If you’ve dabbled in the rave scene at any point in the past 20 years, you’ve probably heard of Maurizio Colella, or EDX. The Italian producer, DJ, and Spinnin’ Records star has been a figurehead in the electronic music world since the early 90s – and with 7 new tracks in 2016 and newest single ‘We Can’t Give Up’ released last month – it’s clear that EDX doesn’t have any plans of slowing down. This fall’s jam-packed agenda includes stops in cities from Washington DC to Warsaw and everywhere in between, but Colella found time to chat with us from the road about his new single, the rise and fall (and rise again) of the underground music scene, and his hit NoXcuses podcast on SIRIUS XM.
RaverRafting: You’re currently the #1 Swiss artist on Spotify – who are some of your personal top Spotify artists of the moment?
EDX: Incredible, at 2.6 million and growing. I really love Spotify even though I am from a completely different generation. I love the way someone can share their own playlist and everyone can follow them. I like the playlist of Sons Of Maria and the more chill listening music ones.
RaverRafting: How has EDM culture changed from when you first entered the rave scene in the 90s? What are your feelings on the more “mainstream” US festival scene? And do you think there’s any hope for a return to a more underground scene?
EDX: The mainstream took over at the end of 90s and cooled down already once. Then with the new spin from the US a few years back, everything came back in a generation where social media and online marketing was key. That made it something different from back in the day, it became even bigger and the subculture around it became a long-standing culture that will define this generation. I personally think that the underground scene developed over the last 5 years and is bigger than ever before. Could everything go back to the early original days? No, I don’t think so, it was the time and the generation that gave those early days the underground touch.
RaverRafting: When you were a kid, what did you picture yourself doing when you grew up? How did you end up making music?
EDX: I really wanted to become a pilot, but I wasn’t the kind of person who was down to do more school. The techno culture took over Europe, it became such a big moment and I was there; the right timing, the right generation, it was just very organic to grow into the music and entertainment world. I was very lucky but very also dedicated, and flying now nearly every day brings me closer as well to be a DJ.
RaverRafting: How do you compare the scene in Europe to the scene in the US?
EDX: The US is bigger and faster than Europe, but still very young.
RaverRafting: There are over 300 episodes of your NoXcuses Podcast on Sirius XM – how do you begin to put each show together? And what are your feelings on bringing your music out of the clubs and onto the radio?
EDX: Yes, I just recorded the voiceovers for episode 345 from over here in Doha in Qatar. I personally think it’s a pure blessing that I started this journey about 7 years ago. The main idea back then was to give something back to my fans, something for free every week. Then a few years ago we started doing our weekly residency in Ibiza, we did a lot of pop up events all over the world, we’ve been in Miami for WMC for the last 5 years, EDC in Vegas and many more shows in various cities all over the world.
RaverRafting: You played over 140 shows in 2016 – how do you find the energy to keep up with so many late nights? and how do you manage to keep your sets fresh when you average almost 3 shows per week?
EDX: It became the main thing in my life, just me and the touring which is something that warms up every DJ’s heart. There is so much great music out there, 140 looks like a lot of shows but, to be honest there’s still a lot of time spent between office or studio to decompress, finding time for family, friends or the creative process.
RaverRafting: You had a residency at Privilege Ibiza – aka the biggest club in the world – how do you capture that many people at once? And how does it compare to playing smaller warehouses and clubs?
EDX: I like to play festivals a lot, especially during summer, the winter time is more for darker nights in bigger and smaller venues. I learned to play a smaller clubs a long time ago and I really love the more personal touch of a smaller club, it’s always good to have that direct reaction to what you do. Festivals are something else, and it’s good to make people bounce and dance to your music. Apart from those, my main things are open space events, whether they’re in bigger spaces or smaller spaces, as long as we’re all dancing and watching the moon and sky.
RaverRafting: Your new track ‘We Can’t Give Up’ was released recently, can you tell us about your inspiration behind the song and your producing process in general?
EDX: I was very lucky with this one. I made the demo many months ago and started to pitch it to various songwriters and singers. There were like 10 amazing demos out of the many I got back, it was very hard for me to pick the right one. I felt Tom Gregory – a very young and super talented songwriter/singer from the US – was the one that really nailed my vision and input for this song. The feedbacks and love from the fans is so huge right now. I’m really happy to be able to touch so many fans out there with my music.