In a time of universal mediocrity, an obsession with quality is a revolutionary act. A man of the same sentiment, Chez Damier, lit the fire in me with an introduction to the music of Italian producer, DJ, copious collector and coolhunter that goes by the curious name I-Robots. “I’m so encouraged by I-Robots,” Chez told me. “With his knowledge of electronic music and Italian music, he’s an historian. He has a great future and every time I see him I walk away feeling so inspired.”
Chez and I-Robots recently contributed to the project to remix the great pioneer Giorgio Moroder’s “E=MC2” on MB Disco Records, and this was the jumping off point to get to know him…
I’m a huge fan of Moroder. Can you tell me about the “E=MC2” project? Did you get the original parts for the remix package?
After I released The Units’ “Connections” remixes/re-edits/re-works project (which was 65 tracks, more than 40 remixers from more than 15 countries on my Opilec Music label), MB Disco contacted me to create a team of “Italo remixers” to rework the Moroder classic “E=MC2”. Because of the Italian origins of Giorgio, it was easy for me to contact my close friends/remixers/artists who participated in the release.
Then, yes, we received and used the original parts of it to produce the remixes and I think I will save them forever!
I think works from people like Moroder are often written “out of the script” when we talk about the “roots” of House Music. People know his Disco work but things like his soundtracks (“The Chase”, etc) were hugely influential. As he went through so many incarnations, do you have a favorite “Moroder sound”?
I’m a DJ & record collector and I love to select tracks from different artists and from their albums, EPs and singles. I’m strongly fascinated by artists like John Carpenter, Vangelis, Brian Eno, Klaus Schulze, etc… so you can see I’m much more interested in Moroder’s Disco tracks. My favorites are “The Chase”, “From Here To Eternity”, Utopia: “Me Giorgio”, “Knights In White Satin”, “Evolution”, Munich Machine: “Get On The Funk Train”, Donna Summer: “I Feel Love” (Patrick Cowley Remix)…
I’m a big hazy on the details of the release. There’s one package out now and as I understand it there’s a secondary set of mixes featuring Chez Damier? How did you guys meet up initially?
I got Chez involved to rework “E=MC2” and MB Disco immediately agreed to have his remix on that track.
I’m the DJ and producer of the “Movement Torino Music Festival” compilations. In April 2011, after I included the Balance cult tune “Forever Monna” by Chez & Stacey Pullen in the 2006-2010 Fifth Anniversary Edition, one of the bosses of the festival arrived at my home with Chez, since he wanted to show him my huge 30,000 piece record collection. From that time on, we started our friendship.
Last October 2011, we met again here in Torino for the 2011 edition of the festival and we planned the start of our collaboration on Balance Alliance.
I don’t know if I’ve seen it explained anywhere how you took the name “I-Robots”?
“I-Robots” is a combination of some of my passions and life interests, and not only in relation to music. Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved Japanese manga and anime as well as “Chogokin” and I am still into collecting them.
Of course I’m a big fan of pre- and post-Asimov etymology, begun in 1917 by writer and cubist painter Josef Capek, whose brother Karel was the man who is supposed to have invented the term “robot” that originally meant “servant”.All of this is included in my I-Robots: Laws of Robotics project.
I’m also a record collector and I love the electronic music from the ’70s so the I-Robots concept also included the early drum machines, the synths, and the computers as robots and the Italo disco producers as cyborgs who in the early ’80s were at the epic edge of our Disco movement that really inspired the worldwide club scene.
From my perspective here in Chicago, there’s just a ton of fantastic Deep House coming out from Italy lately, much of it undiscovered in North America. Do you have any pet theories on why this is? (Is it something cultural? Are there a couple of touchstone players who have evangelized the sound in Italy?)
We have a Deep House DJ history, of course, which started in the late ’80s. I have great respect for artists from that era (who are actually my friends) like Claudio Coccoluto, Flavio Vecchi, Marco Dionigi, Bruno Bolla, Luca “LTJ Experience” Trevisi, Alex Neri, Don Carlos…
We have a rich number of talented producers actually from House to Techno. This is also why my label has a large number of Italo artists and my last compilation, I-Robots presents: We Are Opilec…! is an example of this.