Valentino Kanzyani mixes Nightclubber 190 »
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Valentino Kanzyani is undoubtedly someone who’s left an inimitable mark on the house and techno scene. A true sensation in his native Slovenia, alongside the likes of UMEK he helped put his small country on the electronic map almost three decades ago. In that time he’s lost none of his love or enthusiasm for music, and much like a fine wine, his DJ and production prowess is ageing very nicely indeed. Much of this explains Kanzyani’s longevity: alongside recent production highlights such as his remix of the classic Italo track ‘Spacer Woman’, he continues to play at some of Europe’s finest parties and travel the globe spreading his always-discerning and uncompromising sound. With all this considered, it was only natural that we’d have him back in the hotseat for our latest mix, which you can listen to here. But before that, have a quick read of our interview with Valentino to learn more about what he’s been at recently… 

I read in another interview that you preach about the “importance of staying humble”. Do you think it’s easy to lose touch with reality as a DJ sometimes?

It‘s a common disease that happens to people that are being successful in any professional field and somehow makes them think because of that, that they should be entitled for extra 

respect and divination. They usually act rude and annoying to others, that in their distorted perspective are on a lower level. 

To me it is just insanity, a mental disease that is spreading like cancer in our so called modern society. Honestly it’s just sad that this happens to DJs, too. 

As for my humble opinion they definitely forget and not consider the simple fact that this job is based on playing selections of prerecorded original music from other artists and makes us earn money and travel the world with it, which to me is a blessing. If you are just a bit realistic you should be purely sharing happiness and avoid being disrespectful to anyone around. 

On that note, has music become a sideshow in certain aspects of the electronic music scene nowadays?

Unfortunately that’s what happened to its simple form of making people get together to express their freedom, the simple joy of dancing and gathering together. 

By time it transformed into a big money making machinery and its purest and most genuine form got lost in the process. 

Talk to us a bit about Slovenia and growing up there. Guys like yourself and UMEK were responsible for putting the country on the map in terms of electronic music. How is the scene there nowadays?

I was born when Slovenia was still part of Yugoslavia and we were under the communistic regime and dictstorship of Tito. Back then everything was different and information was difficult to access. Thank god I could reach and listen to some italian electronic radio stations that were, for that period, very ahead of time with a so called progressive selection in their music program. There was quite a big difference growing up in such a recessed system but it also had its spirit and made me who I am today. 

What do you think made electronic music so appealing to you? Was there a sense of escapism to it all? 

Definitely was a way out of the ordinary day to day life under the old regime. It created a new world full of possibilities and motivated me to get involved with music at all. 

You’re much better known these days for your ‘house’ side as opposed to your ‘techno’ side. Was moving to a housier sound a conscious thing? Or did it come about organically?

I was always keen to all sorts of styles inside the larger electronic music genre. I might got some fame during the time Techno was very interesting to me and I was doing productions and playing 3 decks around the world for my first time. So I definitely got marked as a techno artist, but I guess I never considered myself as just a one sided DJ or producer. 

Was finding the records and the equipment a real hustle in your early days? How did you do it? 

Just finding information regarding music or producing it was a hustle as the whole scene was at its down, especially for people on the east side of Europe. But it made the whole concept even more special and magic. It made me learn English just for the joy of getting to buy records abroad and later learning more about production or reading manuals for each single machine I was buying. 

Was the plan always to build a career off of music? Can you tell us a bit about how that came to pass? 

Not really. It was more like a dream coming to existence step by step in the years the scene was growing. While I was working at Ambasada Gavioli doing bookings, line-ups, taking care of all artists and their hospitality, I just had an innocent and genuine dream of me being the one that will possibly travel to get picked up at the airport to play in another club around the world. 

Do you get home to play often? Do you always prepare a bit differently for the gigs at home?

It depends, but definitely while at home it’s a different way to prepare. In any case I travel with a lot of music on my hard drives and I always prepare different sets for every occasion while on tour. 

Let’s also chat a bit about your gig preparation. As someone known for obscure records, do you have a particular process that you follow when selecting records for a night? What dictates this process?

Not really, I usually select a lot of music that I like in a record case and digital folders so that at the moment of the gig I can navigate in this folders and record case to select the final flow of my set. I like to be prepared but in a sense that I can have more foundation and freedom to be really able to improvise. 

A lot’s talked about digital and vinyl, and in the main this is quite a boring discussion. But do you think working around vinyl only makes a DJ more creative in some ways? Ie. if they only have a select group of tracks to work with on any given night?

In my opinion this is quite a funny discussion between people that are arguing on the topic who might be more creative in mixing original recordings of other artists on a different type of media. It‘s not really such a different set of skills but still one is considered more creative and in often cases more valuable than the other. To me it’s just about the way you use these techniques and medias to create and transmit something. Both are ridiculously easy compared to a work of a proper musician playing one single instrument or a singer using his voice after years of practice to master each technique. 

You’re a DJ who’s been active in the scene for some time, with newer fans still attracted to your sound and style. What do you attribute your own longevity to? Is ‘staying relevant’ something you’re conscious about? Or do you simply continue to do what you’ve always been doing?

I just love playing and dancing and that is what makes me go around, simple as that. No mysteries or planned agendas. 

You’ve played a bunch of great parties recently, such as Fuse and Art of Dark. Can you tell us a bit about your history with some selected promoters over the year? What made them special?

In any case the most special thought about me having a longer and more continuous history with some promoters more than others is the way they feel the music and the sense they transmit when organising their events. It’s about the vibe they give me and the same vibe they give to the people that are attending their events. It’s just so obvious when a promoter is doing it for its own passion and love for music and therefore just simply wants to build and share a beautiful experience for the others. 

Your remix of Spacer Woman was awesome! Can you tell us a bit about how you came around to remix that one? What do you love so much about the original? 

Well this is a special one. It started as an edit of the original track that is on its own a fantastic song. I just made it playable for my sets. 

While I was in Berlin quite some time ago I pressed a few vinyls with Spacer Woman on it and gave one to Ricardo Villalobos. He really liked it and played it for a long time. One night he played it in Italy and the promoter, a common friend of ours, actually had the rights for it and she loved it. On that she asked me if I would be interested in an official release and obviously I agreed and so it happened. Thanks to Ricardo.

How do your remixes usually come about? Do you have to love the original do you think? And what do you think makes a great remix? 

Obviously there must definitely be love for the original. At least you need to be sparked by something about the original song. Years ago it happened that I got a request to do a remix for a very big artist, but after listening to the track and parts, I had no inspiration coming out of it. That’s why I declined the job and even got accused for not being professional… another sad story about how the industry works. Seems that even if you are not full heartedly in, you are supposed to just do what ever, even if it has nothing to do with the original, put some sounds of your own and just sign your name after as the remixer. So probably it’s what they wanted and I guess upon that scenario I would still be considered „professional“. To me this is suffocating the magic. 

Can you also tell us a bit about what’s exciting you – musically and personally – over the next while? 

Travelling around, discovering new producers and labels is always what excites me the most. 

Lastly, can you tell us a bit about the mix you’ve supplied for us? Where did you mix it and what was your intention with the mix? And standout tracks we should listen out for?

I guess it’s better to let the music talk… Thanks for having me!

Keep up with Valentino Kanzyani on Instagram, Facebook, Soundcloud and Bandcamp 

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