Your music has been described with all the weird adjectives contained between these quotes: “Las Vegas-style slow disco ballads, beautiful Italian melodies on Balearic house tracks and futuristic crooner pop... including some weirdo western whistling”. How would you describe your sound?
There are even more weird quotes around describing my music, and I am happy when people go bizarre trying to define my sounds.
I have never been stuck on a single style and my ears are active 24/7 since when I was a kid. I come from a classical music background and I also grew up with psychedelic sounds, video games and new wave melodies. I then became interested in electronic stuff. Curiosity always led me to throw anything interesting into my compositions that I found along the way, trying to have fun while finding the right balance between apparently distant elements.
Why is Italian disco experiencing a revival these days (besides for it being awesome)?
To be honest, the Italian disco revival — the so-called ‘new disco’ sound — is quite over in Europe right now. We had a massive blast of it in the last five years but now current club trends are moving away from it.
This is good, because I have never been interested in revivals: I grew up in Italy during the early 1980s, so of course Italian disco sounds are a relevant part of my musical background and I still deeply love and respect the pioneering work of people like Giorgio Moroder, who were able to blend the futuristic sound of synthesisers with the sensual beats of disco.
I like music that tries to evoke visions of the future. That’s what I find really interesting in the Italian disco of the late 1970s and early 1980s: the use of totally unconventional and forward-looking synthetic timbres on top of already existing four-on-the-floor structures.
What’s the attraction for you in old horror movie / sci-fi / 1970s Japanese animation samples?
The genres you mention are among the very first ones to make use of the new electronic sounds available from the 1970s. Until the early 1970s music had always been limited by the timbres of “conventional” instruments, like the piano, guitar and bass. The ability to generate your own previously unheard of sounds came with the diffusion of synthesisers, and became one of the biggest revolutions in the history of music. [These genres] are very creative genres, it is music where people totally unleashed their creativity to create new and imaginary worlds, visions of the future and of the unreal, like nothing heard before.
Your Italo disco comrade Bottin played here back in April. What did he have to say about us?
Bottin is a close collaborator and a very good friend. We’ve known each other many years, shared amazing Italian dinners, have played many times together and released many tracks together, on Eskimo [Recordings, out of Belgium] and on his own label, TIN. He had a good and funny blast in Vietnam and I’m pretty sure it will be the same for me.
Actually, this will be my second time in Vietnam. During my first visit in 2012 I found out that Vietnamese food is without doubt the very best in Asia, and food is one of my primary passions together with music. So I’m really looking forward to being in Vietnam again soon!
Why does Resident Advisor call you ‘the boy from Rome’? You are a man — you have a moustache!
Well, they are probably using an out-dated bio. I started releasing Rodion music back in 2006, when I was 29, so I might have been a boy once in my life!
Rodion is coming to Cargo Bar, 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC on Sep. 14 at 9pm, courtesy of Sound Adventures. Entry is VND100,000