It is possible to understand the level of creativity that Niff possesses. A lover of the piano, a fan of trip hop, and finding inspiration from all types of musical genres such as UK garage and old school house, Niff combines these elements into his unique and left field sets. He has that charisma of a true Italian artist, playing at some of the country’s most forward thinking parties, such as Seekers, Loft, YAY and Harmonized. He even takes influence from Photek’s Glamourama gem of a track, which combines Italian vocals with dance music. His choice of vocals is certainly an element of his style that should be acknowledged. In fact, his collection of rare tracks make him a true music digger and selector. He plays with records, as well as CDJs, choosing the power of music and an open minded approach to all types of formats. Steadily but surely, Niff is making his mark in the dance music scene. This is why here at MEOKO, we are pleased to have him featured in our Under the MEOKO Microscope series, which focuses on talent that is just breaking through. See what we mean by charisma in the following interview, and be prepared for a truly enriching journey in his exclusive MEOKO podcast.
You draw inspiration from a wide spectrum of musicians, from Villalobos to Tupac. How do you know so much about music?
When I was a child, I could breathe “the smell” of classical music every day in my house because my father loved it and my brother played the piano. My father tried to encourage me to pick up the piano, as he had done with my brother, but without the same results. Nevertheless, I love the sound of piano so much, especially when it is being played by itself.
Thanks to my brother, I started listening to Bjork and Pink Floyd, and then I discovered hip hop; Moloko, Jamiroquai, Laurin Hill, Tupac… They are all focuses in my life, today. After that, I started listening to dance music and going dancing at last.
In 2009, if I’m not wrong, I discovered Tricky and the Massive Attack… Well… They really shocked me!!!
I listen to trip hop everyday now…
How did you first get into dance music and when did you start DJing?
I got more involved in dance music when I was 12 years old while I was listening to some radio shows and I remember that all the Italian djs often played a record with an Italian vocal… Glamourama by Photek. It moved me so much, and it’s one of the records I use to play many times today too.
On the other hand, when I was 15, in 2003, I went to a club for the first time..It was Titilla, in Riccione. From that moment I started collecting electronic music and a few years later I started buying my first records.
Where do you usually dig for records?
I look for records everywhere,especially on the internet, but actually I prefer gettin’ my hands dirty with dust when I go to some stocks 🙂
What does your DJ set up look like?
2 Technics Turntables 1210, 2 Cdj Pioneer 2000, 1 Allen Heat Xone 92 or Rane MP 2016.
What do you consider a “bomb” track? Can you give us an example with a track?
Ralf, A friend of mine once said:
“Tracks those you love from the very first time will get you bored, while tracks those you can understand with the help of the time are the tracks those will follow you for all your life“
Well… He was right. A bomb track is what you can feel through different way of listening and feeling as well, and remains with you forever.
Soul Capsule – Lady Science (NYC Sunrise) is one of those for me.
Tom Waits once said, “I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things”. What melodies attract you the most, and which ones do you like to play the most for the crowd?
Eheh Tom Waits was right!!
I love sad songs, I think they always contain beautiful melodies and terrible things at the same time. Let’s think to the Soul Capsule track as an example..It’s so fuckin sad but people in the club love it.
Empathy is a strange thing. In the club the crowd can change quickly and you have to take people wherever you want, to understand your “story”. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes not, and you have to choose the best music every time in every place.
You recently recorded a set for YAY’s podcast series. Were you satisfied with this podcast? What are the top 3 characteristics that make a good set?
Oh yes, I love so much that podcast…It’s always difficult for me to record podcasts…You have to play good records, to mix them well and to tell a story. Easy but so hard as well 🙂
I use to play some tracks more often than others because actually they represent me and my musical orientation… That track is an unreleased one by Mp.
Amazing track, full of class.
You played an opening set and then played back to back with Sonja Moonear for LOFT’s party in Brescia during her closing set. She must have really liked the way you play! How did it feel playing alongside a world class DJ like Sonja?
Wow.. That night at Loft was amaaaaazing !!
As soon as I was putting my second record on,I realized that Sonja and my friends arrived, They said hello to me and then I saw Sonja dancing on the floor and I couldn’t believe that it was really happening…
I ended my set and she tells me we could play together in the end, so we closed together.
She is so special, I hope to play with her again soon 🙂
Who is someone you would love to share the decks with?
They are too many…
I’m lucky to play often with my dear friend Francesco Del Garda since many years… He is one of the best DJs on the planet and the higher source of inspiration for me. He helped me so much during last years with the music and with my life as well..It’s always an honor for me every time we play together.
You recently played alongside Francesco Del Garda and Alex Picone for Seekers’ opening party (October 17). What were some of the highlights of your set, music wise?
Seekers opening was amazing and I have to give thanks to Alex and Fra who gave me the chance to play with them for the early morning closing.
I played some new stuff I’m playing often lately, seekers 001 (there was an official release party in Anita Berber in Berlin on 29th november with a sweet line up), Illegal Series 005, Imprints 003 by Riccardo, Glamourama of course… ah and in the end a special record full of xilos, that I received last summer from my good friend and excellent dj, Curl Menghi.
The sound of xilophones is so evocative…
Will you continue to play at Seekers’ events? What other contributions do you make for this collective?
Absolutely..I will! Now it’s too early to say something.. but I hope to give my contribution for the label too 🙂
What can we expect from you in the near and far future?
Well… I will come back soon to Loft, Disordine, Kulture, Seekers and in December I will play in Naples for my first time for Pragmatism.
Ah and there are ofcourse some exciting news for 2015. 🙂
Catch Niff play next at Pragmatism with Ian F. on Saturday, the 13th of December.
And check out his exclusive MEOKO podcast here
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