WITH A BRAND NEW EP COMING ON ALAN FITZPATRICK'S WE ARE THE BRAVE IMPRINT, WE CAUGHT UP WITH THE MAN OF THE MOMENT...LEONARDO
Hello Leonardo, thanks for taking the time to speak with us at Virtus. Where in the world are you right now?
In my basement studio of an apartment I’ve just moved into. Somewhere on the South Coast of England. Actually, today is the first day in here working with all my equipment set up properly
Can you tell us how you became interested in electronic music and what were your early inspirations to become a DJ?
I got into Hardcore and Jungle / Drum & Bass at around 11 years old. It was a street culture thing that came from the older people in our group and my brother who was also a DJ back then. I was the kid with the loud Walkman and a bag for of mix tapes. I got turntables when I was 14 and started putting parties on with a few friends at youth clubs and at schools and later colleges and nightclubs. I got a real buzz from buying records and playing them to people and it very quickly became my main focus in life. I first started getting booked properly at clubs like Turnmills, Club Class and Maison when I was around 20. I got noticed and had my breaks off the back of my ability as a DJ and then music production came later.
Last year you treated Fabric ravers to a treat when you played in Room 2, was that your first time playing at the iconic club?
Yeah it was a wicked night. It was real nervous before that gig, it was a big learning experience and I loved every second of it. The club has an enormous reputation and heritage and I felt I came away from the party more grounded in my true sound. It’s the kinda club that accommodates true originality. I was equally as excited for my good friend Dave (Reset Robot) who was playing his first ever live set that night. He’s without question an unsung hero of electronic music.
How did your relationship with We Are The Brave come about and did you know that your first EP was perfect for the label once it was written?
This is a long story that would include the 5 years previous but I will detail only a very short part here. I had a two year break from music and was in the process of developing a business model for something non music related. I was working so much I needed some time to totally switch off. I started writing some music for personal pleasure one day a week and I loved what it brought back to my life so I got hooked again straight away. I never planned to work with a big label, my intention was to perhaps release the tracks myself. A few months past like this then I bumped into Alan in a restaurant on a night out. He had been supporting my music some years before. He asked me “where I’d been” and I laughed. I told him I’d just started writing again and he asked to hear the tracks. I sent them over to him the next day and a few days after that he called me up and offered to take the tracks and sign me up for a multiple releases and touring. It was fucked up. I tried to continue with the other business plan at the same time but very quickly realised I had to drop it to be back totally dedicated to music. I lost thousands of invested money and time but that’s part of the fuel in my fire at the moment. It feels good
Your latest Soul Foundations EP showcases your style with 4 tracks that could do damage on pretty much any dance floor out there, are you excited for your 2nd release on We Are The Brave?
Totally hyped up for it, it’s a real buzz when the weeks leading up to a release come round. Alan has been super cool and accommodating to my style and approach as musically I’m quite different to the brands other artists. The A side ‘Gentle’ got them (the label) excited and the rest of the EP that includes ‘The Prophecy’ and ‘Call To My Beloved’ fell into the release after showcasing a deep more varied aspect of my sound. All raw and liberating. There’s a remix of ‘Gentle’ in the package from a guy called ‘9th House’ that offers something more playful to the originals.
In the studio, what is your favourite piece of hardware/software plug-in that you love to use in your music?
I like to keep my set up private for various reasons. I work in my own way and have developed my own style through self-teaching and intuitive work flow. I'll talk more about all of this another time
As a DJ, what artists are you really feeling at the moment in your sets?
Yan Cook and Ferron have both been standout for me over the last few years
Any more music in the pipeline we can get an exclusive on?
After this I have four vinyl releases coming on my label Etheric; April, June, August & October this year, they’ll also be available digitally. As well as that I’m working on a concept album but it’s too early to talk about that in detail
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone starting out in a career as a DJ/Producer, what would it be?
Follow your heart, be who you really are and stay true to that. Believe in yourself.
Any gigs we can catch you at next?
Touring with We Are The Brave amongst others, they’ll be announced soon. I've just done a guest mix for Brave Radio (check the social pages or Soundcloud 6th Feb onwards) so everyone can go check that out in the mean time. It's an exclusive one hour assault of peak time material direct from my beloved turntables.
Leonardo’s EP ‘Soul Foundations’ will be available on We Are The Brave on the 8th February