Q&A 020 – Volcov

"I have always been more interested in ‘what’s on top’ rather than the beats…"

For our latest interview we spoke to the Italian producer and head of the labels Archive and Neroli over the years he has put out releases from the likes of Theo Parrish, Scuba and Kirk Degiorgio.

Thank you for taking some time and talking to us. Where does the name Volcov come from?

Random choice among several options I had… I needed a name for my first release and just one day to decide… An English friend said ‘yeah this sounds good’ and I used it for the release… Since the record got a bit of attention and I started playing on the back of that I ended up keeping the name… Nothing clever behind it really…

When did you start collecting records and what was the thing that attracted you the most of vinyl?

I started buying vinyl releases around 13-14 in local stores mainly hip hop, and slowly went on to buy more diverse stuff and pick up the DJ thing…..I liked to read sleeve notes a lot while listening to the records, hence my preference on albums rather than 12s and 7s

Verona is a small city but the whole of Veneto is booming for artists at the moment. How was it back when you started and where did you used to buy records from?

I’d say Italy is full of upcoming producers and artists. Verona has a little tradition in club music being Cosmic here in the 80s and later on a couple of good house clubs in the 90s. We have a record store here in Verona called Le Disque that is running since ’88 and I think has been a pivotal force for spreading certain records in the area. I started buying records there in ’88. The best thing was when they were coming back from Milano, where the distributor were, and they we carrying all these boxes full of Nu Groove, Stricly, etc.….playing on the main system to 7/8 DJs and you had to be quick to say you wanted the record as they could have had just a couple of records for each releases… Mind games with the other guys ahaha.

A funky disco melodic vibe is present in your sets and in the music you make / release… Where is the influence coming from?

I have no idea… I have always been more interested in ‘what’s on top’ rather than the beats… Always been into stuff with loads of keys, strings whether it is some Detroit techno stuff or some more jazz / fusion pieces… So I tend to play and sign a lot of stuff with those elements.

Domu, Dego, Nubian Mindz, Theo, Scuba and more. The roster speaks for itself. How did you get in contact with these artists – is there a personal connection with them that goes beyond music?

Some of those artists were well established when they gave us tracks, some were still building their career… In a lot of cases it is people I met during the late ‘90s in London….and in a lot of cases it is people I have a direct relation with. Around that time it was normal to collaborate, do tracks for each other’s labels, exchange stuff… That’s why for few years there was a very strong kind of movement. Nowadays I pick stuff in different way….although there is still a strong connection with some of the earlier artists like Dego for example.

Anyone that you’ve been dreaming of releasing on Neroli?

Peven Everett, Lil Louis, Larry Heard

Dekmantel, Rush Hour – Amsterdam seems to be playing an important part in your life at the moment DJing wise. Is this true or have I just made that up in my mind?

Well I know the guys from Rush Hour from like ’97 I think, so we met several times during the years and did quite few things together. I have definitely a common ground with Antal. They are just killing it at the moment. We are also distributing the Sounds Familiar releases through RH, next up is a 7” by Specter!

With Dekmantel is just that I had the pleasure to play at their amazing festival last summer.

Ideally how long should a Volcov set be?

Four hours is a good length to be able to spread a message…

What’s that record that never leaves your bag?

Fingers Inc ‘music take me up’!!!

Now onto our ordinary questions… talking about ‘downstairs’, what’s the first thing that comes in to your mind when you hear that word?

First basement where I used to have my turntables and records.

What’s your favourite ‘Downstairs’ venue you’ve played in?

Pergola in Milano. I played there from like 1996 till 2002. Best sound system I ever played on [including some of the most celebrated ones].

Could you tell us about three of your most essential ‘downstairs’ tracks?

Ron Trent ‘Woman’

Glenn Underground ‘Black Action’

Nutmeg ‘Oscar’s Shed’

Talking a little bit more about yourself, what’s the most unique or interesting experience you’ve ever had while below ground level?

*more below the sea level than ground level….swimming with Sea lions in Mexico for sure!

If you had a basement, what would you hide in it?

I would hide the receipts of record stores from my wife.

BY Downstairs