At the beginning of the year 2015 the Italian cult label "Vibraphone Records" has announced reissues of their complete catalogue and new stuff as well.
In the meantime their first reissue, the Bermuda Triangle EP (VIBR001) has been released (and even already been repressed!) and a new reissue of "Minimal Vision" is in the pipeline to be released in December 2015 on a limited 12" in light blue vinyl. Things are running fine for Vibraphone.
We had the pleasure to talk with Stefano Curti, member of the Vibraphone Records crew.
Hi and thanks for your time. Let's talk about your beginnings. Your first release on Vibraphone is from 1992, in the meantime 23 years ago (!). Can you tell us a lil bit about your history, about the foundation of "Vibraphone Records", who were the members and how did you get to know each other?
Stefano Curti: The original members of THE TRUE UNDERGROUND SOUND OF ROME, (The production team behind all the VIBRAPHONE RECORDS) are Stefano Curti, Mauro Tannino, Stefano Di Carlo, Mauro Ruvolo. Unfortunately Mauro Tannino died in a parachuting accident in August 2000.
scroll over the photos with your mouse to get more info and click to enlarge. additional info: the left photo was taken by a local very influential newspaper from Rome called "La Repubblica". It was taken 1993 in a Rome suburban district called "LABARO" where the Vibraphone crew used to have their studio which basically was a room in a friend's house...
Stefano Curti: In the late 80's, early 90's I used to live in London but since I'm originally from Rome I used to go back home on a regular base to see friends and do things… In that period (we are talking late 80's early 90’s) I was involved with electronic and industrial music but I was also listening to Detroit and Chicago house music, although I wasn’t making this kind of music.
I was beginning to feel that I wanted to make something like this since it was for me another form of electronic music... so one time that I was in Rome I asked some friends if they knew anybody interested in doing something like this and this is how I met Mauro Tannino that was a DJ. Mauro than introduced me to Stefano Di Carlo (musician) and Stefano introduced us to Mauro Ruvolo (musician)... and VIBRAPHONE RECORDS was born...
embedded from youtube.com
For the young peeps it's probably very hard to think of a time without an internet like today with he possibility of checking almost every existing record and connecting with other people worldwide and to discover new things that easy. Back in the (analog) days, how did you come to "House Music"?
Stefano Curti: Personally it was a progression from doing electronic music, Mauro Tannino and Stefano Di Carlo were already doing house music and Mauro Ruvolo - although at that time he was a rock musician - he also was getting involved with the new emerging dance culture and we were impressed with his original musical talent...
Which artists, labels or clubs were your influences?
Stefano Curti: Everything coming out of Detroit and Chicago but also things like Ennio Morricone, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Pink Floyd, DUB, Brian Eno... Clubs, there was a great club in Rome called EURITMIA/DEVOTION... we all used to go there and dance all night long great music and great people... and the Ministry of Sound in London which at the beginning was really a cool place...
What are your musical roots?
Stefano Curti: Me, from classical music to rock to dub to electronic, jazz and world music. Mauro Tannino and Stefano Di Carlo house and dance music in general, Mauro Ruvolo rock, electronic and jazz.
Today's digital technology makes it much more easier for newbies to start producing and recording music. Although there is still a demand for analog equipment. What equipment did and do you use in your studio?
Stefano Curti: We had only a few but "essential" instruments:
Roland 909 drum machine, Roland 808 drum machine, Roland TB 303 bass line, Roland Juno 106, Oberheim Matrix 6 rack, 1 Akai 950 sampler, 1 Akai 1000 sampler, Korg M1 and a Yamaha TG 33 rack. And a Fostex 12 channel mixer. The first ¾ records were mastered on Revox A77 real to real tape recorder and after we bought a Teac dat.
What's your opinion regarding the "digital vs analog" topic?
Stefano Curti: We like them both for different reasons and for different occasions/needs we used them equally...
If a beginner asked you for device regarding equipment with the aim to produce proper deep house, what could you recommend? Is there maybe a solid basic configuration of equipment that you could recommend to start with?
Stefano Curti: I think this is a very subjective decision to take but I will probably advice to find a balance between analog and digital. Meaning some real vintage analog keyboards and drum machine but also some of the more modern instruments and software... keeping in mind that the most important things are the musician head sensibility and taste.
How important do you rate the classical musical skills (like playing an instrument at a high level or having a classical musical education) to become a good deep house producer?
Stefano Curti: They are not a must but if there can be very usefuf, at the same time we think the most important thing for a house music producer is passion and the capacity to understand dance floor dimensions and personalize the use of their equipment.
embedded from soundcloud.com
You had seven vinyl-releases between 1992 and 1993 on Vibraphone, then it suddenly stopped. What has happened, what was the reason? Did the members of Vibraphone continue with music after 1993, maybe in other projects or on other labels?
Stefano Curti: Different reasons, some financial (there was not enough money to survive) and some artistic.
Me and Mauro Ruvolo developed a new music project called Bio Muse, Mauro Tannino and Stefano Di Carlo launched another label called Synthetic and they were doing progressive House. But in retrospective we all agree that we were all sad about stopping Vibraphone and that we should have gone on... so we are now very happy about re-launching this project which is part of our history.
In which quantities did you press your 12"es back in the days? Let's take the original Bermuda Triangle 12" (UCP 004) for example, how many copies exists?
Stefano Curti: I think we pressed 2.000 copies of the original 1992 release. We are not so sure how many copies of the original version still exist, as a matter of fact we don’t even own a copy ourselves… :-(
23 years after the release of the Bermuda Triangle EP you have re-released it. One could say, that's a real comeback :-)
Stefano Curti: The new THE BERMUDA TRIANLE (1992-2015) came out on July 22nd 2015 and it's doing very well for a double vinyl EP actually better than the original and we are already doing a second repress.
How and when did you realise that your "old" records are so much in demand nowadays and how came it to the decision for a repress?
Stefano Curti: A year or two ago thanks to some friends that kept telling us that there was a cult following for VIBRAPHONE of which we were not aware of...
I want to thank my FB friend Suthan Logan from Sweden which was extremely helpful in finding a new distribution deal. In fact it was him that put us in contact with Juno Records.
By the way, you are re-releasing your complete Vibraphone backstock? Which release is planned after the Bermuda-Triangle? And you are also working on new tracks?
Stefano Curti: Yes, we will be re-releasing all of our old catalogue first on vinyl and later on, towards the second half of 2016, we are thinking about a collector item cd box set that will include all of our discography plus a DVD with some visual and a fully illustrated booklet with our history. We will also release some new material. In fact we are at the moment working on some new tracks for a future publication made of all new tracks.
Thanks a lot for your answers and we wish you all the best for the future.
Stefano Curti: Thanks for this interview and to all our fans out there. We will not be coming back if it wasn't for your warm support...
More Infos about Vibraphone Records at:
https://www.facebook.com/Vibraphonerecords (Vibraphone Records at Facebook)
https://soundcloud.com/vibraphone-records-uk (Vibraphone Records at Soundcloud)
http://www.discogs.com/label/10403-Vibraphone-Records (Vibraphone Records at discogs.com)