picture by Chris Lavado for Marquee NY
We met up with Maurizio Colella, better know as EDX, right before his show at Marquee. One of the biggest clubs in New York at the moment. It’s a well known fact that he is a fantastic DJ that has been in the industry for over 20 years, but we wanted to get to his personal side.
What is the most personal song you’ve ever produced?
EDX: “Well it’s very interesting because I think every song is personal – but yes there are certain songs that you create during a period of your life that are more intense, which automatically become more personal to you. I think every year you have one of these songs specifically that makes you feel something special.
When the lyrics are the right ones, the melodies, and the music; in the end you end having a record that is very close to you. Last year we had a lot of releases so it’s very hard to pick one, but if I have to pick one “We Can’t Give Up” would definitely be the one. It’s the most personal one when it comes to lyrics and the sound. It’s one of the records where I bring back the EDX sound. Actually the song created a big wave, both the sound and the fans. I felt touched because I really love the sound myself.”
You have a pretty solid image. Can you tell us something we do not know about you?
EDX: “I’m actually a very good cook! I’m not very great in communicating though, just kidding! A lot of people think I’m Swiss, a lot of people think I’m Italian, well I’m Swiss and Italian. My parents are Italian and I have 2 brothers. We grew up in Switzerland. I got involved in music at a very early age. When I started to go to school when I was 6 or 7 I already had a keyboard. We used to have a keyboard called “Bontempi” which every Italian family had. We played all the classical songs that everybody plays when they start to learn to play piano. Other than this people say I’m not a very good driver.”
So what kind off car do you drive?
EDX: “Depends, I’m not home that much. During the winter I drive an Audi, it’s quite safe. I need to have a safe car of course to make my mother feel better about my driving. During the summer I drive Italian passion. It’s an Italian car, a little bit sportier, like the way I am.”
I mean if you can do it, why not right?
EDX: “I wish I could drive it more. I only end up driving just a couple of hundred miles a year because I’m simply just traveling nonstop for my music.”
Well you live close to Germany right? Where you can race on the autobahn.
EDX: “Well that’s true because it takes me only 30 minutes to get to the autobahn. But I’m not someone that races; I like to be efficient when I drive.”
When you’re at home do you actually listen to house music?
EDX: “That’s an interesting question. Well when Electronic music really started to boom and become bigger in Switzerland everything was like a growing subculture. There was an authentic culture for warehouse raves. There was a lot of unknown new music, loud beats, noise and strange people that started to get together weekend after weekend to experience this new thing, this new movement. This was the techno movement, so I definitely grew up in the techno generation with a little bit of a hip-hop background – or let’s call it hip-house, which was more the Italian dance sound back in the days. This was a fusion between disco, electro, hip-hop beats and I would say classic house. Everything happened very early on when I was a kid. These events started to pop up everywhere and every old warehouse became a place where people would start coming together and you got to meet creative people. I would be a raver where you ended up being on the road every weekend. I used to always meet these people and talk to them and it was like one big family.”
So were you a raver?
EDX: “Yes, I was always there for the music. I’m very lucky because those times were crazy and funny and I was very young. So I would definitely say I’m listening to electronic music these days; the fact is now after nearly twenty years into this generation electronic music is still a major became a part of my life and part of my day. I work with music, I make music, I feel music. So when I get home, I have to be very sincere. I don’t listen too much music because I don’t have that much time to chill. I have always something going on, a lot of friends to see. But I definitely listen to house music, not the very pumping one, but more the chill one and it’s more listening to music in the background.”
That brings us to the next question. Which new DJ’s are in your opinion worth listening to? There are so many nowadays.
EDX: “Well since I started DJing the whole definition of a DJ has shifted. Back in the days DJ’s like Carl Cox, Sven Vath, DJ Hype etc. These guys were getting radio shows and were playing these new sounds, their bootlegs, their white labels no one had. It was much harder to be a good DJ because sometimes in a smaller city like Zurich you’ve just got ten of one record because there were hundreds of DJ’s. You sort of needed the connections or enough money to travel every week to London to make sure you got all these white labels and new records. The definition of a DJ was someone playing great music and music that not everyone else was playing – like being a tastemaker. Today the whole DJ-generation has shifted into something different; artists who produce their own music also have to DJ. I feel like it’s really hard to become popular just by being a good DJ without producing. Today I think one needs a bit more than good connections, a record store and taste for good music. So it’s very hard for me to say who is a great upcoming DJ. I definitely think there are some artists that produce a lot of great music. Of course I don’t need to name anyone from the Helvetic Nerds because you already know them and they’re all doing great. My music is very diverse so it’s very hard to say that I like a certain type of thing. There are a lot of guys out there. I definitely like all those kids that are trying to do something different, something new, something fresh, but it’s hard to pick someone.”
Do you have a favorite song at the moment?
EDX: “Yeah I have a track that I really like, it’s called “Do It’ by “Rae Morris” and it’s the Icarus remix. It’s one of my favorite tracks right now. It’s a little bit out of the box from what works in a club so you should really check it out. It’s my favorite track from 2017. I must say 2018 isn’t doing bad at all so far.”
So do you adjust your set after a certain club? For an example I hear that DJ’s tend to change their set especially for Marquee since the crowd is a little bit more difficult to work with?
EDX: “Well I’ve played many shows in New York. My first time was nine years ago at Cielo. This is a legendary club, but back then it was THE legendary club. I remember I kind of prepared my set back in those days, but in the mean time I’ve played at nearly every venue from Pacha to Webster Hall, LAVO, Marquee, Santos and Output in Brooklyn. I don’t really feel like I have to adjust or prepare anymore. Actually, New York’ crowd is very educated on the music and I don’t feel like it’s hard to make Marquee dance. I think Marquee is always on fire and works really well with my own production and music.”
You’ve been doing this for a long time now. For over 20 years now. Do you still get that rush feeling when the crowd dances around to your tracks?
EDX: “Well of course, if you wouldn’t get that rush anymore you would just be there for the money.”
True, but even after 20 years?
EDX: “It’s always fun. It’s always a challenge because the generation is younger and you’re getting older, so it’s a completely different thing now. You always really have to work and figure out what is going on. For myself, I’m playing 140 shows a year and touring all over the world. It’s always good to go back to these big cities and play at clubs that have always “WOW”ed me, either on this show or the ones before. That feeling even gives you a little bit of pressure. Now I need to be “WOW”ed again, because if it’s not wow then something is wrong. I definitely still always have that rush. I think every DJ does. It’s not that I’m scared to go on stage and am nervous or whatever, I just like get into myself and focus and try to see what’s going on and what record I’m going to start with. Usually I decide my opening track five minutes before my set.”
Is there a certain club, festival or country that makes you nervous?
EDX: “Well at a festival you know better at the beginning what you’re going to do. For an example if Oliver Heldens is in your set and Oliver Heldens is playing at the festival then you already know you’re not going to play Oliver Heldens. If Robin Schulz is playing at the festival then in my case I have to think if I am going to play my remix for Robin Schulz or not, so I think it’s a little bit more formatted. You’re a little bit more restricted to be creative, but it’s more efficient. I like to play in a lot of countries. It’s always good to go back to places you haven’t been in a long time. For new years I was in South Africa, this was awesome. It was good to be back there.”
Do they know how to party there, or?
EDX: “There’s this very music educated crowd. They were having a great time and they were having a lot of fun. Same thing for Asia, I like to play in Tokyo, Korea, Manilla, the Philippines and all of these places where music has a much bigger value then western countries where the music is all over the place. In Asia it’s just part of your life. South America is always fun too, I’ve went to Cartagena last week.”
A lot of DJ’s are heading to Guatemala, how do you feel about the country?
EDX: “Guatemala is fun. I played one of my best festival sets there a few years back. This was I think three years ago I played at this big festival. It was so much fun.”
Well that brings us to the last question. Do you have anything new coming up?
EDX: “Well I’m always working on new beats. Right now we’re working on No Xcuses for Miami Music week. There will also be some new productions for MMW. My new single “Jaded” got released January 26th. I’m really looking forward to that record. I’m just looking for the right vocal to do a proper EDX feel good record.”
Thank you so much Maurizio for taking the time so we could get to know you a little bit better!