Boiler Room x Fiat present IMPORTS
A celebration of ITALO DISCO with DJ sets from
THE JUAN MACLEAN B2B NANCY WHANG
Thursday October 8 at Verboten, 54 N.11th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Free admission / Open Bar – RSVP at http://boilerroom.tv/fiatimports/
“From New Order to Carl Craig through to The Pet Shop Boys and La Roux, the Italo Disco sound has had a profound effect on modern pop and club culture.” DJ Benetti
This special Boiler Room and FIAT presented one-off / free New York event is a celebration of all things Italo Disco. This rounded-out full evening, features a panel discussion, record store and club event that is devoted to delving into the longstanding transatlantic link between Italian sounds and American producers. The presentation starts online (at http://boilerroom.tv/fiatimports/) with two special video interviews exploring the Italian roots of the Italo sound with veterans who were there in Italy at the inception - cosmic maestro Daniele Baldelli and Tony Carrasco of Klein & MBO. Boiler Room and Fiat then hop across the Atlantic on October 8th to New York to present an evening with contemporary American artists heavily influenced by the heyday of Italo, starting with a panel discussion in the early evening (details below), followed by an all night club session with Jacques Renault, Juan Maclean x Nancy Whang (playing back to back for the first time ever), San Francisco’s Honey Soundsystem and headliner Los Angeles’ Classixx. The event which will take place at Brooklyn’s Verboten nightclub will be live broadcast on Boiler Room and archived post event.
The event will also feature a special Italo Disco record store curated by Brooklyn vinyl emporium Superior Elevation (look for the FIAT), and the event will feature an open bar. The event is free to those 21+ via RSVP at http://boilerroom.tv/fiatimports/
So what is Italo Disco?
In the tagline for his February 2015, Pitchfork article “Let Me Be Your Radio: The Bizarro Universe of Italo Disco,” New York-based writer Andy Beta calls the once obscure electronic pop dance Italo Disco genre “the most amazingly uncool genre ever created.” Interestingly enough though this odd-ball sound style continues to be a key inspiration for a diverse range of electronic music artists including Metro Area, LCD Soundsystem, DJ Harvey, Carl Craig, Todd Terje, Daniel Wang, Idjut Boys, Optimo, Maurice Fulton, Mike Simonetti, the Mister Saturday Night DJs, and many more.
Originating in Italy at the end of the 1970s, Italo Disco quickly took on a life of its own outside its native borders to play a key role on dance floors around the globe. But as Angus Harrison, noted in his July article for Thump “The most important thing to understand about Italo is that it doesn't really exist in any readily definable form, and it certainly didn't at the time the music was being made. In fact, the music we now recognize as Italo wasn't given that name until the mid-1980s by the German label ZYX. It's a movement with no real starting point, or ending point. In fact, the majority of people who were listening to Italo Disco in Italy simply considered it 1980s pop. The knock on effect of Italo's slippery and contested nature, is that it's pretty hard to write a concrete guide on it.”
What’s clear is the buzz around the indefinable, uncool Italo Disco sound has been growing strongly for the last decade. Club culture in Italy and the States are closer than you might think: see disco's domination of Europe, before Italo Disco found its way back into key New York and Chicago record stores to plant the seeds for House; or think piano-laden pop from the Mediterranean laying the foundations for New Jersey House music’s ascendency in the 90s. The import/export of sounds and styles has been ongoing for decades. Discussing the ongoing interest in Italo, German Journalist Finn Johannsen, who also works at famed Berlin record store Hard Wax sad to Electronic Beats that “part of its lasting appeal is its huge, unknown back catalog, which has slowly been displayed in recent years.” Adding “I think the Italians were outstanding at capturing the vibe of early-’80s music trends. They were clearly inspired by the UK scene and, of course, the musical subcultures surrounding it. But they added a charming Italian twist, which made it so very special. I can hear if a track is Italian or not in a split second. Over 30 years of listening experience has had a huge impact on me. I’m sure other lifelong Italo freaks are also able to instantly tell if a track is from Italy or not.”
About the artists appearing
THE JUAN MACLEAN B2B NANCY WHANG
John "The Juan" MacLean and Nancy Whang have history – a lot of it. Their roles at the heart of the 00’s music scene, specifically within New York City, cannot be understated. Whang toured with LCD Soundsystem for ten years, and has recorded with Soulwax, Holy Ghost, Classixx and many others, MacLean, also an early member of LCD, was the second-ever signee to DFA and scored a dance floor anthem in "Happy House". Even though they've worked with one another extensively, Boiler Room are delighted to bring these vanguards together for their first ever back to back DJ set.
From Post-Punk DC, to Chicago’s Drum & Bass scene, to the House and Disco heart of New York, there is little of US dance music that Jacques Renault hasn’t experienced first hand. Renault co-runs the Let’s Play House parties and namesake imprint, channeling his productions and remixes through the label – including a recent, long-awaited debut album. We look forward to hosting him in his adopted hometown.
Four-piece DJ group, Honey Soundsystem have captured the spirit of the legendary Bay Area crews from their San Francisco origins. The coming together of Jason Kendig, P-Play (Jackie House), Josh Cheon and Robot Hustle (Beziér) correlated with the revival of gay disco legends being celebrated by a new dance music loving generation. Always known to pull out all the stops, Honey Soundsystem will bring some undeniable energy to Verboten. Josh Cheon also runs the acclaimed Dark Entries record label.
Headliners Classixx (Michael Davis + Tyler Blake) have cultivated their “vibrant and vintage, unmistakably young and unnaturally nostalgic” (NPR) sound since breaking out of their So Cal roots in the early 2010’s. They are known for elegantly remixing an incredible array of acts including Madonna, Lana Del Rey, Passion Pit, Phoenix, Holy Ghost!, Major Lazer, Yacht, Mayor Hawthorne, Nite Jewel and others. Their 2013 debut album “Hanging Gardens" was fueled largely by Italo Disco and labeled one of the best albums of 2013 by Rolling Stone – they'll be bringing all of that plus new material Brooklyn on October 8th.
The Panel Discussion
Rounding out the day – making it truly a celebration of all things Italo is a panel discussion on Italo Disco taking place at the Verboten Cabaret (side room) on Thursday October 8th from 4pm - 5:30pm. The panel will be moderated by Andy Beta (Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Wall St Journal) with panelists John Mclean (The Juan Mclean), former record store owner Charlie Grappone of legendary New York store Vinyl Mania (arguably the man who sold the most Italo records in New York), Josh Cheon of Honey Soundsystem who is who is also label head of the cult record label Dark Entries (known for many Disco era related releases), and veteran DJ/producer Dan Selzer (New York Endless), will be diving into the history of the genre, its import into North America, and what it is about Italo Disco that keeps music lovers coming back.
More about Italo Disco
Read Andy Beta’s - Let Me Be Your Radio: The Bizarro Universe of Italo Disco
Read Finn Johannsen’s – Rewind: An expert on how Italo Disco became cool again
Read Angus Harrison’s - A Bullshitter’s Guide to Italo-Disco
Read DJ Benetti’s - The Enduring Appeal of Italo Disco
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