Digging Deeper with MLMC

Author : Marco Sgalbazzini
February 28, 2020

Digging Deeper with MLMC

Doing their bit to put Italo House back on the map are Maurizio Clemente and Seven People as MLMC.

As they drop their joint debut ‘House Feelings’ on the newly launched Major Underground label, 6AM Digs Deeper

Hi Guys, it’s a pleasure to chat with you today, how is 2020 treating you so far and what have you been up to?

Maurizio: Hi, its a pleasure to be featured here. Its been a great start to 2020 for me, busy working and building up my new label, Major Underground with Sony distribution.

Lorenzo: Hi There, thanks for having us. 2020 started on the right way for me with a dj set till 6 am at NYE at Gratis Club in Italy, so I couldn’t have asked for better. I have several work things planned, so I’ve been very focused and locked in the studio.

How did you first get into the music industry?

Maurizio: My first record release was by Cocosteel & Lovebomb titled ‘Feel it’ in 1992 on my first label, Rena Records, it was an instant success and the now classic record quickly became a dance floor hit. After that I released music from Kerri Chandler with Jovonn, ‘Mystery Love’, actually the one and only collaboration between these two icons of deep house.

Lorenzo: My first professional experience in the music industry was going on tour as a guitarist for the Italian band Elettrodust (Sony Music) when I was just 18.

And what have been your career highlights?

Maurizio: I have had a lot of highlights over the years with various releases on my own labels including Nite Stuff, Zippy Records, Equal Records, along with A&Ring with UMM, Tony Records (after the departure of Tony Humphries now called TR records) and many others. Also as an event manager back in the day, I organised the Italian Music Conference. And as a Dj and artist manager I had a long career with the infamous Kid Batchelor (one half of Bang The Party) to then move on to the Italian territory first for few years, before expanding into new European territories. Lots of memories!

Lorenzo: I would say as a guitarist my second professional tour with Nesli that transformed my music career from a passion to a job, as a music producer working in great studios like Abbey Road and StrongRooms in London (after my sound engineering diploma) and as a dj playing some of my favourite vinyl at Brilliant Corners in London, with a completely different set than what I usually do.

Who are your musical influences?

Maurizio: House Music has been at the core of my musical influence since its beginning 1985, as well as Disco, even if I caught the era of the hate Disco movement. Some of my favourite House Music songs include classics such as Marshall Jefferson ‘Move Your Body’, Joe Smooth ‘Promise Land’ and Inner City ‘Good Life’. Other artists include Murk ,Tony Humphries, Kerri Chandler, Frankie Knuckles, Masters At Work and so many more!

Lorenzo: This question for me is infinite… In terms of dance music, 70’s Disco and 90’s House are on the top of the list. I’ve been influenced a lot by artists like Joey Negro, Kerri Chandler, Dimitri From Paris, DJ Rocca, St Germain, Sadar Bahaar, Louie Vega, Daniele Baldelli and Maurice Fulton. Aside of dance music, I would say Philip Glass, Nine Inch Nails, Mavis Staples, Donny Hathaway, George Benson and Pink Floyd.

You’ve just released your new collaborative single ‘House Feelings’ on Major Underground, please tell us a little about the release and how it sounds.

We share (apart from the fact we both come from an early Italian music background), the passion and the focus for dance music as a cultural phenomenon as well. So we started with a typical element of Italian dance music, which is a basic electric piano riff (Italo House) and then added Molu’s powerful spoken word and a large dose of analog Roland 909 Drum Machine for good measure.

Italo house is a classic sound from the late 80’s and early 90’s which is rarely made today, what inspired you to make a track in this genre and do you think this could spark a new interest / renaissance for the sound?

Lorenzo: This sound always evoked a big emotion on the dance floor for me. The only element I’m not a big fan of is when the vocals become too cheesy and obvious, so we have experimeted with Molu’s spoken word vocals, trying to add something new to the genre. Italo house is already established in several clubs and festivals (Amsterdam for example) so we re not the first for sure, we just like the vibe!

The release also features a remix from DJ Vivona, what did he bring to the table?

Maurizio: Luca, aka DJ Vivona, has been a good friend of mine for a long time and we’ve worked on many different projects together. For this particular track I asked Luca if he could deliver to me a mix with a French Touch from vibe from the 90’s. He was happy about the request and came up with a brilliant version which is really on point. Well done Vivona!

Which are your top 5 Italo House Records?

Jestofunk & Ce Ce Rodgers – Can We Live
Optic – The Chance
Sueño Latino & Manuel Göttsching – Sueño Latino
The True Underground Sound Of Rome – Tanna
Don Carlos – Alone (Paradise Version)

How did the pair of you meet and will you be working on future releases together?

Maurizio: We were introduced about 9 years ago by a university professor in Milan who recommended Lorenzo to me as his best student. After that, Lorenzo had a brief work period at my office in Rome and then he moved on to further his career and we were always in contact. On the production side I always admire Lorenzo’s quality as a musician and his feeling with the music. The future is bright and we will endeavour to re-gnite the Italo House vibe with lots of new songs.

Maurizio, please tell us a little more about your new label Major Underground, what made you take the plunge and who we can we expect to hear on the label?

I met Renato Tanchis from Sony Italy at IMS Ibiza in 2019 and we discussed the idea of building up a label with a new 90’s sound, following the ethos of putting out happy, emotive house music that’s easy to dance or just to listen to and Major Underground was born. We want to feature the old school boys as well as the new school, concentrating on different new and established artists. So far we have releases from Ivan Stairway, Mo’Key and MLMC, also Kerri Chandler will be one of our future guest as well as hopefully my friends from Murk Recs – Ralph & Oscar, Daniele Baldelli, Riviera Traxx producers and many others.

Lorenzo, please tell us a little more about Seven People, you have released on labels such as RYMD Records, Wall Of Sound, Paper Recordings and TR Records, what’s been your favourite own production or remix to date?

I started the project in 2012 in London after years of little gigs and learning experiences in Italy (I started djing and producing when I was 18). It’s also my nickname for music production. Every release for me is relevant I work a lot on them always trying to involve other musicians. I strongly believe in collaborations and sharing music.

If I had to pick up a record I did I would go for ’Splashdown’ on Paper Disco.

Maurizio, you have been working in the music industry since the early ’90s as a promoter, DJ agent, Festival organiser, label A&R and so much more. How much has the scene changed since then and what in your opinion needs to change for the better in today’s music industry?

There has been a lot of diversity in every role I have worked as – agent, manager, festival organiser and A&R. But overall nothing really changes much with the roles – I always say “same story with new players” as our business is a rotating one and if you stop in one genre for a long enough, you will see it will go away and come round again. Obviously compared to my era of no internet and very poor information available, today the industry has changed a lot (including fake news and producers posting music before they are even released by the label) and many of us from the vinyl industry were guilty of being a little late on embracing the digital transformation.

In terms of what needs to change, genres rise and fall in popularity and I see a lot of DJ’s switching genres to try and keep up with what’s popular, some so much that they lose their original fans, say for example; from originally playing soulful house and then switching to techno and then jumping on to something else. They immediately alienate old fans, make new ones and then lose those too as they continue changing their game so rapidly, its one thing to evolve, it’s another to change so dramatically that you lose integrity. As far as Club and Djs are concerned, every 5 to 10 years the scene changes dramatically due to generational factors. I think a Dj should always discuss with their manager about the changes at hand within popular dance music and the direction they want to move in musically to make a considered, sustainable new plan for the 5 years to come. Visibility for the new generation I think is also something that needs to be addressed, as many dj’s are afraid to push the boundaries with breaking new music and sounds like they used to do and instead play it safe for the venue or festival in which they are performing.

Lorenzo, what’s been your most memorable gig so far and where would you most like to play in future?

There are several gigs that have been memorable for me. I would say Brilliant Corners in London was quite an experience as they have a top quality sound system and you can only play on vinyl. The atmosphere is quite free and I had the chance to play part of my record collection that I don’t usually play like ’70s jazz funk, Italian underground libraries, spiritual jazz. In future I’d like to play at Berghaim/Panorama Bar in Berlin and some festivals in Brazil.

Which dance track holds the most precious memories for you and why?

Maurizio: Fantasy ‘Ten City’ as it reminds me of my love with Deborah De Angelis who has been my wife for over 25 years.

Lorenzo: L.E.B. Harmony – Feeling Love (Joey Negro Edit). I was in a club in London (Jazz Cafe) when Joey Negro played this and I remember everyone going into another dimension including me of course, everyone was full of positive vibes, dancing, smiling, strong multicultural situation, dark lights, just 4 black walls, Eden.

What else have you both got coming up that you can tell us about?

Maurizio: A lot of new releases on Major Underground to come.

Lorenzo: A lot of ideas and Logic / Pro Tools folders!

MLMC feat Molu – House Feelings is out now on Major Underground and is available here