In Conversation With Enrico Sangiuliano, the Highest Selling Techno Artist on Beatport

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Interview by Arnold van der Walt

Anyone who has been following the latest trends in the world of techno music would surely have stumbled upon the name Enrico Sangiuliano. Enrico is one of the most in-demand electronic artists in his field, especially after he rose to prominence after his 2015 remix of DJ Boris‘Can You Hear Me’ became the highest selling techno track on Beatport for that year, after it spent an impressive 14 weeks on the #1 spot on the charts. He became an even bigger powerhouse after he signed to legendary label Drumcode, which helped him further his stance in the electronic music industry.

He started his music career as a sound engineer in Italy, soon after which he produced his own music in the 90s. During this phase of his life, he frequented illegal raves in his area which furthered his love for underground electronic music and it’s also where he managed to put himself on the local music map after showing what he can do to one of the organisers. In his early days, Enrico was more into hard trance and the psychedelic movement, which is still clearly evident in his music, even though he has since gravitated towards techno.

Since the illegal rave days, you would be hard-pressed to find an acclaimed festival without Enrico Sangiuliano’s name on the bill. For the remainder of the year, you’ll be able to catch him live at numerous clubs and festivals (many of which are already sold-out.). He is playing in London a ton this autumn and winter, with WHP, Motion in Bristol, LWE events in London, and more in Ireland and Scotland. Live performance dates can be found at the end of interview.

Earlier this year, he released his debut LP, ‘Biomorph’ to critical and commercial success as well as the widespread appeal of fans.

We caught up with Enrico Sangiuliano and spoke about what it’s like to work with Adam Beyer’s Drumcode, the future of techno and succeeding despite being called a loser.

When you first began in the music industry, you played at illegal raves across Italy. What was that experience like?

This was the beginning of everything for me to be honest. I started playing at some friends’ houses, and a promoter who heard my music liked it and asked me to come out to one of these parties he hosted. It was wild! The first time I had really experienced something like that. Those raves were all I played for many years, and so many of my tracks which were heard back then, no one knows about. They are all unreleased to this day. It was a very special time and I felt like I was a key part of a movement in Italy where the scene was at its most fun and free.

You were interested in hard and psy-trance. How did you transition into techno from there?

Well, I’ve always been influenced by techno since the beginning and my music as well. Techno elements were there since the early days, so I never felt like it was a transition, it just came year after year, Plus you have a lot of freedom within the genre of ‘techno’ to explore, which in turn opened up a lot of new ways to produce and make music.

How has it been working with Adam Beyer’s techno-label, Drumcode?

Amazing. What can I say? They are one of the best teams around. The label management is so professional, the team feels like a family, and the care they put into each release and artist is second to none. I think that most artists who release on the label get this feeling, and at their parties you can feel this too. A great atmosphere with a group of people who all work hard, appreciate one another and take artists to the next level. I feel very lucky to call them my ‘home’ label.

Being one of the highest selling techno artists of today, what advice would you give to up and coming techno producers/DJ’s?

Be yourselves, shape your own sound and direction, don’t look at trends, never ask and be patient. The door will open at the right moment.

 Gary Numan is quoted as saying: “I have always been far more interested in sound than technique, and how sounds work together, how they can be layered. I think electronic music, (in its infancy anyway) allowed us to create music in a way that hadn’t really been possible before. It created a new kind of musician.” What are your thoughts on this statement?

The approach of making electronic music can be very different compared to the rest, that’s for sure. The ocean of sound possibilities you can merge, and layer is endless, plus you can represent every side of the production, from sound design of every single sound, to solos and final mixing. I think It allows you to create something so personal like never before.

Take us through your song writing process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

Sometimes I start with a psychological mood and translate it into sound. Sometimes I start playing with a synth and step after step an idea comes to my mind and then on my sequencer. After getting to that nice “cell” that explains what I want, I start developing an arrangement around it. Once I got a structure, I usually need some time away from the track, to forget what I did. It can be a week or a year, but when I feel it’s time to go back on it, I usually get the right mood to add that magical twist to feel happy with it.

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

These are two very different things, and generally I think this is not a question which anyone could answer. I have been a sound engineer for many years as a professional full-time job, so being inside the studio is comfortable and safe for me. I love it, and I love locking myself away for hours on end, which often turns into days. When I started to DJ, it was terrifying getting into a booth and looking out at hundreds, if not thousands of people waiting to hear what tracks you’re going to play. I love to be able to touch fans with my music, and when they all hear a track they love, it’s truly humbling to know exactly what I am about to play with just 10 seconds of the first few beats. But I still get nervous, at every show, especially the big ones! So, I do not have a favourite – they are amazing in their own ways.

You’ve performed at festivals on most of the world’s continents, but is there a particular performance that stands out for you?

Of course, I would have to say Awakenings Festival. It was my first time there in 2017 and I was so nervous. I battled the fear and felt like I played a great set; the crowd was enjoying it and the sun came out. I went back and played again for the Drumcode stage earlier this year, and it has to be one of my favourites. Also, when we toured in South America, we did a showcase in Argentina at Mandarine Park – and I can safely say, the Argentinians know how to party! This ADE I am also playing Gashouder for the first time, it’s such a huge venue, and one of the best loved and most established, so I’m really excited to be part of this. Very likely to be a firm favourite if you ask me again after the show!

As someone who has been a part of the music industry for a while now, is there something you would like to change about the scene?

I would prefer the scene to be less dependent on social media, as they are seemingly now more important than the music itself. When you are at a club, I’d like to talk and communicate with people instead of just taking selfies which give you no human interaction.

What do you think does the future hold for Techno? Where do you think the trends will take the genre?

That’s a never-ending question. Change is good, and it happens all the time. I think that techno has been on a strong wave for some time now, and to be honest I do not think that it’s going to slow down. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it has to end. I have noticed that there is a lot more EDM and electronica now, which is really cool, I am a fan. In my LP I did some tracks which were on a more down tempo vibe with some break beat influences, as I think it’s important to create what you feel is right for you, not what’s popular to the masses.

Any new artists on your radar that you feel the world should take note of?

Yotam Avni

You have quite a heavy schedule going forward. What can we expect from you for the upcoming winter season? (gigs, releases, etc)

After finishing my album, I have been concentrating on touring as much as possible, and the last few months have all been part of the ‘Biomorph’ LP tour. I will be playing shows across the globe for the next few months in places including the Gashouder, Warehouse Project, Smolna, Fuse and Nordstern… the list continues!

Famous last words….

“you will never get anywhere, you’re a loser
(This was from my head teacher at high-school)

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See Enrico Sangiuliano live at the following dates: Tickets and event info can be found here:

Follow Enrico Sangiuliano:
Facebook // Twitter // Soundcloud // Spotify // Youtube