Domenico Rosa has been a fundamental figure amongst the analog world of minimalist, old-meets-new house for many years.
From studying sound engineering to running two flourishing record labels, the Italian maestro has been dedicated to all things music for well over a decade.
We caught up with Domenico to gain insight into his creative process, the vinyl market and plans for the future.
Your label shared with Riccardo, Imprints, has been active since 2012. What have you learned from the project over the years, and how has it evolved?
Imprints Records has been a really important step for what I am now. Riccardo and I were neighbours and we would meet to share ideas and our passion for the music, so we started to talk about creating a vinyl label and ‘the dream’ started.
At the time the scene was mainly focused on minimal sound and since we were excited for the old house and underground music, the label was a fusion of minimal house and 90’s tech-house style.
2013/2014 were golden years for the label and we released lots of good records and talented artists. At some point the scene changed again, Riccardo and I were influenced from the sound we met across our trips around Europe and the world.
The label started to move away from the original sound, thus we though it was time to stop for some time and focus on our personal projects. Our friendship is still alive and we sometimes talk about organising a comeback.
Do you have a different ethos for your own label, Propersounds?
On my new label Propersound my aim was to bring back the old enthusiasm, even though my musical taste has indeed changed during the years, through a lot of musical research, self and studio-gear improvement.
The natural consequence of all this was to get in contact with many amazing artists and producers I found along this journey. The label is not following a trend, its purpose is to spread a deep sound that doesn’t settle in a specific time or place.
How has Italy and your hometown Benevento impacted your works?
As I said before, my hometown Benevento has been the place where my first project started. It’s a small town in the mid-south of Italy. When I was younger, there were many young DJs who threw parties in some local clubs where I was lucky enough to play afterward.
End of the 90’s and the start of 00’s has been a good period for dance music, and you could find fine music and talented artists, even in a small town like mine.
I started to attend almost all these parties in the city and in a short time I got to know all the people involved in the scene.
This was my first touch with what would have been my current passion and job.
An old friend of mine asked me: ”why don’t we buy a couple of technics turntables?”
It was just for fun… I still have them!
After this, I was lucky to play in other towns further than mine. There was also a small record store for some years, and I remember with a smile many weekends spent there listening and buying records with the money I would save during the week.
Do you think the vinyl market has changed since you started both labels?
Probably not much, I think that my taste and vision for the label have changed. Nowadays, If you release a killer dance floor track, it will sell easily.
Personally, at the moment I’m more focused on something which represents myself and my current perception about life. Releasing something that you can listen in 20 years, and can still turn on something inside. It’s not just about the club scene, it’s more of a feeling.
Deeper shades of electro and breakbeat is often heard in some of your more recent works, both in the studio and DJ sets. Is your choice of hardware in the studio influencing the evolution of your sound, and what other reasons do you believe contribute to this?
Yes, I know. To be honest, it’s a bit odd, when I play I can go strong with a more trance or progressive style, my selection is very wide and I’m not focused on just one style.
When I’m in the studio it’s a bit different, I have more of a composer’s approach to music. I like to play with my gear and get lost in melodies and irregular beats.
I keep learning, rehearsing to create something special, and continue developing. It’s crazy to say, but 2020 has been the most important year of my life as a producer, all this spare time has really helped me to focus on new equipment and new music.
Vinyl has been central to much of your work. How does your relationship with production differ from records and DJing?
When I prepare my record bag for a gig, I think about a journey. I bring records to warm up, some for peak time and some trippy ones for special moments throughout the party.
I’m not too much focused on the dance floor and I always think about something unique for mind and soul. It’s an expression of myself.
How do you find working with your agency, Roof Booking?
It’s been a while I’m working with the agency already and I believe in what we are, it’s a solid crew with many talented artists, I couldn’t find a more valuable staff as my first experience, I hope to spend more time with them soon!
Talk of a full-length album from yourself is on the horizon, what can we expect from this?
Yes, that’s the plan. I’m finishing some music I was working on during the past year. I gotta admit that I’m pretty slow and obsessed with details, I listen over and over again before bouncing the premasters.
I’m excited about the music I created and how it is going to be, I see it as a new step for my producer’s career. Nothing is planned yet, though I have high hopes to release it this year.
Thank you, Domenico, and best wishes for the future!