Yes, disco follows a formula. But Belgian-Italian producer Aeroplane (AKA Vito De Luca) isn't thinking small when it comes to the genre.
He's not even concerned with floor fillers. In fact, he's aiming for nothing short of cosmic disco rapture, taking his cues from the '70s prog rock giants like Pink Floyd just as much as Italo-disco masters like Giorgio Moroder.
The epic musicality of De Luca's productions is apparent in 2010 debut long player We Can't Fly, which garnered rave reviews from both the mainstream music press and underground EDM critics. In other words, he's found that rare balance between pop accessibility and underground cred.
But fluff aside, Aeroplane's product is still disco, which means he's here to make you boogie. And that's exactly what he intends to do when he stops by Bardot on the first leg of his current North American tour on Saturday.
Crossfade: What can you tell us about the electronic dance music scene in Belgium? Has it informed your sound in any way?
Aeroplane: Belgium has a big heritage in dance music: industrial, new beat, hip-house, techno... Belgium was always at the top and even invented some of these genres. So it results in a big variety of clubs and parties and record stores. So obviously it influences you in a way.
And how does your Italian heritage play into it? Were you aware of Italo disco growing up?
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My Italian roots... well, it's the Hi-NRG and Italo pop of the mid to late '80s. All the Italian superstars, produced by Italo disco producers. Probably the reason why I love cheesy and melancholic melodies.
You're a classically trained pianist. When did you first start playing with electronic music gear and how did you go about developing the "cosmic disco" sound you're known for today? Were there specific artists or records you were listening to that inspired that direction?
I learned piano in a music school. I can't remember who said first that I was classically trained but I'm not a classical piano player. I basically just picked what I needed to write songs. I was more interested by harmonies and chords than virtuosity. Electronic music started when I was 16. About the cosmic sound, I was more trying to make an electronic version of Pink Floyd, or Alan Parsons Project. I didn't really know back then there was such a thing as the "cosmic" sound.
There's a definite pop sensibility to your work. Is it your ultimate ambition to enter the pop market or will you continue catering to underground dance music audiences in the long-term?