Swiss-born Italian DJ/Producer EDX released the gorgeous artist album ‘On the Edge” in the beginning of 2012, which spawned the massive vocal club hits “Falling Out of Love” and “This is Your Life.” Yet along the way, he also released harder edge club tracks on Spinnin’ and Toolroom. The dual nature of his releases show his complexity and mastery of music production. Having produced dance music for more than twenty years, he has a wealth of experience to pull from and you can hear it in his epic and lush productions. We caught up at the Winter Music Conference and had a nice chat about what’s been going on in his world.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: What is your real name?
Maurizio: My name is Maurizio Colella, I am Italian but I was born and raised in Switzerland.
RS: I have been working with a lot of Italians; I just interviewed Alex Gaudino and earlier today Nari & Milani.
Maurizio: They live in Italy and I live in Switzerland, but I travel out.
RS: How is the EDM scene in Switzerland?
Maurizio: We have a really healthy club scene and I think that Switzerland has the biggest density of clubs. There is a house, trance, minimal, and progressive scene that has been around for about 20 years, very sophisticated, so it is nothing new over there.
RS: Was the track “Acido” made specifically for Marquee?
Maurizio: Yes, they approached me and wanted me to do a track. Last year I switched from working on a PC to a Mac and I started working with Logic. It was one of the first tracks that came out of the new venture with Apple. I gave an exclusive track to them which was first released on Avicii’s House for Hunger Button with Ralph Lauren, and now it is available exclusively on the Marquee compilation.
RS: What did you switch from using on PC to using on MAC?
Maurizio: I used to work on Logic 5 and now I am working on the brand new Logic on Mac.
RS: Your song “Blessed” sounds more like it should be called “Blissed,” it felt very spiritual and uplifting, was that in your eyes when you were making the record?
Maurizio: I always want my music to have the feel of summer bliss and a positive vibe. When I was producing the track, I tried to keep the classic EDX progressions to it and add a more housey approach with the drums sets and the catchy sample vocal.
RS: I noticed the stuff on your album seems to be different than the stuff that you do on Toolroom, is that different for a reason?
Maurizio: When I worked on the album, it took about eighteen months of going back and forth between the studio and recording some singer/songwriting. I tried to have a clubby side and also some crossover/radio potential/song-based tracks. What I release for Toolroom is first for the club and then we see what happens from there, we may add some vocals to some of the tracks on Toolroom. We target clubs more often with the releases on labels like Toolroom, though.
RS: So there are two sides of you?
Maurizio: Yes, I work very well with vocals and melodies and on club tracks you can be very diverse and have more of a minimal touch to the music. I am very happy with my album and the mix that is on it.
RS: Were you a producer or a DJ first?
Maurizio: I think that I was a producer first. I used to work on Amiga 500 back in the day and on a program called Sequencer on an Atari, which was the pre-version of Cubase and about twenty years ago I switched to Logic silver. I was always a DJ though and had the approach to work as a producer too. That is a hard question to answer, but I feel like I am a DJ.
RS: How has Miami been?
Maurizio: Miami is a great place to be, especially during the WMC. You get to see and meet so many friends that you know from all over the world; it is great to be here to enjoy all of the great music and all the talented artists that are here. It gets better year after year, my first time at WMC was about fifteen years ago and it has changed a lot, it is a brand new generation. It’s always great to be here- who doesn’t love to be in Miami?
RS: Of course. Do you tour in the US a lot?
Maurizio: Yes, I try to come to the US a couple of times a year. Last year I was here about once a month- maybe even more. We are going to continue to come back once a month, especially now that the so-called EDM scene has become such a big thing in the Midwest. It is a great place to come to and people are very open and enthusiastic about electronic and house music.
RS: Congratulations on a hundred episodes of your radio show “No Xcuses.” How is the radio show different or the same as your club sets?
Maurizio: Thank you. There really isn’t that much of a difference, but my club sets vary from country to country. In the US it is usually more melodic and mellow, but when I play in South America or in Europe I need to be a little more clubby and less vocal. I think that the enthusiasm from America is going over to Europe now; the young kids are getting back into EDM. Some tracks are only played in the radio show but there are some tracks that I play in the club and radio, I would say it is about 20/80.
RS: How do you react or experience the different remixes of your music, how did you feel about the Cazzette mix of “Believe”?
Maurizio: The remix that I did for Cazzette was on the track “Weapon.”
RS: Oh, I didn’t know that you did that, is that new?
Maurizio: I haven’t released it yet. I am good friends with the Swedish guys from Cazzette and I have always loved them. I wanted to add something different to the mix because I did a typical old-fashioned EDX plug sound track. I wanted them to do a track and approached them, I was expecting them to do a hard mix but they did a really great sounding “summerish” mix. I took it upon myself to do a harder, edgier club mix and I play both.
RS: You just mentioned that you remixed the new Cazzette record.
Maurizio: Yes, there is a brand new remix that I did. We have a lot of great feedback for “Weapon” already. What I tried to do was bring back some of the EDX vibe from 2008, I went back and even sampled some of my old songs and sounds and tried to use today’s technologies to bring back the classic sound. We did a great song; it is going to be a signature EDX mix for a long time. I produced “Blessed” after that.
RS: You keep saying “we” with remixes, when you do productions are you working with someone else?
Maurizio: I keep saying “we” because we have a combo of very talented guys. My partner Christian and I are the main people, and we work with a lot of young talented producers together. When I say “we” I am speaking of everyone that I work with, my team in management, publicists, and my assistants. We try to do everything together and I want everyone to be a part of EDX. I have so much help from everyone.
RS: How did you end up on the Gala remixes like “Freed From Desire?”
Maurizio: I released a track in ’97 on Do It Yourself, it was one of my first tracks and it was the same year that Gala released tracks on Do It Yourself. My friend Max said that we have the right to remix Gala and I was excited to do it because it was one of my favorite songs as a kid. It was very special for me and I think that it really touched Gala; she is a great singer and a lovely person.
RS: What is the best way for people to follow you?
Maurizio: I am trying to focus more on Twitter at Twitter.com/edxmusic, I put a lot of posts on Soundcloud.com/edxmusic or at Facebook.com/edxmusic and also youtube.com/edxmusic. I am hashtagging everything with #edxmusic so there are no excuses.
RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Maurizio: Thank you so much for supporting my music and for being enthusiastic about electronic music. We work hard in the studio for the audiences out there that really appreciate the music.
Interview conducted during Winter Music Conference 2013.