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Interview: Luca Bear

Luca Orsini AKA Luca Bear, is an Italian DJ/producer based out of Pisa. His is a sound that’s hard to properly categorize, but if we were to try we’d probably call it something like good old-fashioned, rough, ready and raw house music. Heavily indebted to analogue ways of working, Luca is also a producer’s producer in the sense that all of his tracks are adhered to with a real grainy sound that courses through them. We dialed up the main man in question recently, as he talked us through his clubbing upbringing, the influence of the ’90s and hooking up with Hector Romero…

Planet Notion: So how does a guy from Pisa end up becoming so fascinated by house and techno?
Luca Bear:
The love of music started when I was really young, especially by listening to hip-hop and rock music. Then in adolescence I found out about some electronic music clubs that were in the spotlight in Italy and were located mostly in Tuscany. Then the older brother of my best friend made me listen to a cassette from a famous club in a province of Pisa which played techno and progressive. After that moment the curiosity and attraction to this world increased more and more until I became a clubber. By watching the DJ who was playing, I quickly realized that was where that I wanted to stay.

PN: What’s Pisa like for clubbing then?
The clubbing scene in Pisa, after the closure of the most famous and important club, has pretty much stopped. Now there are two new clubs, Vibe and Vertigo that are growing well. In Tuscany, about 30 mins by car, we have Tenax in Florence and Tini Soundgarden, two beautiful clubs – the best ones in the world for me.

PN: Are you still living in Italy? How do you rate the scene in your native country right now?
Yes, nowadays I live near Pisa. The clubbing scene here is good, but the problem is those who hinder the good ideas. In our culture, the institutions are always trying to put sticks in the wheels of the organizers. By doing this the entire system suffers for promoters, DJs and clubbers.


PN: You grew up with the progressive sound of the 90s. When did you fall for house music though? Who influenced you during those formative years?
Yes it’s true, I grew up with progressive and techno, but then I discovered my love for house music; especially that of New York in the 90s.

Among all artists, my favourites are Kerry Chandler and his label Madhouse, and Todd Terry. The way they use the snare made me literally fall in love. From this was born my style full of groove house but with techno influences.

PN: What stage are you at in your production career then? Are you confident in your sound or always looking to tweak it?
I think that I’m at the beginning of my artistic career because I’m always looking for new sounds, or sounds that are old but are new for me. I think the biggest mistake is to believe you know everything. I’m also always looking at collaborations with other artists, some with completely different styles of music from my own. I think that it’s very important to widen your knowledge and always find new ideas.

PN: You’re perhaps best known for your track, Sierra Leone, on SAW. Are you still in contact with Satoshi? Is he a sort of mentor for you in a sense?
We are always in touch, and I saw him just few days ago when his Italian tour came to a club in Pisa. He’s been a massive influence,  not only on me but for the whole house movement over the years, so it’s an honor to have released “Sierra Leone” on his and Hector Romero’s label.”

PN: You’re pretty obsessed by drum machines, but can you talk us through the rest of your set-up?
My set up is constantly evolving because after a certain time I use the same instrument I prefer change and discover another. At the moment I prefer to load one shot audio on a sampler midi or use modular software that I register in analogic that I change in the way I prefer. The last instrument that I bought is a multitrack recorder and I saw that recording a track with all gains down looked crap when glued together. But with all gains up, the sound became more coincided and like it or not, proved to be a benefit to the sounds of my tracks.”

PN: And when did you start producing?
I started with the first software ten years ago. In 2006, I started to assemble my studio where I pass a lot of my time.

PN: Talk us through your new EP, what was the thinking behind it?
My new EP on Dirty Session Records represents exactly what I love: the raw sound for the dancefloor. “Strictly Forbidden Reworked” is one of my old tracks with techno-Detroit influences that I never stop to play. I decided to change and to release again on my label. “Garage Take” shows my house-garage side, but with an aggressive and powerful agenda. The EP is completed with a super Kasper remix of “Strictly  Forbidden”.

PN: And how did Kasper end up coming on board?
Kasper is an artist that I’ve followed for years. Most of his productions have an old-skool aesthetic whether they are techno or house, and it’s really perfect for the Dirty Session project. When I contacted him and explained the project, he was really happy and immediately accepted. I’m really proud about this and to share my EP with him.”

PN: And your label, Dirty Session Records, is that new also?
Dirty Session Records was born from my desire to escape the schemes of the market where producers are often bound and release what I really want and love.

No schemes, no compromises, the only prerogative is quality. The love for the sounds of the past combined with new technologies; the key concept of the label is to propose a precise sound, characteristic, that evokes the early days of electronic music with an eye to the future.
A journey into the unknown from the early 90s. House or techno? It is not important! What matters is the sound.

PN: Your work has already been remixed by some of house music’s biggest contemporary names such as Tuccilo and Kasper. Do you have a favourite remix of one of your tracks?
A lot of artists have remixed my tracks, but my favourite is Kasper. At first because he was my choice and then it was the sound that I was looking for with my label.

PN: What’s the next chapter in the story for Luca Bear?
I have a lot of project for 2014. I’m starting to gather the tracks for my Dirty Session VA that will be out on the 2nd of May and will feature lots of artists. I also recently opened a samples label called “Sampled Underground” and will release the first pack, “Underground House vol.1”, soon.

At the record level I’m going through one of the busiest moments of my career. Several completed jobs will come out soon, plus I recently started two new partnerships: one with the singer of We love, Giorgia Angiuli, where we propose a mix with our music styles and her voice, and another with one of the resident DJs of Tenax, Cole, but this one will be really dark and experimental.  Also I’m going forward with the house project with Romano Alfieri “R plus L”, and at the moment we have some releases that will be out very very soon.

Visit Luca Bear on Soundcloud, Facebook and Twitter

- Dan Mac

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