It would be redundant to lament the over-saturation of under-produced soulful or chilled out house compilations on the market. Perhaps it is of surprise then to find a house DJ tucked within the pages of Fly
Reality is though, that Francesco Diaz is one of the DJs responsible for re-contextualizing house music out of the club and into the stereo, which is a feat easily taken for granted these days. While pushing music that was both fit for the living room, as also for the cocktail lounge, Diaz has been winning over jazzy and soulful house lovers for over a decade.
Having established himself in Ibiza and Scandinavia, 2005 has seen Diaz tour Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden and Estonia. Diaz has just released the next mix of his series, Exciting House for an Unforgettable Dinner, follow-up to …for a Spring Walk and …for a Glamorous Weekend in Milano.
Taking a break from producing his next single, ‘Life is Too Short to be Sad’ ft. Bonnie Ferrer, Francesco Diaz filled Fly’s Jeremy Balius in on the directions he would like to steer house music in.
In what ways is it important for you to redefine the context house music is listened to, whether that be in a club, a living room, or during dinner?
It is very important to me to capture the mood of each venue musically, to switch it around and to underline it. Since every title has its own distinct mood and produces different feelings with the listener — especially because every place has a different mood every day.
Much of what you do seems to revolve around DJing and compiling your mix albums. You have some productions but they are infrequent. Any particular reason why you are not producing more?
That’s right! Since I work for a record company during the day and DJ on the weekends, I’m not left with a lot of time for production. Especially because my production partner Stefan and I play and program everything ourselves. Another reason would be that I am my own biggest critic and only allow those tracks to leave the studio, with which I am 1000 percent happy.
Speaking of production, tell us a bit about ‘Life is To Short to be Sad’. How did you come to work with Bonnie Ferrer?
That’s a funny story! Before playing in Hamburg, I was set for an unforgettable dinner with some friends. Bonnie coincidentally happened to come by later and we immediately hit it off. I knew her voice from the production with Syke ‚Äön’ Sugarrstarr and was already impressed. We already had a song put together and couldn’t really get anywhere with the vocals. So I told Bonnie about it and she immediately agreed to both write the lyrics and sing them. The result will appear in January 2006 with mixes by Paul Rincon, Denis the Menace and Jerry Ropero.
What is the role of the DJ in modern popular culture?
I think that certain DJs (key DJs) have a very high worth, in other words, they get to enjoy having high status. The DJ, who is responsible for the musical event, can have a huge influence on future music and lifestyle trends.
How did taking over management for Groove On change things for you? What kind of impact has George Morel had on your life and career?
George Morel has influenced my life mostly as a friend. We’ve known each other for 10 years and only see each other on rare occasions. Our friendship has held despite this though. My career wasn’t necessarily influenced by George and the Groove On management, since we are musically very far apart. But we have exchanged a few remixes for each other.
What sorts of places, events and people have inspired you and your music?
I’ve always been very impressed with the people and the clubs of Scandinavia because I enjoy playing long sets and setting the mood for the entire evening (from warm up to peak time). Over there I have the opportunity to play up to 5 hours, especially in Norway. This is also true for Ibiza, where I’ve had some of my finest DJ experiences at various beach parties. Of course the people there are open to (almost) everything!
In your opinion, in which directions is chilled out and lounge house moving in?
Because of my compilation series Exciting House Mix, I am often booked for special marketing events. For example, being booked for a Scandinavian fashion designer Filippa K at their after show party in an opera house in Oslo. Or at a private party for 300 people in Mailand. I think that this style of music is moving in the direction of sophisticated events’.
In what ways have your goals and visions for your music changed and evolved over the years?
That’s a hard question! One sees the direction one has progressed musically the least. It’s probably due to the fact that one is daily dealing with music. I have never allowed myself to be led by a trend, nor doubted myself because of them. I am of the opinion that I am much more sure of my style than I was even 5 years ago.
What is your plan for the second half of 2005?
I am currently working on a new concept for a double CD, which is called A House Affair with Francesco Diaz & Denis the Menace and is due to be released mid-October. I mixed the first disc and Denis grabbed onto my style and pushes into more of a club setting for the second disc. A single for the album is also due to be released under both our names called ‘In the Sunshine’, which is sung by DePhazz singer Karl Frierson. I am also remixing a track called ‘Victim of Love’ for Pino Arduini which features Michelle Weeks on vocals. That’s due out in November. Since I’ll be going on tour for the mix album, there won’t be much more than that happening before the end of the year.