Alexander Robotnick, also known as Maurizio Dami, has been a key part of the European underground since the 80s shaping the early disco scene and beyond. Having appeared on labels like Permanent Vacation, Clone, Bordello a Parigi and Bosconi Records through the years he returns to his own label Hot Elephant Music for his ninth studio album. We caught up with the man himself to discuss the new album, his sound and more.
Hey Maurizio, welcome to Music is 4 Lovers! It’s a pleasure to have you here with us today. How has your day been so far?
Very good, thanks. I am in Sri Lanka where I am spending Winter. This morning was beautiful and I walked down to the beach nearby with my girlfriend. Then I came back home for lunch, took a nap and now I set down to answer your questions.
Alexander Robotnick is a very unique name, what’s the story behind it?
My art-name means Alexander the worker in Russian. In the early 80s, there was a trend to choose Anglo-American nicknames. As a reaction to that, I picked a Russian one. I imagined myself as an exiled Russian pursued by Stalinism in France, hence my singing in French.
You are a legend in the electronic music world; having helped sculpt the early disco scene in the 80s and have been releasing ever since. Who were some of your influences that got you into dance music?
It’s somewhat difficult in my case to talk about influences as during my life I’ve been listening to very different kinds of music, from 60s beat to progressive rock, from Jazz to opera. Not to mention world music which I also made in the 90s. But in the early 80s, I’d listen to British pop and such bands as Talking Heads, Suicide, Grace Jones and obviously Kraftwerk.
In your opinion, has your sound changed much in the years that you’ve been producing?
It’s changed a lot of times but has a tendency to go back cyclically to the electro sound that characterized Alexander Robotnick ’s early days. Just like many artists of that time, I was dazzled by the opportunities digital gave but soon realized that, despite the efficiency I’d gained, I’d lost something more important: the natural realism of analogue electronic music. So I bought the synths I used in the early 80s again.
Today I am working with hybrid equipment so that I can enjoy the pros of both digital and analog without getting their cons.
This March, you will release your latest album ‘Kind of Disco’ on your label Hot Elephant music. What was your inspiration for this record?
Kind of Disco is the follow up of Simple Music, my previous album. Simple Music came out of the need to make tracks where music is the main source of feelings and not only the sound, as it happens in many contemporary works.
This will be your ninth studio album, congratulations on such an achievement! Where do you find all your creativity in the studio?
I don’t like using such words as “creativity” or “inspiration” ( they were invented by Romanticism, and neither Michelangelo nor Bach ever thought in such terms). I tend to think about music as an addiction. If I stay without making music for too long, I get depressed. When I have a project to work on, I have fun and feel good.
The LP is the second volume of your ‘Simple Music’ release from last December. How does the new one differ from the last?
Not much, there are more dance tracks, actually kind of disco in my vision, but the concept is still the same: putting music on top of all and above production.
What was the most important piece of kit during your production process?
In my studio, everything is important; there is no machine that I don’t use or which is not essential, everything is adjusted to my needs. There’s no superfluity. The synth I love best is Wasp which I recently bought again because mine broke down during a concert.
Are you working towards another project soon?
As I said, I am addicted to music. Now I want to explore New italo, putting more attention onto grooves and danceability but still in the spirit of Simple Music
What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the italo disco sphere throughout your career?
Today there is much less rubbish around than in the 80s when you’d find awesome tracks as well as a load of revolting stuff. Sometimes in that kind of music the line between cheerful and exciting tracks and cheesy trivial ones is indeed very very thin. You’ve got to dare and take the risk.
Thank you so much for joining us today Maurizio. One final thing, as a Florence native, do you have a favourite venue in the beautiful city you call home?
If you say Florence, then the club is Tenax. It has a long story that started in the 80s. It went through several stages and not all of them meant good music. But now it seems to have some positive energy.
Alexander Robotnick ‘Kind Of Disco: Simple Music Vol.2’ is out on 24th March via Hot Elephant Music
Follow Alexander Robotnick on
Instagram | Soundcloud | Spotify | Website