In this interview we have the pleasure to talk with Fabrizio Nocci aka Erta Ale..DJ, house & techno producer, live performer, label owner of Solenoid Records and part of the collective Octavibes.
Erta Ale has been based in Berlin for a decade, his sound feeding off the emotional ruin, renovation, dynamic energy and ecstasy of the city and its people. Elastic Beatz, Twirl Recordings, Sub Records, Ghetto Rhythms and Bunk3r Records are just some of the labels where the producer has released her house and techno music productions to date. As a DJ he has played in various Berlin and European clubs such as Tresor, Kit Kat Club, Sisyphos, Wilde Renate, Radion, Jolly Rogere and many others.
With his independent project, Solenoid Radio, he invited artists such as Eduardo De La Calle, Dele Sosimi, Hakim Murphy, Cortechs, Alinka, HEAR, Agent.
1. From Rome to Berlin, when and why did you decide to make this turn in your life?
In 2007 I had just finished studying at the Conservatory of music in Rome and yearned for new experiences after my studies. Berlin has always had a great classical contemporary tradition and reputation ( I didn’t arrive here for the electronic music scene ), so in 2007 I moved to Berlin to find new inspirations.
2. How were your first months in the city? Did you find difficulties in the new reality?
I immediately fell in love with the city and in comparison to Rome, Berlin felt like a much easier and relaxed city to live in. For the first two years I was focused in learning German which helped me alot in the following years in the city.
3. What were your musical influences before moving to Berlin? And which ones, if there were any, later?
Before moving to Berlin I was totally involved in classical contemporary music. I wrote several pieces for ensemble and Orchestra, and at the time I didn’t have any interest in electronic music. Obviously everything changed when I moved here. In 2007 I began to collaborate with a video artist by the name of Lillevan and Philipp Geist, writing electronic music for audio visual performances and experimental movies and theatre. From there, my passion for dance music grew and I started DJing in the Berlin club scene and gradually began producing techno. I’ve always been curious about different genres of music and how they work, which is why I decided to study electronic music at the conservatory Hanns Eisler here in Berlin. There I acquired my master degree in 2013.
4. Dj, producer and live performer. What are your favorite instruments?
From 2014 I stopped using a laptop and any kind of software in my music productions. I always preferred playing an instrument, be it live or in a studio. My set up is always changing and I love anologue machines, take my elektron for instance and I couldn’t avoid using my Juno 106 or my Sherman Filter. I’m satisfied with my set up although my dream is to work with a real super analog mixer. For this one needs time and a big finanancial investment!
5. What emotions do you want to send with music?
This is a complex question but I think there are a lot of different emotions that an artist wants to express in different periods of his career. For sure I’m always looking for energy and sense of wonder in music. For me it’s important to be surprised by the music I’m listening to or producing. For this reason I don’t like commercial pop music, there is no surprise for me there. Energy, surprise and sense of escape are an essential part of my musical expression.
6. Is there a record that you are particularly fond of and that often you plays?
There are a fair amount of records that I used as a secret weapon but there are also records that I love but don’t play too often maybe because they are not “Easy to play”. A record I was playing a great deal in my recent dj sets is ‘Summer in Detroit‘, a classic!. I love it because it’s Elektro, it’s funky, it’s house, there is this amazing synth solo and it’s so full of beautiful energy.
7. Do you like going to the club? Some of the favorite aspects that the culture and the scene of the Berlin clubs, see for example the TrashEra party of which you were participated, propose?
When I don’t have to play I usually don’t party alot . Occassionally I enjoy going out to specifically listen to an Artist I like and admire but Im not in a ‘clubbing every weekend’ period anymore. In Berlin it could become kind of dangerous, and I want to be focused in my work right now. It’s also true that after a while you become more selective. There is an abudance of really good parties in Berlin but there are also a lot of average nights to be honest. I think, the music should be always the magic fluid of the night, average music attracts average people and average mood. Often in Berlin there are parties only focused on sex and drugs. I have nothing against it, this is for sure part of club culture but i persaonally feel it should be about more than just getting fucked up. Sometimes it’s just about excess and the music on the dance floor is banal and does not fit the mood. Party organisers could start to think more about the quality of the music.
8. At two years ago you have opened the record label Solenoid Records and the Solenoid Radio channel, what is the concept behind this project?
Solenoid Records was a natural consequence of solenoid radio ( that is on the brink of extinction because I’m 100% concentrated on the label right now ). Solenoid Records was born to present my productions in the way I wanted to be represented. I released a fair amount of music under different names but I needed to feel completely artistically free, that’s why I opened Solenoid Records. I also started to release Artists I like: Sweetestcape came out in June with a Deep House EP “WithinU” and in September for SLN013 ( vinyl only release ) Lupe made a nice Remix for us. In any case Solenoid is strongly connected with my own productions and represents my intellectual freedom.
9. Latest artists, collaborations and proposed releases?
Like I mentioned before, in September we are going out with the 12” SLN013 and for this release we have a really good distribution: Lobster Theremin. It will be an Electro production. I got the mastering from Tim Xavier ( MMM Berlin ) and I think I can say that it will be an important step for the label. Besides I’m also planing a release with P.Leone remixes ( who already worked on my music making remixes on a release for Twirl Recording that came out last year ). In July one of my Acid Production, a track called Intoxicated, will come out on TrashEra Music. I have several other projects up my sleeve but prefer to keep it on the down low for the moment.
10. Now, we presenting another project of which you are part..Octavibes, describe to us the focus of the organization and when did you join in the crew?
Octavibes is my family! I met Marco Tabacchi ( Just Marco ) at a party back in 2014 ( we both were playing in the same floor ) and since then our friendship grew in a really organic and sincere way. Marco introduced me to the rest of the collective and everyone shared so much love and respect towards me. Not just as a musician but as part of the family. The energy of this collective is just amazing. No judgment, no dogma. An incredibly beautiful harmony, trust, freedom and love. This is Octavibes.
11. Future releases and DJ sets?
The next release SLN013 is coming out for the end of Septembe and I’m also really looking forward to the next TrashEra party in August. For this edition I’m going to play together with a good friend of mine, Riccardo Bernardi ( aka VJ Aconite ) with our audio visual project ATMOS. For this party I will prepare an extended set ( 6 – 7 hours ) moving from an intro dark Ambient to radical experimental techno. The TrashEra parties are always full of energy and craziness and this is exactly what we are looking for with ATMOS.