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Alexander Robotnick- The Grandfather of Electroclash

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Monday, January 31, 2005
"They say I'm the grandfather of electro, or sometimes they say the godfather which is better. I don't feel any different. You're the same person when you're born as you are when you die; you don't change. So when I play I don't feel I'm as old as I am and apparently, young people don't feel it either, because they come and they appreciate my music. They don't care about my age and if they don't care, then I don't care either."

Rocking in his chair with laughter, 54 year old italo-disco legend Maurizio Dami (aka Alexander Robotnick) admits he's completely at ease with both his age and his rapidly expanding career as an international DJ.

"When you're 80, if you look in the mirror you're aware you're 80, but if you don't look at yourself in the mirror, you don "t know you're so old," he muses. "It's only other people who remind you of your age, not yourself."

The reason for his late career renaissance (he took up DJing aged 53) is connected to both the electroclash/ italodisco movements and a record he made 20 years ago, which is gone on to be recognised as a clubland classic.

"When I first made Problems D'Amour, I immediately thought it was a killer track but at the time when I composed it, I was Italian, I didn't speak English and I was a really provincial man from Italy," he admits, "So I was aware of the quality of the track but I didn't believe it would get successful at all."

"Now I understand the track is timeless, because you can call it an electro track, or disco, whatever; each time a new style comes, somebody starts calling me a pioneer of the style. Now acid house is coming back again and people have started telling me I'm an acid house pioneer (laughing incredulously)."

"It's because Problem D'Amour has many elements," he continues, "Its bass line recalls some acid house, it's also a song with a text (lyrics) that I'm proud of. I consider this track as evergreen dance track," he chuckles.

During the intervening two decades between Problems D'Amour's release and its eventual revival (initially via Michel The Hacker Amato) Maurizio made his living producing and peforming world music, though has lately started producing dance music again, under the guise of his new project Italcimenti. Working withhis old friend Lapo Lombardi, the pair have just released a album Under Construction, which sees Maurizio picking up where he left off in 1984.

"Before I started DJing it was impossible for me to compose dance music because I live in the countryside and when I look out of my window I can see trees, and it's not the atmosphere at all to make dance music," he points out.

"For many years, I made totally different music, world music, for example, which matched my life much better. Though now I'm DJing, I'm really happy to make dance music again."

Skrufff: (Jonty Skrufff) Your new album's called Italcimenti, how much do you see it as a totally separate project from Alexander Robotnick-

Alexander Robotnick: "It's a different project, sure, I made this project with a friend of mine, a computer friend Lapo. We also worked together previously but now we've focused it around a joke about italo-disco. Because as you know, italo-disco is in fashion at the moment, pretty much everywhere except in Italy where it's still largely discredited because it's long been considered too commercial. I also felt like that personally for many years, though now I've discovered good underground tracks.
We got the idea to make some new italo-disco tracks but it's not the time to remake the same stuff from the 80s. Italcimenti is a play on words; cimento means cement and Italcementi is a famous brand of cement. Cimento is also means to try and do something, hence it's a word joke."

Skrufff: Italo-disco is currently fashionable rather like electroclash was (AR: yes,), are you happy to be labelled with the term-

Alexander Robotnick: "I never saw electroclash as being particularly fashionable music becau