venerdì 22 agosto 2014

Sebastiano Canto: " I improvise freely during the evening..."

New Great TangoDJ Interview. This time meet Sebastiano Canto. Let's discover his secrets. Happy Reading!!!

From the beginning: I suppose that your first approach with tango, like for other dj, was with the dance. What inspired you to get into console and play music? A conscious decision or was it the result of chance? 
First of all, Sabino I’d like to thank you for doing this. Work like yours makes the work of us DJs easier and even more widely accepted by dancers and especially also by organizers.
First, you have to know that I come from a family where my father’s half of the family is making classical music as a profession. So I was in immediate contact with (classical) music all the time and was familiar with many kinds of music from very early childhood on and also could perceive music. The first real encounter I had at a friend’s house In Berlin at an improvised dinner with tango people. It was in the early nineties and Tango-Berlin was very much influenced by Tango Salon and Pugliese and Piazzolla, because evidently in the Milongas at that time not much else was played. So we were listening to this strange music during dinner that made no sense in that particular moment – I hated it.
My contact with Tango music in beginner’s times was more that of coping with combining body, ear, partner and movements.
After a very intense Tango weekend in Naples about 7 years after I started dancing I had a revelation – the music is actually played for the dancers! There is an energy arch in the DJs logic! Dancers listen intently and the DJs “feel” the floor!
Coming from Hamburg originally I was only used to Milongas where Tangos were playing loosely arranged without any structural or musical logic – an indefinite mix of styles ranging from non-Tango to 20ies/30ies jewels, without Cortinas, Tandas or anything remotely similar.
So at some point I decided I would want to share my experience of Naples with other people. But it took me two years listening and collecting before going into the open.

What was your early taste of tango? Are there significant differences with your current taste? 
After a very intense Neo-Electro-Tango period in my beginner’s years I think I discovered Biagi first. He “rocked” I found and was different from most other Orchestras I had in my collection. My favorite Tango at that time was “Quiero Verte Una Vez Mas”. I still love the strings giving each other an echo.
The other orchestra I loved was Francisco Canaro, especially his ‘35/’34 versions of “Hotel Victoria” and “Charamusca”.
I would say my current taste is very much connected to my mood of the night, personally I love many of the unplayed Tangos from the 20ies (Canaro) and I love Donato and Malerba, Laurenz and Fresedo.

Do you remember your first engagement as a tango dj?
Oh yes!!! I was booked through the girl I started dancing with and her good friend – soul and jazz singer – who organized events in the Hamburg Casino. They thought it would be a grand idea to organize a half public Milonga in there, because she had heard me creating Tandas at home and I had been making music at open air clandestine Milongas and Flash mobs I had organized, but this was different. It was my baptism ;-) and I was so nervous. 

When do you prepare or construct your set? A long time before the gig, on the day of the Milonga, or do you improvise freely during the evening? 
I improvise freely during the evening, but I also have a “ playlist” that I call singles. It consists in single Tangos, Milongas, and Valses that I discover while working on my Tango music database. Once I am DJing I listen back into them and if they fit, I create a Tanda around these “singles.

Have you ever played a boring set? Did you maybe understand too late that the Milonga could not give you the right motivation and you could not wait to finish? 
First of all to answer “no” to this question would be very narcissistic and I would want the dancers to judge. I had several events that started very slow and I find it hard to choose the right music when I can’t perceive the energy.
But altogether I always find a way into the Milonga… sometimes it takes longer, sometimes I’m in instantly.

Do you accept whatever gig is offered to you or do you try to select engagements, preferring a special location or fascinating evening with friends? How would you define your style? Has it evolved over time? Into which direction? What can influence you during an evening, the audience, the dancers, the acoustics of the location, the duration of the Milonga...
No, I do not accept every gig anymore… but mostly because some of the organizers are not able to pay travelling expenses plus Cachet plus accommodation. I think of my DJing of a service to the dancers, so why should I refuse to make people dance. At the same time the tango scene talks and a DJ needs to DJ in renowned events to get known and be booked more often. Most of all I like to DJ at events where there probably will be a good onda to start with and where the dancers actually LISTEN to the music.
My style? Mhm… I don’t think I have a style. My making music for dancers has evolved in relation to my knowledge of the Orchestras etc. I believe firmly that Tango is about the dance – apparently a banality – and I am the one providing the music to it. That’s really all there is to it. Personally I am a very romantic type – musically of course ;-) – and while I love Tango music in total I love the Tangos of Canaro/Maida, Fresedo/Ray, Garcia/Rojas, OTV/Carol…
But I will play what I feel is needed. What influences me in Milongas/Marathons are the following factors: time of day, day of the event, number of days of the event, crowdedness of the dance floor, level of dancing, acoustics of course, my energy, the number of smiles, most importantly the perceived energy of the dancers and where the ride is supposed to go 

Do you prefer playing alone or sharing the night with a / colleague. Do you generally prefer to work alone, or with friends who you feeling? Or, you love the thrill of experimenting with a colleague ever heard until then?
Right now I have done a DJ-duo twice with Simone Arcidiacono of Siracusa/Brema(D) and one time it was very nice and one time it was ok.
Right now I like to work alone but I would always be open to try working with colleagues and I believe if the chemistry is right, it sometimes could be an advantage to play together. And yes, I found it very much fun and thrilling to DJ together, regardless of the quality :-D

If someone asks you the name of a track, do you give him the requested information, perhaps mentioning the CD where he can find it, or do you refuse and thus force him to engage into an adventure of search and find? 
I always give out any information to people who ask. Tango is a common good!
The audience bothers you with absurd requests: what do you do? Are you a jukebox? 
Requests are difficult in general… I would even deny a request from an organizer if playing it could risk the onda. I do not like to fulfill requests and absurd ones I deny courteously but firmly.

Do you like to dance and listen to your colleagues enjoy the selections and styles of others from your performances?
Yes I do, and every time I learn a lot!!

Do you believe that the art of “musicalizador” is different for geographic areas? Argentina, USA, Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean ... or is it similar in every country? 
Yes I do – if you want to call it an art. I can only judge Italy, Switzerland and Germany… But in these three areas the musicality and the skills of the dancers are very different. In Italy for example you hear a far wider range of different Tangos and all together I’d say more it’s more musical whereas in Germany (Hamburg for example; maybe except Berlin) you hear the same over and over everywhere. It’s a question of knowledge, experience, education, travelling, and courage how a DJ plays music and if stay in place or one scene all the time you don’t vary.

Would you like to have a milonga just for you, furnish it with the appropriate facility to your desires, try to create a wave that satisfies you over to play when you want and create a calendar of events to measure your tastes? 
Who wouldn’t? And yes! I would love to have it. But I would have to live in a different place with many interested and open-minded dancers – like Berlin for example or in Italy ;-) .

Three orchestras that cannot miss in one evening.
Well funny question for me… lately I catch myself realizing that I have had nights where I just left out Biagi, or Canaro, etc. Everything is possible if you make it right. But I think di Sarli, d’Arienzo, Troilo, Canaro, Biagi are probably to name.

Your three favorite orchestras, which may also be different from the previous ones. 
It varies… but at the moment I am back to… I’d say: Canaro, di Sarli, Biagi

Suggest a tanda of tango instrumental, a tanda of tango singer, one of vals and milonga. Tanda instrumental: Tanda with a singer: Vals: Milonga: 
Tango: R. Biagi, A la gran muneca (1950), La viruta (1948), Racing Club (1950), El Recodo (1952)
Vals: d’Arienzo, Alma dolorida (1937),  Amor y celos (1936), Corazon de artista (1936)
Milonga: F. Canaro, Milonga de Antao (1937), La Milonga de mis Tiempos (1938), Reliquias Portenas (1938)
Tango: Fresedo/Ruiz, Y no puede ser (1939), Inquietud (1939), En este Rincon amigo (1941), Vida querida (1940)
Vals: M.Caló, Bajo un cielo de estrellas (Podestà) (1941), Flor de Lino (Iriarte) (1946), Pedacito de cielo (Podestá) (1942)
Milonga: P. Laurenz, Mariana (Podestá) 1942, Milonga de mis Amores (instr.) 1944, Maldonado (Podestá) (1943)

What are the three bands or singers you cannot stand?
I cannot think of any specific one… I am not too fond of d’Agostino…

What is the band most underrated by the general public and which is the most overrated? 
Underrated: Julio de Caro, overrated: Anibal Troilo

Your top three nights (in your opinion of course ...)
Wondertango, Naples, Italy 2014, Sunday Milonga afternoon
Milonga de las Flores, Bern, Switzerland 2013, Saturday night
Pentecoste Weekend, Mattstedt, Germany 2014, Sunday night

We are less serious: Last night a DJ saved my life. Are DJs sexy? Have you ever had a relationship with a fan or a flirt with a colleague?
Yes, but so far only on the dance floor, unfortunately 

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