Every so often, there's a performer who captivates the crowd by channeling multiple genres while shifting the conservative bounds of sound. Spada, aka Ermanno Spadati, is an Italian producer and DJ who amassed over 100,000,000 streams worldwide. He’s etched out a global footprint from his home base in Prague with past performances across Europe, Asia, and America.
Initially, his sights were set on becoming a pharmacist. However, Spada relinquished his studies in his final year of school to follow his dreams of becoming a musician. His style sits at a crossroads between progressive house and melodic techno.
With releases on labels such as Anjunabeats, Diynamic, Spinnin, and Armada, Spada traverses the musical realm yet prefers to stay an independent artist. He draws inspiration from the melancholy elements of nature. The snow and rain become motifs for rolling melodies.
Currently, Spada is fusing the vocals from the electroclash era with a canorous beat to bring the two worlds he loves together.
Can you elaborate on when you decided to pursue music full-time?
I was a student at a pharmacy university in Italy. I remember that I was always thinking about writing melodies instead of studying. So I wrote some songs with my first personal computer and uploaded those into MySpace, and after some time, I got requests to sign some of my unreleased tracks from vinyl labels in Germany. That moment I realized I should follow this call and spread more of the music I do and not stay behind a desk selling pharmacy products. So I decided to quit university (I was missing only eight exams, four of the five years) to dedicate myself to creating music and following my inspirations.
What inspired you to differentiate yourself by fusing various genres and styles of music?
I started listening to electro-clash music, which is the kind of neo-pop, electro-pop developed after Kraftwerk and became popular during the early 2000s with bands like Crystal Castles, Fischerspooner, Quarks, Miss Kittin, and The Hacker. Then after a few years, I discovered progressive house and techno, thanks to DJs like Sasha and John Digweed, Richie Hawtin, and James Holden. So now I'm doing a mix of the two things, getting the indie vocals side from the electroclash era, and the techno melodic beats from the DJs that influenced me.
How did you end up in Prague?
Initially, I decided to move here because Klara, my girlfriend, is half Czech, we were deciding whether to move immediately to Germany or another closer country. In the end, we decided to move to Prague, and we never left after we realized it’s a very good country to live in with so many good and working services, artistic activities, and places to go.
How has the city of Prague embraced you as a citizen and musician, and what sounds are you expecting to trend there in the future?
I am Italian, but I moved to Prague in 2016 because I knew I would find more inspiration. The area is promising because it's very close to Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, Munich, Wroclaw, Krakow, Wien, and so on. It is like living in the center of techno capitals, and this is perfect for clubbing anytime, any day of the year.
Can you tell us about Anjunadeep and how you started working with them?
I remember I was first approached by them in 2014. They contacted me several times asking for unsigned music. At that time, I was under an exclusive agreement with another label that didn't want me to sign my records elsewhere. This period helped me to realize even more that I don't have to give anybody else the possibility to decide for my music in the future. So once the deal expired, I came back to them in 2020, showing them "Part Of Me," and they liked it immediately.
What is your musical philosophy?
I like the motto of Diynamic's records. "Do it by yourself.'' I think I have the same feelings. I couldn't say it better. As long as it is made by yourself, it is good.
What communities have you been a part of which led to your success?
I'm still considering myself an independent artist and not particularly in need of a company behind me or management right now. I write the music I produce. If anything is happening, it means I am doing it right. If requests no longer arrive, I will just keep it going the same because this is the music I do. Maybe it's more difficult to do it all by yourself, less time focusing on everything, a bit slow to process all the music and events requests I deal with by myself, but in the end, I like it. It's part of my "job."
A few of your records contain topics on longing and heartbreak. Is the topic directed to a particular individual, or are you speaking conceptually?
No, it's more generic. I like people who can identify themself in these background stories. I like to bring messages.
What are some of your favorite festivals to play at?
I have not one in particular, but one time, many, many years ago, I played in a small one called Magneet Festival north of Amsterdam, and I liked the concept. I think it's similar to the concept of Burning Man. Just a smaller audience for sure, but the same kind of festivals, with so many different tents and many hippies. It reminds me a little bit of Goa, the small village in India.
Do you have any dream destinations you would like to perform at?
I would like to play in the US again soon. I see the clubbing scene is growing fast, with more techno and melodic scenes now. I would like to play in Russia and China as well.
What are some of your hobbies outside music, and how have they influenced your art?
I like wine tasting in vineyards, walking alone in the woods, and hiking alone in the mountains. I like cold weather, rainy and snowy days, which inspire me the most.
When you create music, do you prefer to do it on the road or in a studio?
I live in a small flat, and I produce in my bedroom, my studio is the bedroom. I couldn't have a studio so far from my place. So I need the computer just immediately next to the bed, sleeping on it. When I wake up, the first thing I do is press the on button, then coffee. Then I open my eyes.
In terms of being a well-known Italian DJ, do you have any messages for the youth of your home country?
Don’t just focus on influencers. Try to discover more musical genres. Look to the past of the electronic music scene, back in the ‘90s and 00's. Maybe that will open the doors to new music genres.
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