A chat with Massimiliano Pagliara

Massimiliano Pagliara: born in the deepest south of italy, more precisely in Corsano, a small town of Salento, after graduating as a dancer andchoreographer, he made the hardest andprobably easiest choice to realize hisdreams: to leave for Berlin.

His sound immediately convinced critics and public giving him an enviable position: that of resident DJ in one of the most beautiful clubs in the world, Robert Johnson.

Interviewing him was a great honor, especially because talking openly with an artist about his importance, helps you to better understand his work, to better understand his path, his ideas and the way of living his music. What has emerged is a great love for what he does, a great passion for his now distant work as a dancer but has never ceased to exist (as in the best love stories), a real obsession for his precious synthesizers. Here is the exclusive interview with a guy who has managed to realize all his dreams.

I know you’re a collector of analog synthesizers. How much you use them to produce your music since it is full of new wave, funky and disco sounds?

Massimiliano Pagliara: My synthesizers are really important tools to me, in order to write and produce music. I cannot imagine doing this without. First off, it does sound much better if something is coming out of a real machine. Additionally, i do enjoy the tactile and physical experience about it. I was a dancer and choreographer. I was used to use my body as an instrument to move in space and time. I am now feeling pretty much the same, when I use my synthesizers. Therefor, I use them extensively. I have never made a track without using at least one synthesizer and one drum machine.

We know you’re a dancer and a choreographer. Your love for dance has influenced your music? And, instead, what kind of music inspires your dance?

Massimiliano Pagliara: Well, although I stopped about 9 years ago with dance and choreography,  somehow I am still a dancer and choreographer inside. I have always loved dancing. I remember that, when I was a child, I would always go to our living room, at my parents place, put on some rock ‘n’ roll records and dance to them. I basically was trying to be a DJ and a dancer at the same time. So yes, in this sense I am really happy I went through this dance/choreography education, because it gave me the possibility to learn how to use and move my body as well as a certain feeling about time and space. All these things, movement, time and space, are quite present in my music.

As such, dance has certainly had a big influence on my music. Like i mentioned above, my synthesizers are instruments that I use to write/compose music, in the same way I was using my body to write dance/choreography before. When I was working as a choreographer, I was using lots of electronic music as soundscape for my moves. Things like Aphex Twin or Autechre, to name just a few, were truly inspiring my dancing rouitnes. So somehow  there is always been a very deep connection between electronic music and dance. And anyway, since always, these two things have been connected.

You are resident of one of the most famous clubs in the world: Robert Johnson. What kind of club is and how do you live music in that place?

Massimiliano Pagliara: Robert Johnson is a pretty simple place. It is like a loft space, with a comfortable DJ booth and a really nice and warm sound system. It is not too big, not too small, just right.So you basically have pretty much all you need. One can live and enjoy music in a very comfortable way.

You were born in Lecce, deep south. How do you think is evolving Italian underground scene? Is there any artist you like?

Massimiliano Pagliara: Yes, I was born in the deepest south of italy, Salento. I am not 100% aware of how the italian scene is evolving. I definitely saw some improvements and I have met some people within these past years, that try their best to keep undergroung electronic dance music alive, even in very small towns, which are usually quite conservative.

People such as the “Intercity” guys from Salerno, “We talk” from Bari, “Slow Motion/Tipografia” in Pescara, for example, are really trying their best in this sense, and I do admire them a lot. I am one of those Italians that decided to leave in order to achieve what I have now. But not everyone can leave and do that. One of my favourite italian artists is Fabrizio Mammarella.

Tell us something about the Egyptian Nipples project along with Jules Etienne?

Massimiliano Pagliara: Jules Etienne is one of my oldest and dearest friends here in Berlin. I have learned so much from him. He is a really great musician. A real one! He can play so many different instruments and his sense for harmony is incredible.

We did lots of things together and the thing with the Egyptian Nipples is our latest project. He writes so much music. One day I was at his studio and he played me some of his new unfinished tracks. He didn’t know what to do with them. I felt there was lots of potential and so I decided to do some additional production and finish them. And this is how this project was born.