Photo by Julia Bo Heijnen


007 // Daniel Monaco

We had a pleasant chat with prolific, Italo culture aficionado and top-five hater Daniel Monaco aka Disco Mortale. Check it out, will you?

SXDNS: It’s a great pleasure for us to have this talk with you, Daniel. As one of the artists who have most appeared on our platform due to the number of premieres we have made of your releases plus your collaborations for our mixtape and free download series, we believe you are one of the most prolific artists of our generation. How do you manage to be so creative?

DM: First of all, thanks for inviting me to the interview. To answer your question I can tell you simply that I don’t know, it’s maybe for the fact that I started to play music at the age of 5, combined with the choice of wanting to be a full-time musician/producer and music teacher. It helps to keep the flow and the creative pressure. I try not to repeat myself by producing the same tracks and my past as Progressive Rock, Jazz Fusion and Disco Bass Player helps on find the inspiration, although it can’t last forever. Knowing myself very well, I know that I could wake up one day and stop producing for 2 years as it happened before. I don’t feel like that at the moment since Daniel Monaco is only 2 years old and I regret I haven’t started it earlier. Therefore, I feel I have accumulated loads of ideas and I am willing to produce and share my music. It feels like being a baby and wanting to mess around a lot.


SXDNS: From all your releases, which is your favourite and why? Yes, you can only mention one. Life is not fair.

DM: As Daniel Monaco, I say definitely the one on Slow Motion, “Summer Twilight”. I worked a lot on that and at the same time it came also very natural.


SXDNS: You recently started releasing some tracks under the moniker Disco Mortale. Why did you decide to do that? And what’s the difference between the works of Disco Mortale and Daniel Monaco?

DM: Since I’m releasing quite a lot and I do like anything between Disco to 90s Trance, I needed to feed my polyamory for music by concentrating the Darkest side of myself into Disco Mortale. It’s the same person with the same initial letters (Daniel Monaco = Disco Mortale), but with Disco Mortale I shall go deeper into a territory made of Acid, Electro, New beat, EBM and whatever I think pleases me. Daniel Monaco will stay still Obscure Italo Tropical Cosmic, sometimes Dark Disco & Acid with peaks of darkness, but not as Dark as Disco Mortale.

My friend DJ & producer Celestino once wrote me after having checked one of the Disco Mortale soon-to-be-released tracks and he told me: “Daniel I like it, but I don’t think is Dark at all, it’s an acid banger”. I simply told him: “You haven’t heard the rest (of Disco Mortale material), and the exception makes always the rule!” My answer means that Disco Mortale – just like Daniel Monaco – is someone who loves many, maybe too many styles of music, and finding the one way only in terms of sound is hard, almost impossible to achieve, therefore the pitch of darkness in Disco Mortale will variate from Dark to very Obscure but never fade into tropical, that’s Monaco’s stuff I like to keep the integrity of the sound of Daniel Monaco and release only on specific labels. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, of course, it’s just a matter of communicability I wanna keep with my sound.


SXDNS: What do you consider to be the most significant moments in your artistic career?

DM: It depends. I can mention many different moments if we are talking of me as a musician, or as the founder of my Acid Disco Techno live band UMEME, or as Daniel Monaco. I can tell you that as a Bass Player, having served sir Mad Professor was a moment of deep learning; with UMEME, having closed the night at Boom Festival Sacred Fire stage as probably the only non-Trance act was incredible as well as the 2 days rave on the great wall of China as the first live techno act ever to have played there. The tour in South Korea with Daniel Monaco, Amsterdam Dance Event also as Daniel Monaco, and as Umeme and as a member of the band of Mad Professor of course. These all happened in different editions of the ADE.


SXDNS: Do you have any hobbies? What do you like to do when you are not producing?

DM: I like to go to contemporary art expos or museums, but I actually do that way less often than I’d like to. I also like to look around in vintage shops and check nice stuff, maybe find a nice synth for little money. It happened 2 two months ago that I found a Yamaha cs2 for 70 euros, and I even asked for a discount and the lady sold it to me for 60 euros but mostly I go to these shops to look for shirts, tropical obscure ones. I also like to learn languages. I’m learning Spanish now and I taught myself to read and write Korean, besides knowing Dutch, English, and Italian, so I guess basically vintage shirts preferably tropical and learning languages.

SXDNS: What about your live music career? Any plans to resume it in the future?

DM: Who told you I stopped that?! I play live with UMEME and I constantly play studio sessions as bass player. I only share stuff I do (on FB and IG) as Daniel Monaco and UMEME, what I do as bass player is just like normal life to me since I have been doing it already for 24 years, I started when I was 12. A few years ago, I would have shared more on social networks about me playing bass, now something changed and I like this change, but I do not deny nor stop my activity as bass player, now I’m free to decide if I play, what to play and for whom I play. The time as session bass player won’t be back, even though I learned all I know from there, but the freedom to choose what to play is unbeatable, no amount of money they’d offer me to play music I don’t like will stand this chance.


SXDNS: So, what’s next for Daniel Monaco (and Disco Mortale)?

DM: As Daniel Monaco, I got something coming out on Rotten City, Bordello a Parigi and few more but I cannot share further details, I don’t wanna sound precious or something like that, but I cannot tell you more due to premade agreement with some labels. As Disco Mortale, I will be out on Espacio Cielo, Beat is Murder and few more… stay tuned!


SXDNS: Who are your favourite producers at the moment? Who draws your attention?

DM: I don’t have favourite producers I try not to follow anything. Basically, when I’m home, I only listen to abstract stuff that brings me nowhere, I can tell you that now I’m listening to this 8-CD compilation of old experimental Russian jazz players where they mix endless solos with great synth work noise sounds of natural orchestral compositions and God knows what else more. I’m sorry I’m also very bad with remembering names, I wouldn’t be able to name the artists I am writing right now from my studio and the CDs are in my car.


SXDNS: What changes do you expect to happen in the nightlife industry after the world goes back to “normal”?

DM: I cannot tell you. Sometimes I think it will be a big mess, some other times I think it might be less bad than what we actually expect, maybe even better than ever, the predictions oscillate with the mood of the day, the truth is we gotta wait because there are a lot of people like us waiting to play gigs and some people deserve to play sooner than us because they are better and stronger, not necessarily more famous. There are some people/artists/DJs that we must admit are better than most of us and they shall be first to be on stage to set the balance again.


SXDNS: The inevitable question: What is your top five?

DM: Sorry, my brother, I cannot play this game. For one reason: if I make a choice important as this one I end up regretting it and not sleeping at night. I have done the top 10 tracks for my Spanish brother Black Flamingo Disco Driver of DJ Mag Spain… I do not regret it at all! I loved it, but I also don’t agree with it if I look back at it now and it tortures me a bit, so I promised to myself I won’t do it again, it limits me too much, I believe in freedom within limitations, but not in this case. I will give you instead – in a chronological order – a mix of 5 styles, bands and producers who have definitely shaped me as what I am.

1) Weather Report (their way of playing jazz, synths, funk, rock, the landscapes they have created are still having an effect on my brain that I cannot describe the picture of a perfect dreamy sometimes tropical world to me and the gods Jaco Pastorius on bass and Joe Zawinul on synths changed my life).

2) Anything which is Italian Library Music (Piero Umiliani, Stefano Torossi, Micalizzi, Morricone and many more. This music needs no descriptions).

3) Parliament Funkadelic (here there is no explanation needed).

4) MIke Oldfield/Brian Eno (these guys can do anything they like, I just admire their versatility. I was impressed when I was a kid how the same person could manage to create so many different vibes in music).

5) Any real good Italo, 80s Tropical, EBM (with no vocals) 90s Techno & Trance.

Sorry, guys, I’m not able to provide a proper top 5.

SXNDS: :~)


Follow Daniel Monaco on SoundCloud and check the incredible selection he prepared for our mixtape series, peeps!

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