The Italian producer and DJ Rhythm of Paradise answered a few questions in order to celebrate his new release « Pleasure Zone ». A mean for us to dive deep in his musical world, and talk about his numerous projects, influences, the Cosmic Rhythm label and his childhood. This is the the first inteview in ten years from the quiet Bari-born (and based) artist, leading the Dream House revival.

This interview was conducted hand in hand with Bordeaux-based community radio Ola Radio. We are also pleased to share with you the mix below, offered by Rhythm of Paradise for Ola, which is a perfect fit for reading the interview.

Have a good reading and listening !

Hi Michele. You are releasing your 7th EP “Pleasure Zone” as Rhythm of Paradise. In which state of mind were you, while making it ?

Well, if I’m not wrong, the EP’s first track to be produced was “In My Mind” and it was produced back in 2018, in the days of the release of “Universe Of Love”. I had a kind of a vision and I was pretty inspired, so had the urge to put these vibes out. It didn’t take too long for the track to be finished.

“Pieces Of A Dream” and “Pleasure Zone” were written in the same month (October 2018), while “Bring The Back” was written back in 2015 actually and never released it. Accidentally found it on my old hard drive and this seemed an ideal time to release it, as I felt it was the right piece to close the circle.

You are quite productive. How do you work ? How much time do you spend on studio?

Well, I can frankly say that I don’t have an average of how much time I spend in the studio. Whenever I have the inspiration or need, I just go into it and start my production sessions. This may last hours or few minutes, and sometimes I don’t enter the studio for days. You need also to find a perfect balance with your life.

As for releases, many are the results of productions left on stand-by for a long time. For example, my “Paradise” EP, the first 12” to be released as Rhythm Of Paradise back in 2016 on Cosmic Rhythm, was actually written in 2009. But at that moment, I knew that releasing it with Cosmic Garden’s label was the right thing to do.

So basically, I just create when I have the urge, then re-organize my mind and decide what to keep out or in. There’s no rule in what I do. Most of it is the result of my instinctiveness.

Rhythm of Paradise is one of your numerous projects (B.U.M., D38 Authority, KETAMA, Loss Of Gravity, Raw Joints, Rydm Sectors, The Evidence, XPRESSION). How do these projects complement each others?

Well, for a start, I have to say that almost all the projects you mentioned, except The Evidence, are the result of my friendship and collaboration with my mate Cosmic Garden. As you can see and listen, they all reflect a different mood and music style. They were born at times when we both had a certain way of thinking the same way and each encapsulates different memories. So, just as I do for solo productions, the most sensitive thing to do is allocate every musical emotions to each aliases. It’s a vision that I can’t explain. For many people it may seem stupid, but to me it makes a lot of sense. In the end, it’s still me, or us, speaking “different languages”.

You are from Bari, South Italy. What was the music environment at home and in Bari, when you were a child? What were you listening to, as a teenager?

Bari is my hometown, a perfect city to live in, despite the difficulties. All of my music is inspired by that: the scents, the sea, the sun almost all year round…

From my blurred memories, when I was a child, I only remember my mother struggling with home services (housekeeping) always with the radio on, playing the hits of the moment. It was when I was a teenager that I approached dance music, becoming an assiduous listener of Radio Italia Network, perhaps the most beautiful radio ever in Italy, passing 24/7 dance music. I was just recording everything on k7 tapes. Such a nice period!

"Being born in Bari has been fundamental for my growth and defined the style I'm still in love with"

Port de Bari

Could you tell me about your first club experiences ?

Late 14 years old, I managed to enter into Divinae, one of the the most beautiful club in Puglia. My uncles were working there and got me in. I used to always stay hidden there, in the booth, listening to the DJs. I spent years dancing on mixes from the best American and Italian DJs.

What got you into music? An artist, an instrument, a record?

As told before, I had the good luck to be surrounded with music since ever. Also, attending the clubs and listening to all those great artists, quickly made me buying vinyls and DJing. We were at the beginning of the 2000 decade. I mainly bought dance/house records, but listening to different music styles played a big role in my formation & musical knowledge. I may not play some things, but I know and enjoy them. Naturally, my tastes have changed, I’ve improved and widen my musical knowledge, to the point where I followed my own path and needed to speak out for myself.

Regarding instruments, I never managed to properly play any, but I can make the synths work as I want when I need, and then, the magic happens.

"Don is a myth of mine and I’d have never thought one day to make a record with him... Life is incredible!"

Regarding most of your releases as Rhythm of Paradise, it seems you’re really inspired by the sound of Italy from the late 80s, beginning of 90s. Are you nostalgic for these beautiful times?

Beside the k7 tapes I used to record from the radio, I was given a bunch of tapes by some friends of my uncle. All these tapes came straight from Romagna Riviera, on the Adriatic coast, where there were some of the greatest clubs and parties of the 90s and artists ranked today as the greatest DJs ever. So basically, I grew up with that sound and it’s now part of me. I can’t help with it.

In Bari, as in whole Italy, this sound was the sound of my generation. It was the the sound you could find in clubs, alongside the sound of house legends when we were teens. Later, other genres have been the new trend of the moment. What I can say, and you can hear it in my music, is that deep house and Italo house were instant love for me. They hugely influenced me.

Rimini - Riviera Romagnole
Rimini (Riviera Romagnole)

Being born in Bari has been fundamental for my growth and defined the style I’m still in love with, but I don’t think it’s a general rule for Italian artists. I mean, I know a lot of English, Dutch and more who are in love with these sounds. On the other hand, many artists from Bari and Italy are doing techno or electro. It’s not about a geographical framework.

Some may think that I want to copy that music or I’m just nostalgic, but I really don’t. It’s more than this. It is part of myself, I can’t really explain. There are various emotions in my music: nostalgia, anger, love or simply imagination, there is no strategy.

As well, most of the titles of your tracks seem to be nods to this period.

The titles, but also all my aliases, are important to me. They make sense. They reflect a mood. I mean, like in the 90s, they just used to express their feelings, and that’s what I do with my tracks.

You’re a close friend of Nico (Cosmic Garden), the founder of Cosmic Rhythm. To what extent are you involved into the label, artistically and/or personally?

Well, Cosmic is the label founded and owned by Cosmic Garden, but I’m an integral part of it, as many of the projects released on it are produced by the two of us. Nico and I always confront each other on what’s next. On the Human side, I can only thank Nico, and always thank him when I have the opportunity to do it.  Having a person, and above all, an artist of this calibre is the best motivation for you to always try to improve yourself . It’s a real treasure. He is a master, and I always learn a lot from him.

We are friends, partners in crime since ever, inside and outside the studio.

You just made a really special project with Cosmic Garden and Don Carlos. Could you tell us more about Mediterranean Key Collective ?

Don is a great friend of us, one of the most genuine person in the game.

The project Mediterranean Key Collective was born out of an idea from Don and Nico in May 2019, when Don was nearby Bari to play at a party. When I was asked to step in, what could I say?! Of course I said yes. Imagine that: the whole EP was made in a day !

Don is a myth from me, I never thought that one day I would make a record with him… Life is incredible!

What are your projects for the future ?

I have a lot of projects to work on, both persnoal and with Nico. Let’s just say that for the moment. The music will speak for itself when the time comes.

Thank you Michele!

Rhythm Of Paradise, Cosmic Garden and Cosmic Rhythm embody the new face of the Italian sound and scene. They are leading the way of the Dream House revival, along with compilations curaters Young Marco or Nick V. Moreover, labels specialized in reissues such as Vibraphone and Flash Forward have been digging out some of the most famous records of the period.

Rhythm of Paradise is releasing Pleasure Zone on Cosmic Rhythm. Vinyl only and limited press, hurry up guys ! When it comes to Dream House music, you can count on them.