Francesco Farfa has got his groove back. In recent times, the Italian DJ has found himself re-energised once again, back in love with electronic music and right back at the sharp end of the underground scene. A true digger and sound obsessive, Farfa comes armed with decades of experience and musical appreciation, but now with a fresh perspective that means he is once again doing what he does best: turning musical emotions and compelling rhythms into dance floor art.
In his native Italy, Farfa has long been held up as something of a local legend. Alongside DJs such as DJ Ralf, Francesco del Garda, Fabio della Torre, Alex Neri and Nick Anthony Simoncino, he’s tirelessly pushed an underground agenda that showcases the more discerning side of his country’s house and techno scene. It’s no surprise then, that Farfa is enjoying DJ life again, playing at highly respected clubs and festivals throughout Europe. What’s more, he’s also firmly back in the production game, with a killer new EP, Laser Beam, just released. It was therefore a real pleasure to have Francesco on our mix series, which you can check here. To celebrate the mix, we also grabbed hold of the man himself for a quick chat…
Can you start by telling us a little bit about your summer? How did it go?
The summer went very well; there were some very good parties in Italy, but I also had the opportunity to attend some very interesting parties outside my country .The opening of Polifonic, where I did a B2B with Francesco del Garda was a great musical trip, as was the B2B with Alex Neri at the Keep on Dancing Party at Bora Bora in Ibiza.
Also great was the Off Sonar party with The Small Black Dots crew (Alex Picone and Nick) at Red 58 with Cassy. Also, another really exhilarating experience was the Art Of Dark night at Fold in London where we ended the party with a long B2B with Jane Fitz: a very attentive and warm audience.
We really like your new track, Laser Beam. Can you tell us a little bit about this track and how it came about?
I am very happy that you like it. I wanted to put a different twist on the usual tech prog line which many people expect from me. I’m a fan of industrial sounds and by nature, I’m a mindtrip DJ, so I tried to combine this flavour by the physicality of the groove. Even if it’s a bit dirty, with some edgier and psychedelic sonic ingredients. And, honestly, it’s a line I would like to follow for my next productions. Don’t forget that I am a DJ from the ‘80s!
For a number of years you have been rather quiet from the production point of view. What is this due to?
You know, it’s not always easy to tame a soul in love with music and in the specific case of the DJ profession, given the evolution that this figure has had just after the turn of the century.
I had a very good 15-year career in terms of popularity, but then something jammed.
Between 1990 and 2005 I was able to make a competitive excursion between all facets of house and techno, maintaining a very good level of taste and musical choice. But starting in 2007/2008, in conjunction with the advent of digital technology, I began to feel uncomfortable. I tried to adapt with Traktor, then with CDJs. But it just didn’t feel right.
Promoters were booking me for night where I wasn’t even suited, and sometimes it felt like business instead of DJing. It’s true that in many cases I was still doing well financially from each set, but I wasn’t going home happy. Obviously, this condition affected the production side. After a long reflection I pulled the brakes on my run, and decided to start over and follow my true identity.
It was a very difficult choice, as I understand that it can be hard to get back into the right circuit. But I live without expectation and honourably accept all interesting proposals that come and ….if there is a desire for Farfa, they’ll find the right one!
We noticed that Alex Neri is also on the release. Is he another person you have been close to over the years?
I have known Alex since 1991. We went down different paths, musically speaking, but then, in different cycles we got closer, and then went back to each following our own path. Metaphorically, we’re like two sinewaves in a graph. Over time in addition to mutual esteem, a good friendship has been established, and the things we do come naturally.
You have been involved in the Italian scene for some time. From the outside, there seems to be a lot going on in Italy, with great DJs and scenes in Florence, Bologna, Naples, Milan, etc. What do you think of the current scene? Is it developing positively right now?
In Italy it’s always much more complicated, because we’re not like Germany, which recognizes the nightclubbing movement as a real cultural phenomenon. At an institutional level, as well as public opinion, things are always doped up by the media, and we have always been stigmatized for drug-related issues. You have to keep in mind that the Vatican has done more damage than good work. Luckily for you, you do not have to live under this umbrella.
For the mainstream phenomenon it seems that everything works, but I do not feel like talking about situations where they set up evenings with a Microsoft Excel sheet, rather than with creative spirit.
Before we go, can you tell us a little bit about the mix that you provided? What was the atmosphere that you wanted to achieve? What were the most interesting tracks?
A lot of the tracks in this mix are white label or vinyl with acronyms printed on them. Honestly, I call myself a non-intellectual or academic DJ, and while I have great admiration for those who remember all the credits in the details of a record, I use vinyls like a carpenter uses his saw or carving blade. I do not stop at selection, but I have a form of working based on mixing tracks. I can use some records only as a tool, or for some parts of the structure only. So I am not a DJ selecta , but a rudimentary craftsman of sound fusion .
Right now, as in the mix I have prepared for Nightclubber, I tend to come up with a musical vein that touches the deep chords of the imagination, striking at the belly but grooming the head, inducing the listener towards a circular wave-shaped experience…
Finally, what else do you have in store – musically and personally – that you’re really excited about?
As I said before, I have no particular expectations. Life will take me to a new adventurous phase, because yes….if life lacks adventure there is no taste. Therefore, I think the key thing is to find people who really think with their brains in this world influenced by the ephemeral. I hope there will be more and more promoters who really understand what my work is about and what my peculiarities are.I want to deal with people who can truly interpret, on an empathic, psychological and spiritual level, my passion and my way of proposing music.
So I am excited when I see pure “free will” manifesting itself in people. I make no secret of the fact that I would be happy to make new collaborations with interesting artists from all over the world, for future productions.But everything must be based on a matter of feeling …this must be the primary search engine. Thanks for the opportunity!
Buy/listen to Francesco’s Laser Beam EP here
We also invited Francesco to record an exclusive mix for our podcast.Have a listen on the link below.