"I've always tried to live by doing what I really love"
The Milan native Joseph Tagliabue has become one of the finest, more eclectic selectors in electronic music and beyond. Through his sets, Tagliabue demonstrates a grasp for the left-field and eclectic, crafting thought-provoking excursions that move from classical music to EBM and eastern melodies. This approach means his sets often have a sludgy, spacious quality. We had the chance to talk his first musical steps, and his plans for the future.
Hi Joseph! Where can we find you right now? How did you start off your day?
Hi Alex, now I’m at home near Milan, in the countryside. Just woke up, drinking a coffee and planning the day.
How did you first get into electronic music? Was it your first real musical love or were you a keen listener of all sounds when you were younger?
I started to approach to electronic music when I was very young. I think it was for curiosity. I appreciated music in all its forms but I was naturally attracted in alternative sounds.
What were your first experiences as a DJ?
I start djing when I was a teenager, around 12 years old. It was just an hobby at the beginning but it became soon a job when I started to play in Milan.
How did you start experimenting with electronic music?
A very rough mixer, two turntables, a cassette recorder, sometime a couple of instruments with pedal effects and playing jam with friends.
How did your parents react to all this?
I’m lucky because they full supported me. They appreciate art and music.
What is your music criterion?
I don’t think to have a proper one. First approach is listening with the ears. Then analyzing it and let me transport to all the suggestions that came from, depending on moods and feelings.
How would you define your sound?
The insurance of a dialogue in music.
Do you think DJs can ever be true artists, or how would you describe their role?
I think that a good DJ should not be necessary an artist and vice versa. I think music is art and every worker in music can touch this feeling with his own artistic sensibility. I consider an artist all the women and men who lives for it, with a deep focus on what they’re doing and that can give music added value.
Are you particularly permeable to your environment, creatively speaking? If so, how does it influence your DJ focus? And as a producer?
I’m permeable by what surrounds me. I try to translate it in music depending on feelings and according to what happens around me.
You’re known for playing music at the wrong speed, how often do you switch the tempo on tracks before deciding to make this change?
I’m a slow absorption of sounds addicted, it favors the journey in music in a more meditative way. Sometimes I play original ‘slow’ compositions other times I use to pitch down records for example 45 singles played at 33 rpm. Even more I make a properly slow rework or edit.
Would you like to share a set? Can you tell us more about it? When and how was it recorded?
It’s one of my last mix and I love it because had a good flow, the right balance of dance and deep listening. It remind me at a sunny afternoon in middle of the nature, listening music with other people in a full circle of dance.
Who or what influenced you to get into the music industry?
Love for music. I've always tried to live by doing what I really love. Making many sacrifices because it’s not easy at all.
What have been the most influential factors on your career so far?
Passion and constancy. I studied music production after the high school. Immediately later I started as a music selector and sound engineer in a fashion bar/restaurant in Milan. That's where I started to be seriously involved in a music job.
How do you search for the music that you play in your sets, and how much time do you spend looking for music?
I search everywhere, that’s why I spent many hours in a day listening to music.
Where was your favorite place to play, what was your most interesting gig, and for what reason?
It’s very difficult to choose. I played twice in Vilnius (Lithuania), many friends there and really good vibes. I was in Belgrade last January and it was magical too.
When did you have your first residency?
I was twenty and it was after the studies.
What would be the most important thing you learned from your long-lasting residency there?
It was three-four days in a week and I learned a real professional approach to this world there.
Meanwhile I regularly played in many different situations in Milan underground scene, such as raves and clubs, where I had the opportunity to learned the most visceral aspects of this job.
After such a long residency there your shows are still always described as different, new and interesting. How do you go about that?
Every situation is unique and I try to describe it in music. I try to make journeys for every moment I’m living.
What makes you happy?
What was the last record store you visited and what did you keep there?
I pick up a compilation at my favorite record store in Milan. I also use to buy music online, regularly visiting seller profiles and artist or label pages.
How do you deal with C19 confinement with your work?
In the last month I stopped activity outside, I live in Milan area and we’re in quarantine. It’s difficult but I’m taking advantaged from the situation doing what I can still real do: radio podcast, interview, and of course composing a lot of music.
Has this situation influenced your creative perspective? What social and musical implications do you think this situation can lead to?
As I said, everything influenced the creativity process in my mind. This particular world situation influenced me in the music production in different interesting ways. I think this situation help us to understand better ourselves and what surrounds us not only in music but also in life.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
My next EP will be out very soon but I’m still working on new music, maybe an album.