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Artist Spotlight

Mar 9, 2023

Photo of Michela Iosipov

Michela Iosipov

6 min read

If you’re on the prowl for dynamic music curated by an artist who intrepidly incorporates nouveau elements into their work, then you’re in luck - we’ve got a perfect talent. His name rolls off your tongue, his energy propels you to vibe with him, the flow he unleashes sets your feet in motion, and his music makes you want to look over at your friend and mouth to them, “that was mental.” Rossi’s name is as catchy as his groove.

Minimal house is a subgenre where it’s debatably easy to clip into repetition and fall on tired tropes. Yet, Rossi is adept at weaving together carefully crafted components to make his sound distinct. He has us hooked—whether through his clever use of intricate layers, basslines, minor changes in synths, or tasty drum switches.

Rossi is one of the genre’s few leading names who maintains his singularity and stays ahead of the curve. He says that’s partly due to his philosophy on writing music.

“Use the memory of a moment. There’s a track I have called “In Village.” I based the whole song off a set I saw of Rich NxT, in Village Underground at Fuse.” he says. “I went home that night, straight after the set, and used all the feelings I had of the basslines he was using, all the drums, and put it all into a track. It became one of my best tracks.”

Rossi insists that storytelling is paramount in his process. Encountering new people, exploring unfamiliar locales, discovering novel experiences, and immersing himself in diverse cultures have all been flashpoints for the stories he weaves into his music.

Performance has long been a part of Rossi’s life. From age eight to 19, he was an actor. “I starred in musicals in the Westend in London, I was in Mary Poppins, Les Misérables, Oliver Twist, at a professional level at a young age. The DJing started coming in when I found myself unemployed as an actor,” he remembers. “I was always the kid with loads of tunes, and I think from being in musical theater, I got a love for music in that sense.” Rossi made an impressive transition from one highly competitive and cutthroat performance career to another.

Rossi’s early career set the tone for his go-getter personality. Every goal he set for himself, he made happen. After checking playing a set in public off his list, a friend told him about producing, leading him to hop on Ableton and make a track that got released.

“I never planned to be DJ, which is probably why I ended up doing it because I think if you do the things you love, you will usually start to become somewhat successful in it and you never work a day in your life in the end,” he says. He was still a teenager when Jamie Jones rinsed one of his tunes at Kappa Futur Festival in Italy, and then things began to snowball.

During his first two years, he quickly established himself in the London club scene, performing regularly at venues like Ministry of Sound, CargoLightbox, and Basing House. In 2019, he had two releases, "Paradise" and "kerithym," roar to number one on Beatport’s minimal and deep tech charts in two months. One year later, Checkpoint spurred DJ Mag tagged him in their Artists to Watch for 2020. Along the way, he released with tastemaking labels like FUSENo Art, and Eastenderz.

In 2022 his wicked four-track Welcome EP, released on his Homegrown imprint, left the minimal house community awestruck and pressing the replay button. His label was yet another way Rossi used narrative to convey a message.

Initially, Homegrown was a radio show featuring Rossi and friends playing DJ mixes. Rossi was keen on the idea that an artist’s music was a product of their environment, and he made their story a part of introducing their mix. The need to dive deep into every artist’s story shaped the homegrown ethos of his record label.

“I didn’t want to limit it to one style on the show, I was obsessed with the idea of listening to people’s influences, and how they make music, everything they listen to, the food they eat, the television they watch, all those things add up to who you are as an artist, whether you realize it or not.”

He shared via Homegrown’s Instagram page that choosing to start a label was part of his overarching narrative. “I’ve started to learn about cultures and how people work, I’m obsessed with the world in that sense, and that’s why I love my job because I get to travel the world and see it as a worldwide experiment, I’m fascinated by people and I think that’s why I wanted to be an actor. It makes it a personal thing if you call it Homegrown because it’s about that person and what impression they want to make on you.”

Given Rossi’s affinity for storytelling, we inquired about the artwork for his Welcome EP. He and his friends brainstormed an idea that would complement the EP’s lead track, “DJ LOVER,” resulting in a drawing of a charming DJ surrounded by hearts, with a girl gazing at him in adoration. Hence the artwork featuring cartoon hearts scattered around the cigar-smoking DJ, giving the image a playful, whimsical vibe. Following that theme, Rossi recently released his follow-up EP, I’ve Been Waiting. It features more melodic elements and highlights Rossi’s growth and maturity in his sound. The artwork features a woman sitting with a deck of cards in her hands, her solemn longing gaze fixed on the door. Upon closer inspection, you can spot the character from the Welcome EP featured on the cards in her hand. The connection is understated but striking, providing a subtle yet powerful nod to the EP’s theme. 

I’ve Been Waiting also has a vinyl edition made using an eco-mix. Each record is sustainably manufactured using materials from recycled discs. The unique process means that each record also stands as a unique piece of art, a one-of-one, kind of like Rossi’s sound and personality.

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