Italian Dub - Interview with DJ Filippo Calvenzi

12 Feb 2021

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DJ Filippo at the Sramanora waterfall party koh phangan

DJ Filippo Calvenzi professionally started his career in Milan back in 1994 performing for all the main Clubs of the city. 
In 1996 he moved to London.
Here he spent the following 3 years tracking and scouting the unstoppable river of unreleased and unlicensed vinyl flowing in Sohos veins at the time. In the late nineties he switched from Black Soul-full Garage into the Dub Side of House music. 
Around 2000 Filippo was co-organizing on the on-going project "La Maison” as well as resident Dj.
Since 2003 he has permanently resided on Koh Phangan in Thailand. Co-resident Dj for Sramanora waterfall party and guest on many of Phangan's main events such as Backyard, the Full Moon after-party.
He is presently blending a very conservative and traditional Housey component with Fresh Groovy uplifting Techno influences. 

Hi Filippo. Thank you for making this interview with us.
How and when did you decide to become a DJ?
I have to say that one of the defining moments of my life happened on Ibiza. 
It was the time when I discovered House music and the Club scene. It was 1991 and the song of the summer was Robin S - Show me love (this could be the start of a good novel). 
I remember that I moved in and out amnesia and space for 12 days in a row, till my flight back to Italy. Useless to say, I had new interests once back in Italy. 
DJ Filippo Calvenzi at Sramanora waterfall partyI think early nineties were the golden age of this phenomenon. The media weren't aware of this new lifestyle, the society wasn't aware and through-out any party there was a feeling of being a part of something new, with a fairytale backtaste, that had the power of bringing people together no matter where they came from. 
I bought my first Technics turntable (it took me a while because it used to be a very expensive tool). 
I started to play and buy records (during the few days a week I wasn't partying around the country) until I got my first gig in an important after-party in Milan. 
Worst night of my life!!!! 
I was still young (it was 1994) and inexperienced and I played after Pro’s. 
A nightmare!!! At a certain point the turntable even started to spin backwards!!! 
I will never forget the embarrassment but I believe that in a "semi-professional" career you need these kinds of moments.
What is your style of music and where do you find inspiration? 
I have always been hanging around House venues. 
House Clubs and House after-parties strictly connected with the experience of Sound factory NY and the gay scene in general. 
DJ Filippo at the Sramanora party on Koh PhanganI would say I still love to play House but the years on Phangan have pushed a lot of electronic sounds into my style which I wasn't feeling was my own sound before. 
Trance music had a strong impact on me as well and I would say not on me only. It rubbed of on many producers too. The genres have been crossing over quite much in the past few years and the producers seemed to find that interesting.
The roots of the music I love can be traced in Afro American music of the '60 and '70. 
Africa is the Motherland. 
The Tribalistic aspect of House music. It is of utter importance. The ritual hasn't changed with the millennia it just adapted itself to modern times. We, as humans, still feel the need of gathering and dance the whole night away around a fire. Like under a strobe light, we are trying to reach a higher state of consciousness, to get closer to the stars. 
By partying, I think, we walk in our ancestors footprints. This ritual that was existing before electricity and walls.
DJ filippo at Sramanora waterfall partyWhich projects were you involved in before arriving to KP?
I played in Clubs in Milan for about 9 or 10 years before moving here to work with the “La Maison” project. We were organizing a one night event here. 
Then I moved to London in 1996. I lived there for about 3 years. My job was to find records that were going to be hits, promos, test pressings, acetates. Buy them and send them to Djs all around Italy. 
Basically I was spending the all day moving from one shop to another listening to all the music daily released. I would say that back then London was the centre of anything that was happening in the musical field (and not only). 
There was no Berlin yet, or at least it had a specific identity not connected with the rest of the scene, so everyone were in London making records, playing and singing. 
I really felt like that was the place to be if your life was about music.
How did you feel when arrived to Koh Phangan the first time?
I came to Phangan first time in 97 on a holiday and I fell in love with the freedom and wilderness. 
The island was really crazy back then. 
Haadrin was the only place populated basically. No roads almost and the population was really of a kind. 
I will never forget the first Full Moon parties in the old Vinyl. The most hardcore people I have ever seen!!!! Everybody was like that, no compromises. No half way. Extreme!!!!. 
If I have to spot the difference between then and now, I would say the people. I mean the Falangs. No book or movie could narrate the actions or the personal background of the original Phangan’ers( PhangaNISTER .. EDITOR. ;o). 

DJ Filippo Calvenzi at the Sramanora waterfall party on Koh Phangan

That’s what I fell in love with, the exceptionality of the characters around. Of course the music was defining too with really good Djs and Producers from everywhere. 
That's when I first discovered Psy trance.
What do you think about the Koh Phangan music scene compared to other places?
I think that there is no place on earth like Phangan for parties! The island was born on parties, has been chosen for it. It is in its DNA and it is something that cannot be cancelled! 
People travel here with the intention of getting wild and what better place than a jungle full of sounds?
In clubs through the world you have to play according to the rules of the westernized society. 
Not here. You can really let yourself go. 
Ok maybe sometimes too much but that s still freedom! 
That's what makes it great here!!
DJ Filippo Calvenzi playing at the backyard - The Fullmoon afterparty

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