Parkett Channel [Ita]
Parkett is one of the most interesting web magazines, dedicated to electronic music, in the Italian and international panorama. It's been a true pleasure to interview five components of their staff to get to know a bit more about them, their work ethic, passions and also their 'mission'. Here's what happened!
Parkett Channel Q&A
-Hi everyone and welcome to the Apparel interview! We’re happy to host you for this multiple Q/A which is a first time for us. How are you guys doing?
Lorenzo: Stressed, but well dressed! Haha. Jokes apart, it’s a busy period for a number of reasons but we’re getting through it. Lots of things to do and not much time, but we’ll surely munch it bite after bite. I’m working on many projects: university, Parkett contents and interviews, the final thesis, internships. Luckily, as I said, I don’t have much time to think about what I’m missing because of the virus.
Andrea: Thanks for inviting me. I think it was not an easy time for everyone but having a great passion like the music helps you to move forward with great determination.
Dante: : Hi guys and thanks for hosting us! I think it’s fun to go over this multiple Q/A session so, let’s enjoy it!
Feeling a bit at the end of the tunnel, you know? It’s been a long year filled with bad news. Now it seems that a new spring will blossom and I’m looking forward to it!
Carmela: We thank you for the invitation, it is a real pleasure for us to participate in this interview. We are fine but we could certainly be better off with a gin and tonic in my hand on the dancefloor.
Nicola: Thank you Apparel Music for this opportunity to exchange ideas and to let people who we are and what we do at Parkett. I'm Nicola and I'm not complaining.
-You might be biased, but try to describe what’s Parkett for you, as honestly as possible.
Lorenzo: Parkett is the natural progression of a passion. I’ve had many crushes in my life, other than music: dinosaurs, fishing, gym… but none of em has really grew within me like music did. It started by listening to it, then researching it, playing it and writing about it. This passion changed over the years but at the same time what haven’t changed is the need to always get excited by it, to feel it on my skin. Parkett gave me the chance to add a new aspect to the whole thing: talking directly with the artists, giving them the chance to talk about themselves and communicate their feelings, worries, paths and anything else concerning their career. Plus, I can genuinely express myself about music, artists and everything around it. Parkett is an evolution. It allowed me to mix a busy life with a wonderful passion and let that same passion constantly renew itself.
Andrea: Parkett represents a way to engrave reflections and emotions on paper, materialising ideas and musical experiences.
Dante: Well, is a group of electronic music (and, in general) Music NERDS. Since I have joined Parkett other people joined our team and I believe they brought their touch and style to the editorial line. This, I believe, enriched our offer.
Carmela: For me, Parkett is an infinite love. When I was a promoter of events in Naples I read Parkett because it was my favorite magazine. It was one of the Italian publishing realities able to tell the true spirit of the international electronic music scene. I do not deny that for me it’s a true satisfaction to have entered the family and to have become editor-in-chief in five years.
Nicola: Parkett is a chance to express myself. Writing relaxes me, puts my ideas in order. I always write (poems, short stories, which most of the time I keep for myself). Parkett gave me the opportunity to combine two of my greatest passions -music and writing- and share them easily with others.
-Reading Parkett’s ‘About Us’ on your website, the first expression that catches the eye is ‘Webzine’ which is a younger relative of the fanzine (Fan + Magazine). Are you familiar with the fanzine as a medium? And, assuming you love music, how did your passion for it start?
Lorenzo: Let’s start with the first question: I was born in 1997, and gained consciousness about what I was ‘musically’ surrounded by when the fanzine era was already in a stage of decline. I’d say I was (and I still am, in a certain sense) not familiar with the fanzine medium, which is a bit ironic considering that I’m part of a webzine! Haha. As for your second question, basically my crush on music started thanks to many factors: I was always surrounded by music even if none of my relatives were involved in it. Then I finally discovered electronic music when I was six or seven. My cousin used to be a promoter during high-school so he often came to my house to dine before his parties and to download tracks on my computer, the same tracks that his DJ friends would then play. The truth is that I hated them! I remember deleting all the downloads when my cousin would leave, but for some reason, one time, my purging action missed two of those tracks: ‘Give You’ by Djaimin (the mighty Jamie Lewis’s ‘Crystal Clear’ Re-Edit) and ‘Hands Up Everybody’ by Pain&Rossini. I started to listen to them more carefully and slowly a whole world opened up in front of me. That’s how it all started!
Andrea: Parkett is an online magazine with a very competent staff. I personally don't feel like a music lover but an editor who writes about music. From the age of five I did nothing but dancing around the house, listening to 80s music at first, and then all the other genres: from the Rolling Stones' rock blues to Trentemøller's electronic. I’ve spent most of time in record stores and I’m proud of it.
Dante: I believe that the ‘about us’ on our website moves with the times. We get info/news from a Web based environment: breaking news, sports, fashion…. So, why not music? Oh, about my passion for music is a long love story. Everything started with radio. I grew up with the radio on when my mom was cooking for the family, then studying music at school and listening to radio when doing homework. I remember that I was an early fan of Classical, Jazz and some electronic music and the story goes on since then.
Carmela: My passion for music started when I was twelve years old. I think like all my peers, at that age I spent the day studying and watching MTV. Then, when I was fifteen I started going to clubs, imitating my mother's younger brother who was part of the old guard of the Neapolitan House music scene. It was a wonderful time where the only passion was music.
Nicola: Yes, as a student of Advertising Communication I know a little about all the media that have occurred over time. The passion for music is innate in my family. In my house we dance, sing and play from Reggae to Classical, from Punk to Electronica. My dad is a huge music collector with over 1000 CDs, 300 LPs and countless cassettes. I remember that, as a child, I would stop in front of the big JBL sound system in the living room, enjoying being shaken by its vibrations when he turned it up to the max. I believe that in that moment music entered in me. Then there is another legend in the family, which says that I was conceived during one Nirvana’s last concerts in Italy, in Marino (RM). I did the maths and it's not possible because I was born eleven months later (lol) but I like to think that in that moment, the idea of having a son started to become concrete for them, and this fueled my musical curiosity.
-Do you feel that Parkett, with its editorial line, has a mission? And -if so- which one?
Lorenzo: The mission is to bring music to the people, but not only music: all the background stories, the hidden meanings, the artist’s words, feelings and paths. Every piece we write is a window on a specific microcosmos, and we try to make it understandable for everyone.
Andrea: Parkett's mission is to inform and intrigue.
Dante: I feel that our mission is to convey the message of the electronic music culture to the people that may think that ‘electronic music is only about partying or raving’. We would like to show that this is a movement based on big social and cultural pillars.
Carmela: I believe that Parkett was born to let the protagonists tell the story of the Club Culture. Over time we have given voice to many Italian realities, to big and small establishments from north to south. In the same way we have also paid attention to young Italian and non-Italian artists, because it’s right to focus on young talents.
Nicola: There is always a mission behind human work. Ours is to try and spread the quality of our contents and the music we like best. But we are also very attentive to what concerns everyone and touches us very closely, such as the environment and human/social rights.
-What does the word ‘Underground’ -in relation to music- means to you?
Lorenzo: Something dark, sweaty, lurking below the filth of nowadays mainstream music… Ok, maybe that was a bit exaggerated haha. Basically, I think it’s a way of looking at things, a philosophy that leads someone to ask him/herself ‘why’ or ‘what’s behind’ a certain thing.
Andrea: Underground means thinking outside the box and learning to let go; the opposite of mainstream. We all need more ‘underground stuff’ in our life. We should stop wanting to be like the others.
Dante: I like to think that the ‘Underground’ embodies the foundations. Each culture, subculture or movement has an underground beginning and knowing its inception is also an opportunity to get in contact with its roots. It may not always taste/look/sound good, but it’s always a fantastic opportunity for the personal and cultural growth.
Carmela: I think that the word ‘Underground’ has really been associated with everything lately, often even inappropriately. For me Underground could be the music ‘understood’ by a few and intended only for those who can look beyond the trends.
Nicola: For me the Underground is a way of being, an attitude. Music-wise it means the rejection of conventions, the experimentation of sounds and techniques, the distribution and recording channels. Everything can be considered Underground, yet without lowering the quality of the products.
-How do you develop your musical research? What’s your ‘go to’ medium when you search for new music/artists/scenes?
Lorenzo: I think that the social media are a great way to find new artists, tracks and labels. Sometimes you don’t even have to look for them, they come to you with ads. But in the past it was different and now I’m gonna say something really ‘politically incorrect’: downloading tracks with eMule or LimeWire had its perks! Sometimes the tracks you downloaded were ripped directly from compilations or vinyl LPs. If you were curious you would search for that compilation (eg. the first time I downloaded Axwell’s ‘Feel The Vibe’ the song was ripped from ‘Ministry Of Sound: Running Trax Marathon’ compilation), and that would lead you to discover new music. Whether you like it or not, sometimes it happened like this! Haha.
Andrea: I’m looking for new music every day in any way, buying vinyl, CDs, cassettes; opening Spotify and listening to random artists; reading international music news; going outside to discover new scenes.
Dante: As I said before everything starts with a Web based research: could be a video could be a music streaming platform. I start from my favourite artists and I keep an eye on the suggested ones. Step by step I start to deep dive into the genre, the artist via her/his bio and social media, because I am very curious about the musical and artistic influences thy had. This may be a trigger to an infinite loop but it’s worth the trip!
Carmela: Let's say I'm a huge Bandcamp fan and I spend a lot of time on it. However, I receive the best news via e-mail, also because my job at Parkett is precisely to agree and work on the premieres and new releases.
Nicola: I often let the my music streaming platforms run casually, but I still prefer word of mouth. Talking to people about music and discovering their passions about new trends and new genres is still the engine of my music research.
-Can you describe a typical day at the Parkett’s newsroom?
Lorenzo: Each day is different, there’s no routine. What changes is the amount of news: sometimes everybody is busy doing something and the homepage is flooded by new contents, some others you might have to wait a couple of days or even create the content by yourself for example by issuing or re-issuing a feature (a focus on Italian artists, a cycle of interviews to promoters or club owners and so on…). Sometimes you get even interviewed! Haha. Moreover, there’s plenty of autonomy: If I want to do something because I like it and the project fits the Parkett editorial line, then I can do it.
Andrea: Looking for music, news and full of excitement to talk about your new discoveries to your fellow colleagues.
Dante: Our newsroom is a dynamic environment composed of a main room and other sub rooms with the ‘specialists’ in some peculiar category (news, interviews, etc) but at the same time our group is very flexible. Everybody could raise the hand and propose new contents or develop something independently that should be following our mission and target. Eventually there is a good mutual exchange and we try to keep and attend some web calls, waiting for a reunion as soon as it’ll be possible.
Carmela: : I have to say that our newsroom doesn’t have a physical location but we are well connected through facebook and virtual rooms. In the morning, I and the other board members discuss the contents to be assigned. Then I contact the boys and assign the news to write. It might seem like a simple routine, but everything is kept in the close bond that is created between collaborators through dialogue and discussion.
Nicola: Everyone thinks that we have some headquarters but the truth is we’ve been smart working even before it became a widespread, necessary practice. We come from all over Italy and there are some others also live abroad. My desk is everywhere, that of my room, a lawn in a park, a coffee table. It depends where I get the inspiration.
-What’s on your desk on a normal day?
Lorenzo: A coffee, my computer, lots of to do lists, the e-mail page open and the main music newspapers. Then maybe some articles to finish or to retouch.
Andrea: Turntable, headphones, a book and the computer to write something interesting.
Dante: First, a good cup of coffee! We usually share internally updates and news from the world of electronic music. Then we decide what to bring to our readers’ attention.
We’re free to develop our interests and bring our personal style in some more dedicated contents. For example talking about the development of an Electronic and Underground culture from the world, talking about how Electronic Music and visual performances can mash up and so on. Now I am working on some new music and looking forward for some interesting updates from the World. Artists are in a very productive mood I would say so it’s fun to discover what’s new.
Carmela: On my desk I never miss a calendar with all my WIP, a good cup of coffee and ‘Selected Ambient Works 85–92’ by Aphex Twin. It is the perfect sound journey to accompany my working days.
-Tell us what’s been your best working experience so far at Parkett and why.
Lorenzo: Well, there’s a couple of contents I’ve been able to work on that were really amazing: the interview with Gaetano Parisio, a Neapolitan Techno icon that wrote electronic music’s history with his records, and the interview with Dennis Cruz (my first real interview) which had a big success on social media and gave me many followers from Colombia and Brazil haha.
Andrea: My favourite experience at Parkett is when I interviewed an artist for the first time: it is amazing to listen to and share feelings with somebody who speaks your same language.
Dante: Other than writing news I also happen to do interviews. Before the pandemic breakout I had the chance to interview Worakls. It’s been my first one so you can imagine how much I was thrilled to ask anything to an artist like him. I tried to keep calm, then my curiosity led me to go in depth: I wanted to understand which has been the ‘trigger point’ that pushed him to evolve from a pure classical background to an electronic evolution and I felt really close to him because I basically did the same myself. At that time he was touring around Europe with an orchestra and I was curious to know how, from his perspective, electronic music could match classical sounds. For example, It’s been successfully brought up by artists like Jean Michel Jarre, Jeff Mills and Francesco Tristano but now it seems like we are seeing the birth of a new trend. This interview with Worakls taught me a very important lesson: learning something about the origin of the artists while listening to their work is crucial. Every single event in their life influences their performances and their productions and with a focused and respectful listening you can catch it!
Carmela: There are two things I will never forget that happened thanks to Parkett. The first is the interview I did with Dave Clarke, my all time favourite artist. The second one is a project that Parkett created in collaboration with a Tuscan organisation. The project was called ‘Tell Me Aboundless’ and in each episode, conducted by me, an artist from the Italian scene was interviewed before one of his DJ sets. Everything was captured on cameras and posted online. It was incredible to get to know the artists so closely and it was also my first experience in front of the cameras. I will never forget it.
Nicola: My best experience was definitely when I interviewed Mark Broom. I had the opportunity to exchange a few words with one of the best English techno producers who was very helpful and sincere. Although I am very attached to the article I wrote in favour of the release of the Palestinian DJ Sama ‘Abdulhadi, who was unjustly incarcerated for the only reason of having played music. I hope her actions helped to create a public debate and, of course, that she’ll be released.
-Has the pandemic, in any way/shape or form, changed your way of communicating/writing about music?
Lorenzo: To be honest, the only thing I feel has really changed is the way in which people approach music. Communication and writing is clearly influenced by the environment and your feelings when you do it. If you’re scared about something you’ll write scary or worried things; if you’re feeling blue, you’ll write melancholic words. I basically tried to stay neutral and to keep the Parkett’s environment in a bubble, acting as the pandemic never happened and everything was still normal. I’d say that something in the way people communicates about music has changed but the people’s positivity is still present and this reflects in the way they talk about the future, and that’s the same for me!
Andrea: People have less and less desire to read and to invest time in demanding activities: in my articles I try to be concise and direct to get to the point and not to bore the readers.
Dante: Well, I feel the pandemic didn’t change that much the way of communicating but the type of content we had to work on. During the first lockdown everybody has been quite shocked by the cancellation of events, venues and festivals so it has been psychologically hard to often deal with ‘cancellation/rescheduling’ news. But even in tough moments we know that we should keep up the good works and see the silver lining, when possible. I think that the pandemic impacted dramatically the artist’s creativity: spending more time at home or in the studio gave em the chance to produce new songs, albums and even visual arts. Anyway, we missed live performances a lot, yet we had the opportunity to follow live streams. At Parkett we hosted artists with our featured stream show called ‘Homework’, which helped to feel less isolated. We were not under the same roof but we had a different way of sharing our feelings during a good live show.
Carmela: Unfortunately yes, even if in some ways for the better. I used to go clubbing every weekend before the pandemic, traveling all around Italy! But unfortunately I haven’t had a proper club night since July2020 and it feels like an eternity. However, during the pandemic, I tripled my vinyl purchasing activity which resulted in growing a collection that I am very proud of. The pandemic have changed the way music and events are experienced. It’s different to write about a record that you listened to in your room on YouTube, compared to writing about something that you have actually listened to inside a club, feeling its sonic impact on your skin. I believe that it will take time before we’ll be able to dance safely again and it’ll surely be different. Many people will have left the scene, there will be a generational change and, well… looking at younger generation’s attitude I don’t think it’s good. Come on… I'm just kidding. We are ready to welcome everyone back on the dancefloor as soon as possible.
Nicola: Honestly no, the quarantine made me listen to a lot more music but the style remained unchanged. What is certain is that now if we talk about an event or interview an artist, the question about the COVID is present, as in the case of this interview.
-An future projects you want to share with us? What’s cooking in the Parkett’s kitchen?
Lorenzo: I keep on working on some projects: most of em are interviews with some really influential artists of the House music scene. Actually I’m a bit mysterious about things I’m involved in, just wait and see!
Andrea: I keep my own rubric called ‘Preludio’. With it I introduce artists through words, images and music. In the first two issues I talked about DARKSIDE and MOBY, but get ready for a bright future full of surprises.
Dante: Just stay tuned and feel free to reach us! Is important to have a feedback from you guys and interact with all the people that share our same passion for electronic music.
Carmela: May was a very busy month. We have hosted many premieres of established labels in the Techno and House music scene. We have a lot of interesting contents that we will present in the coming months. Interviews, editorials and of course tracks in absolute preview. I don't mention names, out of superstition, but we assure you they’re some of the best, as always.
Nicola: Keep following us!
-Thanks for sitting with us on the AM couch. It’s been delightful to have you here for what has surely been one of our most entertaining interviews. Thanks for your time!
Lorenzo: Your couch was the most comfortable I’ve ever sit on. Thanks to you for your kindness!
Andrea: Thanks to you, it was a pleasure to talk to you about music. See you soon!
Dante: Thank you, guys for hosting the Parkett family! I have really enjoyed this interview with you and I look forward to meet and see you soon!
Carmela: Thank you. It was a real pleasure to be on the other side for once!
Nicola: Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to express myself.
- December 1, 2023
- November 28, 2023