Digging Deep: Marcolino from Ultrasuoni Records Rome

    For a special edition of Digging Deep we have caught up with a unique member of the Italian vinyl fraternity, Marcolino, the owner of Ultrasuoni Records in Rome.

    Going right back to the beginning of his journey in the industry, there is one pivotal turning-point which is the opening of his current shop Ultrasuoni Records, that was the main catalyst for the launch of his career as a DJ. He claims in fact, “I started in ’95/’96 to collect records and play them but only for friends and private parties, then immediately after the opening of Ultrasuoni Records I started playing for official events, I think  it was around 2008.” Marcolino’s interest for vinyl records can be traced directly back to his many interactions with the record stores of his hometown and this also explains a little about how was Rome, musically, three decades ago. “In the early 90’s every area of ​​Rome had its own record shop, they were almost everywhere. I started buying my first vinyl with the pocket money, and of course every birthday and Christmas present it was spent on records.

    Like most DJ’s, Marcolino had already caught the vinyl bug by the age of 15 and as a result of a gift from his uncle of a Technics 1210, still treasured up to these days as his home record player, he developed his keen ear for music. It was this ear for a “warm and analogue sounds” that were cultivated and that it is still a thread that can be heard in his selections. A Karma mixer, present from his father, closed the circle, allowing him to be able to mix his first records. The culture of visiting physical record stores is something that has always struck a chord with Marcolino as he explains further, “In my opinion, the physical store and the advice that a shopkeeper can give you is essential from a professional standpoint. To dig on the web you must have a very good personal taste, and sometimes, even with that, is hard to be able to transmit it during your sets.

    Being in a privileged position where being a DJ and owning a record store it is interesting to learn how important this was in influencing Marcolino’s sound, “It was very important, you have the opportunity to listen to many different genres and to follow which musical direction new releases are taking. Consequently, all this influences what I buy for the shop’s stock, which is often a combination of gut feeling, personal curiosity towards a specific sound, or simply because you can recognize that it is a vibe that customers might like.” Ultrasuoni Records in Rome has become a must-visit store for all manner of DJ’s and collectors so it was interesting to learn the back story on the various locations that it has existed in. We learnt that Ultrasuoni Records Rome has changed three locations, “The first venue was in a very small shop in a beautiful and central neighbourhood in Rione Monti. Then I moved to the area Ostiense (where most clubs are) which was divided into several rooms: record shop in one, and in the others a mixology bar and mini club. It was the springboard for very interesting nights, but it was too tiring and it was delaying a lot of my many projects.” Finally settling in the current San Lorenzo location Marcolino has since stopped twice, first to fix some important structural issues of the shop, and rightly after because of COVID-19. However, Marcolino and has still managed to keep the wheels turning on his fabulous store, with a lot of goals and ambitions for the upcoming future.

    So much so, that he is in the process of creating a brand-new website in order to serve his remote customers. This website will also be in addition to the Ultrasuoni Records Discogs page which has been running throughout the recent pandemic times. Having been at the forefront of Rome’s vinyl led electronic music scene Marcolino has seen the rise and fall and rise again of the vinyl industry and is proud to explain that “a good 50% of what he sells in Ultrasuoni is played in Roman clubs”, and this can only be as a result of both knowing his clientele and locals extremely well and also having a very broad and well-informed taste himself. Marcolino was also keen to point out that his store is not just focused on one type of music, “Ultrasuoni is a shop that doesn’t sell music only to DJ’s, we have most people listening all types of electronic music, and, same as DJs, they can be considered our best customers. During the quarantine period, we managed to work very well, diggers and fans had more time to stay home and listen to music broadly, enriching their cultural background.”

    Marcolino is a very accomplished DJ himself and is signed to the very hot Roof Booking agency, so it was interesting to get the inside track on the direction of the agency, “I think that there are young people with a lot of talent, very smart and who already know what they want and what they want they do with a great experience.” He goes on to explain their diversity as a collective, “They differ from each other in sound, each expresses this in the best way represent them and this is very important to me.” Fans of Roof Booking will already be well aware of the quality found in their roster as they include artists such as Evan Baggs, Quest, Titonton Duvante, Etienne and Christian AB to name just a few, Marcolino punctuates this perfectly, “There are names already affirmed that need no introduction and many who are becoming so too thanks to the agency’s work. I have a good relationship with everyone, and unfortunately being often in Rome I don’t manage to see them very often. However, every showcases around Europe, as well as always being a beautiful showcase, is a sort of reunion and a reason to be together and have fun with the whole crew, which makes it definitely more special.”  Luca and Rino from Roof Booking clearly have both a great friendship with Marcolino and hold him in high esteem, but his inclusion in the agency and subsequent showcases are not built on personal relationships but the talent that the Ultrasuoni Records boss has in spades.

    As a result of his record store and undoubted skill behind the decks, it has been possible to catch the Roman at some standout gigs lately and Marcolino gave us an insight into his travels, having started to tour more often. “During September last year, I did three very important dates in a row between Rome, Taranto, and London. I was playing on Friday for the summer closing of the Hotel Butterfly, then I only had time to go home, change record bags and run to the airport where I flew to Taranto to play until late at the Sound Department. Then from there again to the airport to reach London and play at Lion & Lamb. It was at the same time a beautiful and tiring experience and I seriously understood how hard it can be to be a DJ.

    Speaking of his close relationship with Francesco Del Garda, it was interesting to hear how the bond has grown over the years, “I have been following Francesco since 99/2000 when in those years I frequented the Riviera Romagnola. When friends in common told me to go and listen to him, I was immediately impressed by the music he put out and I also noticed that it was already appreciated by the greatest DJs at the time who respected him a lot. In recent years, a beautiful friendship was born, as we have the same background and therefore we understand each other very well.”

    With COVID-19 having such an impact on music events with Italy one of the worst-hit areas in Europe the recovery is inevitable and with it an unquenchable thirst for new music and Marcolino is looking forward to getting back to business, “For the moment, we are dedicating ourselves to the Goa Club summer project curated by Giancarlino and Vittorio, a garden surrounded by greenery in the heart of the Foro Italico named Hotel Butterfly, now in its third year. Here we managed to make DJ sets which are designed to be an audiophile experience and a listening journey, while we are waiting to return to dance more straightforward club-oriented music in our beloved home, Goa Club.”

    photo ©️ ilaria ieie

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