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Mauro Picotto on Jealousy, Italy and Hard House (interview)

Author: Mazzmusic
Monday, April 2, 2001
Italy's biggest new dance star Mauro Picotto chatted to Mezz's Benedetta Ferraro this week, about his apparently unstoppable rise to worldwide DJ/producer superstar status. Still linked to the much maligned hard house phenomenon, he's already distanced himself successfully, gaining plaudits from the likes of Jon The Dentist (who told Mezz recently, "I like Mauro Picotto stuff but I find most hard house sounds like happy hardcore.") Also increasingly successful with his productions and mix CDs (most of which come out on Nukleuz), he's partially responsible for reviving Italy's reputation as a serious dance country - despite recent attacks on the scene from unsympathetic authorities.

Mezz: How much do you feel to have contributed to the current Italian renaissance in dance music-
Mauro Picotto: "I've been working for a long time in developing this sound, both as a DJ and a producer, and I've finally achieved my dream, despite many of my so-called Italian peers wanting to see me fall. That's why I love British and German audiences, they're open to different cultures and especially to what's new."

Mezz: The British certainly love you, elevating you to premier league DJ status last year, how did you manage it-
Mauro Picotto: "In all honesty, I'm as surprised as you are to be so well regarded in the UK. In the last six months I've had many DJ bookings from England, but it never occurred to me that my name was becoming 'big'. It's all down to the audiences; they seem to like my sound. I'm also pleasantly surprised about the success I'm having as a producer over there…what can I say- I would have anticipated this success maybe in a year's time, but it's actually happening now. I'm very happy about it and I want to enjoy it as much as I can."

Mezz: Do the Italian audiences rate you as much as the English-
Mauro Picotto: "In Italy I'm still in the top three of DJs. It's a shame I can't play in Italy as much as I'd like to, though, I can only manage two gigs every two months since I play abroad so much. Then again, when I'm in Italy, I prefer to play to a select audience and especially for particular organisers. This has, yet again, sparked a lot of jealousy towards me. In my defence, I can tell you that in Italy, since 1995, the government has actively been boycotting the whole dance/party scene and I don't have the time to take on this cause. There's no point in me travelling for miles to play a date when I know it's going to be sabotaged by the police."

Mezz: How do the Italian authorities regard the club scene-
Mauro Picotto: "They simply treat clubbers as criminals by having tough door policy to scare them off."

Mezz: I suppose it's all down to drugs…
Mauro Picotto: "Basically yes. My approach on this subject is that people are free to do what they like; I don't judge anyone. On the same token, my objective is to further my career because I love and I enjoy what I do so much. I cannot jeopardise it by taking on the responsibility of becoming a mouthpiece about this issue. It's easy for people in Italy to say that now I'm big abroad, I don't care about playing here. Recently I was due to play in a really good club in Florence, but on the day in question I caught gastroenteritis and had to be hospitalised. The rumour going around was that I didn't play that night because I was on holiday… That's what I have to put up with in Italy."

Mezz: Have these tough anti-rave laws had much impact on Italy's club scene-
Mauro Picotto: "The whole underground scene is suffering because it hasn't got exposure any more. Our radio stations, with the exception of Radio DJ in Milan and possibly another couple of stations, simply don't play stuff that's not in the charts. Radio One in England does broadcast different types of music, at least late at night, but we don't even have that. You can't choose what music to listen to, we lack information and, i