Jamie Jones and Lee Foss's Hot Creations label has spawned a major stylistic trend across the transatlantic tech-house scene, with many an imitator wielding their darkly sexed-up bass-heavy sound. And among Hot Creations' growing collective of elite producers is Milan-based duo Clockwork.
Clockwork gave Miami a taste of their deep, brooding grooveage at the Hot Natured Miami party last March. And this Saturday, the pair returns to the Wynwood venue for a headlining set alongside Israeli DJ-producer Chaim, My Favorite Robot's Jonny Cruz, and a whole slew of local favorites.
Crossfade: Who are Clockwork? When did you first get into electronic music production and how did the collaboration first come about?
Clockwork: We are Francesco Leali and Federico Maccherone. We met a while back--just under 10 years ago to be exact. Although we knew each other from before, we lost contact and later reunited in 2010 whilst Francesco was finishing his studies in London and Federico in New York. Francesco had been working on some tracks but later decided to develop and bring the Clockwork project further with Federico. That was pretty much when we can say it all started. We both got into electronic music in our mid teens. Francesco was finishing off the percussion conservatory in Milan and Federico was opening a small indie label where him and his friends could release on -- so everything just locked in perfectly.
What can you tell us about the electronic dance music scene in your hometown of Milan? How has it shaped Clockwork's sound?
Well, we can say Milan is extremely famous for things such as food, fashion and a huge historic value, but the electronic music scene isn't one it excels in for us. Although we recently came to discover it is slowly but surely catching up and embracing the culture, we continue finding inspiration elsewhere. A lot of our musical inspiration comes from the UK, Germany and Denmark lately.
You were one of the biggest breakthrough acts of last year's WMC. Which doors first opened before you could find that exposure in Miami?
We're confident when saying that having released an EP on a label such as Hot Creations definitely gave us a great deal of exposure, but we also like to think that at the time it was also the originality and/or quality of the tracks that generated such interest in us. At that point, a poor or mediocre performance wasn't an option, and we tried our best to stand out. It's never easy to be the new kids in school.
What can you tell us about your upcoming debut album Based On A True Story on Life and Death? What has the creative process been like so far and what can fans expect?
We are very proud and totally taken by what we're doing with Based On A True Story. We passed a whole year experimenting with new machinery, exploring new grounds and pushing ourselves further (on occasions, in the wrong way). After that we found a musical identity that we felt ours, slightly shifting away from the overkill some areas of the market is subject to; This led us to producing a darker breed of what we were producing before, always being careful to not move away from what was the style that characterized us.
Life and Death is an interesting label in that is has cross-pollinated artists and styles from eclectic labels/collectives--Hot Creations and Visionquest--with a similar underground ethos. They also have a uniquely dark raw aesthetic approach to house music. How did you hook up L and D and what binds you creatively?
We met with Manfredi in Milan just over a year ago, and we immediately clicked. We slowly started working together and noticed right away that we had a real good situation going on. Between the whole team there is lots of respect and professionalism. Without forgetting that we're all good friends and we get a long really well even outside the studio which is pretty determining in our opinion to create interesting and original work as a group / label.
What advice would you give have other young budding producers seeking your kind of breakthrough success in the international scene?
One thing is of vital importance for us right now if you want to stand out from the crowd: Originality. Musical research helps a lot, we still spend whole days just listening to music when we can, and it just never stops helping.
Which artists are your currently digging yourselves?
It's always difficult to declare a favorite -- it's a bit like asking if you love more your mom or your dad, but lately we've come across some amazing artists and it would just be unfair not to mention a couple. The Mole, Robag Wruhme, Scuba, Aebeloe and Mount Kimbie are definitely in our top ten now.
That Hot Creations sound ruled the charts and dancefloors in 2011, but it also spawned one too many imitators, critics would say. Is there a danger that house will become too predictable and repetitive? Where would you like to take your own sound in 2012?
We hope not! but we also highly doubt it. On our behalf, we can say that we will definitely be trying out something different. As we mentioned before, our productions and therefore our DJ sets are taking a darker orientation and we like where this combination of sounds is taking us and our work. So we think we'll stick to this for a while and see what happens. Based On A True Story will be the perfect example of what we're trying to say here.
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You're about to play your first headlining Miami show. What can we expect?
You can expect us to be insanely happy about it, that's for sure. Especially 'cause we get to do it with our colleagues and friends from L and D. We're very greatfull of how things have and our going for us and we thank everybody that has and is supporting us in any kind of way, it's also thanks to all this support that we can continue doing what we're doing, and we appreciate every second of it!
Clockwork, Chaim, Jonny Cruz and Electric Pickle residents. Saturday, February 11 at 10 p.m. Electric Pickle (2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami). Call (305) 456-5613 or visit electricpicklemiami.com.