It’s been a busy couple of years for Italian-born, Australian-raised dance music legend Anthony Pappa. Not only has he been busy touring and making a name for himself as one of the world’s most technically sophisticated DJs, he’s also been hard at work on the new Renaissance compilation. Now, after a stint living in the UK, he’s heading back to his home country in collaboration with Renaissance for an explosive live show.
“I’ve been working with Renaissance for about 15 years now and we’ve done so many projects together,” he says. “I was one of the DJs for Renaissance and I have also mixed several albums for them, so this new album is just our latest venture.”
Pappa isn’t a stranger to new ventures; as well as producing mix CDs for Renaissance and Global Underground, throughout his career he’s played the role of producer, done his own studio tracks, and of course performed live.
“My favourite is definitely performing live gigs when I DJ,” he says, though he does say that producing and mixing CDs are good to keep up his impressive profile. “I do choose what to play on the night depending on the crowd, the set time and the feel of the gig.
“I usually have a pretty good idea of what I am trying to achieve at each gig with my style of music and the way I play.” Although he doesn’t have a particular stand-out live gig to mention, he does say that some of the best gigs he’s played have been in Buenos Aires in Argentina.
“I can’t say I really really have one best gig to mention,” he clarifies. “Just lots of good memories from various places around the world”. Way back in 2000, Pappa was recognised as one of the frontrunners of the celebrated ‘Nu-Breed’ DJs, although it’s not something he feels is still relevant to him.
“Well, people still recognise me as one of the Nu-Breed main DJs, but that collaboration was 12 years ago. I wouldn’t say that I’m Nu-Breed today because I’ve established my name and reputation in the dance scene for some time now.”
In between all his other roles – and establishing himself as one of the big names in the global dance scene – Pappa also found time to set up his own label, Red Light District.
“Setting up the label was very easy for me as my manager looks after it and takes care of anything related to the label,” he explains. “The great thing about having a record label is that it gives you the freedom to release anything you want to.”And if the name seems a little familiar, namely with a particular Amsterdam destination, it is exactly what you’re thinking.
“I’ve been to the Red Light district many times as a tourist,” says Pappa. “I was told when you go to Amsterdam you must go do the sights, so I did.” Coming from Australia to the UK, Pappa noticed certain trends that followed him across the pond.
“There are not that many differences as far as the music is concerned, as I’ve always found that Australian DJs tend to follow the UK music trends.
“It’s what I used to do when I lived in Australia and its pretty much the same these days.”
His days of following trends instead of starting them are certainly behind him. Pappa is incredibly in-demand, whether he’s producer, DJ or head of a record label. After seeing Pappa work his way around a studio as well as behind the decks, DJ Pete Gooding described him as “the best DJ, technically, I ever saw”, and his technical skills have blown critics and fans away. Pappa says that his ability for classical drumming has helped his renowned mixing skills.
“I’ve been a drummer since I was four years old and that definitely plays a big part in my ability to mix as a DJ,” he says. “It helped me as a producer because I learned how to read and write music as a drummer so I understand the way music is structured.”
He’s recently put those skills to use mixing Nina Kraviz’s song I’m Gonna Get You, a moody, dark track with outstanding vocals.
“I like the original mix of Nina Kraviz,” he says of his choice to work with her. “It’s a very nice vocal track and I wanted to do a remix of it, to use on my new Renaissance CD.”
And if you’re expecting one of the pioneers of the Nu-Breed DJ movement to spend all his time in Australia partying hard, well, you’re wrong. Even while touring, he’s still managing to fit some work in.
“I am currently working on a track with Melbourne producer Gab Oliver,” he reveals. “And while I’m here I’ll be touring around Australia with Melbourne DJ Rollin Connection.”
Surprisingly, even in his downtime he gets down to unexpectedly chilled-out activities.
“The rest of my time in Australia will be spent catching up with friends and family and spending some time on the golf course.
“It’s very important to take a break and re-charge yourself. My favourite hobby is playing golf and I love the relaxing time on the course.”
BY TARA LLOYD