This conversation is featured in C41 Issue 8 Memory. Grab your copy here.
Hi Alberto, how are you?
We met in the spaces of C41. What were you doing in Milan? How is life in Berlin?
I played at the Nilufar gallery and took the opportunity to stay a few days during the design week. Berlin is amazing! I moved just a year ago and I wish I had done it before.
Searching for you on the net, the internet gives me an infinite archive of images and music. Where does your research begin? From music or images?
My archive has a more visual than musical matrix, but my research comes from music. If I hadn’t fallen in love at 13 years of hardcore I wouldn’t be here to talk about it. My DNA is definitely the dj one even though I have evolved my vision that has brought music and aesthetics in parallel on the same track.
I have deepened the image side also because of web archives the web is full of them; just think of discogs that remain my favorite site ever.
I loved the way we chatted. It was a long time since I wanted to shake hands and put a face to the person behind one of the most interesting projects of recent years: Gabber Eleganza. How is the project evolving?
I started my route offline in 2017 with a performance called “The Hakke Show” and then added fanzines, DJ sets and collaborations. After two years I decided to develop a label that embraced everything done so far and in the spring of 2019 I opened Never Sleep. The first project is a four-handed book between me and the English photographer Ewen Spencer called Hardcore Soul.
A publication that investigates the similarities between apparently distant scenes: the scene of the Northern Soul weekender of the early 90s and the English rave Happy Hardcore of the late 90s. The book has attached a series of discussions related to dancing with the English artist Mark Leckey and a homonymous mixtape made by me.
Amazing! We tried for several years to talk about Ewen, but we never had the chance to meet him, so thank you very much (: Why him? How did you get in touch?
I had known his work for many years, because I published his material on my blog. His photos were the first contents not to be strictly related to the hardcore / gabber environment, so in 2016 I started following him on instagram as a fanboy and we started writing. One day he contacts me for a job with Dazed & Confused and on that occasion we spent an evening at the pub talking about the Northern soul scene (from which he comes) and Hardcore, so everything was quite organic and natural.
I recognize a strictness and an obsessive search in everything that is public about you. How was treating this book? What was the hardest part?
It was fantastic, Ewen was very cooperative with the book, leaving me with total creative freedom. All the people involved were available and supported me on every occasion and change of idea. The most difficult part is certainly the technical part of printing and the dialogue with the printer, but I thank the guys at Studio Temp who supported me in the printing and layout steps.
The mood you communicate and the image you produce always seems to belong to an archive, it always seems that your task is to remind everyone that the gabbers really existed: What do you hope people feel when they come into contact with your work ?
The project’s mission starts with the aim of breaking certain clichés against sub-cultural movements that have always been denigrated, and then evolving into the mission of telling coexistence between different energies, cultures, worlds and styles. I have no interest in safeguarding or reminding the gabbers, but I am more interested in the energy they emit, something crude and naive that is lost in any aspect of our lives. Everything is diluted and organized, business and conditioned, lacking the spontaneity and the strength from below that is the basis of every culture and that I would like to pass on to those looking at my work.
How do you judge your memory?
I have a love-hate relationship with my memory, because I leave it at the mercy of events. I don’t want to stress it too much, because I tend to store so much information since I have strong photographic memory.