Hi Pagano, how are you? First off, for those of our readers who are not yet familiar with you, could you introduce yourself?
Ciao! Good to chat to you guys at Techno Mood. I’m much better now that the entertainment industry is slowly re-opening. It means I can finally go back to doing what I love and what I’ve been doing for more than 25 years, which is DJing in sweaty clubs. I’m a DJ at heart who also enjoys getting in the studio and have released music on Christian Smith’s label Tronic and Mark Knight’s Toolroom Trax, among others.
You’ve just released your new album ‘Infinite Regress’ on your own label KISM, can you tell us about the inspiration for the LP?
With clubs forced to close by the pandemic, I had so much free time on my hands to work on new tracks. Suddenly I had 5 / 6 tracks ready. I realised that DJs were not buying as much music because they were all in the same boat as me with no gigs. But all my friends and fellow clubbers were missing going out and they were asking for new DJ sets with fresh music. So, I had an epiphany and decided to produce a few more tracks that could gel all the material together into a smooth selection, recreating the vibe of one of my live DJ sets. If you listen to the continuous mix version of the album in one go, you can clearly hear it’s a journey with a beginning, a middle and an end. Flirting with different styles, echoing the past, all while keeping the production firmly contemporary, and still staying true to my signature sound. I had a great time working on it and it kept me sane during the lockdowns.
How long did it take you to produce the album?
A couple of tracks were demos that I had been working on for up to 6 months pre-pandemic. I even got to test them out. The rest I’d say around 1 year. The only frustrating thing was that I actually never got a chance to test many of these tracks on a big system in a club until after I released the album, so I just had to trust my instinct.
You’re now gearing up to release a remix pack of ‘Define The Light’, one of the tracks from the album. Why did you choose this single in particular?
‘Define The Light’ is the only vocal track on the album. I had this idea for a dubbier, more Techno leaning version using just this sample that goes “…from the shadows we reappear…” – I felt this could be the perfect come-back single after such a dark year. Also, it is the most radio-friendly track on the album, and since clubs are still closed in many countries, I thought this song in particular could have a broader appeal. The package will also include a remix from the Belgian artist Siege who often releases material on Nic Fanciulli’s label Saved and Mark Knight’s Toolroom.
When did you launch your KISM imprint and what was your reasoning behind starting your own label?
When I produce a track for another label I need to keep in mind the A&R team’s vision, and I have to try to adapt my production to fit the label’s sound. This can sometimes be frustrating because you might have a great tune that really works on the dancefloor but that doesn’t fit the current direction of any labels, as a consequence remaining unsigned. In 2015 I was starting to have a clearer idea of what kind of artist I wanted to be, and so I felt it was the right time to launch my new independent record label in the UK. With KISM the idea was to create an unrestricted platform to showcase the evolution of my sound and the sound of the producers that I champion during my DJ sets.
This past year has been hugely difficult for our industry, have you found it nice to have a break from shows to concentrate on working in the studio or have you missed performing?
I have to be completely honest that at first it was all very worrying. I then started to recognise that it actually was a welcomed break from my frenetic lifestyle and constant travelling. As we all know the industry is very competitive. I realised I was always in top gear, trying to be the best that I could, to keep the busiest diary, to out-perform everybody. This was not healthy and was certainly starting to take a toll on my mental health. I forgot why I got into this industry in the first place, and that was solely for the love of music. So, the pandemic and lockdowns with all their consequences have certainly helped me put things into perspective.
Do you have any shows coming up that we should know about?
My event OFF London is back at The Steel Yard for a series of parties. Before the pandemic we had Gary Beck booked as the special guest for my birthday event. I hope that as soon as things get back to normal and we know what the final situation is with the whole Covid certification issue in the UK, we can start booking big artists again with confidence. I have received the first offers for international bookings again as well, and it seems I could soon be back at Kitkat in Berlin and Coda in Toronto.
What does the future look like for Pagano, do you have any more releases in the pipeline following the remix pack?
The future looks promising I’d say. I have a new track called ‘Panta Rhei’ coming out on Christian Smith’s label Tronic in September and I’m working on a follow up for Toolroom Trax. I will also release another single taken from the album, titled ‘Lotus’. This is currently being remixed by the talented Techno artist UAKOZ who has released tracks on Pig & Dan’s label Elevate, on Monika Kruse’s Terminal M and on John Digweed’s Bedrock. I love his sound and I can’t wait to hear what he does with the track.
Where can we keep up to date with you?
You can find me on instagram under @djpagano
On Facebook at www.facebook.com/djpaganofanpage
And on Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/pagano