Get to know: Deborah De Luca
Born under the shade of the sails of Naples, Deborah De Luca embarked on a career in the music world working very hard, starting as a bartender in many clubs and then as a dancer for several years. Now she is taking the decks by storm and we caught up with Deborah ahead of her set for Familia.
Hi Deborah, thanks for joining us. You have quite an inspirational story, you shot to fame and are now one of the major players in the world of techno, playing some of the biggest venues in the world alongside some off the hottest names in the business. Was there a defining moment that you think paved the way for where you are now, or was it just constant hard work and touring that eventually paid off?
It's the fruits of a gradual process! 9 years of small steps and commitment seemed to have had results, even though I hope is more still to achieve .. there are no limits or goals when it comes to music and passion!
You have an extraordinary following on social media, over 1 million world-wide followers on Facebook, which in any terms, especially for a techno artist, is a considerable amount. Social Media is a relatively new phenomena still. Were you surprised when things really started to happen on Facebook and people started responding in a big way to your posts?
Facebook, Instagram and various social medias are for us an ever-open showcase on the busiest street in the world, and all for free! And this concept has been clear from the times of 'Myspace', the music platform where I started. I interacted with people from the start and people were, 'intrigued', and I think this has continued and has definitely played a part of my success. I'm interested in people's opinions, commenting on them, listening to them, and showing them the normal part of life as well as simply the nightlife side, which is what I do.
What's your opinion on clubs like Berghain which bans phones being used inside their venues to record the night? Is that policy a good thing or a bad thing, or do you believe there are two sides to the argument?
Mobile phones and social media era have become a cross the bear and a blessing at the same time in the world of nightlife. Berghain has the policy as it does (a place the whole world knows but many have yet to go to) because people forget the intention of music, which is for to listen to it. People can be so consumed and fixated on their smartphone screen, checking the 'likes' of a posted photo gets, the forget to enjoy the dj set. Having said that, I’m a social media fanatic, but I hope this interview will be published, at least not during my set but soon after!
You say you started your label so you could have freedom to release tracks when you wanted rather than waiting for a label to schedule a time for your work to be heard by the world, which is understandable. 'Sola Mente' has successes in the Beatport charts with your own productions and you've currently got a release out with Nick Curly on the remix. What's been your personal favourite release or EP so far from your own label, if you have one and what makes it so special?
Sola Mente Records was born because I wanted and needed to put out my music without having to wait for the "yes" from labels that often make you wait for months in queues, by which time the sound or idea to released the track at that moment may have passed. Nick Curly's remix is the latest release of my label, it's been a good collaboration between two different types of music, mine and his. I love mixing things up to create new ideas! My favourite production of my own is 'Deep Inside Me, perhaps my most well known track. I like it for several reasons, firstly because it was a defining production moment for me, but above all, it was completely different from the genre that I play in my gigs. The track born literally as if it was a part of my soul! This to me proves that we are a mixture of emotions all as important as the other one, which are always moving and always changing.
Are there any recent or upcoming artists on your label who you think have a particularly exciting future ahead of them?
I follow Hungarian and Bulgarian techno music. The eastern Europe is very interesting at the moment, people like David Temessi, 2Bee, Sopik, Volodia Rizak, I keep an eye on these!
Your DJ sets are charged techno, designed to keep one firmly in the middle of the dance floor. Being from a dance background yourself before you became a DJ do you think it comes naturally to you to know what makes people move?
Having danced professionally does not give me an edge I don’t think, even though I myself believed so when I started. Making music is different from playing it, or dancing. What I put into my DJ is different when it comes to the studio, for example. To explain a little better, I love to play techno and the audience reaction, but when it comes to productions in the studio I create in a more melodic and deep way, not so tough in the sounds. In the studio I love to keep things clean and stay away from over filling with effects so tend to leave it simple, halfway between deep and techno but it is far away from the tech house.
Are you one to plan your sets or do you go with the flow depending on the mood on the dance floor?
I always play tracks I feel and tend not to be influenced, but if I perceive the audience prefers tracks with more chords and melody, and then I follow a straight line in that direction rather than a path, but always music I like!
Can you tell us about your first DJ gigs in a club? Where were your first performances and who have you played alongside - can you recall any memorable moments?
The first time I ever played was in Italy. When I got the wage, the owner of the club gave me the same amount as I got when I was a dancer. When asked him why, he replied "why did you think you were worth more than that?" After 3 years he called me back pretending to be my "friend" (trying to renegotiate) Obviously I never went back, I think I’m a little too much for him now!
Who were your inspirations when you started DJ-ing and has that changed at all?
Shortly before commencing, in Riccione, on an evening in the Easter period (where I was the dancer), they booked Scarlett Etienne. I was blown away by her look, clothes, everything. She was my ideal DJ (10 years ago) .
You are known for being fiercely independent by not wanting to join the roster of any agency, so all the clubs you play contact you directly. Can you see your opinion on this ever changing or do you think you will always continue how you are now as it's working well for you?
I am very much on my own path, it’s been nine years of working as a woman in a world of men. My choice of being independent is definitely part of my character, and although for some they view this as a choice of courage for others they make their own assumptions.. I know very well the pros and cons of this decision, and I accept them. For now though I’m working this way, but if one feels you do not want to change your mind in any way, then you limit the future, only stupid people never change their mind! Agents have got a bit of bad press at the moment for being over demanding for their artists, so it's quite topical at the moment.
Would you advise other upcoming artists to try the same route as you? You must have come across some unscrupulous promoters in your time? Does it take a certain kind of character to deal directly with some promoters would you say?
The agent or agency has to deal with various artists, various proposals, situations in which music does not always prevail but often more down to the machine behind it all. Working alone as I do, I would not say to be will not be the perfect recommendation to any DJ embarking on a career, because they would not be a part of this world that requires connections with everyone and that person to make those connections and who represent you. I’m the exception to the rule if you will.
You've played London before on a few occasions, are you looking forward to coming back and playing Familia at Egg?London is a magic city for music, and especially Egg, it’s one of my favorite clubs in the world!
When you're working, which of course is a rare occasion, but when you're free, what would be your ideal night out?
When I’m not working, I spend my nights at home with my dogs and my dearest friends .. and in bed by 11pm! I'm a DJ when I work, but I'm really the most normal of people!
Do you have a daily routine when you're at home In Italy or is every day different?
Unlike many, I love routines, I love habits, I love doing the same things, maybe because of my routine often doesn’t allow due to the various tours as I'm hardly at home the same days.
Now that I manage my job better, giving me a maximum of dates, I happen to be home on Tuesdays and Wednesdays always, and in those days I am organising those normal things that everyone does, but before that I rarely could afford, like the cinema , a cooking course, or a shopping stroll with friends!
Finally you've said that the wish to provide for your family is the driving force behind your success, have your family ever attended one of your DJ gigs and if so what was that like having them there?
Thanks to this job I managed to give a home to my family and that makes me very proud, and more so of my work, My parents basically do not understand what I'm doing, my Mum still asks me if I sing!