An Interview with Andrea Frisina

An astounding amount of techno DJs have come out of Italy over the past few years. Many of these guys have made their name on the international scene in a big way, and another such man who looks primed for the top is Andrea Frisina, the owner of the Gate Null label. Already endorsed by legends of the scene (such as Joey Beltram, who remixed his latest track), the stars are aligning for Frisina recently in a big way. We put some questions his way ahead of the aforementioned release.

I want to start by asking about your latest EP with Joey Beltram on the remix. Can you tell us a bit about it?

It all started when I asked Joey if he wanted to prepare something for Gate Null since I saw he was spinning and liking our stuff. I asked at the beginning for an original. He said to me that he was ready to remix something cool if I wished. At that moment I hadn’t any unscheduled stuff ready, so I decided to give him something of mine. So I arranged “Wild Prairie”, finishing it when I came back from Central America. He liked it and he decided to remix it. And of course I’m delighted about it, since he’s a techno legend!

Where do your influences come from? Was electronic music prominent when you were growing up in Italy?

For sure, I was born with electronic music. When I was a child I only listened to ‘90s dance music such as Robert Miles’ “Children”. Then I studied electronic music at the Conservatory, but I mean the music of Pierre Schaeffer, John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Gottfried Michael Koenig, Bruno Maderna, Max Mathews, Wendy Carlos, Bernard Herrmann just to name a few.

What else do you listen to in your spare time?

Anything that’s not electronic music. It’s strange, but I noticed I’m not the only one. I listen during the whole work-day to electronic music, so in my spare time I just try to relax myself musically.

So tell me about your label, Gate Null. What’s the thinking behind it?

The idea behind it is to reference the brand. A lot of people tell me that Gate Null is a reference, so I’m proud and maybe surprised that we’ve made a solid base in just a short time. There’s an assiduous care for the quality here, it represents me, I’m a perfectionist in all my stuff.

And what’s the idea behind the name, Gate Null?

I’ve always like the number “Zero”, and the word “Gate”, which for me at least, represents something like an access to an undefined matter: the “Zero”. It’s a little bit strange and difficult to explain I know!

And the artwork is very distinctive, too. Do you think artwork is often overlooked in this day and age?

Yes – we always try to showcase the concept of the label with artwork. I like eclectic art especially.

What modern DJs and producers do you look up to? Who or what influences your sound the most?

I try to be myself and I try to be recognisable with my sound, although the industry requires certain standards sometimes.  So I work to be unique and at the same time suitable for our scene. A good example of techno nowadays is Drumcode. But that doesn’t mean the upcoming artists should emulate them, or us or someone else.

Is there anyone you aspire to be like in that regard?

No, I think the key is to be yourself.

What’s your ultimate ambition with the EP and with the label?

Well I hope to catch a big audience and to be played by most of the industry. Then I hope to catch the attention of those who don’t know about me/us yet, so they can start to follow and discover what they missed before. Checking sales reports I’ve always glad when I see massive purchases of my back-catalog.

Can you tell me a bit about how the tracks were constructed? What did you use?

I arrange actually all my stuff with Ableton Live. I say ‘actually’ because some years ago my DAW was Cubase since I degreed with it, but I found Live more practical for a lot of matters so I switched. In the arrangement it’s very perceptible with my own imprint, my way to arrange, the way to use the drums with influences coming from other genres.

I use plug-ins, hardwares (such us a Korg Radias, Access Virus TI2, Novation Mininova, Arturia MicroBrute, etc.) and O.B. (“outboards”), my own samples, some cool library and sounds I sample from the ambience sometimes.

What track was the most challenging to put together then?

Maybe “The Cuban Matter” since it was a re-edit of an actual techno key of my award-nominated track “El Cubano” and I arranged it after a bit of time out.

And how are you finding running a label in general? What’s been the biggest surprise in that regard?

It’s cool because I can express myself as well as I want, it’s my face and it represents me. It’s not easy and there is a lot of stress and work behind it since the competition is big – at least it is if you want to be considered a top label at least in your genre.

Are you full-time in music then? Or what else takes up a lot of your time?

I’m full-time in music and its industry. Beside my tracks, I take care about audio matters for the label, 90% of the times I make the masterings. I use to accept only what comes from third engineers and/or artists, which match with my sound. Moreover, I also take care of what my team does about our label events around theworld, mainly during conferences such as the next ADE in Amsterdam.

Finally, which tracks are you really into at the moment? 
A piece of mine “Landing On Enceladus” which is still unreleased.

Lucas Freire – Insideout – (Drumcomplex Remix)

“Oliver Koletzki – Iyewaye”

Stephen Hinz “Breakout”

 

Andrea Frisina’s Wild Prarie (w/Joey Beltram remix) is out now on Gate Null Records)