Renowned European DJ plays at Latex
CAIRO: These days, Cairo seems to be on the map for many international artists. From pop stars like Ricky Martin, Latin pianists like Raul Di Blasio and classics like Bonnie M, the country has experienced quite a diverse flow of entertainment over the past few months.
Last week, European house and techno DJ Pagano visited Egypt to play at local club Latex, previously known as Jackie’s, prior to its renovation and famous for its ultra modern music.
It was a massive success with Egyptian club goers, who have experienced a drought since 2000-2002 when the rave scene was in full swing and many acclaimed DJs flew in from all over the world, including DJ Teisto and Gatecrasher. Today, these types of events are quite scarce, so the occasion was generally appreciated by many.
Fortunately, I was able to catch up with DJ Pagano by the pool at the Nile Hilton where he was staying, and I learned quite a bit about this DJ who has played clubs after club, including Privilege in Spain, The Fridge in the U.K. and Planet Ios in Greece.
Not only is this 30-year-old a great hit in the clubs, but has also released many best selling albums, breaking into the UK Import Chart and has recently launched his own record label called Deviate Records.
Here is a closer look at the Sicilian Francesco Pagano A.K.A. DJ Pagano.
How did you first get into the DJ scene?
I played my first set when I was 16 in the south of Italy. At this club, they used to play rock music, and then decided in the early ’90s with the big Ibiza thing (European electronic music phenomenon) they wanted to join. It was funny because Sicily is a conservative place so the people were like, “What is this music? From there, things started to pick up and I started to play around.
How did it transcend from a hobby to a job?
To be honest, only five years ago … I was offered a job in the music industry and I realized if I could make so much money with this, maybe I could make it a career and make all my passions into my job. I moved to the UK (from Sicily) and finished my education there where my records were becoming famous. Then I launched my label and had my first release, which is doing really well.
So do you still play in clubs as often since you launched your own label?
I do both. I am a resident at Heaven (a popular underground London club) where I play on Saturday nights, and Turnmills (also in London, and where the Chemical Brothers started) where all the big names play like Teisto and Deep Dish. A while ago I was very popular in Far East Asia, so I went a lot.
Can you explain your music?
I play a mixture of things . before I used to be more focused on tech house and tribal house, but now people are more open-minded to mixing all types. Now everyone is open to listening to everything as long as it’s good music, and this is for me very stimulating. What I tend to play now is the best of house and maybe some melodic stuff, funky house, progressive house . I play underground house music.
So are you looking forward to playing at an Egyptian club?
The cool thing about Latex, from what I’ve heard, is they’ve managed to create a movement that wasn’t there before. They introduced new sounds and new people.
Do you think the Egyptian crowd will relate to your music?
It is going to be a party. We are going to have fun and actually try something new. Music is about giving emotions to people through out … you now how Madonna said, “Music gets the people together. It’s true. It’s a language and it doesn’t matter if you are Italian or American or Egyptian, music is an emotion.
How do you choose what music to play?
I have been playing for a long time and playing for very different crowds. I have learned not to panic if the crowd is not relating in the first 20 minutes. I try to find a way to connect but I don’t work like a jukebox, I am going to try to take them on a journey.
So, how did you end up here?
I was actually spinning in a club in London and Mohamed Gafar (who organized the event) came up to me and said he loved my music and wanted me to come to Egypt. “Ohhh lets do it was my first reaction.
What is your impression of Egypt?
It’s the first time I’ve come to the Middle East. I was born in Sicily and you can feel the similarity in culture and architecture. There are a lot of young people here who want to go out and have fun and experience the same things that all other teenagers want to do too, so it is very exciting.
Any last words?
Oh, just that I am very pleased to be here. I love it!
Check out www.djpagano.it for more information on Pagano, and www.deviaterecords.com to find out about his label.