there definitely is an influence there with good melodies," he says. "I made Darkroom back in 2000, but never released it because at the time I found it too hard. When I felt it was time to release it, I had just left my label [BXR] and didn't have a label to put it out on, but now I think it's the right time."

Recently brought out as an EP, Darkroom reminds Picotto of his Lizard classic - clearly timing is everything when it comes to releasing music. "When I released the song Lizard in Italy in 1997, it was a huge success. I remember thinking that if it worked in Italy, then it would also work in the UK. I sent the track to a lot of companies in the UK to see if they wanted to license the track and all the labels would always reply that it was 'not for our market'," he explains. "By the end of 1998 you had everyone in the UK trying to license the track; before I was happy to do it for free of course, but by the end of the year people were ready to pay - I don't want to say a fortune - but for a single it was."

Having taken the techno gospel over to Ibiza through his successful Meganite parties, Mauro can see the sound's popularity to be ever-increasing. "I think this has been the most popular year for techno on the island. I remember about six years ago the first ever techno club night, Cocoon, was held in Ibiza. As the years went on, we'd get new nights popping up on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so the techno