INTERVISTA »CHRISTIAN ZINGALES 01.05.2020
Swiss Electronic Music interviews Christian Zingales
Christian Zingales, 1972, è nato a Cantù e vive a Como da sempre. Scrive su Blow Up dal 1998 e ha pubblicato diversi libri, "Electronica" (2002), "House Music" (2005), "Italiani brava gente" (2008), "Battiato On The Beach" (2010), "Techno" (2011), "Lucio Battisti - Luci-Oh" (2016), "Prince - The Jamie Starr Scenario" (2018), "Andrea Benedetti Mondo Techno - Christian Zingales Remix" (2018), "Smile - UK 88: The Second Summer Of Love" (2018).
We’re proud to have an interview with Christian Zingales, italian music-freak and journalist for Blow Up magazine, writer of many books like the sought after “Techno” volume.
How your involvement with electronic music was born?
From my passion for music, every kind of music. When I was a child or in the early teenage years I started loving all sounds, from rock’n’roll to pop music to black stuff, and in that phase of learning things I started noticing new-wave tracks with electronic production. Then when it all went crazy and I found myself buying obsessively lot and lot of records there was the discovering of classics albums, the ones done by artists that mixed the first sonic indications by 20thCentury pioneers (Edgar Varèse, John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Raymond Scott, etc.) with the art of pop and rock aesthetics, records by electro gods such as Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra, the king of ambient Brian Eno, disco visionary Giorgio Moroder, industrial bad guys like Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA. And it was all deep and exciting shit.
What is techno for you?
Techno for the world was the next step in the electronic music path. It was black people in Belleville, near Detroit, that grew up listening to afroamerican music like funk and soul and rhythm’n’blues as well as to synth-pop and electro and italo-disco produced by white people, and they looked to all different kind of sounds as one, they feel all music of different culture as one thing, something emotional and human. And with drum-machines and cheap synths they created something new from these influences. They were primarily the Belleville Trio, Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, and as Derrick May said this new sound called techno was something like “George Clinton and Kraftwerk stuck in an elevator”. A new kind of fusion. From Detroit then came lot of other innovators, and the sound spread all over the world, with white people in UK and Belgium or Germany and Italy starting doing brilliant interpretations of a music that came from afroamerican heads but having a lot of white seeds in its DNA.
When you decided to write the “Techno” book?
At the time I wrote a “House Music” one yet, but “Techno” was quite epic in the making as from when they asked me to do it there were few years of working, assembling names to put together the most complete list of producers and then focusing on their discographies and trying to tell their sounds and messages the right way. At the end it was structured in 13 geographical chapters with hundreds of artists that, from the most famous to the most underground one, were the masters in the classic phase of techno, the ten years when the genre told its very history and reached its expressive peak, from 1985 to 1995.
The “Techno” book is out of print from many years, can we wait for a reissue?
The book came out in 2011 and it went out of print soon, yes, and I know lot of people are trying to get it second hand looking around everywhere, so many are asking for it. I can say there’s a talk of a reissue, maybe with extra touches and new parts. Until now it’s nothing official, even because I’m a bit lazy, but we’re thinking about it.
What are your favourite techno artists?
Too many to mention! A good list it’s the one on the book, many many people. From the aforementioned Belleville Trio and others Detroit giants like Underground Resistance and Drexciya to deutsche heroes like The Mover and Basic Channel, italians massive Lory D and Leo Anibaldi, the dutch maverick Orlando Voorn, the Aphex Twin in UK, Chicago cats like Robert Armani, Mike Dearborn, DJ Skull, DJ Rush… Only dropping few names but really they’re a legion…
How do you see the return of vinyl?
It’s a wonderful thing from an economical point of view: artists and labels can have a return. It’s not golden age anymore obviously but it’s something, at last. And it’s lovely for all the vinyl lovers and collectors. From the technical side I can say that I was involved from when I was a child, I have 20 thousand vinyls at home, but right now I wouldn’t change the usability and the sound of digital, both if you listen to an album or if you’re DJing. I became a (curious at first and then fervid) CD collector, a format that apparently no ones like anymore but that I think has a future, rebuying classic albums remastered and extended and stuff like that, and I like to DJing with CDJ’s using both original CD’s and digital trax burned into CD-R’s. If you use them handly and physical, without much FX, CDJ’s are the natural evolution of the old, beloved vinyl mixing, only more powerful and to the point.