Undercatt is an Italian duo consisting of Luca Luperini & Elia Crecchi. The latest house music darlings at Solomun’s Diynamic label, the boys make the sort of intricate fare that’s indicative of their lengthy stint thus far in the production game. Natives of Tuscany, the guys recently released the brilliant Duologue EP alongside fellow Diynamic boys Roberto Calzetta & Twin Soul. Whisper it, but much like Adriatique before them, we’re predicting big things for the latest Diynamic signings. Here, we mailed them for a quick chat as they talked Tuscany, Sonar and friendship…
Who were the both of you as artists before you united as one?
Before Undercatt started, we shared most of our experiences together in the underground scene. We were born and raised in Pisa, Tuscany, which is a pretty small city but always very active in terms of clubbing. We had our own collective throwing parties in different locations. We ran a club as promoters for 2 years, every weekend. Besides that, we were already DJing and growing our experience. We were separated as artists, but still very close as we are friends of many years.
Also in the studio, it was the same. We produced music by ourselves, but still confronting one to each other. Everything definitely changed when we made the decision to start producing music together and become a DJ duo. Best decision of our life!
How did the Undercatt name originate?
Oh it’s been a quite long process! And honestly, also a bit random. For some weeks we just started writing down names that we liked, some of them were very bad! At the end of that, we had a full page written with ideas, different names, or inputs. We wanted something with the “under(ground)” prefix in it, but still trying to make it special and unique. Something that would stand out, and most important to be unique. Mixing some other words with that, the CATT thing came out, from nowhere. We wrote it down several times to be sure, but we already knew that was our new identity in music. It felt cool and stuck on us immediately.
Luca, you first noticed Elia behind the decks as a 17-year-old boy. What did you see in him then?
Well at first, he was very tall! He was standing out in the crowd 🙂 Jokes apart, his passion and his skills while DJing, while being just a teenager. He was different and way more mature than his peers. Even with small experience, he already had a great view over the dancefloor, when he was playing he was in control. Then we became friends, he was pretty clear to me that all he wanted to be was a producer and DJ in his life. That was made him feel good. So I did my best to help him approach production, as I had already started with that.
Elia, how did you feel after you made this new connection with Luca?
I was excited. I finally found someone that could help me grow in the way I wanted. Being older, Luca already had experience in music production, with a few releases in the background. He was also running a small independent label, in the age of the Beatport boom. We are talking about 2007. So with his help, I could finally start to approach the basis of music production in the right way. I was already DJing for sometime and regularly playing in our local clubs but learning production and spending year after year on making it better, that’s what made the difference.
Did you two know early on in your relationship that you would be a combined duo in the near future?
Honestly no. We never imagined something like that at the time. In the very beginning, being 7 years apart, it felt like older and younger brothers, who helped each other, but still in different paths as artists. When we grew older, we shared more things and views in common, so that was a way more natural process. You just feel it when it’s time, if that happens.
What was it from melodic techno that drew you in to its sound?
When we started producing as Undercatt for our very first demos, we had just one rule: let’s just make music that we like, that comes out instinctively. We didn’t care what the trend of the moment was (melodic techno was just starting in 2014), we just wanted to produce music the way we liked. Even just for ourselves. We felt free, like never before, to experiment. Melodic ideas just came out very naturally, we both share the common view that a track or a song, even just made for the dance-floor, has to tell some kind of story or bring out your emotions. So melodies are key for that.
How did it feel to have your first release on one of the world’s leading labels in electronic music, Diynamic?
Unexpected, and exciting. In the beginning, we couldn’t even believe it. We were totally unknown as Undercatt when we sent out our first demos to Solomun. Also Diynamic at that time was more into the deep house sound. Our music was very different to what Diynamic was releasing at that time. So we didn’t expect that much, we just sent our demos to the generic demo address, like thousands of newcomers do. Why not, we had nothing to lose. When after a couple of weeks Solomun himself got back to us saying he was interested in our music, we were just in a mix of disbelief and joy. He started to play our music in every set he was doing, and not long after we met him face to face, and everything else started. It is and always will be a great story to tell, as the unexpected, with some luck and hard work, can definitely happen.
What track are you most proud of, and why?
Well, that’s for sure ‘Britannia’. We released that on the ‘Picture’ release on Diynamic in 2018 and has quickly become our most successful track to date. Proud because it perfectly represents the balance between melodies and grooves, our signature sound is all there. Proud also because wherever we go to play, as we mix Britannia in, people immediately recognize it as it would be our anthem. That’s the beauty in music as the universal language; Britannia has no lyrics, but still the melodies inspire emotions on many people of different cultures and backgrounds.
BRITANNIA (ORIGINAL MIX) – UNDERCATT
Your productions are amazing. For the music producers out there, what sort of software and hardware are you using? Tell us about the setup in the studio, and why it works for you.
We don’t use any hardware to create sounds, just software. As back in time we couldn’t afford expensive hardware synths, year after year we learned to master the best VST instruments out there, and to take 101% out of them. About melodies and basslines, we are big fans of u-he synthesizers and effects, instruments like DIVA, Re-Pro or Zebra are most times the core of our tracks. About grooves, we are into Machine or Battery, but still we sound design most of the pieces in our music.
Also, Elia is in Pisa and Luca in Roma, so just using software allows us to work separately on the same project, just sharing it between eachother. That would be impossible to do that with hardware gear. We also believe there’s no best solution for producing music, the best is just the one that’s working for you.
What is the purpose of your new label Notturna? Is there a certain concept created for it? Tell us a bit about it.
We feel Notturna is the beginning of the Undercatt 2nd chapter. We always wanted to run our label and shape it around us, doing it now was the right time. We started in October 2019, with the release of our new EP ‘Atlantico’. We consider Notturna as a platform to help newcomers to get their name out there. There’s a lot of good music still to be discovered. We immediately started to receive a lot of demos from great producers around the world, we will do our best to pick what we believe is hot. For 2020 we are also planning to start throwing our showcases around, but that’s still a work in progress.
Your Fusion Festival 2019 set is heavier than usual, and we love it. What was the reason for this? How often do you guys turn it up like that?
Fusion Festival is a true gem in the festival panorama of Europe. The vibe over there is something you need to experience to fully understand. Thousands of people go there to experience 4 days of non-stop music, detached from the everyday life. Our set took place on the main stage, and we started a few minutes before the sunrise, at 5:30 am. We just let our vibe go, without thinking that much, and that was the result. It’s been a great experience! It happens sometimes to go heavier, or more trippy, it truly depends of the situation we are in. Our sets are not prepared, we just do what we feel is right at the moment, to get a real connection with the people. It happens to play more heavier at festivals because of the big audiences, but that’s not a one-way rule. We enjoy both festivals and small intimate club parties. They are totally different, but we love to express ourselves in different ways. We believe the most important thing for DJ’s is to find the right way to connect with people and making them have great times, while you are having the same.
We are very excited to hear you guys play at our event. What can we expect from Undercatt at the Melbourne show?
A lot of new music to try out fresh! We are just working now on new tracks, so in February will be the perfect moment to try them on the dancefloor. Also, with the support of Notturna demos we regularly receive, we always have fresh music that needs to be tested. So Melbourne show would be special for sure, it’s happening in the right moment. We have been in Australia already and we loved the vibe over there. People are passionate, and we felt totally connected. We are sure this time it will happen again. We are truly excited to bring the Undercatt sound over there again!