Lele Sacchi is a veteran and key player in the musical landscape of his hometown Milan, with a wide range of both artistic and industry roles over the past two decades: DJ, producer, curator of the acclaimed Elita Festival
, radio host on national station RAI2 and university lecturer amongst numerous others. With a 10,000 strong record collection and countless hours spent absorbing the vibes in clubs, Lele is more qualified than most to present his tastes as a selector and, as you will hear on Nocturama010, does so with real style. He draws on a breadth of material new and old, keeping the groove gentle but danceable. It's not without surprises either, as Kate Bush appears 28mins in and the mix ends on a joyous 1976 reggae cut from The Upsetters. His next record is due at the end of May '16, a 12" entitled ‘Kosmiquest
’ that houses remixes from Prins Thomas and Lauer. It follows a great remix of Blonde Redhead’s ‘Cat On The Tin Roof
’ and equally-notable 'Baggy
' podcast for the Soul Clap series. Read more about Lele in the interview below and enjoy the listen.
Jon Lucien - Rashida
Global Communication - Maiden Voyage
Prins Thomas - E
Herbert - The Audience (Cosmic Re-Edit)
Cortney Tidwell - Palace (Will Saul & Tam Cooper Remix)
Parple - Ritual
Bruce Haack - Stand Up Lazarus
Alien Alien - Uhura
Kate Bush - Watching You Without Me (Chris Woodward Edit)
Martin Waslewski - Kwaeit
Die Vogel - Mesmerize
The Digable Planets - Where I’m From
Cymande - Bra (Edit)
Nacho Marcoe- Afterlife
The B52's - Mesopotamia (Rob Mello 'No Ears Acid Remix)
The Deadstock 33’s - Metal Taste (Gerd Janson Chrome II Dub)
Jacques Bon & Virgo Four - Machine Love
The Upsetters - Underground
“….we be reading Marx where I’m from, the kids be rocking Clarks where I’m from….”
'Where I'm From
' from The Digable Planets, 1993
Hi Lele, how’s life? What’s new?
Life’s going good. I'm always balancing the mental sanity of a life with kids and the mental insanity of the club and music scene.
Can you start by telling us a bit about your career in music over the years?
One of the most common traits of human beings getting older is losing memory and I have to say that 21 years in the club circus has pushed that to the max, so it seems that it all passed so fast. It feels like having an ultracompressed zip in your brain full of megaterabytes of pictures, videos and music. There have been so many nights, records, faces, travels, highs, hugs, bellyaches, goosebumps, arguments, drinks, cigarettes (luckily I don’t smoke anymore) that are all hanging in there. It’s difficult to put those files in order but when you look at them randomly it all feels just great, satisfying and I’m very proud.
What are some of the craziest experiences this lifestyle has thrust upon you?
The craziest in a very positive way has to be playing in the jungle in Tulum in 2001, considering that BPM in Playa started in 2008, I was lucky enough to be one of the first house DJ’s to catch that vibe when it was still totally unexploited. In Tulum back then there was nothing more than a backpackers hostel, a few cabanas on the beach and three restaurants ran by shady international figures.
Thank you for this great Nocturama podcast, we love it! How did you approach recording it?
I’m glad you loved it! I tried to think about night music to be felt and listened to during the various activities we do at night. I feel the best music can be enjoyed and understood in different moments of the day or different moods, so I tried to build a playlist that represented ‘nocturnal’ feelings in their various forms. It was mixed on a Rane MP2015 with additional dubbing echo effects.
The tracklist spans 1972-2016! Is this something you always consciously try to do in your sets?
I wish I could do such a long trip in history during my regular club sets! House music clubgoers tend to be more interested in the latest trends in studio sounds. It makes sense though since house and techno have always been about the present and some kind of vision of the future. Also, club music relies entirely on the moment, on the ’now on the dancefloor’, whereas a recorded mix is more like an album or something you can think over and enjoy through different layers, you can listen to it many times.
Anyway I always play a few old tracks in the mix in club sets as well of course to climax an element of surprise, to pass some sort of knowledge to who follows only new stuff and also to show that my path through music comes from different angles.
I have some classic secret weapons, stuff like a re-edit of ‘Making Flippy Floppy’ of the Talking Heads, that makes everyone start creeping up to the DJ booth asking what it is.
As a long time vinyl digger, you must have amassed quite a collection of records. Any idea how many?
I never really counted them but I’d say easily around 10,000 records. Probably more.
Describe Milan in three words.
Active, relentless, middle-aged.
What would change about the city if you were mayor?
The last one of the three words above is something I’m not happy about, because it’s not a city suited for creative youth 365 days a year. It is so during Design Week and around some of those excellent high level specialized schools but the overall feeling lacks ‘youthefulness’. So I’d definitely do anything to import more youth and let them have freedom to express arts and run businesses. But I have to say in the past 4/5 years the city has improved enormously on various levels.
Pizza or Pasta?
Do you love more daddy or mommy? Tooooooo difficult to answer for an Italian...
Wine or beer?
I was definitely a huge beer lover, but now is more and more wine.
After-party or bed?
As well as DJing, radio, putting on events and the rest, you’re also a producer. Can you tell us a bit about how your record on Prins Thomas’ label came about?
I’ve been a fan of Thomas’ own sounds and general attitude to music for quite a while. I played him a version of Kosmiquest once he was in Milan and he was very impressed and kind of made a deal straight there after first listen for it to be out on Internasjonal, a label that always released amazing music so I was definitely happy. Then it took a while, some retouches on the song structure and the mixing and then Prins made a version himself and asked Lauer who I really like for the other remix. I think the overall release is really really good considering all three versions touch different territories. There is also an impressive videoclip that my friend and ultra respected surf video directors Luca Merli has made with black and white images shot in the Indian Ocean.
You also recently had an unlikely collaboration with Blonde Redhead. What’s the story there?
I'm very proud of having my name out with such a legendary band of the great tradition of NYC’s Art-alternative-rock. It all started from their italian tour manager having the idea of someone remixing songs from their ‘Barragan’ album and when he mentioned that I jumped on the opportunity. The luck was finding quickly a way to turn Kazu's voice and Paci’s guitars fitting into a deep house tune: I had in mind something from the 90’s, all those supercool deep mixes of tunes from the likes of Everything But The Girl or Beth Orton but of course BRH are not pop at all and very intense so it was kind of risky but it worked out so well. At that point it didn’t make sense for them to have a remix of just one song and also it really sounded as something completely new so we looked for a label and Rebirth was interested and published it as a new song (and featuring also great remixes by Tanner Ross and Easy To Remember).
Can we look forward any more new music from you in 2016?
Absolutely. At the moment I’m doing some collaborative things with Whitesquare because I like his sense of rhythm and we have a tune together out on 2020Vision summer sampler and possibly an EP also. Always working on a couple of remixes. I like remixing. Then I will have another original on Moodmusic 20 Years Anniversary compilation. Great labels, great friends.
What song gets you up in the morning?
The Count Five ‘Psychotic Reaction'
Relaxes you in the evening?
Duke Pearson ‘The Phantom'
Reminds you of your childhood?
AC/DC ‘The Hell’s Bells'
What was the last concert you went to as a fan?
Television playing Marquee Moon a month or so ago. I’m usually in the bunch of the oldest guys in an house club nowadays, I was probably the youngest person at this show!
We loved your Manchester Baggy mix, did that scene – Andrew Weatherall, Primal Scream, Happy Mondays etc – have a big influence on you?
HUUUUUGE! When i was 12/13 I was deeply into punk and hardcore having been raised on rock as a child by my older brother, I discovered underground sounds very early. But then when I was around 15 all this great indie/alternative music was coming both from the UK and US and especially this Madchester scene and all the work Andrew has done on bands opened up my young mind so wide that everything else started to flood in. I’d say that those sounds kind of broke down the dam and a whole world of different sounds came down like a fall.