Tue 27 Mar 12
Daniele Ciocio aka Craft, has been playing and making music for a long time. Born in NYC but growing up in Europe has definitely lent his productions a continental flavor. The party he co-founded with Shadi Elrazaz (Twice as Proper) just celebrated the 5 year mark. Not bad going for a city where musical trends come and go. With a slew of new releases under his belt, we grabbed some time to talk all things 'proper and techno"!
CGNY: So Daniele, what kind of music did you grow up listening to and who or what were your influences?
CRAFT: It's funny to go back to listen to those tracks which once transmitted certain emotions and now sound outdated and cheesy! My first memories of my attraction towards electronic music date back to the late 80's. For example, in 1988 when I was 8 years old, I heard "Gazebo - I Like Chopin" in my mom's car, and what bought my attention was the cool synth melody which comes in after the singing and then the piano part. I ignored the rest of the track's layers completely in my head. In the early 90's I was recording cassette tapes of late night deep/hard house sets from Dj's in Italy over the summer holidays and I decided to invest in a mixer to DJ with 2 hi-fi cd players. In 1994, at age 14, I invested my life savings on 2 Technics 1200's and a Vestax Mixer along with a selection of European underground house music to teach myself to beatmatch after school. Living in NY, I was also influenced by the 90's Hip Hop beats and breaks. I used to buy double vinyls and beatmatch, scratch them and create something new every time I mixed. By age 16 I was already getting Hip Hop gigs paying $450 in advance envelopes! In 1998 I moved to Rome for university and was quickly influenced by dark experimental electronic music on labels such as Warp and such artists as Boards of Canada, Autechre and Aphex Twin. I was deep into trip hop and hard underground drum n' bass as well, all of which I still have a nice vinyl collection. In the early-mid 2000's I moved back to NYC and was drawn towards the beauty and art of Sasha and Digweed's extended artistic journeys. This is when I developed my own smooth long mixing technique. In the late 2000's, I naturally evolved into playing minimal techno which finally led to today's more heavy, dark and high-energy current techno style.
CGNY: When did you move to NYC?
CRAFT: I was born in NYC and moved away when I was 3. I was back in the city for my high-school years then away for college. I moved back here 8 years ago in 2004.
CGNY: How did Craft Music Productions come about? What element do you think encompasses or signifies the Craft sound?
CRAFT: In 1991, when I was 11 years old, I had my parents promise to buy me a professional Yamaha keyboard for my birthday. When I got it, they sent me to keyboard lessons which I did not enjoy. Too much classical theory and no creative freedom! I never did my homework, failed all the tests and eventually quit the school after 9-months. Instead, I would go home and make chill beats and baselines with my toy and add some deep melodies on top and record the compositions onto tapes. Craft Music Productions really began to take form in 1999, at age 19, when experimenting with some 303's, 909's and other drum machines. However, my first tracks were made in Cakewalk and Rebirth software. I then used strictly Reason for five years, from its first version when it launched in 2000, through to version 3. I finally migrated to Apple’s Logic 7 back in 2005. Most producers are shocked when I tell them that I don't use Ableton Live! Today I continue use Logic, which has now reached version 9 (aka Logic Pro). In fact, all of my current and future releases are made using Logic Pro and just 2 midi keyboards. The element that encompasses the Craft sound is that every single original track has a true story which led to the track name or EP name. For example, "Stay Underground EP" is named after the 2 venues ("Stay" and "National Underground") where we have hosted most of our events in the past years, as well as a message to all those who "go commercial". I could go on forever on this topic...
CGNY: – your partnership with Shadi?
CRAFT: I met Shadi in high-school in NYC in 1995. We soon became best friends, and he was drawn into learning how to DJ when he would come to my place after school. We played many gigs together over the years and he was always by my side helping me setup when I had my own gigs or when I invested in new speakers, subs, monitors, mixers, needles, lights, records, keyboards, microphones and so on.
CGNY: You’ve just celebrated the 5th anniversary of Twice as Proper. When did you decide to start a party and do you think it’s a tool for your Dj/producing career to be also doing parties in the city?
CRAFT: Shadi and I decided to start a weekly "dirty minimal" party named Twice as Sweet in March 2007. By 2008 we renamed it "Twice as Proper" when we moved venue. Yes, we just celebrated our 5-years with over 200 underground techno events and 100 guest Dj's from all over the place. Outside of NY, we have hosted a Twice as Proper event at Sweet Spot in Washington DC and 8 Twice as Proper events in amazing different venues in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. I think Twice as Proper and other showcases have definitely given me a lot of exposure over the years as a dj. However, I don't think Twice as Proper is a tool for my producing career, although I love to play my newest productions on loud club sound systems. More so Facebook, Soundcloud and press, such as the recent Ibiza Voice full-page review of my debut EP "The Bitch I Love" on Ill Bomb Records in January 2012.
CGNY: You’ve had quite a number of tracks signed and released on well-known labels. You’re busy! How much time do you spend in the studio?
CRAFT: Yes, I honestly have hundreds of tracks I produced since 1999! I never had any of them released, although I would always play them in my sets. My plan was to eventually release them on a massive collection of albums on my future label which I would launch one day. Instead, last year I decided to shop them around and to my surprise I began having many labels accepting them asking me for remixes and EP's, as well as artists asking me to remix their tracks. In less than a year now, I have been signed by 12 different labels with little effort. I currently have total 6 EP's scheduled by June 2012 (3 are already out) and Dj's from all over the world are remixing my tracks. Nothing is impossible. I would never have imagined all this attention and I think the most important thing is to stay humble and be myself. All my work is special to me and I treat all the labels with the same level of respect, whether they are the small ones or more well-known such as Subtrak, Hidden Recordings or Freitag Limited. People also treat me very differently now, but I tell them that I'm still the same kid with a lot of passion, that's all. I do spend time in the studio every week, but not obsessively. I need to be inspired. I have a lot of interesting tracks coming out soon and I am always very excited!
CGNY: What has been the highlight of 2011 for you?
CRAFT: That's the most difficult question! Between having my first release on Faucet Music, or touring in Mexico and around the US in Boston, DC, and Detroit… I think I would have to choose my Detroit afterparty gig at "The Works": A 1.5 hour set on the main stage during DEMF/Movement festival with the owner of the club complimenting me and introducing me to his entire staff and wearing my Party People shirt! Part of that set was featured last year on ClubbersGuideNewYork itself as a guest mix! Other highlights include Twice as Proper hosting several outside artists in NYC, such as Detroit's Buzz Goree, Dru Ruiz, Eric Spleece, Dj Seoul, as well as Washington DC's Oliver Caine and Dave Martin, and Boston's the amazing Beat Development duo formed by Monktec and Nitekrawla.
CGNY: What’s your favorite track right now from another artist (if it’s possible to single out only one?)
CRAFT: That's quite impossible. Every month I dig and research a lot of artists and labels. I make careful new monthly selections of 60-100 tracks to play out in my sets and I have a lot of favorites! For this question, I'll choose something more experimental: The Noisemaker - Nuju [Silent Steps]. This track brings me back to those emotions I felt in the late 90's and early 2000's with Autechre and Boards of Canada, but with a current 2012 feel.
CGNY: What’s coming up for you in 2012 in terms of gigs and production?
CRAFT: I have many gigs planned for the next 6 months to come, including an exciting show in Detroit at The Old Miami on April 29th for Cultured Citizens, as well as 2 probable after party gigs there during Movement/DEMF. Among many other scheduled events, we also have Octave from Paris (owner of Silent Steps label) playing for our Twice as Proper in NYC on April 27th at National Underground the night after playing for Droid Behavior in LA, and Detroit's Dru Ruiz (Cultured Citizens) and Corbin Davis (Blank Code) on May 18th the week before Movement/DEMF, always at National Underground. Other great things are being planned but I'd rather not mention them until we post them up officially.
CGNY: What are your interests or passions outside of music?
CRAFT: I love cooking and spending time with my girlfriend (Jenny) and our puppy (Brooklyn). I also love editing videos, making flyers for our Twice as Proper events and building my website which has been up since 2005.
CGNY: If you weren’t in musical production, what career path might you have followed?
CRAFT: I'm not sure…. I love business and take things very seriously. The have a business degree, having studied at the European School of Economics in Rome. I own at trademarked t-shirt company (Party People), an events company (Twice as Proper) and a new world techno podcast show of which I am the host (Feed The Raver). Professionally, I have also worked in 5 banks over the past 9 years, as well as at Apple Inc.
CGNY: What would be your ultimate gig to play either location or with other artists?
CRAFT: A gig at Berghain in Berlin. As for artists, probably playing with the CLR crew, such as Chris Liebing, Tommy Four Seven, Terrence Fixmer, Brian Sanhaji… or the Droid Behavior crew with Drumcell, Audio Injection and so on...
CGNY: We wish you continued success Daniele! Thanks for your time!
Learn more at -Twice as Proper website:
Feed The Raver Podcast show hosted by Craft:
http://www.feedtheraver.com Raver Podcast show hosted by Craft:
Enjoy this guest mix from Daniele - recorded last week at the 5 year Twice As Proper anniversary party!
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