Article By: Natty Morrison ; Photo By: Douglas Sonders
Do you recall your first encounter with house music or even electronic music as a whole?
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: Yes, actually. I was in my friend’s basement listening to freestyle records when he was like, “Check out this new jam!” It was [the track], “Girl I’ll House You” by the Jungle Brothers. I fell in love with house music on the spot!
It’s been written that you were a very big fan of hip-hop while growing up in New York. Who were some of your “go-to” artists at that time?
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: Well, it was before electronic music existed. Some of my all time favorites were Eric B. and Rakim, Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock, and of course, KRS-1.
Do you think that that love of hip-hop influenced your style as a DJ?
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: Those records were very groove-oriented, and my music is also very groovy, so I would say, yes.
You had your first DJ gig at age 14. Can you tell me what that was like, being the youngest one in the room and yet at the same time being the one controlling the room?
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: It was the most empowering experience and also probably the most nervous I have ever been in my life! But, I pulled it off and never looked back.
How would you define your sound?
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: Organic, groovy tech-house just about sums it up.
Do you think genres are still important in electronic music? Or is it all one big melting pot?
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: I think it gets very confusing at points, but I definitely think you need some separation. For instance, trance is definitely not techno, but some tech-house and techno do sound similar.
You’ve played all across the globe. What region or country or even specific clubs stick out in your mind as being favorites?
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: Actually, it just happened. I played at Kool beach at the BPM Festival in Playa del Carmen in Mexico. That was definitely my most fun gig to date.
You’ve also played at a number of music festivals, such as WMC in Miami. Do you prefer the huge crowds found at festivals, or smaller, more intimate settings at gigs in clubs?
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: They are both very fun for me. As long as there’s a vibe, it doesn’t matter much whether its 100 or 10,000 people. If everyone is having fun, I am satisfied.
Tell us more about your time at the BPM Festival in Mexico.
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: It’s more about the proper music than the big names, although plenty of big names do play there. It’s cool, because even the bigger DJs come and hang-out for a while. You never know who is going to pop -up at a villa DJing somewhere and just rock out and have fun! No politics.
Would you agree that you thrive in the live setting? Why so?
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: Yes, I feed off of the energy of the people. As long as they are feeling it, I get amped.
What is your favorite aspect of performing live?
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: Feeding off of the energy of the crowd! [laughs] And trying to take them somewhere they have never been before.
How does that differ from your in-studio experience?
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: In the studio, I am creating music that expresses my feelings. On the decks, I am playing some of my music alongside music from other artists to create a vibe. It’s all about people having a good time.
Your first studio set-up in 1992 consisted of keyboards and controllers like the Akai MPC-3000 and a Korg 909. How has your set-up changed over the years?
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: Well, with computers, it’s been such a huge shift. Technology has really made production an art form and the things you can do to diversify your sound is amazing.
Are you still a fan of Korg products?
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: There are so many effects units that it seems every week I’m messing around with a new plugin! [laughs] I am a fan, but there’s so much more out there to explore.
How about internationally? How does New York stack up against clubs in the UK or throughout Europe?
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: NY could be neck-and-neck with the European clubs in terms of audiovisual technology and quality of soundsystems, but the attitude is very different. Many owners in NYC are greedy and are about the money, not the party. That’s where the difference lies, mainly. I intend to change all of that.
You’ve landed a resident position at the new Sankeys NYC location. What aspect of this new club are you most excited about?
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: The attitude. It’s all about the music, and that’s what I am fully about!
What is it about Sankeys Manchester that has made it so heralded and respected? It won DJ Magazine’s “Top 100 Clubs” poll at an astounding “#1” this past year! That’s quite impressive considering all of the superclubs around the world.
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: Again, it’s their attitude and the vibe. It doesn’t matter who you are as a DJ; if the crowd accepts you, they accept you, plain and simple.
What does 2011 hold for Antonio Piacquadio?
ANTONIO PIACQUADIO: I will be working tirelessly in the studio. Gigs for me are secondary right now. I am really re-defining my sound, and that’s my main goal for 2011. I also hope to drop my first album if the product is worthy. Stay tuned!
For more information, visit www.AntonioPiacquadio.com.
Antonio Piacquadio & Ellesse - Attention (Steve Lawler Remix)
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