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Friday 26th, September 2003

NB: The interview was done completely in Italian; Nu NRG was quoted as suitable as possible for the interview.. Enjoy! How does that famous saying go? When in Rome, do as the Romans do? Well, Giuseppe Ottaviani and Andrea Ribeca can vouch that they're certainly not doing anything of the sort. And nor do they want to!

Andrea, 29 and Giuseppe, 24 (Andrew and Joseph in English), collectively known as Nu NRG, bounced onto the scene in 2001 with their first massive hit, "Dreamland". The choon landed a prime spot on Paul van Dyk's compilation album The Politics of Dancing. Nu NRG are a brilliant success among a plethora of producers struggling to find their own distinctive style.

Rewind to about 11 years ago.

Giuseppe and Andrea were leading separate lives, one in the hip-hop scene, the other in commercial dance...

In 1992 at the tender age of 15, Andrea Ribeca became a DJ. But it wasn't 4/4 trance that he was spinning. It was hip-hop, pop and R&B-- think Public Enemy. But at the time, he didn't even know what trance music was. "I was an insane kid," Andrea jokes. When he finally got around to going to techno clubs, he met his true love. "The music just gave me shivers down my back...It was my passion all along." From then on, he decided he wanted to pursue electronic dance music. But instead of turning his back on the hip hop and R&B scene, he just made his ideas and skills work in different ways; more of a turntablist with battle skills in cutting and scratching, he still uses those skills for Nu NRG's tunes and live sets.

Giuseppe always knew he wanted to be in music scene, some way, somehow. He began classical training in piano at young age. But just few years after, the little rebel quit his lessons to pursue pop and dance music lessons instead. "My parents were OK with it; they've always been pretty supportive of what I've wanted to do." He soon began Djing in 1995 and by 1998, he was a dance DJ for clubs like Futura in Rome and a guest DJ for Cyborg Club. "But the stuff I was playing back then was way different- much more commercial," added Giuseppe. He even had his own radio show in Rome, when he was known as DJ Full Time..."Back when the house anthem 'House of God' was an international anthem," reminisced Giuseppe.

Worlds collided for the two when Andrea started hitting the club scene hardcore. "We had always seen each other at clubs and finally we started talking via chat clients online," said Andrea. It was all uphill from there!

Fast forward to 2000.

The guys couldn't have picked a better name for themselves. Articulate Andrea is very careful and particular about the way he speaks but still manages to voice his honest opinion straight from the core of his heart. His favorite word is passion: His voice is full of smooth energy and love for his work. In fact, both Andrea and Giuseppe are anti-drug-- with so much passion, creativity and energy, who needs drugs? "Other than cigarettes," Andrea admits, "With intelligence and passion in life, we feel there's no need or place for drugs."

And just like Vandit-bandit Paul van Dyk, Andrea and Giuseppe also believe that categories suck. "You can't define music by the speed," commented Andrea. Neither of the duo feel the need to label their music but might do so only for the sake of convenience and clarity when necessary.

The dynamic duo's first official track as Nu NRG was "Energizer." Of course, their sound has developed so much since their first tune. They can't even compare the tracks they played ten years ago to the music they play now! "In 1990, the machines were so limited, so of course the trance music of today won't be the same sound as the sound back then...It's not possible to compare because the technology that was available back then was so underdeveloped," Giuseppe and Andrea said collectively. “There are three characteristics in our music: Love, Energy and Passion...They are fundamental," explained Andrea.

These days it's rare to see non-electronic instruments in professional EDM artists' studio. Computer monitors, mixes, synthesizers, sequencers, other mysterious machines with millions of knobs and a whole load of wiring can take a whole lot away from original instrument sounds. On Nu NRG's website though, pictures of their studios show bongos. "I'm so passionate about percussion," says Andrea.
"When I'm playing an instrument, an idea will pop into my head just like that, and I just can't make that sound with a computer program...Plus, the quality [of the music] changes." In fact, they don't use any computer software such as Logic or Cubase at all! But they do recommend beginning producers to start out utilizing programs as Reason, Fruity Loops or Sonar to make their first tracks. Speaking of tracks, where did they get their song name 'Aloa P' anyway? The two laugh as if it was an inside joke. Andrea finally admits: "There was this girl I knew..." (Ah ha!) "...We wanted to dedicate a song to her. Let's jus say that everything passes and becomes nice memories that remain for you to cherish..."

Though Nu NRG has received an overwhelming amount of success internationally, their homeland isn't too keen on "la musica tosta" (‘hard music,' otherwise known as trance and techno.) "The dance scene here is more about commercial music, especially vocal house stuff," said Andrea. Though they do think it's possible to get a good trance/techno scene going in Italy, "Things need to be organized- it's possible but it needs a lot of work," Andrea explained. Rome, they said, is definitely the center of the trance/techno scene in Italy. Mondo Radio is one source that provides non-commercial dance music to the masses. Aside from Nu NRG, Italy hails A-list Djs such as Mauro Picotto and Mario Piu`. However, both admitted they didn't know who NuNRG were last winter…But I told them it won't be long before they hear the name "Nu NRG" circulating the scene from their own homeland. And soon enough, these two young Italian Stallions have all but taken the scene by storm, especially when they started to perform Live PAs for mad 'Crasher crowd...

But even when performing live, there are pro's and con's to everything, as they discovered when first playing out. The music quality is lower, but it's a very special experience. Machines might get broke along the way, but both of the tag team get ideas for new tunes based on live remixing and improvising when performing. From Cyprus to Istanbul to London, both of them loved every trip they took. Giuseppe's favorite gig was in Istanbul-- but not because everything went perfectly: "Some of the machines arrived broken and out of whack, so we had to do some serious improvisation. But it was successful, we had so much fun!" Andrea's favorite was playing in Berlin on April 4th this year with Paul @ Vandit Night. In August comes Nu NRG's New York gig at Arc. What are they expecting? "We don't know, but we just want to do a good job." How ‘bout a tour of America? They both laughed and said: "The USA is so big; but it would be lovely!" …But needless to say, they need to feel out New York and its vibe first!

So what are they listening to when they're not busy banging on the bongos? "Everything, nothing," quipped Giuseppe. "Everything-- samba, ambient, piano, classical, as long as it's produced well and there's a good amount of work put into it."

To think that just two years ago it was all a dream. Their favorite track so far is Dreamland, in fact, mainly because it was that track that showed them the spotlight, thanks to Mr. van Dyk's mysterious discovery. The two certainly are living in a Dreamland-- and loving it. Look out for their newest Italian crowd shaker, Connective, a favorite on PvD's playlist. More details on the record release coming soon!

Many thanx to Markus @ Vandit, Andrea and Giuseppe...And my long-distance telephone provider. wink



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