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Podcast: SPTL187: Dino Lenny

Electronic music's wizard drops a 2 hour exclusive mix for Spotlight.


The Mix

Where and how was the mix recorded?

"I actually recorded this set in my Studio in London, I did it with Ableton. I usually prefer vinyl but I had so many unreleased tracks that I wanted to try them out in the mix."

Talk us through the track selection of the mix? What are the musical influences that have you to arrive at this mix?

"I'd say it's a pretty groovy mix, it's really a little bit of everything. I like to move around with styles as I really enjoy all types of music, plus I never get bored when I mix things up. I usually use the same criteria with my productions.. you never know what's coming next, well sometimes I don't either."

In what setting is the mix best enjoyed?

"Well before, during and after sex. You can dance to it, you can drive to it and if you have the skills you could also sew to it too! As long as you like it whatever you do I'm fine."


The Plug

Let's quickly talk about your history. You had a crazy period in your life when you were remixing for some of the biggest artists in music like Madonna, Wu Tang Clan, INXS and Underworld - I'm intrigued to know what that was like? Few artists producing underground dance tracks can lay claim to that...

"I still don't really understand what defines an artist to be underground, at some stage you're underground then you sell a lot of records and you not underground anymore but you still making the same music, I guess it has got to do with popularity and not style of music."

"Regarding the remixing and collaborations in the 90s dance was more universal, it wasn't about tech or deep is was more about good or bad dance music. When I started djing Madonna was dance and Jellybean Benitez was underground, but together they used to do very well. Nobody really cared what is was called, they just went for it."

"It's just a generational thing, people like me have seen the dance industry evolve. Big pop acts needed to be remixed by DJs and dance producers to cover the club scene too having such a big community."

"Personally I'm just glad that I was making records then and that I still am now. The fact that I'm making even better records now is quite an achievement for me, but that's of course my opinion!"

On that note, what has been your secret to success in staying relevant throughout the many changes in the scene you work in?

"There is no particular secret, as I said people that know me never know what's coming next. I always try to do something different, sometimes my records are really good and other times they are just strange...but I prefer the word unique!"

"If you want to be relevant and compete with the younger generation you need to say something different from them using your own ideas or intuitions (if you have something to say of course)."

"You need to use your knowledge and your experience in your productions. I love the new generation, I really think that the future is in their hands, but as long as people think that my records are good they can take it easy. Haha."

As well as a successful producer, you're a much respected vocalist. No doubt being multi-skilled has helped you along your chosen path in music? Will you continue to combine your vocal skills in future releases?

"Yes I agree it has made it easier. I'm lucky, and I don't have to pay singers either. I'm really happy that I'm able to write, sing and produce my records. I feel quite complete, this is probably the main reason why I still love my job. Technically there is a lot of talent out there but because I do all three things I'm happy to stay around for a few more years."

"Of course I will continue combining. This is a great time for electronic music and I really feel that we can all take it the next step, there is a lot of quality out there, it's gonna get better and better."

You have a new release on Damian Lazarus' Crosstown Rebels offshoot, Rebellion, tell us about that.

"The track is called Don't Believe, it's a very dark and vibey EP. I respect Damian, a lot he is very talented and delivers continuous quality on Crosstown Rebels, he is always pushing the label a step further. The track will be out at the end of March."

"And before that (2nd of March), "It's Saturday" will be out on Ellum. Really excited to be on Maceo Plex's label I think he is the most entertaining DJ out there. I love watching him perform, you can really see he enjoys every minute, and that's the way it should be!"

There is a constant supply of new labels being started by artists hoping to do things their own way. Do you think having so many independent labels is a good or bad thing, there are arguments for both sides? How do you hope to stand out in the crowd?

"Uhm tricky question, I don't know if it's good or bad. Certainly a lot of music gets released every week, sometimes it can be hard to spot some gems with all the offerings out there. Maybe some labels should release less, and work more on their records in terms of press & promotion. If you are really sure about the quality of your release and you think it has legs you shouldn't rush to put the next one out. Well that is what I'm going to be doing with my label Fine Human Records. Just a few records, and they'll be & 100% human!"

What does the future hold for you? more releases we hear?

"I want to focus on the labels I'm working with at the moment. I think I'm in a good place and they are really nice guys."

Lastly, imagine for a moment you had a day off in which to explore Ibiza. Where would you go? What would you do?

"I would love to spend an afternoon in October with a real ibicenco hero and ask him to tell me stories from the 70s & 80s. That would be really cool."



Biography

Dino Lenny starts very young as a radio deejay in a small town of the South of Italy, Cassino. After a few years of experience, in the early mid nineties, he is crowned "master of ceremonies" of the Maltese nights, gathering more than 2000 people on the famous Axis' dancefloor. He grows up within an interesting group of lads such as Savino Martinez and Claudio Coccoluto, and in 1996 he decides to seek fortune in the United Kingdom, his native country. In London his career gets a boost thanks to a long series of important remixes: Inxs, Underworld, Missy Elliot, Timbaland etc and the collaborations with The Housemartins, Scissors Sisters & Madonna just to mention a few names. His productions are just as interesting as the remixes and Dino Lenny earns for three times in a row the label of " Essential New Tune" on Radio One (BBC) by Pete Tong.

Considered "The Wizard of the Electronic music" by the Chemical Brothers, Dino Lenny explores the full range of his potentialities and starts singing. With a simplifying abbreviation of his name, Dino records the single “Call me” which becomes a terrifically popular track all over Europe. The British press defines his vocal talent as a halfway between the Talking Heads and Ian Dury. Dino shows up a perfect Serpico style and sings in front of his raving fans at Tops of the Pops. The successful single gives just a hint of what will happen with the release of the album "Might".

Whilst busy with more important collaborations, Dino is invited by Hardage to take part to his project which includes Jocelyn Brown and Maxi Priest , Level 42 and Peter Gabriel, amongst the others.

He produces with Steve Lawler under the name Sladly the well received “Unicorn” and writes the soundtrack for one episode of CSI Miami in the middle of the preparation of the next “solo” album.

A few months later Dino Lenny flies to Montreal to open the UNICEF concert - which gathers more than 7,000 people.
Dino warms up the audience for Avril Lavigne and at the end of 2011 he performs live with Skin & Underworld at The Brixton Academy.

Lenny has also written the soundtrack for one episodes of CSI Miami and also for Irvine Welsh's film "Ecstasy"
After David Byrne's approval "I Wanna be Like Talking Heads/ A Dj Deep Inside" gets released on Strictly Rhythm.

The story continues on his favourite label of the moment.. while he's still "Waiting For The Daylight" to come out soon on Exploited!


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