These days, you can't go outside without hearing the sickeningly familiar strains of "Le7els." But before that sweet melody had the scene on fire, the go-to track of the moment was a little edgier.
Congorock is the Italian electro monster behind massive anthem "Babylon," which he never even thought would go anywhere. Yet it catapulted him into an epic tour with Benny Benassi, a gig writing for Sean Paul, and a full-time job just generally being a badass.
Crossfade:Your music's got a lot of tropical vibes. Where does that come from?
Congorock: When I started making music, I was listening to this style, born in Italy, called Afro-disco. It was basically the disco that people listened to around the '80s, but there were lots of experimental drums from African music. I started collecting vinyl from that age of disco. And when I eventually started making electro, I kept that kind of vibe and I still do.
You work with a lot of different flavors and styles from different regions.
Yeah, and this is not only African. I must say I'm into anything that has some kind of exotic vibe. In the last productions, I'm really interested in bringing Middle Eastern percussion and instruments into my sound. You can hear it on my track "Monolith." That has a lot of fills and other percussion that are more Middle Eastern and not African.
Do you listen to a lot of world music? Or do you think that traveling has opened your mind up to these sounds?
It's been both. I was a blogger before being a DJ. So I was downloading stuff from other blogs, and I was really interested in world music. After I started doing productions and DJing and traveling, I still keep an eye on whatever is happening everywhere in the world. Like, last week, I was in Asia and I went record shopping in Manila, Philippines. I think it's really exciting to see different dance music anywhere in the world.
When you wrote "Babylon," did you have any idea it would get dropped in every DJ set for the next two years?
No, definitely not. I thought I was doing my most extreme track ever and that nobody would get it. I was just really inspired because the idea was in my head before I actually put it on my computer. So when I actually put it down, I realized that the track was a little bit weird or extreme. Too extreme to be supported by other DJs. But eventually, it got support from everyone -- Mr. Oizo and David Guetta, Steve Angello, MSTRKRFT. It had pretty wide support.
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SHOW ME HOW
What about your new song with Sean Paul?
It's a track called "Bless di Nation," and I'm really proud of it because I'm a big fan of Sean Paul too. When I got the chance to work with him, through my label Ultra records in New York, I was really excited because I never got the chance to write music for an artist I respected so much. It's one of the few tracks I've done with vocals in it. It's a pretty happy song, kind of different from what I've done so far. My music is sometimes a little bit dark. But this one is a little bit happier with a catchy synth line. I hope everybody will like it.