Up next on Toolroom, we catch up with Alessandro Magani aka Flashmob whose recent release on the label ‘Closer’ has absolute smashed it, landing the No. 1 spot on the Beatport House Chart! An influential artist in his own right, Flashmob is one of the most known artists in dance music and has been a staple of the scene for years. Having released a score of commercial and underground hits on labels such as Get Physical, Kittball, Armada and his own Flashmob Records imprint to name a few. Now in 2021, Flashmob is back and ready to show us who he really is.
Hey Flashmob and welcome back to the #ToolroomFamily! It’s been a while since your last release on Toolroom ‘Freakin’ Babe’ dropped, how does it feel to be back on the Toolroom and how did it come about?
It feels great, thank you; last time I was on Toolroom I released what was due to be my last track with that 909 initial Flashmob sound and since then I have tried many different things putting many releases under my belt and mainly focusing on touring and trying to find a new sound: This new musical period for me starts with ‘Closer‘.
Flashmob – Closer
Congratulations on your latest release ‘Closer’ the Toolroom, it’s a great track with a bit of that 90’s classic house flavour. tell us a bit about how you created the record, what inspired the track?
‘Closer‘ is the result of my will to move forward; the Lockdown was very challenging for everyone, and there were big ups and downs. Initially I was truly happy to be able to stay home and rest with my family, heal from an exhausting nine years of madness, traveling the world, I was drained and couldn’t think straight; in these past nine years I have become father twice and worked very hard on my career to the point it had all become far too much for me.
During the lockdown I started to dig deep trying to understand what I really wanted for my future, specially in Music, and if there was more for me to achieve. I was always running, like in a stupid dog race, no time to think, stop or evaluate what I was really doing, if I was doing it properly and how I wanted to use my life moving forward or even if I could sustain that kind of lifestyle any more.
My standards had changed, I had changed and was still changing. I felt free to choose and relieved being able to think and evaluate all the options for my future and to be honest I hadn’t felt that way in a really long time. This situation obliged me to face my fears so I asked myself a very simple question: “what do you wanna do now that you’re free?”.
I closed myself in the studio and started working day and night; I stayed so long in the studio that I completely lost the quadriceps muscle of my left leg and I could hardly walk as a result of that! Whatever happened I wanted to be sure I would give it my 100% for one last time and that’s how ‘Closer‘ came along. Pushing closer to myself and putting all of my energy, will and passion into the one thing I have dedicated my life too.
This helped me move forward from the unpredictable monster that Covid is and I hope it will help others too. Sometimes it’s really helpful to stop and re-evaluate everything to try and do things better or differently. I must thank Mark Knight and Matt Smallwood at Toolroom for pushing me to improve the initial version of ‘Closer‘ even more and welcoming me to the #ToolroomFamily with trust and friendship.
You’ve been a performing, producing and DJing as Flashmob now for a long time! How did you get into DJing and producing? Was it always something that you wanted to do, or did you fall into it?
I fell into it completely! I had been DJing constantly at small parties and at my local sporting club since I was seventeen whilst working in a local small radio. When I finished Law School, I fell for an American girl in London, one of my mates bought me the flight ticket. It went terribly wrong with the girl, but being in London gave me the opportunity to start playing more and make connections! I stayed for a year or so with the help of my cousin.
Eventually I went back to Italy and was always in the middle between the law and music. Then, In 2004, I was on holiday in Thailand staying in Phuket on the 26th of December when the tsunami hit. My life changed forever and I was given a second chance! When I was able to return home I took that chance and my two options became one!
Talk to us a bit about the music you listened to growing up and the music scene in Italy? Were there any venues or institutions you frequented that helped shape you as an artist growing up in Italy?
My mother was from Liverpool, originally from, Waterford in Ireland; I was raised listening to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, I fell in love with Frankie Goes To Hollywood (my first ever vinyl was the golden edition of “Welcome To The Pleasure Dome” I now possess in multiple copies) I then fell for the Bronski Beat, Pet Shop Boys (an artist I eventually remixed) and all the industrial electronic music of the time coming from Northern England.
Pet Shop Boys – Vocal (Flashmob Remix)
My mother used to buy me records every time she went to Liverpool to visit; I think the store was in Old Street. When I was seventeen I met a French guy called Timothy who was way ahead of me and still to this day, I can’t think of myself playing music better than him. I started going to the local store Pico Disco in Rozzano, in Milan’s Suburbs, where I started buying my first records from. I used to ride my bike every Saturday at two o’clock with all my savings! I can remember the moments when I picked up ‘Who Is Elvis‘ or ‘Open Your Mind‘ and many many other great records of that time, what a great memory that is.
The place where I used to go to to listen to DJs was the BASE in Milan, it’s near the City Airport so I think about those days every time I drive through. The scene was fantastic at the time and it was very positive and openminded, no politics and no bullshit, just straight up fantastic House Music. The resident DJs of the Club were called the Base Boys aka Stefano Albanese and Jerry K.A.K.A.
I still remember their ‘Base Boys EP‘ look it up if you want it’s a really great house record and it goes like this: “Mr. Dj are you ready .. you’re driving me crazy Mr. Dj” haha!
I would also go to listen to Joe T. Vannelli and Cirillo but also more progressive DJs like Gabry Fasano. Later on I got passionate about DJs like Sasha, Digweed, Oakenfold, Kleineberg and Steve Lawler who is probably one of the best DJs I’ve ever seen back in the day.
Datura – Yerba Del Diablo Part III (DJ Cirillo Remix)
Gabry Fasano – Life Cycles
You’re a prolific artist with a huge discography under your belt and releases on notable labels such as Get Physical, Kompakt, Armada, Defected and Toolroom. How have you grown and developed as a producer over the years? Has your experiences working with different artists and labels influenced your sound and approach to creating music?
I feel my way of making music has a lot to do with how I have developed as a human being. Always trying to progress and better yourself is important and it’s what I have been working on for a decade both inside and outside the studio. I’ve never been a nerd and I don’t feel like I’m not a musician either. I’m more of an outdoors guy and I love sports, so I’ve had to find and develop a workflow – Always to be able to go into the studio and create quickly, diving into my energy zone without wasting time. I was always very passionate about House Music because it enables you to express love and your feelings, even without words and that’s what it’s about.
When my mother passed away I started refusing House Music, I just couldn’t do it any more. I imagine I’d have to do some therapy to explain this one or maybe it really is that simple. To be honest, I’ve never felt the same level of intensity nor interest in making other genres and I’ve always been privileged enough to be constantly booked. So for me, it wasn’t really a priority until it became one during the Covid 19 Pandemic, having to go back to the studio and say something, too myself and others, only House Music can do that!
I’ve had a lot of experiences and load of opportunities with the some of the best it’s true but the main thing I’ve learned is to not to take things personally. “Don’t hate the player, hate the game” is the saying right? In the end, hard work is the only thing that matters and if you are true to yourself and can accept who you are then that is the only thing that really counts. Life tells you who you are every day, and if you have the courage to listen and look at yourself for what you really are, then you can really progress and become the best version of yourself.
Give us your top 3 tips you wish you knew when starting out producing and DJing? Any advice you can give any aspiring producers & DJ’s who are looking to get their music signed to a label
1. Believe in yourself and push yourself to your limits, your real limit is always at least 30% more than what you think…
2. Don’t think you are better than others! You are who you are in that certain stage of your life and only hard work and facing your fears can change that!
3. Study as much as you can and be prepared but remember that a good idea is a good idea even if it doesn’t sound perfect. We are DJs after all not musicians, not engineers and certainly not super heroes haha! Although I think they too would find it difficult to live like a Dj. PS leave your ego out of the equation, you only need that onstage.
As an artist, how have you found keeping motivated and creative during the pandemic? Do you have any tips for other artists who might be struggling at the moment?
It’s very hard to replay to this cause we are all different and I’ve really found it hard to re-find myself in these last eighteen months. To be honest, I am quite used to stress and pressure so I can imagine how difficult it’s been for people that are less used to that. What I can say is that life is your present, not the future and certainly not the past. It’s pointless preoccupying yourself, you must occupy yourself! This has helped me a lot because if you think about it, the future is the result of how we act and use our present. In fact, I did ‘Closer‘ exactly one year a go.
It’s been over a year now since clubs and live events shut down, do you miss performing live? Do you have any fond memories or favourite Clubs, Venues or Festivals that you’ve performed at before?
My last gig was at Elrow in Lima, Perù, and the one before that at This Is Not in Italy and they were nothing less than fantastic! It’s all on my Instagram, go take a look! But of course I miss playing, I miss Club 102 in Dusseldorf where Dany, the owner, is a super crazy guy who sprays everyone with a fire extinguisher, I get frozen every time; I miss being able to play Tomorowland with my Belgian team Axel and Britt! Also going to Dublin is always fantastic (my favourite city), London or Berlin are so special too! La Mecca in Lima or Salta in Argentina too I’d really love to play in Liverpool and Manchester soon again!
It looks like live events are set to return this summer finally after a year out! Are you looking forward to performing live again? What’s the first track you’re going to play out when do you?
I’m scared to death! I’m not sure if I remember how to play anymore, it’s been so long… But no, seriously I cannot wait to play out! Not sure what the first track will be it depends on where I’ll be I suppose… Nah that’s bullshit… OF COURSE it’s gonna be ‘Closer‘, I’ll play it out twice once at the beginning and then at the end of my set haha!
What are your top 5 all-time favourite deep house records?
1. Oxia – Domino
2. Pachanga Boys – Time
3. Stephan Bodzin vs. Marc Romboy – Callisto
4. Julio Bashmore – Au Seve
5. Âme – Rej
Thanks for taking the time out to talk to us, do you have any exciting plans or things in the works at the moment? What are your aspirations for 2021?
Thank you for having me! My plan for 2021 is to do everything properly in all the areas of my work, my labels, my music etc. I want to be able to control my time and decide for myself whilst enjoying the process. My aspiration is to be able to be the best version of myself, the best Flashmob you’ve seen in a long time!