Terminal V Podcast 013 || Fabrizio Rat
A classically trained producer can sound like a bit of a cliché in electronic music but when it comes to Italian artist Fabrizio Rat this is right on the money. His upfront releases harness his joint interests to provide some of the industry’s top DJ’s with sonic ammo that constantly blow up their sets.
Fabrizio’s amalgamation of electronics and his weapon of choice the piano results in a truly unique live musical experience. One that few artists could fathom let alone execute with the panache and imagination of Fabrizio. This is why his podcast for us comes from a place of absolute purity and love of techno that bangs from the outset.
First off, we have to ask about your super impressive piano / electronics live setup, tell us more about it and how you devised such a show?
I wanted to play the piano as a machine, along with other ‘real’ machines. I wanted to modify the sound of the acoustic instrument, putting objects on the strings and developing special playing techniques. I wanted to explore harmonics and to conceive the strings as oscillators. I’ve tried to understand and learn the dynamics of sequencers and synthesizers to be able to become in a way a machine myself, playing non stop for hours with my right hand on the keyboard, while the left one handles the synths and drum machines.
Tell us about your musical background and how it first connected with electronic music?
I play the piano since I was 5, playing mostly classical music, and I have been producing electronic music since I was 15-16. My musical background is really wide and took lots of different directions along the years: classical music, composition, techno, jazz, improvisation, and then back to techno but melting together all the things I’ve learned in this journey…
2020 was also quite a busy one for you release wise, talk us through your releases especially your ‘Shades of Blue’ album on La Machina.
I produce lots of music and the one I release is only a part of that. I love to explore new musical worlds. Shades of Blue is one of those. In this record I have been leaving the techno beat to look for a way to hypnotise with melodies, with slower tempos, and softer rhythmics. The modular synthesizer plays a very important role in it. The piano is less present then my past records, but I explored new ways of manipulating its sound which I found very inspiring.
A little birdy tells us you have a new EP about to drop on hat do you have cooking in the studio currently?
Yes it is the Move Ep on Involve record that will be released on 05.04. I am very excited about it, again a musical direction very different from what I’ve done before, almost at the opposite of Shades of Blue, fast, rave techno experimenting with vocals and improvised synth lines. Regal did an amazing remix of the track Rave Runner and I am looking forward also to show an impressive and very fun video on the track Move directed by Francesco Mori and Alessandro Arianti.
Going back to your first release it seems almost poetic it was with another Scottish institution Optimo, how did the release come about?
That was my very first experiment of my solo project La Machina. Those tracks were my first trial to melt the acoustic prepared piano sounds with a drum machine. I love Optimo and sent them my tracks. JD Twitch immediately replied saying that he loved them and he wanted to release. I enjoyed a lot working with them.
Have you ever made it over to Scotland to sample our nightlife?
nightlife? Actually no I have never been in Scotland! I would love to.
We are a special breed that grew up listening to house and techno, what was your musical upbringing like?
Many very different stuff, but if I have to chose some stuff which really marked me I guess it’d be Stravinsky, Ligeti, Scodanibbio, Holden, Jeff Mills, Dozzy…. But the list is long and evolving constantly.
What is your connection to your local scene or even the Italian country wide scene as a whole? What labels and parties should we be taking notice of?
Italy is full of great electronic artists and the techno scene very alive and interesting. Way too many but I am thinking of organisations like il Tempio del Futuro Perduto (with their 24/H label on which I released Hera EP which I am really proud of) and Funk you, Genau in Turin , Timeshift, Clubintown, Sowhul, Gate Clubbing, Resistance is Techno , Mind Festival, Bass Station, Club Culture , Umanesimo Artificiale and I am surely forgetting many many others…..Many of them are friends and it is a long time relation also working on special projects and releases etc.. As for the Italian labels I really love every Spazio Disponibile release (the label by Donato Dozzy and Neel).
What is your chosen format for your DJ sets?
I only play live at the moment, only my music with analogue machines and synthesisers, but I might play a hybrid DJ set/live in the near future.
Releasing music on vinyl do you feel obliged to mix on vinyl?
Not at all. As I said I prefer to play my music, with 100% originals, live sets. I have worked hard to make my live quite unique. It is very hard to do, to be concentrated on the patterns I play with one hand while taking care of the musical development with the other, but I love the challenge and for me it has to be like that. Only if there is a big risk to fail it can be interesting and challenging for yourself, and the dancers can feel that I guess. You have to be technically prepared but open to the surprises the situation will generate.
Moving back to Scotland now and you have mixed our recent podcast edition. Tell us about your mix? What tracks, labels and artists should we be looking out for?
It is a journey through producers I love, some tracks have been released recently (Temudo, Blawan, Regal…), others are from decades ago but I do not feel they got old, from artists like Lory D or Mauro Picotto, plus some unreleased of mine.
Interview by Stu Todd