(played at Basement Club, Limassol on 13th June 2003 and Memphis Club, Larnaca on the 15th – view photos from Limassol here and Larnaca here)
It was the Sunday before Kataklysmos (Christian Orthodox religious date which falls on the Monday 50 days after Easter). The whole weekend leading up to Kataklysmos Monday is a huge celebration with traditional music taking centre stage and markets being held. This meant that the seafront avenue in Larnaca, known locally as ‘Finikoudes’ -rough translation: ‘Palm Tree road’- was full of people browsing kitsch little stalls which had sprung up to sell everything from dried fruits to cheap home accessories.
Mauro Picotto was the first international DJ to play twice in Cyprus over one weekend and we managed to catch him for a quick chat before his gig in Larnaca, sitting on the comfy white couch outside Memphis while armies of clubbers marched past us into the club.
Why did you start DJ-ing?
It was for a very simple reason, I loved music and it was always my passion. I would’ve liked to be a singer (laughs) but then I thought that it might be better to just be a DJ.
Did you ever think you would be so successful?
For me it’s a job. It’s difficult for me to explain but when you begin working on something, you create a target. Once you arrive at that target you set a new target and it keeps changing.
Why do you love lizards so much?
Well, it was just a funny name when I released the first record but afterwards, people associated me with the animal. I decided to create a saga, so I continued with the lizard names.
Do you have any pet lizards?
No, because I’m always travelling around the world and I wouldn’t be able to look after them!
You play so many different styles that people find it hard to place you in a genre. Do you like that?
I am not a techno DJ, I am not a house DJ and I am not a trance DJ. I am just a DJ. For me there is only good and bad music. I try to play good music (smiles). I try to mix many ingredients into it. Energy is definitely important but some melody is nice as well, to give emotion. That is all you need to create an atmosphere in a club.
Do you have a favourite of your own tracks?
I think it would be two: “Baguette” and “Verdi”.
Is there any DJ that you would like to play with?
What is important for me is the DJ who plays before me. He should try to build up the feeling. Some people play too hard at the beginning, they don’t look at the crowd and they don’t look at the night, they just play for themselves and that’s not right. I’m lucky though, because all the people I work with are very professional. I’m a happy guy!
I noticed that your headphones are always colourful; is there a story behind them?
I just like to have something different! Many people comment on them.
From what you’ve seen, are there similarities between Cypriots and Italians?
Yes, because we are both Mediterranean people. We like to party and enjoy having a good time with everybody.
You’re the first DJ to ever play two continuous gigs in Cyprus and a lot of people who heard you on Friday are also coming to see you tonight. How does that feel?
I’m glad! I’m really happy because I always try to introduce my music to new people. Just ‘one style’ doesn’t exist. I try to make them see that many different styles together can create a great atmosphere. Sometimes it happens, sometimes maybe it doesn’t, but in the last few years… its been happening (smiles). I want to say thank you to the people who are coming again tonight.
What is the scene like in Italy?
My kind of music is more underground because we only have a few clubs, but it’s still really good. When I spin in Italy I play the same as I do in the rest of the world, I don’t change because I am in Italy.
Tell me a little about Meganite, your new project.
Meganite is an electronic music lifestyle. It’s a concept that believes that the most important thing people look for when they go to a club is the music. I’m not the only DJ involved, there are also others who come and join us to play good music.
I read about a Meganite gig in Miami where at first there was a power cut but then you ended up playing a longer set!
Yes, it was with Marco Carola. We ended at 10 o’clock in the morning because when I finished my set at 7 am, the normal closing time, the owner said: “Please, if you want to continue, you can continue!” So Marco and I went on with a back-to-back set until 10. I like long sets, I never want to stop!
Where did you find the best crowds in the first six months of 2003?
Montreal and Toronto in Canada because the people there are very open-minded. America is also good. I always enjoy playing at The Arches in Glasgow... (suddenly interrupts himself) And here! The people here are great too, I was nicely surprised on Friday night.
What are you looking forward to in the next six months?
I want to finish my new album! I want to stay at home for a while! It’s hard during the summer because you get booked for gigs during the week as well. But I’m sure the album will be finished by next spring.
Random Related Info:
A story about Lizard Men
Ancient American-Indian legends tell stories of a ferocious tribe of fish-men called “Inzignanin” who terrorised coastal regions before the arrival of European colonists, and lizard-like humanoids also feature in Mesopotamian, African and Mexican legends. In the summer of 1988, 17-year old Christopher Davis narrowly escaped being attacked by a 7-foot-tall green scaly creature in Bishopville, South Carolina. The “Lizard Man” (as the monster was later christened) emerged from the darkness near Scape Ore Swamp while Davis was changing a blown car tire and ran across the field towards him. He managed to get into the vehicle but the beast with “red eyes, three big fingers, long black nails and rough green skin” clawed at the car, leaving deep scratches in the metal as well as twisting the side-mirror and roof. There hasn’t been such an attack since then, but the Lizard Man (or something like him) has also recently been spotted in various other lakes/swamps of America...
Interview posted on: 5th July 2003
Thanks to Future SoundsCy