Analyse the careers of many of Italy’s top flight DJs and one shared characteristic often stands out. They all began DJing in clubs long before they were old enough to enter them.
Italian born, Amsterdam-based DJ, Luigi Madonna started playing out at the age of 14 in a local club in his hometown of Campani in Southern Italy. He counts fellow local superstar and his friend since teenage years, Joseph Capriati as a mentor and has a lengthy discography of digital techno productions dating back to his first release in 2008. It is his output for labels like Drumcode, Plus 8, Rino Cerrone’s Loose Records and Pan-Pot’s Second State however that has taken him into the booths of some of techno’s biggest stages. Along the way he has notched up shows for tastemaker parties like Awakenings or Sonus Festival and over the past couple of years he has established an impressive run of bookings for clubs like Amnesia, Circoloco and Privilege in Ibiza. As his run of gigs continues to gather pace, Luigi Madonna’s slow burn rise to prominence continues in earnest.
What have you been up to this year of note?
Luigi Madonna: 2018 has been full on since the beginning, I had two weeks holiday and then back to the road with a two month tour in America. I started in February in South America and in March, in North America. I have been to Argentina, Peru, Chile, Colombia, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix and Miami for [Miami Music Week] where I played at Ultra [Music Festival] [before playing in] Mexico City. It was very tiring but it was an amazing experience. I came back to Europe for Easter weekend and played at Awakenings in back to back format with my dear friend Roberto Capuano and we will play with the same format for Awakenings Festival in June and also for Drumcode Festival in August.
And what’s upcoming from you?
This upcoming season I will play a lot in Ibiza mostly at Amnesia for a new project called Pyramid where I will be one of the regulars together with Ricardo Villalobos, Charlotte De Witte and many others. I look forward to play in that club where I will be performing on the main floor and also to the legendary Terrace. I’m also working on a brand new EP which will probably be released on Joseph Capriati’s label, Redimension and I’m doing some music with Eats Everything for an EP on his Edible label.
Luigi Madonna’s biggest track in 2017: ‘Midfield’ made with frequent collaborator Roberto Capuano.
How did you record the mix and what equipment did you use?
I normally record my sets with a Zoom H5 which is a professional [portable] recorder that is also used in video production.
Where do you get your music from?
I receive lots of promo from many labels every week, so I spend a lot of time listening and selecting the ones I like the most. I’m always looking for old tunes but I also like to discover new artists and their sounds.
Please describe your record collection, do any of these records tell a story about you?
I have a big vinyl collection and all of the records have their own stories. I waited a long time to track down some of them. For example, I waited almost a year and half before I could finally get a copy of Layo & Bushwacka’s ‘Love Story’ and I went totally nuts.
Tell us about the scene you came up in, how did it influence you?
I started DJing when i was 11 years old. In that time house music was huge in Naples and that sound influenced me a lot. I really love house music still now, and artists such as Frankie Knuckles were my heroes. At the same time I was looking for something more electronic to play and in 2003 I discovered artists like Sven, Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox or Laurent Garnier and sound wise, these guys definitely changed my life and [helped me] become the artist I am today.
Genres mean many different things to different people but what does techno mean to you?
Techno is the maximal expression of the drum mixed to synthetic melody.
What in your opinion is the most important gift or ability that a DJ must have?
In order to understand the dance floor, before becoming a professional DJ you have to be a professional raver. You have to feel the beat in your blood more than anything else. And after that you have to work hard. Personally, music is not only my passion but it is something that keep me alive. I’m a workaholic. I wake up every day and do my best to improve myself not only as a producer but also my performances as a DJ instead of just focusing on social media.